Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Your guide to eating cheap including tips, recipes and techniques

Archive for October, 2009

10/19/09 | Bugles

[ Currently Eating: Leftovery Turkey Melty ]

Bugles Original Flavor - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Stop the presses.

Hear ye, hear ye.

Po-tee-weet. And other such flatulent remarks.

You say you want a revolution. Well, you know, we all just want some Bugles.

I keep typing Buggles instead of Bugles. Buggles is an infinitely (as x approaches the snack axis) better name because it doth rhyme with “Fuggles” (and also, “Ruggles“, may they spoof the Beatles in peace who I apparently have confused with the Rutles). But I will let it slide.

I will let it slide because I’m just that type of guy. Actually, “Bugles” seem tangentially related to flatulence as well, so all’s well that ends well. Bugles, as in the cavalry musical instrument, go “toot-toot”. Toot de Sweet. Chitty chitty bang bang we’ve come full circle in less time it takes for Lindsay Lohan to get another arrest warrant.

Ex-squeeze me, I have just wasted 3 minutes of your time. Sorry.

So then, just what is going to be the “meat” of this review? That juicy, carnivorous nugget of off-colour humour that keeps people bellying up to the erratically published Cheap Eats review bar?

Well, I took some pictures of the words on the packaging, and I’m going to make fun of them.

After all, for most products like Bugles, this is just another attempt to re-package the over-surplus of subsidized corn that farmers in Iowa (sorry, Iowans, I actually like your state, especially the Corn Palace but don’t know anything about it) have to deal with. So, the most important thing about Bugles is the packaging. Right?

Actually, that is not exactly true. Bugles and I (Bugles and me?) go back many, many years. We’re fricken bed buddies. Back then, when it wasn’t a heinous sin to put hydrogenated oil and god knows what else into these snacks, I used to really look forward to eating a handful of Bugles. Oh, the shape seems the same today, and the taste is pretty much the same. It’s whatever fat that they used to use in copious amounts that really made me excited about a bag of Bugles.

Bugles Original Flavor - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

I used to take a Bugle, stick it on my tongue, and wait for the fat to seep into my taste buds. It was a really interesting experience – you started to feel your tongue get COLD. I suspect you’ll get the same effect by putting a scoop of Crisco on your tongue, but don’t let your cardiologist know I told you about it.

It still works with modern Bugles, but I don’t seem to get as great an effect. Try it. It’s interesting and will keep you entertained while you wait for your cup-o-noodles to jell.

In the mean time, here are my observations in true picturesque form.

Bugles Original Flavor - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Ha ha ha ha ha. Ha. What a pointless pun. I guess they’ve never heard of Doritos before. Actually, Bugles look like dunce caps. Or worse.

Bugles Original Flavor - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Nice. I love the “better if used by” date expirations on certain products. As opposed to “best if used by.” It’s like they’re saying, “Hey, we’re on the same wavelength here, Cheap Eater. These will probably will taste better if you eat them by the date, but we know you’ll probably feel the need to keep them for years and years beyond the date. It’s no skin off our back, we just have to put this on the package because the FDA requires it.”

Bugles Original Flavor - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

I don’t know about you, but if I’m a racecar driver, I’m not getting in a Cheerios car. Or a Hamburger Helper car. This is like asking [insert name of famous American football player here because I don't know any] to wear a pink helmet and a ballerina tutu. You can’t pay me enough to do it.

Bugles Original Flavor - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

I seriously still think that this would be 10 times more awesome if they would change the name to “Buggles“. Come on, who’s with me. I want to drive the Buggles car. It’s a sweet ride.

Bugles Original Flavor - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

I’ve always wanted to write into companies who DON’T put this disclaimer on the box and complain about being confused about the size of the snacks on the packaging. I would write that I was so excited that I would be getting 12 inch life size bugle-shaped snacks, because I’m a Civil War researcher looking into corn cakes shaped like bugles, and when they turned out to be only 2 inches long, my whole day was shot. I would drip fake tears on the letter and then send it in.

And so on.

Price: $1.00 for 5oz
Found At: Dollar Store
Cheap Eats Score: 7/10

[Editor's Note: Hi. I'm curious about the reason Bugles make your tongue go cold like that. I never really looked into it, plus I'm not a nutritional anthropologist. Or someone with even half a lazy brain. I know they use coconut oil - does that make a difference? I guess I never really even tried it with other snacks, maybe it works with all chips like this.]

10/6/09 | F&E Big Lasagna

[ Currently Eating: Ham and Egg Sand Witch ]

Big Lasagna Fresh and Easy - Cheap Eats at Bloglander


If I had one word to describe this Fresh & Easy “Big” Lasagna With Meat Sauce, it would be:


But of course, I have more than one word at my disposal here. Therefore, I will say this:

You might recall that I’m a big Fresh & Easy fanboy. It’s just really convenient, and surprisingly cheap depending on what you get. However, I’ve had oodles of problems with their noodles. I mean their pre-packaged meals, specifically anything that has noodles and tomato sauce.

Earlier, I ragged (ragu-ed?) on their Spaghetti. I think one cause of the problem is that I always try to get these noodle meals at the 1/2 off price. If you can snag them at that price, they’re extremely reasonable. But they only offer them at the price when they’re about to expire, so they’ve been sitting around for awhile. And when you let noodles in sauce like that sit for a long time, bad things happen.

Bad, gluey things.

Their “Big” Lasagna has the same problems as the spaghetti, but in fact it’s worse because of the layered nature of the lasagna. In their defense, I’m not sure how they’d solve this issue. I also haven’t really tried the spaghetti-type meals when they haven’t been sitting around for more than a couple days. Maybe they’re better when they’ve just been made.

Big Lasagna Fresh and Easy - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

In any case, I ain’t expecting high end gourmet lasagna, or even something approaching Marie Callender’s. Just something palatable. This is a large amount of food – almost three pounds. If this was edible, two people would probably make at least 2 meals out of it. As it was, I had to toss it out because it sucked so badly.

The thing is – it actually looked VERY promising after I baked it in the oven. Geez, look at the picture. I figured it would come out better in a conventional oven than a microwave. Don’t bother wasting your gas. It’s just as bad, or worse.

Big Lasagna Fresh and Easy - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

A breakdown: The sauce is just “OK” – I still find it strange they put carrots in it, like their other tomato sauce meals. The melted cheese coverage on top leaves a little to be desired. Like more cheese. But it’s not a deal breaker.

The noodle texture is absolutely, positively horrible. It tastes like extruded wheat clay or playdoh. It has such a pasty texture that I can’t believe it. It also has a strange off-taste to it. I can’t really put my finger on it because it’s not really a “food” taste per se. (Scarier words have never been spoken!) It’s almost like a weird, bitter plastic bread taste.

The ricotta filling was doing anything for me either. I like ricotta cheese, so I thought that perhaps it would be a bright spot in an otherwise terrible meal. It tasted blah, and if anything, made the stickiness of the noodles worse. Major disappointment.

Lastly, for some reason there was a FISHINESS, a sorta seafood and ox-musk melange hovering around the entire meal. I don’t think this was because the food was near the expiration date. Actually, if it was because of that, I wouldn’t be as worried. I was just wondering what the heck that could possibly be.

That taste scared me a bit, so I stopped eating it after a couple of bites. Oops, $4 down the drain. Man, I haven’t had a pre-packaged lasagna that bad in awhile. For a better (and bigger) lasagna, I would think about getting the CostCo one, even at the much higher price. That one is light years better. I think you would also do much better with budget frozen lasagna meals if you’re concerned about cost.

I’m still wondering why F&E is so noodle challenged. I think it has a lot to do with me buying it from the bargain bin on the day it’s about to expire. At a MSRP of $8, I would rather go outside and graze on my lawn. At the cut rate of $4, it’s still not worth getting – although it did bump up the score to 2/10 just for sheer cheapness. I think I’ll stick to their other prepared foods for now.

Price: $4.00 for 2 lb 12oz. (MSRP $8)
Found At: Fresh and Easy
Cheap Eats Score: 2/10



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