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November 21, 2005



What, you're not going to tell us the name of the book?


I don't think of any cooking as being higher or lower, but a different spectral range of cooking.
And that apple-cranberry-walnut sounds very tasty that would be better matched in a race with a strawberry-rhubarb pie and a huckleberry/blueberry crumble.

Given the range of competition you described, I'd have bet on a pizza pie!

Listener Paul

Wow, can I identify! I might like being a foody, but I live in rural Arkansas, so that just isn't happening--there isn't a single recipe in the New Basics cookbook where I can get all the ingredients at the local Kroger.

I've never eaten Hamburger Helper either. Though I've eaten some Zatarains mixes, and they are salty. I do like Dinty Moore Beef stew, however.

So, I guess I too am a middle-class cook. I like making things from scratch, and feel morally superior to those who make things out of a box.


Your pie story brought back painful/funny memories of the first office potluck I attended at one job. I worked my butt off the night before making an elaborate vegetable dish only to find out the next day that most everyone else brought in giant tubs of WalMart macaroni salad or a single loaf of Italian bread. One person off-handedly mentioned to me afterwards that they would never bring anything good to an office potluck.


Any hope of us ever seeing that pie recipe, Ms. Firecracker? (please, please, please!)

Nick the Bard

Cheeseburger Macaroni/Bacon Cheeseburger is probably the closest to "regular" flavor Hamburger Helper has. Oriental I've never heard of, but Stroganoff is like, the God flavor of HH, especially after it's been in the fridge over night, then somewhat warmed in the microwave.

If you try Three Cheese, use ground turkey instead of ground beef though, it's worlds better.

The Sloppy Joe flavor was a joke though, you put the sloppy joe mix over flavorless cornbread, bleh. Only place I ever saw it was the Hostess store too.

oh please - boo hoo

middle class? I thought you were dead broke almost homeless?

Americans do not occupy New York. they live a little more towards the middle. like in IOWA.

LUKEY from ozz

We've got "Dinna Winna" (Dinner Winner)in oztralia.You guys know that one ? If not, very yucky indeed and probably the same product ,same company in a different box.What was that old rice helper called ? Ricey Rizzo ....
p.s. chill david , people were maybe a little enthusiastic at defending one of their favourite bloggers.Its over.

Pseu Braun

Growing up as a latchkey kid in a single-parent dwelling, we learned how to stretch a food stamp. Hambuger Helper twice a week, with leftovers for the next night. As a 12 year-old, I was responsible for preparing the meal before my Mother got home from work. Once, trying to balance the heavy skillet I dumped half of the bubbling contents onto my bare thigh causing a second degree burn and a giant white scar that stayed there almost a year.
My favorite though, was creamy Tuna Helper night, and looking back it was an ingenious way to share a 6 and 1/2 ounce can of tuna between two people.

Janey Yonkers

Dear oh please, what's your problem? Even poor people have to eat. Don't you think she's being sarcastic to call her taste middle class? Though you are right about Americans not living in New York. But what makes you think she lives there? Isn't WFMU from New Jersey?


the problem with modern chicken cooking, is that it is more important to be safe from salmonella, and then safe from the evil fats. having it taste good comes in a distant third.

Listener Paul

Actually, the problem with modern chicken cooking is modern chickens. They aren't really food.


I've only had Hamburger Helper once -- the cheeseburger macaroni kind -- and that was at someone else's house when I was four. I can't remember if I enjoyed it or not, but how un-American of me to have never had it again!

Your pie sounds utterly scrumptious, though!


Has anyone tried the "mock apple pie" recipe on the back of a Ritz Cracker's box? It always intrigued me...mashed up crackers replacing actual apples.


Besides Stroganoff, The other "good" HH flava would be Salisbury; that awful phony cheese stuff that most HH varieties seem to rely on is pretty inedible. In my experience, so-called "oriental" flavors in ANY kind of shortcut meal thingy, boxed or frozen, are always nauseating, headache-inducing disasters.


“You see,” Sluggo says, “this is why they shun you at work.”

That Sluggo is one funny character.

buckeye girl

I've eaten many a Hamburger Helper. There used to be this kind called Pizza or something and it was made with wagon wheel pasta and the salt powder stuff would get all gelled up in the spokes. MmM...Delicious.

I usually have some in the house, and on nights when my husband works late and I just need to eat something, anything, I make it. I eat half that day, and half lightly warmed up in the microwave just like nick the bard said.

Other guilty pleasures: Sweet Sue chicken and dumplings. Chef Boy-ar-dee pizza in a box.

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