Guest Blog – Easy Elegance with Frozen Food

While I am experiencing the joys of a stomach bug, I have arranged to have one of my dear friends, the fabulous blogess behind the humor blog Petulant Panda, write about how to stay classy with her favorite culinary shortcuts. Grab a box of Franzia and enjoy, then be sure to check out her site for everything from political snark to in-depth reflection on “Anne Hathaway – friend or foe?”

Hi guys! I’m Amanda, a friend of Sarah’s for nigh on a decade. Before she was teaching us about awesome Thai food in Vegas and eating blood popsicles, she was introducing me to the magic of pho and The Cheesecake Factory (omelets and pasta on one menu!). And while I always happily join my dear friend at a restaurant, I’m slower to have her over for a meal. This is mostly because I don’t cook.

It’s not that I can’t cook; I just don’t derive much pleasure from it. I live in a small studio with one working burner and an oven I have to light myself. I don’t care to light the oven. I’d rather press start on the microwave or “Submit Order” on Seamless. With a life full of work, performing improv, and googling panda pictures, I find time spent cooking and then cleaning up for just myself to not be worthwhile. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy high quality food. These are the top ten entities that imbue even the most lackadaisical cook’s meals with elegance.

1. Trader Joe’s Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

Any condiment that requires a grinder automatically makes you fancy. Pink things automatically make you fancy. Crunchy sea salt makes you fancy. Done.

2. White wine

Oh, are you having a Lean Cuisine? That doesn’t feel very special. Add a glass of white wine sitting next to it and voila! Instant sophistication. Add a second glass and even the preservatives in your microwave meal will feel extravagant.

 3. Duane Reade deLish Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels

Oh, man. Have you ever had a sticky, butter caramel wrapped in a thin layer of dark chocolate? Has that little bonbon ever been topped with a generous heap of crunch sea salt? Even a dinner comprised of ranch dip and sweet potato chips feels gourmet when followed with one to four of those babies.

 4. Spray Butter

I love microwave oatmeal. I have loved it longer and deeper than any man or beast. It is the perfect meal. But on its own, it leaves something to be desired. With just a spray or sixty of spray butter that oatmeal goes from excellent to an epicurean masterpiece. WARNINGS: Some people find the incessant spraying sound annoying. Others find ingredients like Hydrogenated Soybean Oil and Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids to be a turn off. Don’t use spray butter around those people.

 5. Cheese

This can be a carefully sliced h or a Kraft Single. It can be the perfect room temperature brie or some grated Parmesan from the green can. Add a little cheese to your Progresso Tortilla Chicken Soup or your Smart Start Spaghetti Bolognese and you’ve already elevated your meal inestimably.

 6. Trader Joe’s Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Melange

Grilled. Fresh mozzarella. More than one kind of vegetable. Tomato sauce. Ready in about four minutes. Lavish.

 7. Television

While eating that pepperoni and cheese Lean Pocket, turn on the news (or Real Housewives franchise of your choice). Now you’re too erudite and dare I say, fancy, to be concerned with earthly matters such as your palate.

 8.  A Plate

Put it underneath whatever plastic container your food came out of the freezer in. Who’s not an adult now, mom? Pure class.

9.  Coursing

Putting all your food on one plate (see above item) is fine. It’s efficient. But you and I are not just food disposals; we’re people who demand better. If your dinner is a microwaved serving of vegetables, popcorn, and an apple with peanut butter, separate those out into three distinct phases of your meal. Commercial breaks provide an excellent opportunity to plate your next course.

 10.  Feigned Ignorance

When your friend asks if you’re afraid that eating all that crap is harmful to your health, just giggle and say, “I think it just means I’ll never decay, even after I’m dead.” Then change the subject. Flawless.


  1. I enjoyed this, truly funny. Have you tried Trader Joe’s naan and chimichirri rice? Excellent meal!

    • fritosfg says:

      I have not-it’s now on my list! So glad that you liked it! Amanda is a really great writer!!

  2. This is hilarious. It makes me want to use my microwave more.


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