Deli Creations Hot Sandwich Melts

By: Oscar Mayer

Suggested Retail Price: $2.99

TASTE: 2stars

Marketing: 2stars

Pop open vaguely briefcase-esque cardboard box. Unpack individually wrapped meat, cheese, bread, sauce, and mayo. Assemble. Dock in specially lined microwave heating tray. Zap 60 seconds. Drool on, wage slave.

The sandwiches come in five varieties; I tried Shaved Steakhouse Cheddar, Shaved Turkey Monterey, Shaved Oven Roasted Ham & Cheddar, and Shaved Turkey & Cheddar Dijon. There’s also Shaved Honey Ham & Swiss.

Shaved Steakhouse Cheddar: The bun is so white-bread that it makes polka look like reggaeton . It doesn’t seem to have been baked so much as poured into a mold. The meat, which “contains up to 20% flavor solution-browned with caramel color,” explodes with an ambiguous odor. Cats come running in from other rooms. “Whoa!” they say. “This is a sandwich we can really groove to and rally behind!” The “steakhouse sauce” appears to be some bastard variety of commercial French dressing. The Shaved Turkey Monterey sandwich is equally undistinguished.

Shaved Oven Roasted Ham & Cheddar sandwich: better. The “harvest wheat sub roll” offers a little bit of texture and flavor. Real mustard (with grains and everything!) imparts a flavor that resembles food and not “food product.” The Shaved Turkey & Cheddar Dijon has a similar roll but lacks flavor balance and heft.

Salad Spritzers

By: Wish-Bone

Suggested Retail Price: $2.89

TASTE: 4stars

Marketing: 4stars

Wish-Bone Salad Spritzers, which come in mini squirt bottles, are the Binaca of salad dressing.

There are seven flirty vinaigrette flavors: Caesar Delight, Red Wine Mist (Cabernet, if you must know), French Flair, Asian Silk, Balsamic Breeze, Raspberry Bliss, and plain old Italian. Disappointing, that last. Here’s one for free: Infinite Italian.

Points for packaging. One squirt equals either one or one and a half calories, depending upon the variety. If you’re counting the damn things, it’s easy enough to tally. And the spray mechanism distributes the dressing evenly, in zillions of tiny microparticles versus the small dollops that form atop even a well-tossed salad.

Though they can’t beat a good homemade dressing, Salad Spritzers taste pretty good. French Flair delivers a simple cream and honey-accented tomato flavor. Caesar Delight (with olive oil) does, in fact, taste lightly of olive oil, herbs, and cheese. Asian Silk may be the weakest, overly sweet and soy saucy. Raspberry Bliss is no picnic either, tasting far too much like melted Starbursts. It may be good sprayed on vanilla ice cream, which I didn’t try. Balsamic Breeze is decent.

The Spritzers probably shouldn’t be trotted out for company, but I see no shame whatsoever in letting one or two dwell peaceably in the fridge, available to help salvage the remnants of mixed greens you’ve had lying around.

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