The Skinny Cow Low Fat Ice Cream Cone

By: Dreyer’s

I Paid: $4.85 for four 4-ounce cones (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 5stars

Marketing: 4stars

Simply put, these low-fat prepackaged ice cream cone sundaes are pure (diet-friendly) culinary dynamite. They could step into the ring with Drumsticks and emerge battered but proud, possibly even victorious by means of a judge’s decision.

This is not what one would expect of a diet treat, but the Skinny Cow has clearly done its legwork in terms of perfecting the recipe of a low-cal simulacrum. I sampled the Vanilla with Caramel version, and for 150 calories, here’s what I got: a crunchy, full-sized ice cream cone. Light but creamy ice cream. Caramel drizzled on top that was gooey and sweet without being overly so. And chocolate lining the interior of (and plugging the bottom of) the cone that tasted vividly of, well—who would have guessed?—actual chocolate. Compare this to a Drumstick (a full-on gastronomic wand of hedonism), and all you’re really going to miss is the chocolate-coated ice cream ball on top and the nut bits that cover it.

Eating a diet dessert typically means a major sacrifice on one of two fronts: size or flavor. This manufacturer has single-handedly shattered the paradigm and, during August of all months, brought a little bit of sweet, cooling pleasure to the masses.

BK Kids Meal with Macaroni and Cheese and Apple Fries

By: Burger King

I Paid: $4.59 (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 4stars

Marketing: 5stars

A recent Burger King commercial revolves around the King’s creepy, mask-wearing son kicking his dad in the shin in order to obtain a box of the restaurant’s new apple fries.

You can’t blame the diminutive hobgoblin; the sight of what are clearly—clearly!—french fries in a french fry holder is spellbinding when you realize that they are not actually fries at all, but rather apple pieces cut to look just like fried potatoes.

There’s a television-versus-reality shock that comes when you receive your kids’ meal: The box that holds the fries dwarfs them, swallowing them entirely if you stand it up vertically. But after that initial disappointment, I enjoyed them. They’re not deep-fried; they’re crisp and juicy. They taste like apples, which is what they are. But I found them irresistibly interesting in their fry shape.

They come with a 35-calorie packet of pleasingly light caramel sauce. A little caramel sauce on a fry, and you’ve got a low-impact caramel-apple thing going on, in a relatively nutritionally sane context.

The BK Kids Meal also comes with a toy (I received a plump wind-up bear that sits atop a pencil or crayon and vibrates) and, if you so choose, the new Kraft Macaroni and Cheese entrée option. The latter tastes exactly like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

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