Product Review: Barilla Sausage and Tomato Rotini

Hi everybody, on this blog I’ll be reviewing another product that I sometimes take to work with me for one of my mini-meals. Today it’ll be the Sausage and Tomato Rotini, from Barilla’s Italian-Style Entrees. The Italian-Style Entrees are freeze-dried, so they can be stocked on your pantry shelf at home rather that refrigerated or frozen. These can be found on Amazon, purchased as a pack of six for $14.16, which comes out to just a bit more than two dollars each, which is quite reasonable. They’re 320 calories, 12 percent total fat and 10 percent saturated, and 29 percent of your daily sodium, all of which are in the range that I usually look for.

Despite the fact that I use this product semi-regularly, I can’t recommend it wholeheartedly, for the following reason: vegetables. The pasta itself and the robust tomato sauce with the sausage are quite good, the only problem is that there are also some chunks of vegetable lurking. When I make a red sauce at home, I build it from the ground up, so to speak, so that there are no pieces of vegetable, like onions or tomatoes, to pick around. Not so, here…as I eat, I have to pick around a few chunks, which is time consuming and a bit annoying. Since I continue to use this product, I think I’ve found that the good taste more than offsets the time to pick out the bits I don’t like, but I can’t be completely enthusiastic in my recommendation.

So, to sum up…this is a pretty tasty product, but if you’re picky about veggies, like me, keep in mind that you’re going to be treading carefully, to avoid swallowing an offending morsel. Maybe if Barilla ever sees fit to redo this recipe, it will be more to the liking of myself, and you, my fellow picky eaters.

Danger Always Lurks

As a picky eater, I’ve gradually tried, in my adult life, to integrate new foods into the repertoire of things I like. That makes it easier for me when I go to new restaurants, and it makes it less embarrassing when I’m a guest in someone’s home, say, and I have to tell them that I’m turning down what it is they’re offering me because I don’t care for it, or even am completely grossed out by it. Still, there are certain situations that arise where my dislike of individual foods or ingredients rears its head, and the best I can do is hope to ride it out.

A good example was a few weeks ago, when me and my wife went to a restaurant in the neighborhood, a self-styled English pub that we’d been to a few times in the past. The special this time around was a “porky burger,” which essentially was a hamburger with mozzarella cheese, bacon, pulled pork, and coleslaw piled on it. Definitely pretty decadent, and about a zillion calories, but I figured, it was an occasional treat, and hey, what is life about but treating yourself once in a while?

The only thing on the burger that didn’t appeal to me, as you may have guessed, was the coleslaw. No problem; I just told our server, who seemed new to the job and a bit flustered, to leave it off. So the food came, and the burger looked good, but rather than check it to see if any of the offending coleslaw was on it, I just took a big bite. Big mistake. The coleslaw, which turned out to be chock-full of onions, had been left on, and I had chewed it up and swallowed it before I was really aware of it. It was only as I was really experiencing the taste and aftertaste of it that I realized what had happened, and, needless to say, I was pretty grossed out by it.

What we are talking about, really, gets at the heart of being a picky eater. Did anything physically harmful happen to me here? Was some sort of physical torture inflicted on me? No, of course not. But the experience, which would have seemed so minor to most people, really turned my stomach. I felt like I wanted to puke, I was queasy, and it really took a good deal of effort to maintain my appetite. What I ended up doing was scraping the coleslaw off as best I could, but it seemed like all the other ingredients had been permeated by the taste of it. I was unable to finish the burger, and it kind of put a damper on my evening.

This is what it’s like to be a picky eater. You have to be constantly vigilant, and while there are plenty of people that can’t understand an experience like this, for someone like me, it’s a real problem. Life is full of these little episodes. The best you can do is laugh them off…and next time, try to remember to check your burger, or sandwich, or whatever else, before biting into it!