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No Assembly Required

Food critic Adam Platt critiques five store-bought frozen entrées.

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On a scale of 1–3 forks: 3 being excellent, 1 just okay

Kashi pesto pasta primavera . . . . . . . . . . . .
$3.99 at Whole Foods Market, 4 Union Sq. S., nr. University Pl., 212-673-5388
“It looks like slightly overboiled compost, with some noodles thrown in. The peas are pleasingly green, but it’s too pesto-y.”

Amy’s enchiladas with corn and black beans . . . . . .
$4.39 at Whole Foods Market
“The chives look impressive. However, you notice on closer inspection that they are basically sandblasted into the rhino-skin exterior. I sort of like the gummy-crunchy shell, but the inside is listless.”

Stouffer’s beef pot roast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
$4.59 at Met Foods, 180 Third Ave., nr. 17th St.; 212-862-0239
“The potatoes taste like potatoes, but they have the consistency of wet daikon. They’ve done something to the meat—they’ve soaked it in some kind of MSG salt lick. It has some flavor, but it’s so horrible-looking you have no appetite.”

Trader Joe’s chicken pomodoro . . . . . . . .
$6.99 at Trader Joe’s, 142 E. 14th St., nr. Third Ave. 212-529-4612
“Quite good. The chicken has nice grill marks on it. Very impressive. Look, I’m having a third bite!”

Hungry-Man fried chicken . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
$5.29 at Gristede’s, 225 Ninth Ave., nr. 24th St.; 212-229-3896
“Meat’s dry; skin’s wet. The corn looks like it emerged from a time capsule of a high-school cafeteria in 1972, and the brownie’s too fluffy. It does bring back fond memories of the TV dinners that I used to think were so delicious.”


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