6.28.2010

StarKist Lunch To-Go (Chunk Light) Review


I like tuna fish. Tuna fish is the greatest thing to happen to sliced bread since the advent of the PB&J. I like it on toast, I like it on bread, I like it on crackers. I will even scoop it out of a bowl with Nacho Cheese Doritos. But Tuna Fish does have one problem. It’s not very portable, and as a working man that is a real problem for me. Thanks to the recession I have been brown-bagging my lunches for a while now. If Obama had promised that he would make eating out for lunch affordable for the working man again, I might have voted for him. But I digress.

I hate everything there is about packing a lunch. First there are only so many choices. There’s reheats, which is ok in theory but when you’re waiting in line behind 10 other guys at the microwave that is encrusted with cheese and various hardened sauces, you tend to start leaning towards your only other alternative which is sandwiches. The aforementioned PB&J’s are good for a while but after gagging down two of those for lunch day after day for 2 weeks, no matter how many different varieties of Jam/Jelly you use, you need a change. Deli meats are fine, but tend to be a little more expensive, and besides to make those good you need cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, sliced olives, oil & vinegar, etc. and who has time to get that all ready every morning before work? So then you turn to the trusty favorite that is Tuna Fish. All it needs is maybe a little lettuce and a few pickle slices and it’s just heavenly. Well that is until it’s sat in your cooler box for 4 or 5 hours, then it’s just a big soggy mess. You try to remedy this by packing a small Tupperware of Tuna Fish and assemble your sandwich at work, but holy crap what a pain in the butt.

I thought I had found the answer to this problem when I saw StarKist Lunch To-Go packets at Walmart. I bought a few of them and have been trying them out for the last week or so. They’re reasonably priced, but you can buy a box a Ritz Crackers and several cans of Tuna for much less, but that is not what these are all about. These are all about convenience. Aren’t they? I thought so.

I sat down in my usual seat in the cafeteria, gave the losers standing in line at the microwave a smug look as I opened my cooler box and removed the Lunch To-Go. They come in Albacore and Chunk Light. I bought Chunk Light because that’s the kind of Tuna I always buy.

First they instantly get 1 star because the packet is light weight and well put together. Each packet has a packet of Tuna, a packet of Light Mayonaise, a packet of relish, a 6-pack of no name ritz-like crackers, a spoon, a napkin and an after-lunch mint, and the container works as a mixing bowl. Plus there’s an instruction guide for the clueless among us.

As I spread all this stuff out I instantly felt like a douche because I had all this stuff spread out around me. I took a quick look around and although the guys still stuck at the microwaves couldn’t say anything to me, the other guys eating their already prepared sandwiches were now throwing me smug looks. However, I pressed on.

I ripped opened the packet of Tuna and grabbed the spoon. The spoon is about the size of the little pink sample spoons you see at Baskin Robbins and proved to be too short and too small to scrape all the Tuna out of the packet until your hand was wrist-deep into the packet and of course that gives your hand a fine coating of Tuna residue. Also, I found it was impossible to scrape the Tuna out of the corners of the packet. I have found that you need to slice the packet along 3 sides with scissors or some other sharp object if you really want all of the Tuna.

Another word about these packets. I have a friend here at work who got into body -building and when he learned that Tuna was a great source of protein he bought a whole bunch of these Tuna Packets (just the packets, not the whole lunch to-go kits). He ate 3 of these a day, breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack. He got down to his last one, ripped it open, had consumed about a third of it and discovered that it was almost all fish guts, scales and some bone. He’s kind of an idiot so he muscled his way through it but he hasn’t been able to eat another one since. I for one would warn you to inspect your Tuna Fish carefully before consuming. Anyway, the packets open easy but the spoon/packet combo is not conducive to easy use and they loose a star for that.

The “mixing bowl” is a good idea, and is big enough for this job. The mayo packet is not quite enough mayo for my liking but does the job. The relish packet is inspired and it had never occurred to me to use relish with Tuna Fish rather than slicing up pickles. The spoon, again is too small for the task of mixing and it ends up taking a while and you end up flicking Tuna Fish, relish and mayo all over the table. All these things combined and I have to take another star away from them.

Onto the crackers. These look like Ritz Crackers, but they are not. They are a cheap imitation and although not as salty as Ritz, they aren’t bad. Not great, but not bad. The real problem is there aren’t enough of them. You have two choices, either pile each cracker with way too much Tuna Fish or end up with left over Tuna that you just have to eat with your itty-bitty spoon. I for one would prefer 8 crackers. If that was too much cracker for some people I would have to ask, what would you rather gag down all by itself? A cracker or a spoon full of Tuna Fish? So they lose a star there as well.

Well I’m finally done eating and I’m kind of excited by the addition of the mint. I open it up. It’s a little bigger than a jelly-bean, hard, but should be just about right to get that tuna smell out of your mouth. I popped it into my mouth and instantly wanted to throw up. It wasn’t strong like an Altoid, it wasn’t yummy like an Andes Mint or Junior Mint it didn’t even clear my sinuses like a Halls Cough Drop. It was just plain nasty. I couldn’t spit it out fast enough and since there was no poop laying around that I could eat to get that foul taste out of my mouth I found myself tearing the tuna packet completely open and licking the insides of the packet just to stop that taste from tearing the papillae off of my tongue. The mint cost them a star.

By the end of the meal my hands were cramping from using that little stupid spoon, my hands were greasy with Tuna gook, the table around me looked like a tornado had come through the room, an entire hour had gone by (everybody including the reheats brigade had finished eating 30 minutes before me), I had this foul “not-minty” taste in my mouth and I was still hungry. What the hell? How ironic that a product made by StarKist gets no stars. I guess they can Kist their Star goodbye Nyuck-Nyuck-Nyuck!


12 comments:

Anonymous said...

i just had one of these for the first time, i thought it was excellent. i didnt get any tuna outside of the container either.

Anonymous said...

You suck, those are awesome. FYI I think they aren't meant for creepy old guys like you. They're adorable lunches.

Anonymous said...

Aren't you supposed to squeeze the tuna out of the packet and not use the spoon? Also you are an idiot if it takes you an idiot to eat this.

JustJim said...

Anonymous from 2010 - thank you for reading my review. I appreciate your comment and hope you continue to be a reader of reviewspew.com.

Anonymous from 2011 - Let me respond in kind and say that I do believe you suck also. Based on your analysis that these are "adorable lunches" I'm assuming you are a 16 year old girl (or at least act like one). There is nothing more stupid and ill-informed than a 16 year old girl. I will therefore give you a pass on this and say goodbye.

Anonymous from 2012 - I do not pretend to know everything about anything. If you have found that squeezing the packet works better than kudos to you Big Shot. But I've decided nothing you have said here matters due to the ridiculous last sentence you wrote. It does not take me an idiot to eat one of these. Nor does it take me an idiot to eat anything. All I can deduce from all of this is that you are an idiot yourself and since you are an idiot I will wish you well in your future career as a bolt-sorter or tire-retreader.

Anonymous said...

I love these Lunch To Go packets. I agree with you on the spoon bit, I always end up with tuna juice all over my big meaty paws, but that's the price you pay for deliciousness.

I have been eating these things for awhile, and always just tossed the mint. Partly because I assumed it would be one of those disgusting butter mints, and partly because I like to use my tuna breath as a weapon to keep the other filthy humans from invading my personal space. But I actually opened one and ate it today, and I liked it.

I could go either way on the crackers, they could be a bit saltier or more flavorful, but 6 is adequate for me. I like to make each cracker into a miniature Leaning Tower.

The one thing I would recommend to Starkist to make these Lunch To Go packets even better would be the inclusion of salt and pepper. Drop the napkin and toss a couple paper packets of S$P, we're good.

JustJim said...

I'm glad you like them. I always assumed that people did because they've been around a while. Other things that have been around a while so people must like them but I don't would be Peeps, Mac & Cheese and hemorrhoids! Thanks for reading.

Alan Richman said...

Man this review was terrible in so many ways. I haven't read any of your recent reviews, but I hoping that you've done a little work on your approach since then. the review read like a C- report for a 100 level English class. Full of classic and corny cliche review lines like "I ripped open the bag ot tuna grabbed a spoon". This is a supposed to be a review, not a play-by-play of everything that went down during the eating process. A review is obviously only a matter of opinion, but it seems to me like you were approaching the thing totally wrong and not seeing the item for what it really is. It's obviously not supposed to replace a real and completely fufilling lunch my friend. On that note, I don't really see how they could've done much better considering what the medium is: Tuna. Its a package of Tuna with crackers. Nuff Said'. At least you can get credit for being the only weirdo on the planet who would take the time to write the longest review on earth for something as ridiculous as some crackers with some tuna. Bravo. Don't take it personally - I'm simply lampooning your negativity in the review....all over a package of tuna....and crackers. Cheers and happy holidays/

JustJim said...

Mr. Richman - Your comment here is so epic that I found it deserving of an entire review of its very own. I hope you enjoy it:

My Review of Alan Richman's Review of my Review

Turbo Chu said...

I personally love these things, have enjoyed them since I was 7. I am now 21, and only just recently started using them the right way. As a child, I had always disregarded the paper that instructs me how to mix it. Instead, I just took the tuna, mayo, and relish and separately put a bit on to the cracker (not tuna salad style, but literally topping-by-topping). This was very messy and made me look like quite the incompetent little elementary schooler. Not until entering high school did I learn everything about this magical little lunch box. For the packet of Tuna, I learned that you have to treat it like a can of chili: make sure you've successfully torn the end of the packet, turn it upside-down into the mixing bowl, squeeze the sides so it looks like the packet appears swollen, then start tapping and shaking until the tuna -all- conveniently slides out of the packet, no need to ever have that spoon touch the packet. After that, I followed the paper's instruction of mixing the mayo & relish in.
I see where you're coming from with 6 crackers not being enough, but I personally am one who enjoys a heavily-loaded cracker. Lastly, the mint is definitely not a spearmint breath-saver, but my tastes find it tolerable, and it most certainly does lessen my tuna-breath.

So I have two very different experiences with Starkist Lunch-to-Go
As a know-nothing elementary schooler, I'd have given this product a 1 out of 5
Throughout High School, College, and present-day in my workplace, I give it a 4 out of 5.

Unknown said...

Well I certainly know I love these and eat them often. Mint included. Matter of fact I throughly enjoy the mint.Just as well I think it's the perfect amount of mayo. I feel that your comment on the packet of tuna is a little exaggerated though. But it is your review and I will be no means call you an idiot. But I do feel that some of you comments are a bit exagerated. I never worried about where everyone else was in relation to a prebuilt sandwich and a pack of the Tuna Togo spread out around me. I do agree that the spoon could stand to be a but bigger, but I never had bits of tuna, mayo, and relish everywhere ether.

Felecia Kersey said...

Well I certainly know I love these and eat them often. Mint included. Matter of fact I throughly enjoy the mint.Just as well I think it's the perfect amount of mayo. I feel that your comment on the packet of tuna is a little exaggerated though. But it is your review and I will be no means call you an idiot. But I do feel that some of you comments are a bit exagerated. I never worried about where everyone else was in relation to a prebuilt sandwich and a pack of the Tuna Togo spread out around me. I do agree that the spoon could stand to be a but bigger, but I never had bits of tuna, mayo, and relish everywhere ether.

JustJim said...

Turbo Chu - Thanks for the advice. If I ever find myself in the unfortunately circumstance that I have to eat another one of these, then at least it will be easier than before.

Unknown / Felicia Kersey - I respectfully disagree with you opinion that my statements are exaggerated. My comments/statements are of the very highest quality. Presidents, Kings, Prime Minsters, Captains of industry, celebrities, (and several very hot nuns) have all bowed on the floor before me shouting praises at the greatness and super-duper wonderfulness of my word (both written and spoken). So shame, shame on you. To you I say: Go suck a horrible mint!

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