It's rainy and exhausting here, and as Spring Break looms over me, I find myself dwindling to a set of groceries best relegated to homeless shelters and overpriced co-ops. One of these miraculous finds was a carton of instant hash browns conveniently left by the previous owner, along with over 30 ice pops and the lingering scent of stale Marlboro Reds. Last month's dinner is today's breakfast, according to the shelf stability of Hungry Jack's instant Cheesy Diner-Style Hash Browns.
I'll be honest, I'm polarized when it comes to diners. I'm picky about what I like, and in 90% of cases, according to my highly specified and not at all limited scope of New England diners and their ensuing hash brown-related fancies, the hash browns are greasy, unappetizing, and never crisp enough for my desires. I like my hash browns like I like my women- cheesy and on the dry side. And continuing off that hideous analogy, on a scale of one to Hitch, Hungry Jack delivers a product better relegated to speed dating.
Admittedly, these are convenient when you're heading to court or to bed, at all hours of the night, if not hash browns of the highest or prettiest caliber. They are frighteningly easy to make for a food once described as "a food with a reputation for its widespread availability and easy satisfaction of oral needs." This brings that to a whole new level. Hot water in the milk- er, potato carton, for twelve minutes or until your masochism is satisfied and then into a hot pan and you're set.
For dehydrated food shards with a stark resemblance to toenail clippings, the potato pieces are firm and crisp up nicely with a little olive oil. Cheesy? It's more like cheese-flavored salt, but I'll save the smoked, aged goat cheese for my next post.