This caught me by surprise in the canned meat aisle:
Chef Boyardee throwback recipe for Beefaroni? What could this mean? Does this mean it's the original recipe? Was this how the cans looked then? Can you only eat it on Thursdays? So many questions.
So of course I had to buy it and eat it. Look at this:
That seems like a strange admission from parent company ConAgra. It's saying that the "regular Chef Boyardee Beefaroni" has less meat, less cheese, and less goodness.
Like all the best people, I love to shower contempt on canned food. Shower, shower, shower. But for you, my readers, I ate this thing, expecting that the big difference in the throwback recipe was sugar as opposed to the high-fructose corn syrup (what the cool kids call HFCS) in the modern Beefaroni. As it turns out, there is not a lot of sugar in Beefaroni, and as far as I can tell there never has been any HFCS. There may be more sugar per serving in "grown-up" brands like Classico.
But here's the stunner -- the new Beefaroni is actually better for you than the old one. A one-cup serving of the new recipe (one serving is half a can -- yeah, right) is 240 calories, with 9 g of fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 800 mg sodium, and 15 mg cholesterol. The throwback Beefaroni is 260 calories, 13 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 980 mg sodium, and 25 mg cholesterol.
I had kept it around for a few weeks until one night dinner plans fell through late, and it was Ettore Boiardi to the rescue!
Being that it's so full of death-dealing cholesterol you'd think it would be awesome. Well, it was okay. As far as I could tell, it tasted like Beefaroni the last time I had it, which was not 1950. It's got little bits of beef all throughout, and a sweet sauce, and you feel like you ate something when it's over (I mean, besides a lot of salt). Not bad for a buck or so a can.
Still, I'm not sure what the point of the throwback recipe was. Were baby boomers complaining about the current recipe? Most of them should be on a low-sodium diet now anyway, if you follow the killjoys at the American Heart Association. Besides, while I resisted the sacrifice of doing a head-to-head throwback vs. modern Boyardee-off, I'd still guess that there's not a ha'penny's difference between them by taste. Not like Miracle Whip.
Anyway, in truth, I really have nothing against canned goods. Some are better than others, but you can say that about anything. Beefaroni was never my favorite, though. As a kid I was more of a canned ravioli guy.