Monday, March 20, 2006

Non-Dairy Alternative Products Review

Hoo boy have I got it bad for cheese and anything dairy-like. Bad enough that we drove 90 miles to a specialty grocery store on Saturday. We came home with assorted non-dairy alternative products. Reviews follow:

First on my shopping list was ice cream. S. has a birthday coming up, and I'd really like for L. and me to be able to indulge in a bit during the party. I picked up some stuff made by Turtle Mountain called Chocolate Obsession. I figured anything with that much chocolate couldn't be all that bad. I was wrong. The textures were funny and the taste was not as strongly choclate as I had hoped. The other thing that weirded me out, was when it melted, it maintained the consistency of pudding. That's just wrong, wrong, wrong. Melted ice cream should be runny, not pudding-y. And yet, there it set in its jiggling, wobbly splendor while firmly at room temperature.

Next on my list was macaroni and cheese. Back when L. was only having minor hives from her dairy consumption, she really enjoyed the Kraft mac & cheese. I found 123'z & Chreese online and thought it might possibly be a tiny bit tolerable. Ingredients like 'nutritional yeast' made me nervous, but I was willing to give it a shot since the stuff was on sale at the Whole Foods store. The pasta was actually a quite tasty semolina that held up very well to vigorous boiling. Unfortunately, the sauce tasted to me like how I imagine rotten cardboard would taste. Mr. W. didn't think it was all that awful and dumped some of it in his chili. I couldn't stand the thought of that stuff being in my fridge (let alone in my mouth), so I pitched it. I will figure out something to do with the pasta in the second box, but it will NOT involve chreese.

Third on my list of wants (needs, really, since I keep dreaming about it) was cheese. I again found some cheese alternative online produced by Follow Your Heart. The stuff looked promising, but would have cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 to ship to me (plus another $5 /pound). Whole Foods had it in their store, so I took the plunge and purchased Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Mozzarella flavored fake cheese. After my unfortunate experience with the 'ice cream' and 'mac & cheese' I was afraid to taste this stuff directly, but I did cut up a little of the cheddar and dumped it in my chili. The consistency of the cold 'cheese' was a bit softer than real cheddar, but it smelled okay and had the correct general coloring. It did not, however, melt in my chili. Since my chili was hot enough to be almost boiling, I wonder what temperatures it would take to actually melt this stuff. It did not taste bad, though. The texture was about what you'd expect for partially melted cheddar, and I did not have the annoying soy after taste that keeps me away from soy milk. I'm working up the nerve to try the other 'cheese' flavors. Who knows, maybe the mozzarella will be good enough for a pizza!


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