Uncle Ben vs. Linda McCartney

Available in your grocer's freezer

Nothing spells "convenience" like a microwave dinner made by a dead person. But which one actually tastes best? Today we'll find out, in a competition I like to call... BATTLE OF THE DEAD PERSON FROZEN ENTREES.

First up: Linda McCartney Meals. While much of her fame came from being married to Paul, Linda made quite a name for herself promoting vegetarianism and these meatless frozen entrees (which are quite the hit in England). Unfortunately, Linda's meals may have more trouble in the USA, because her Vegetable Burrito with Spanish Rice is a full two ounces lighter than other brands--not good news for big fat pigs like me. However, I was surprised by the entrée's flavor. The burrito was chock-full of kidney beans, carrots and corn, and while microwaving toughens the tortilla, the white, creamy sauce lends a hearty kick thanks to the inclusion of green chilies and jalapenos. But here's the downside! A peek at the box reveals this dish contains 50% of your RDA for saturated fat and (ka-BOING!!) 51% of the RDA for salt! Jesus Christ! What's she trying to do? Kill us, too?

Next up: Uncle Ben's Pasta Bowls. Yes, Uncle Ben was a real person and according to

www.unclebens.com, he "was an African American rice grower who harvested his rice with such care that he reaped honors for the full-kernel yields and quality." And dead though he may be, this commitment to excellence is carried on in every bowl of his frozen pasta. Take, for example, his Tomato Sausage Rotini. This heaping, 12-oz. bowl of rotini pasta is lovingly ladled with tomato Alfredo sauce, peas, red peppers, mushrooms and... "Italian style beef sausage crumble"?? I would swear it was pork! Regardless, in heaven Uncle Ben is having a good gloat, because his entrée kicks McCartney's ass. Tasting like a fancy-pants chili mac, this robust dish has you licking the bottom of that microwave-safe bowl.

And while Ben's contains 59% of the RDA for sodium (Oh, my aching skull!) it only contains 15% saturated fat. So while I may croak from a heart attack, at least I'll look good when I do.