Probably inspired by overwhelmed parents racing the school bus to get hot breakfasts into their children, grocery store freezers are overflowing with options. Taster's Choice has been delighted in the past with Publix frozen waffles. Most recently, the judges tried seven brands of frozen French toast from local grocery stores. Some were in the form of sticks and others were whole slices. A couple stacked up pretty well against the competition. Most of the frozen foods probably would have tasted best if warmed in the oven. However, because convenience was the primary objective, we followed the options of heating the slices or sticks in the microwave. Only one brand required heating in a regular oven.
Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent
|Product/Score (out of 100)||Aunt Jemima Homestyle/75||
|How'd it look?||Eggy. "Like a real piece of pan-fried French toast," said one judge. "Like Mom used to make," said another.||Puffy toasted bread.||Like grilled Sara Lee pound cake.|
|Judges' comments||"It's firm with a real grilled taste," said one panelist who thought the slice looked "like it started as real bread." Another judge said it had a nice, moist interior with crispness around the edges.||"It has an assertive, eggnog flavor," said a judge who liked the cinnamon and nutmeg spices in the egg coating. One panelist said the spices were so bold they could have been imported from the southeast coast of Africa.||"The toast looks like a whole slice of bread, pressed and perforated," said one judge who liked the crunchy/moist texture of the slice. "It has a nice, maple flavor," she said.|
|Would they buy?||Three of the four said yes.||Three of the four said yes.||Two of the four said yes.|
|Shopping information||Widely available. $2.29 for six slices from Publix.||Widely available. $2.49 for 16 ounces from Sweetbay.||Widely available. $2.08 for 32 sticks from Wal-Mart.|
Panelists: Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; and Times food critic Laura Reiley. All foods were tasted blind.
Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to email@example.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.