Unlike all canned and many frozen vegetables, these come in a plastic container. These "shelf-stable" containers are known in the industry as a flexible can. In most parts of the country, these plastic containers are difficult if not impossible to recycle. To their credit, at least the cardboard boxes are made from recycled paperboard.
For real classic vegetables, make your own - using fresh or frozen - and season with a smidgeon of butter or olive oil and some fresh herbs.
CAROLYN: I don't think these new Vegetable Classics are the worst of both processing worlds, but they do have two strikes going against them as far as I'm concerned: they feature vegetables (far from my favorite kind of food), and they're shelf-stable (a term that means they can stay on the shelf and, to me, it often means they should). For the most part, they taste similar to canned stew without canned stew's one big attraction: meat.
The two exceptions are the Nacho Cheese Potato (where peppers and spices all add a bit of zest to a Cheez Whiz-like sauce) and the Garden Duet of peas and carrots in a pleasingly sweet dressing. If I was the sort of person who ate meatless meals, I could see eating the Garden Duet for lunch. Since I'm not, I would eat this as a side dish, and, as the name suggests, share it with one other person.
BETTER BUTTER FLAVOR PAM NO-STICK COOKING SPRAY. $2.10 per 4-ounce or $2.69 per 6-ounce can.
BONNIE: Pam has introduced a new corn oil spray that it claims has more of a butter flavor. I'm not sure that this Better Butter Flavor Pam in fact has a better butter flavor than regular Pam, but that's unimportant compared to the fact that this or other vegetable oil sprays can help reduce the amount of fat calories in your foods.
Spraying your baking pan, grill top or frying pan with Pam will also make clean-up a snap. Even Carolyn will like that.
CAROLYN: Sure, I like the way Pam eliminates the need to soak and scrape pots. What I like even more is the idea of dispensing foods the same way you do furniture polish or oil or hair spray.
But the makers of Pam may have gone overboard in their excitement about creating a new, improved butter flavor. In the small amounts you use to fry or bake, I can hardly taste the stuff. It's still too bitter to use straight despite the suggestion to do so on the can back.
When Pam creates an aerosol gravy or sauce for chicken, the company should give me a call.