So a food critic, I am not. However, this is a situation near and dear to my heart.
For a very long time – decades – I’ve had a soft spot for a frozen food product. Namely, the Chicken Cordon Bleu pocket from Barber Foods. It’s not the cheapest around, but the taste really just can’t be beat. Tried other “chicken pockets” from various stores, Aldi, WalMart, etc and nothing can really match it.
A little while back, when I purchased these, it came with a little tag notifying of some packaging changes, but not to be alarmed. A little overkill, I thought, but no matter. When the change did come and the new packaging came out, I was crestfallen:
El Pollo Diablo
See that bit at the top? New Recipe? Change can be good, often necessary in nature and in life. However, these did not need change. When you’re at the top of the heap and you decide to take some steps, the only place to go is down. And down it went indeed.
I purchased it, for the last time, to give it a whirl. Everything about it was wrong. The seasoning was off to the point of turning my stomach, the chicken was rubbery, the cheese was lacking, the ham was lower quality.
Everything on their social media states that Barber Foods conferred with loyal customers in preparation of this new recipe. Yet, every comment and customer message I see on their social media are largely saying the same thing: you done fucked up.
I honestly don’t know why this wasn’t at least market tested as a new recipe alongside the old one. “Southern Style Seasoning” or some such, since it seems like that’s kinda what they were going for. Instead, they took one of my guiltiest guilty pleasures and replaced it with a poor facsimile – and my oft-purchased treat has not been seen in my freezer since.