I don’t know why they call it Hamburger Helper. It tastes just fine by itself!


Good crack-ass-of-dawn morning to you! Yes, it’s Sunday morning, and I’ve been up since 4:54. I’d like to say that it was because I wanted to get in a 5-mile run before dawn or meditate and write in my gratitude journal, but no, it’s because my dog is trying to kill me. Really. The barking–the incessant barking!–it’s all a plot to push an already mentally fragile woman over the edge once and for all. Somehow Teddy has discovered a frequency that only a woman can hear! That’s got to be it, because every night it’s the same thing.

Teddy: Bark! Bark! Bark bark bark bark bark! barrooooARK! Bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark!

Me: (putting the pillow over my head) Okay, I just let him out an hour ago. Maybe he’ll stop barking if I just ignore him.

Teddy: Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark!

Me: (elbowing Husband in the back) Someone else has GOT to hear this. There is no way I’m the only one who’s hearing this. Maybe if I just lay still, someone else will get up and let him out…

Teddy: AaarooooooOOOOOO! Bark! Bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark!

It’s got to be a hormone thing. Testosterone must somehow filter the noise. That’s the only way to explain how the same four males can sleep through that racket every…single…night.

So I’m up! Might as well take advantage of it and surf the net without three kids hovering over me asking me when they can play World of Warcraft. Yes, my three-year-old even has a character on WOW. I’m pretty sure he’s the youngest geek on the Internet. I’m not proud.)

In an effort to bring you enlightening and entertaining content, I’ve been stumbling upon other people’s blogs to see what they’re writing about (or to plagiarize from them, either one). Okay, so I just hit this button to randomly find a blog, and seriously, every other one has to do with FOOD! I had no idea that so many people were completely obsessed with food. And not just eating it and writing about it, but taking pictures of it! They must live a completely different life than I, because I can’t imagine ANYONE wanting to read about my culinary experiences! Here are just a few to check out if you’d like to feel really inadequate:

Cupcakes take the cake—This one is all about, you guessed it, cupcakes! All cupcakes, all the time. Who knew there was so much to discuss about cupcakes? The only thing I can think of to debate is whether the multi-colored paper liners or the silver foil liners are best…

Cupcake bake shop by chockylit—What?! Another blog about cupcakes? I must’ve been living under a rock, but I had no idea cupcakes were so hip and complex! Reading the latest post, I don’t think this chick and I could be friends. The recipe is for “chocolate cupcakes stuffed with strawberry chocolate ganache and frosted with chocolate glaze and buttercream” and the entry says, “This one was for a 2 year old’s birthday party.” Excuse me? This is what you serve at your 2 year old’s party? I thought everybody just went to Wal-Mart like I do and bought Blue’s Clues cupcakes with frosting that stains the kids’ teeth. Isn’t that a rite of passage?

Although I do love my cheese, I don’t think I’d really have THAT much to say about it, but apparently someone does—hence Serious Cheese. I wonder what they think about Velveeta…Okay, I just saw a label called “homemade cheese” and had to check it out. Yeah, we soooo do not live in the same world. Here’s what they say: “But one thing this cheese does have going for it is simplicity. Heat milk to temperature, add culture and rennet, mix well, and leave it until tomorrow. Can’t really get much easier.” Can’t it?? Oh, I beg to differ. I’m pretty sure that throwing a package of Kraft cheese slices into your cart is MUCH easier. I mean, seriously. Where does one even find “culture” and “rennet”? I’m fairly certain I’ve never run across them at my local Fareway store …

Let’s get wokking! is a blog written by a stay-at-home mom who cooks all this food for her family. Wow, do I feel like a loser after reading this one. I don’t stay home, but even if I did, I don’t think I’d ever whip this up for my boys:

Were I to have a food blog, this is pretty much what it would look like every day. All you foodies out there–enjoy!

Aah, another recipe for my fellow gourmet cuisine lovers. This one was not only a treat for the palate, but it also cooperated with our fine dining budget…It was inspired by a leisurely trip to the local market. Armed with my environmentally friendly canvas bag (because it’s very convenient to bring 37 of these bags with me to the store each week), I began scouting out the perfect ingredients for a memorable meal. I was starting to perspire, thinking that maybe I had lost my culinary touch, when I spotted it. Aisle 3. Right between the macaroni & cheese and rice–the answer to my prayers. Hamburger Helper. On sale for 10/$10 (or 1 for $1 for those you who don’t want to do the math). But which to choose? There were so many varieties–all colors, flavors, and sodium quantities. I scanned, squeezed, and smelled. I held them up to the light. I tapped on the boxes to see which were freshest. I even opened a few boxes and sampled a bit when no one was looking. And then I made my choice. Cheesy Hashbrowns (Naturally Flavored). Each serving providing 21% of your daily sodium and 30% of your daily fat. What could be better? I think I may send this recipe to Rachel Ray…

9 thoughts on “I don’t know why they call it Hamburger Helper. It tastes just fine by itself!”

  1. My Dear,
    !. You need to come to some understanding with your family that you can not continue to lose sleep. Either Teddy goes, or you go. And remind them that Teddy does not change poopy (sp?) diapers, nor does he cook, coach TBall nor bring home part of the bacon!! I know Teddy is cute…but so are you…and I am completely unbiased! No dog is worth your health…this from the part owner of psycho-dog…as he is affectionately refered to by Jim, our AZ neighbor. The dog is 10 yrs old and he still thinks something is lurking under the recliner!!
    And what in the world is wrong with hamburger helper?, especially if you combine it with hamburger….the kids like it, it’s a warm meal…and it’s semi-healthy….and if the family is all gathered around enjoying it and visiting(etc) it’s wonderful. Pretty soon it is just the 2 of you (plus Teddy…imagine you won’t take my advice) sitting around the table wondering when the kids will come and when will I get my social security and do Depends really work as they are advertised!!! All of this goes by quickly.
    2. Guess I don’t have a #2…or if I did I have forgotten it.
    Sleep tonight!!

  2. Hi,

    Congratulations on getting into the world of blogging. I have also thought about blogging, but I am not sure I have the discipline to keep up with it. So I will start by responding to blogs.

    Yes, this is my first response to a blog. (Okay, that is a lie. I did respond to a blog last week about Brothers & Sisters, but I couldn’t keep silent. Why did they De-Walker Rebecca, why, why!!?!?!!) I believe I also qualify as a real person. Had I only been an imaginary friend of my wife, I don’t think we would have three children of our own.

    So keep on blogging about dogs barking, cupcakes, and hamburger!

  3. First of all, thank you for keeping life interesting for me by letting me continue to live vicariously through yours! Ever since Dave Barry took his sabbatical and Erma Bombeck passed away, I’ve been searching for that daily dose of reality to help me feel like my constant struggles to acheive Supermomdom, (while always a disappointment), are perhaps not all that unordinary. I’ve found this blog to be a perfectly satisfying substitute, thank you. (No pressure, there! HA!)

    Secondly, (I’m not trying to showboat, momof3ps, I just happen to be able to remember my second point today), I feel the urge to confess that I have not yet been successful at making the Cheesy Hashbrown Hamburger Helper! I’ve either burned the hashbrowns and had to throw them out, or I’ve undercooked them resulting in a raw potato/hamburger salad of sorts. My family has requested that I stick with the noodle/hamburger combo. Sadly, I COULD stand to learn a thing or two from a daily cuisine blog by you, pjmom.

    Finally, I need to grab the microphone for a moment, as I realize a question was directed my way back on Day 2 that I didn’t see at the time and failed to address. (Yes, I even re-read some of these for entertainment!) So pardon me, ahem…. Thank you for asking, momof3ps: the name nochickensinmyhair was inspired in part by turkeypants, and in part by my (then 4-year-old) son. While I was trying to stay clever and stay in the general vacinity of “momof” names, I was failing to come up with anything remotely fun or clever. “momof2boys1girl” or “momof1g1d1t” were looking like the only contenders. Then, I noticed turkeypants (to whose origin I am also curious: was this just a game of madlibs where any animal/clothing combo would do? Could you just as likely have ended up mongoosebra or storkpajamas?), and it got me thinking about anything I might be able to link to poultry. For years our oldest son has had a bad cowlick on the crown of his head that fans out much like a rooster’s tail. My husband would always tell him, “You’re rooster’s crowing!” if the hair was sticking up, as a cue to go comb his hair. Not to be outdone, my younger son asked one day as he was nearing completion of getting ready for school, “Mom, do I have any chickens in my hair?” It took me a moment, but I realized he was trying to ask if his “rooster was crowing.” We got a good laugh out of it, as I hope you will, too.

    OK, pjmom, I’m done now. It was very nerve-wracking up there on that podium! Whew! I hope you weren’t picturing me in my underwear….

  4. If you can’t tell, momof3ps is my dear mother. I’m afraid she’s taking my posts a BIT too seriously, though. I appreciate the concern, Mom, but I’m really okay! 🙂

    And dr. sprinkler, welcome to boogers and burps! I’m so excited to have another commenter who isn’t related to me! (I think, anyway…)

    Keep commenting, people–love it!

  5. nochickensinmyhair, I hate to admit it, but I did take some literary licensing with my latest blog. Here are my confessions:
    1. My husband really made the Hamburger Helper.
    2. He too burned the bottom of it due to our professional-grade cookware (Ha!)–or so he claims. I’m starting to suspect that there is possibly a flaw with the product since neither of us can get it right. Maybe if we both write a letter of complaint, we can get some FREE HH out of it!

    So you see, you really wouldn’t learn anything from a regular cooking column from me. And to drive the nail in that coffin, here’s another confession: This morning I found a Hot Pockets Supreme Calzone frozen meal on the floor beside the freezer in our garage. It was pretty well thawed but not too warm or anything, so what did I do? Yes, I put it right back in the freezer. Salmonella–you don’t scare me!

    And I LOVE the story behind “nochickensinmyhair!” In fact, I’m actually jealous. Your name is MUCH more original and interesting than mine…

    By the way, I hope no one ever pictures me in my underwear when they read this because they would then see that all of my underwear is either ripped, 2 sizes too small, or all of the above.
    Note to self: Buy new underwear.

  6. Pjmom- My apologies!! I didn’t realize the question about nochickens was coming from Yours Truly! I misread the name, and thought it was coming from your mom–which is why I was hesitant to answer–I wasn’t sure we commentors were allowed to address one another in this world of Blogdom! I’m glad you liked the story behind it, though.

    Also, I’ve been known to put many a thawed item back in the freezer. I even scraped some mold off of some ricotta cheese the other day and used it in a lasagna-ish meal. (It was going in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes for crying out loud!) I’m happy to say we all survived.

    I also see you think I’ve properly diagnosed the CRAPS and OOPS. I’m just glad the men in your life have OOPS and not the often-confused similar disorder called Personal Omission of Ownership of Property Syndrome–or POOPS. Because, obviously, if your family were inflicted with both CRAPS and POOPS, it’d be a REAL mess!

    You make me smile!

  7. Love the explanation of nochickensinmyhair. I also have a flock in my hair…any new hairdresser always asks if I realized I have many cowlicks. I have some lucky grandchildren who also have poultry in their hair.
    Thanks for the chuckle. And momof3boys I will try to dial it down a notch…but no promises.

  8. Since Hash Brown Hamburger Helper seems to be such a problem, maybe Dr. Sprinkler can help. He knows just a little bit about chemistry. (Just ask his students!) Really, I don’t think it was an accident that he joined our blog (did I just call it “our” blog?) at such a turbulent time in Hamburger Helper History. Dr. Sprinkler, can you please find a way to fix the Hashbrown Hamburger Helper? I bet if you do, it will win you a World Food Prize someday. And when they ask you what inspired you, you can say, “Boogers and Burps.”

  9. Wow, after reading the blog today, and the comments, I feel compelled to respond to each!

    A)momof3ps-I eat Hamburger Helper just like the rest of us, so I am not trying to be “healthier than thou” but what part of Hamburger Helper is “semi-healthy?” (Do you like how I refer to you as your screen name, even though we both know you are my mother?)

    B)Yes, Dr. Sprinkler, I am COMPLETELY with you on the Rebecca thing. And I don’t care if for a few minutes you didn’t think it was your sister!! I think if you EVER thought she was your sister for 30 seconds, that should make her off limits FOREVER!!

    C)Nochickensinmyhair- I am super-flattered that I partly inspired your screen name, but yours is SOO much funnier, and with a way better story!! Mine doesn’t have a story, really. We just used to call our daughter that, but she never had poultry in her pants, or in any articles of clothing. Boring!!

    C)Today around 5:30 I found the turkey lunch meat on the counter that I had left out since 11ish, put it RIGHT back in the fridge. Meh! Doesn’t that stuff come with its own bacteria anyway? Saves me the trouble!

    D)Hashbrown Hamburger Helper is a bastard. I am sorry if I have just x-rated this blog, but no one in history has ever made this variety successfully. I have had conversations with others about this, seriously, and they have said that it both sucked, and blowed. I think this may be one of the biggest instances of consumer fraud in American History (possibly in world history, but I am not schooled on their exports).

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