January 30, 2007

Pre-Peeled Plantains--What Next?

I started writing this blog with the intention of writing only about the old recipe books. However, the daily additions to my collection with newer booklets and pamphlets continues to grow at an alarming pace. I write about them sometimes because some of you out there might be interested in these current booklets. After all, the old ones were current at one time, were they not?

Today's entry is another one about a current pamphlet and where I found it.

At one of the H-E-B grocery stores in the suburbs where I shop they have plenty of in-store demonstrations, particularly on the weekends. A couple of weeks ago I went in for a few minutes to look around while my companions were in the Verizon store. I find browsing the aisles of the supermarket infinitely more interesting than looking at displays of cell phones (for the fifth time this month).

On this particular morning a young Latina girl was frying plantains and handing out samples in the Produce Department. I was offered a crispy, steaming hot slice of fried plantain with a choice of either a dab of Guacamole or Pico de Gallo on top. While I was contemplating the taste, she, of course, was showing me the product that was being demonstrated.

The product was ready-to-eat La PlantaciĆ³n Peeled Plantains from Falcon-Foods.

I occasionally eat plantains at a Cuban restaurant I like, but don't generally cook them at home. Mostly because nobody else cares for them. So I really don't know all the nuances of buying and preparing plaintains.

These were peeled, each of the three in the package individually vacuum packed. According to the website, they are of the Dominico Harton variety.

Since I can't imagine being so pressed for time that I can't afford to lose any by taking a few seconds to peel a banana, the attraction of these over fresh ones must be the shelf life, although the packaging does promote them as being Time Savers. They are stored in the refrigerator and will stay fresh for 30 days. The expiration dates on these packages were about three weeks out.

The sample was quite tasty.

Since I don't cook plantains and still had no intention of starting any time soon, I might have simply thanked the girl and walked away.

But.... I noticed that inside the package she showed me was a small recipe pamphlet. That changed things entirely. I took the package offered and went off to pay for it. Who knows when I might ever see that pamphlet again, if ever, if I didn't get it then.

La PlantaciĆ³n Peeled Plantains Recipe Ideas (not dated, 6 pp.) turned out to be a small tri-fold pamphlet printed on some type of laminated glossy paper (that would keep it unharmed even under refrigerated conditions). It contains four recipes plus the contact information for the company.

Each of the four recipes has a small color photo of the completed dish. The recipes are:

  • Mofongo
  • Cream of Plantain Soup
  • Mexican Toston
  • Green Fried Plantain

On the rear page of the pamphlet, the company invites you to send in your own recipes.

I did fix some fried plantains, though not using any of the recipes in this package insert. I used a recipe from my current issue of Comida y Familia that had a sweet dipping sauce that wanted to try.

The sauce was good and the fried plantains tasted good as well. I couldn't really tell any difference from the taste of the fresh plantains that I've had in restaurants.

Since I like to cook appetizers and serve them as snacks this product might work out well for me in the future. I can prepare fried plantains as a snack for myself while I'm serving Nachos or something for somebody else. The shelf life would allow me to easily hold them in the refrigerator until the need for them came up. I'll try some of the recipes in the pamphlet later on down the road.

In this case, the enclosure of the recipe pamphlet inside the product packaging paid off for the food manufacturer. It induced this consumer to try a product that she normally wouldn't have. Which also provided a little word-of-mouth advertising by way of this blog entry.

I'd be interested in hearing opinions on this product from some of those who cook with plantains on a more regular basis than I do.

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