I grew up eating frozen Chicken Pot Pie. As a child of a working mom in the 70s and 80s, Swanson Chicken Pot Pies were one of her go-to solutions for getting a meal on the table after a long day of work.
While I’m not exactly sure what was in those Swanson Chicken Pot Pies, my jaw dropped when I saw a recent advertisement by Marie Callender.
Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie TV Commercial
Here’s a full script of Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie advertisement:
Marie believes that her chicken pot pie gives you the perfect recipe for catching up with family. So she takes the time to prepare a golden flaky crust made from scratch and mixes crisp vegetables with all white meat and bakes it to perfection. Because Marie Callender knows that making the perfect dinner isn’t as easy as pie, but finding someone to enjoy it sure is. Marie Callender’s—It’s time to savor! And now there’s even more to savor with family-sized pot pies.
What so wrong with this ad?
The line that really gets under my skin is:
“So she takes the time to prepare golden flaky crust made from scratch.”
Not only does this make it seem like Marie Callender is personally involved in the process (No, she’s not—she passed away many years ago), but it also implies a homemade, “scratch” recipe. If you take a look at its ingredient list—which, by the way, wasn’t available on the Marie Callender website as far as I can tell—you’ll find something that doesn’t resemble “scratch” cooking at all!
Does your kitchen stock some of these “scratch” ingredients? Mine doesn’t!:
Disodium Inosinate and Guanylate Polysorbate 60
Interesterified Soybean Oil
And two particularly concerning types of ingredients in Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie are:
Highly processed fats like interesterified soybean oil. You’ll be seeing a whole lot more of this ingredient on packaged food labels since the FDA has banned partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) as of the summer of 2018. But are interesterified oils any better? Unfortunately, not a whole lot of research has been fielded to answer this question. That said, some early studies indicate interesterified oils may be just as bad as PHOs.1
Emulsifiers and thickeners of all different kinds are in Marie Callender’s chicken pot pie including carrageenan, soy lecithin, xantham gum, guar gum, and methylcellulose to name a few. What’s so wrong with these additives? Emulsifiers (such as lecithin) may start to receive increased scrutiny as recent studies have linked them to increased incidence of metabolic syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases.
What Does “Made from Scratch” Really Mean?
So what does “made from scratch” really mean? When it comes to processed food, absolutely nothing. It’s just one more word marketers throw around to get you to eat their highly processed foods!
Sadly, although big food companies like ConAgra (who owns the Marie Callender grocery brand) say they’re all about transparency and cleaning up their products, there are still a lot of reasons to ditch processed foods.
Make REAL Scratch Chicken Pot Pie Instead!
Despite what Marie Callender/ConAgra says, scratch cooking is all about using real ingredients. That’s why you won’t find any of these crazy additives and chemicals in my homemade chicken pot pie. What will you find? Here’s the ingredient list:
Chicken Pot Pie Filling: chicken, chicken broth (water, chicken, onions, carrots, celery, and seasoning) carrots, peas, celery, onions, butter, milk, flour, salt, pepper, sage, and rosemary.
Whole Wheat Pie Crusts: whole wheat pastry flour, butter, water, vinegar, sugar/maple syrup, and salt.
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