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I will often have patients keep a food diary when we're trying to work on their diet. It is amazing to me how many of them come back with Salisbury Steak on their lists. It's also interesting how often people will eat this. Sometimes more than once per week.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Salisbury Steak was the creation of an American physician, Dr. J. H. Salisbury. Salisbury served as a physician during the Civil War and came to believe that the dysentery suffered by the troops was best treated with a diet of coffee and lean chopped beefsteak. (Okay...)
He was an early health food faddist and felt diet to be the main determinant of health. Correct in principle, but he was a bit wide of the mark because he believed vegetables and starchy foods produced poisonous substances in the digestive system, causing heart disease, tumors, mental illness and tuberculosis. He was convinced that human dentition demonstrated that we were meant to eat meat and sought to limit vegetables, fruit, starches and fats to one-third of the diet.
Not a great history for this venerable recipe I feel. I can't say that I have ever cared much for it, because Salisbury Steak was a staple of school cafeterias when I was young. It was bad then and the Lean Cuisine Salisbury Steak with Macaroni and Cheese meal is bad now. It consists of a gray piece of hamburger covered with brown gravy that contains a few bits of mushroom and onion. There is a slight taste of Worcestershire sauce. Beyond that, this is a bland and gummy concoction.
The Macaroni and Cheese that comes with it is fair (previously reviewed on drgourmet.com) but can't save this meal.
The Lean Cuisine Meatloaf Dinner might best be described as serviceable and nondescript. Like the Salisbury Steak, this is one of their Comfort Classics line. It's not particularly comforting, especially since it was pretty hard to tell it apart from the Salisbury Steak. If the tests were done blindfolded, I think that you would have a hard time telling which was which. It's fair at best. Again, something along the lines of what you might get at a school cafeteria.
After all, it is a frozen piece of meatloaf with a brown gravy. I am not sure what one would expect from this. It has the right herbed flavor and a brown gravy that is very predictable. The whipped potatoes are of the taste and texture of powdered potatoes. On the whole, not a very good dish and not terribly comforting (unless, of course, you liked your school cafeteria food).