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What lies beneath the glass

For a paltry $4.99 one can procure a classic styrofoam tray filled with all the fruits of the deli case. I elected to try four types of food, and oddly enough, they were all called salad. I picked out the Pea Salad, Spring Salad, Potato Salad, and on my friendly deli-man's recommendation, the Rotini Salad.

To begin with, I had to ask what the pea salad was. I had never, ever heard of a pea salad. I bet all of you are picturing someone trying to stab some peas and onions with a fork. I'm here to tell you it's nothing like that. It looks like canned peas dumped in a mixing bowl with a few other ingredients. It even has that sickly green color of canned peas. The titles of the other ingredients I can only guess to be Deli Salad Generic Chopped Vegetable - Red Color, Deli Salad Generic Chopped Vegetable - Yellow Color, and Deli Salad Generic Seasoned Mayonaise. That's what they tasted like actually. Deli food, with a strong finish of canned peas.

The spring salad was a little more forgiving, but I'm afraid the ingredients followed much of the same. Generic cole-slaw dressing, generic red things, and pasta shells. Not too bad overall. It definetly didn't have a spring appearance however. In fact, it was rather white and uniform. Much more like winter if anyone wants my opinion.

The potato salad was rather uninspired. It was the characteristic yellow, and strangely enough, it also had a uniform appearance. There was just enough definiton to give the impression of a potato here or there, or perhaps some egg even, should it be the de-lux version, and sadly, it fared poorly in the taste tests. Not the same as the previous salads, but just kind of homogenous. Bland if you will.

The rotini salad was indeed the best. It had proper spiral pasta, olives, red onions, and perhaps fanciest of all, real tomatoes. The dressing at this point, was to be expected. Deli Salad Generic Italian, I believe it was called. Sadly the sum of the parts did not make up the whole. I found it to be much like the others, meaning strangely deli flavored, and somehow it managed to create a very bitter aftertaste in my mouth.

In reviewing this the goal was to have a proper midwesterner come to eat the salads with me, mostly because of their peculiar definition of salad. By the strict Minnesotan definition, it's lime jello with fruit and whipped cream, but since I was born in Iowa, I think I speak a different dialect. The salads I know are anything that contains mayonnaise or other creamy type dressing. They don't particulary have to have a vegetable in them, but I will admit that it helps in case of doubt. I think that Hy-Vee agrees with me on this point, since about everything in their deli case was labeled as a salad.

At this point my recommendations stand as follows: All the food provides some sort of nutritional content, even if it's just calories, but none of it is particularly appealing. Granted, it's not particularly bad either, but I think the real test will come when I leave the leftovers in the kitchen refridgerator. If the ravenous masses deem it fit for consumption then it will pass. This also offeres another test. If it remaind mold free for three weeks, then we'll know it's fit for army rations. Until then, I'm witholding an official statement on the edibility of this food.

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