For Those Who Can’t Make Oatmeal

Bob Evans Oatmeal Bowls

Bob Evans Oatmeal Bowls

I Paid: $2.99 for a 9-ounce bowl (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 2 stars

Marketing: 3 stars

Visit the Bob Evans website, and you'll be treated to a very heavy-looking selection of frozen plastic-bowl-based meals, including the Sausage Brunch Bowl and the Ham & Cheese Potato Brunch Bowl. In that respect, the new frozen, microwavable Oatmeal Bowls are a step forward, being focused on providing a breakfast of oats and fruit as opposed to a hot bowl of OhNoDon'tLookNowYou'reTotallyFat.

The bowls promise something fairly uncomplicated and good: The Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bowl features "premium all-natural, whole grain oatmeal, with sweet apples and cinnamon," and the Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal Bowl has "hearty blueberries in premium, all-natural oatmeal." Neither entirely delivers on the promise of a full, sweet, satisfying, healthy, tasty breakfast, but there are some redeeming points.

The Apple Cinnamon variety was a flop. The oatmeal tasted soggy and slightly sawdusty, and the apple bits were mushy. There was little to no real oatmeal flavor, either—this stuff was a long way from the toothsome grain you get when you eat the real deal. The Hearty Blueberry version was better: The blueberries had a good kick of natural flavor and enough sweetness to be pleasing without being over the top. The oatmeal, though lacking flavor, also retained a bit more texture. It's worth noting that we prepared the Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bowl in the microwave, and that it came out mushy but hot; the Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal Bowl was baked in the oven, where it took 10 extra minutes beyond the specified directions to even warm up to a decent temperature but seemed to maintain a more desirable flavor and texture.

This raises an interesting side point: When as a society did we lose the ability to prepare our own oatmeal? There are some noble thoughts behind these bowls, but, ultimately, they do more to demonstrate the shortcomings of frozen food than they do to provide convenience and flavor.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.