They may be the cancer of the Western world, but convenience foods are exactly that: convenient. Commercially prepared and designed for easy use and consumption, these foods run the gamut of frozen dishes like the infamous TV dinners, shelf products like canned soup, and ready mixes such as custards and Jell-O. While Lebanon’s got its fair share of these godsends, there’s still a lot we’ve not caught on to (or intentionally resisted?) that could make life that much easier in our chaotic day to day.
Follow me as I scour the aisle at the local gourmet supermarket for some heaven-sent goodness you’ve likely overlooked but will hereafter be unable to live without!

1. Baking Mixes

(Image via Betty Crocker)

Ever heard of Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker? If you’ve lived in the USA, you’ve not only used these fabulous baking mixes, you probably swear by their ethereal yumminess too. Simply add water, eggs, and butter or cooking oil, whisk, pour into a mold, and watch your cake, cupcakes, muffins, brownies, bars, or other baked treat slowly expand into edible form. Nestle Tollhouse sells ready-to-bake cookie dough with signature toppings like white chocolate and macadamia but. Move over Magnolia Bakery, you’ve got some hyper-cost-effective competition.

2. Squeezable Cheese

(Image via Fun Chomp)

Don’t pretend you disapprove—processed cheese is your bread and butter, isn’t it! We’re all familiar with square sliced cheese, which is a wonderful fixture on burger patties and sliced bread. But did you know that squeezable cheese can also come in pressurized can form? Imagine thick Cheddar cheese spewing out of a small nozzle and onto your favorite crackers, biscuits, or even bread buns. This stuff is incredible and efficient, and the best part is no refrigeration is required. Confession: I've got a can stashed in my drawer at work.

3. Gourmet Soup

(Image via Ocado)

Nothing spells warm-to-the-tummy comfort food like a bowl of homemade soup. But what do you do on rainy days in the office, where the only heat source (besides your computer motherboard) is a dinky little microwave? You can buy a can or pouch of gourmet potage in flavors as varied as tomato and basil, parsnip and apple, Italian wedding, and chicken pasta. Buy some kaak spears and call it a meal.

4. Pre-Washed, Pre-Cut Veggies

(Image via Fox News)

How many times have you found yourself tempted to buy fresh produce at the supermarket but shrinking away because of the potential effort involved in soaking, cleansing, cutting, coring, peeling, grating, etc.? And with Lebanon’s waning water supply, washing your own veggies is borderline sinful. Many countries abroad, particularly France, the UK, and the USA, sell prewashed, pre-cut, and ready-to-devour carrots, hearts of Romaine, and the like. I’ve seen a few brands in Lebanon trying to make a breakthrough in this niche, but there’s still a long way to go.

5. Gourmet Salad Dressing

(Image via Mojo Savings)

Salads in Lebanon are generally dressed in the same tired trio: garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. Wouldn't you love to have a bottle of Greek feta or blue cheese dressings on hand for times where you just can’t be bothered to peel and mash your own cloves (the darn smell lingers for days on your fingers, not to mention your breath)? There are several varieties of ready-to-pour salad dressings that can be bought in grocery stores countrywide. Some gourmet marts even have the spray type where you can atomize the sauce directly over your salad portion. Fancy.

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Hello Additives! Thats why I stay away from all these ready mixes

Hisham Abou Nasr Assaad on Sep 21, 2014 via web