I Will Review Frozen Food No More Forever

As Amy's Kitchen served me and my coworkers lunch, I looked around the room and realized something: I can go nowhere from here. This will be my final frozen food column for VICE.

|
Jul 24 2016, 4:00am

It's incredible how much noise one man can make while eating frozen food. I started consuming these microwavable meals the moment I realized my ex-girlfriend would probably never love me again and, realistically, no one else ever would either. Having run out of hope or an interest in my own well-being, I resorted to buying food that involved only pushing a button on the microwave to cook it. There were some days where even that felt like an insurmountable task.

Photos by Julian Master

I started reviewing the frozen food I bought as a way of making fun of my painfully lonely, sad bachelor lifestyle. It seemed to work. Everyone else thought my pain was funny, too.

There were other, deeper reasons that drove me to write these reviews, besides depression and a desire to entertain strangers: I wanted to know what lay beneath the colorful, alluring, warped cardboard packages with pretty pictures of four-color food. I wanted to dredge up the truth from behind the freezer door.

The response to the reviews was immediate and universally positive. Distant relatives and old acquaintances were suddenly congratulating me, voicing their approval of my reviews. Styrofoam boxes full of dry ice and food items started arriving with regularity.

My freezer couldn't handle the volume of boxes, so I bought a second freezer to help contain my frosty bounty. I got book offers, talk show appearances, and DMs from disgustingly forward fans. I'd used my sadness to springboard me into celebrity.

Where do I go from here? I thought. The answer saddened me. I can go nowhere from here, so this will be my final frozen food column for VICE.

To celebrate my retirement from the frozen food world, the kind and beautiful people from Amy's Kitchen—makers of the best frozen cuisine the world has ever known—came to the VICE office in Brooklyn to throw me a party. I wore a suit that I found in the Salvation Army dumpster in order to show up "as my best self."

I arrived in the rear conference room to find all my work friends already orbiting a colossal spread of vegan and vegetarian food that the seraphims at Amy's had bestowed upon us. It was like Christmas, the prom, and the Berenstain Bears book Too Much Birthday all wrapped into one. It was almost too much to take. I ran to the bathroom and had a tearful 15-minute meltdown.

When I returned, the Amy's people presented me with a large cardboard burrito woman covered in tattoos. I drew on it to make it look more like Molly Soda, my feminine ideal.

I wonder if Molly Soda will see this as a fitting tribute or not. Oh well.

I sat between the two Amy's PR angels and munched down three lunches-worth of Amy's food. I did my best to engage them, but I think I broke my charisma bone at some point. I asked one of them what kind of music she enjoyed, and she just hemmed and hawwed and couldn't answer. I need to work on my conversational skills.

Sandwiched between two women who provided me with frozen burritos and my own cardboard burrito girl, I could feel time slow to a crawl. I looked around the room at the admiring and envious stares and glares of my co-workers and I realized I had fulfilled all my boyish hopes and dreams.

Marilyn Manson's album Antichrist Superstar ends with the repeated phrase, "When all of your wishes are granted, many of your dreams will be destroyed." I know now what those words mean.

I have gone as far as one man can go in the world of frozen foods. I have eaten frozen pizzas and lasagnas and Chinese; I have tasted frozen breakfasts and fish sticks and macaroni and cheese. I sampled every ice cream that $40 could buy. I have reached the summit; there is nowhere to go from here. I am done.

I thought that what I needed was to find love in other people. The truth is, before someone else can love you, you have to learn to love being by yourself and eating high-sodium food in your apartment. It's like the Wizard of Oz—all I needed was to be alone with the food I'd had all along.

The hopes and dreams have long since vanished, but I still remember the refrain of an old ska song I listened to in college about how "old food critics never die; they just fade away."

Like that old food critic in the ska ballad, I now close my frozen food column and fade away, an old food critic who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty. Goodbye.

Please contact me if you would like to buy my Molly Soda burrito waifu.

Follow Nick Gazin on Instagram.