Jordan's Page of Useless Babble

Janes FlatJacks

So, its Thanksgiving. The Canadian one, not the crappy American version. Instead of football, green bean casserole and insane sales that can become violent, we have Canadian (read: crappy) football, dressing and two months before the next holiday. Seriously, that last part is really great. We don't get turkey fatigue. Believe me, that's a good thing.

If you're just joining us, today's meal will look nothing like this.
If you're just joining us, today's meal will look nothing like this.

What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than to talk turkey! A close second would be to discuss chicken. We could talk about a frozen chicken dinner, but where would the fun be in that? No, we've looked at enough three-dimensional chickens.

This is like the Apollo space program and the Renaissance rolled up into one.
This is like the Apollo space program and the Renaissance rolled up into one.

Janes is a company that deals primarily in frozen chicken. They've come out with this thing called a FlatJack. It's a rectangular chicken fillet that's flat. And the best part is, it's designed to cook in a toaster. I can say without fear of overselling my point: this is the pinnacle of human achievement.

You see, they're called FlatJacks because they're flattened chicken cutlets, and they're like flapjacks (pancakes). They're the pancake of chicken products. Only, they don't look particularly good, and dousing them with syrup isn't going to make them any better.

So, while I figure out how I'm going to manage this, please take a read of the rules.

  • Rule #1:
    I must follow cooking procedures exactly as they're shown on the container. I will not deviate from those instructions in any way, and I must prepare food in the fastest manner presented to me.
  • Rule #2:
    I must consume everything that comes with the meal. No hiding of disgusting parts will be tolerated. (In the unlikely event of bones or other inedibles, allowances will be made).
  • Rule #3:
    To make sure my palate is completely free of obstructions, I may only be allowed either water or alcohol. Alcohol does not include fancy-pants fruity girly drinks.
  • Rule #4:
    All food will be graded by smell, taste and mouthfeel, with less offensive qualities receiving higher marks. At the end, each part is receives an average score. The full meal is graded by the average score of each component. Appearance of the food is not graded because, let's face it, they all look pretty bad.

So, like I said, the chicken is designed to be cooked in a top-mounted toaster. There are also instructions for cooking these guys in a toaster oven, or for the extremely lazy, you can just defrost them in the fridge and eat them cold. Yum. I can just picture the sliminess that would come with defrosting breading.

Stupid fucking death-trap of a toaster.
Stupid fucking death-trap of a toaster.

I really don't want to have to deal with cold and disgusting chicken cutlets right now, and since I need to cook these as fast as I can and I still value what little stomach lining I have left, I'm going to throw them in the toaster, set to its highest setting for 2 cycles. I've learned something today: the time it takes for bread to become toast is called a cycle. I thought there would be a fancier name. Like electroconflagration.

After the first cycle, I discovered a couple of design flaws with cooking FlatJacks. First off, my toaster isn't the greatest, so I wanted to flip my chicken before I put it back in the toaster. The chicken is solid when it's frozen and all, but as soon as it starts to cook, it becomes a little softer and slumps in the toaster slot. It took me about five minutes and three burns to get the chicken.

I came across the same problem when it was finished cooking, but now it was worse. Instead of just dealing with the hot metal surfaces of a toaster, I also had a piece of chicken that was literally sizzling. That was not a fun experience and I burned my fingers so badly that I had to dictate this article. Ha ha! Disregard that, I suck cocks!


And there it is. A FlatJack. It doesn't look quite as bad as I envisioned. It's curled up a bit on one end where it wedged itself firmly in the toaster slot. You can see how it clearly defies the laws of men and gods by being meat that cooks in a toaster.

Well, it's certainly tidy.
Well, it's certainly tidy.

First off, it's pretty average smelling, and smells like breaded chicken, which is what I suppose you'd expect from a piece of breaded chicken. It's got an overtone of chicken, with some mild spices and a hint of acidity (which may just be the smell of my burned flesh).

It's also fairly mild tasting. I can sort of taste the chicken, and I can definitely smell the breading. I get the feeling that these aren't really designed to be eaten on their own. I guess dunking them in ketchup or barbecue sauce or covering them in hot sauce would help. I mean, why waste money making something taste good if nobody's going to eat it?

The breading is pretty crispy, which is a welcome change from what I usually deal with, but is totally expected considering the metallic hell-broiler it roasted in. The strange thing is that the breading doesn't appear to be attached to the chicken in any way. It actually can slide right off with like no resistance. I'm not sure if this is the result of some eldritch breading that they had to use for this chicken's unique cooking procedure, or if the company was just trying something with less chicken by-products in it, but it's different from anything I've ever had.

The meat itself feels processed. It doesn't tear away like normal chicken would, and instead cuts very cleanly with the slightest pressure from a knife. I think that this chicken was put together Frankenchicken-like from the remains of spare chicken pieces lying around the factory and pressed into patties. I can't imagine that Janes has perfected square-chicken technology (and if they have, God help us). The meat is also somewhat tough, as a result of how it was processed. Altogether, it's a very strange combination that leaves suspicions in the back of your mind, and a greasy feeling in your throat.

The Totals:

Smell: 6.0/10
Taste: 4.0/10
Mouthfeel: 3.0/10
Total Score: (4.0/10)

After my injuries preparing this chicken, I can't help but feel that a toaster oven is a much safer cooking environment. Either that, or you could just get the chicken in and out of the toaster using a fork. Go ahead, jam it right in there. It can't hurt any less than searing yourself.

From the packaging, it appears that FlatJacks are sold mostly as a snack, but I think that we could come up with some new uses for them. You can:

  • Use them as replacement chicken burger patties
  • Dice them for use in salads
  • Dice them for use as carnivore-friendly croutons for salads and soups
  • Throw them to your dog and watch him look uninterestedly at them
  • Use them to prop up the uneven leg of a table
  • Push them through a mail-slot to feed a hungry elderly shut-in
  • Attach several together with chain links and fashion your very own chicken-plate armor
  • Cover them with peanut butter and seeds and hang them outside as disturbing bird-feeders
  • Use them to fill in a pot-hole
  • Draw numbers on them and use them as substitutes for playing cards
  • Draw symbols on them and use them as substitutes for tarot cards
        (Warning: FlatJack-based fortunes tend to generally end in disasters of biblical proportions)
  • Fashion them into crude throwing stars and take vengeance on your local shogun for the destruction of your clan
  • Insert them into your shoes as biodegradable lifts (who couldn't use another 1/4 inch?)
  • Use them as a substitute for fish in a Filet O'Fish sandwich
  • Strap them to the bottoms of your feet and wear them as sandals that double as emergency food supplies
  • Put bacon, cheese and mayonnaise between two FlatJacks and make your own shitty KFC Double-Down infringement
  • Construct a crude shelter for your favorite hamster
  • Draw a scary face on your FlatJack and worship it as a primitive deity. Build an altar to it. Perform blood sacrifices
  • Smoke them and do whatever comes naturally. Chicken gives you a natural high that lasts for hours
  • Use them in a vain attempt to recreate your very own chicken
  • Bribe police officers with tasty tasty chicken
  • Four words: Chicken-based contraceptive device
  • Insert a popsicle stick and enjoy frozen as a nice refreshing chicken-pop
  • Process into chicken feed and amuse yourself by watching a lesser creature commit cannibalism
  • Create an edible replica of the AIDS quilt

The bottom line is this: There are a million and one things you can do with a flattened chicken cutlet. Hell, you can even eat them!

Next time, I pray for death and try another of these damn things.

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