Disappointed in Mrs. May

In the San Francisco airport looking for some gum and a good beach read, I stumbled across a few gluten-free snacks I’d never seen before.

Although, I am sans kids and have no new need to buy GF for myself, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try a new product–Mrs. May’s Almond Rice Stix. They come in a couple different flavors, but I chose the Mango Strawberry.

Honestly, I didn’t have high hopes as I opened the bag. Even the picture on the front of the bag looks like these “stix” would live up to their name and be dry, hard, and tasteless. My husband’s comment was something along the lines of ” those look awful.”

Although these weren’t the worst things I’ve ever tasted, they did live up to my low expectations. Dry is an understatement. Crunchy–certainly, and slightly sweet, so I guess there’s some truth in their advertising. The cane sugar that they use as the glue to keep it all together also got stuck in my back teeth, so if you don’t want to risk losing a filling, steer clear.

If I was starving and had no other options, sure I’d eat these, but I’d have to eat the whole bag to feel like I actually ingested any calories. Yet there are plenty with 130 calories and 4 grams of fat in each serving and 4 servings in this tiny bag.

Definitely not a kid-friendly choice, by my standards and I know Nora would turn her nose up at it after one bite, give it the silent “no” headshake, and throw away the rest.

I am constantly amazed at the unappetizing foods that make it into full production and show up on store shelves. Was there no taste-tester panel that could have nipped this product in the bud before it hit the market? Or am I the only the one that thinks these aren’t worth the money it takes to make them?

Somehow I don’t think it’s just me.

Hodgson Mill pizza crust break down

I believe that pizza crust is more than just a vehicle for cheese. Good pizza crust has character. I don’t discriminate–thin and snappy cracker crusts, crispy buttery deep-dish goodness, flatbread, naan, or even bagels. Round, square, brick oven, home oven, grilled, classic, or new age. Bring it on–we will eat it.

So, needless to say, finding a quick, at-home gluten-free pizza crust that satisfies my family’s need is high on my priority list. We have found a couple of ones that we liked pretty well. Most notably those from Against the Grain. Crazy expensive as a fully pre-made pizza, we usually opt for the pizza shell and decorate it ourselves with our favorite toppings. However, the last couple of times I made it, it left me wanting more, always seemed slightly undercooked, and left me (not Nora) with stomach pain.

Hodgson Mill gluten-free pizza crust mix box coverIn addition, I have tried several box mixes before, all with the same result: everyone says it’s ok, not bad, but bland. But for tonight’s dinner, I decided to push the past aside and try again with Hodgson Mill’s gluten-free box pizza crust mix. I gave it a valiant effort, and even followed the directions to a T. Except for the part where I added extra olive oil and salt to the crust to try to combat the blandness, with an extra sprinkling of salt on top right before serving. Although they looked pretty on the outside, sadly, they lacked character on the inside. Ultimately, I have to say it fell into the same ho-hum, bland box mix category as the others we’ve tried. And the rest of the family agreed.

Hodgson Mill pizza 2

Hodgson Mill pizza 1

My husband Patrick, called it before it even came out of the oven: “The problem with all these box mixes is that they just don’t have any bite. There’s no crunch or pull to the crust.”

Nora (who doesn’t like to say anything negative): “It’s kinda bland Mommy, but I still really like it.” She then proceeded to leave 2 of her 3 tiny slices on her plate. And this girl can eat, so her true feelings showed through in her leftovers.

Sophia: “The crust has no taste.” Her plate was also littered with leftovers.

Let me knock it down into pros and cons for you.

Pros: Smooth, non-gritty texture; easy to find at the grocery store; half the price of a pre-made frozen pizza crust;  produces a fair amount of dough that holds together well; crust held up to weight of sauce and cheese.

Cons:  Bland, dry, crunch-less crust; dough is incredibly sticky, requiring you to coat your hands in cornstarch (which feels like nails on a chalkboard to me); our dough didn’t rise at all (not sure if that was due to user error on my part); not as time-efficient as a pre-made crust.

Overall, my feeling was, “meh.” I won’t buy it again because we need more character from our pizza. Although you could try to dress this up with herbs and more olive oil or butter, it will still come out with the same lack of bite, crunch, or pull that we were all looking for. But try it for yourself, and let me know what you think.

Meanwhile, my search for the best at-home gluten-free pizza crust continues.

Share the love: What’s your favorite gluten-free pizza crust to make at home? Is it frozen, box, or from scratch?

Disclaimer: All products reviews on this blog are merely the opinions of a family of four, struggling to find tasty gluten-free foods for picky eaters. We paid for these products out of our own pockets. We do not receive any type of support, endorsement, or compensation for reviews, unless specifically noted.