Chile Tomato-Less Salsa from Trader Joe’s Corn

Trader Joe's Corn and Chile Tomato-Less Salsa
It’s a great thing to use this blog as a way to poke fun at my wife. I find food a very easy and manageable topic. As we began our relationship, a few years back, it was a difficult task for me to learn Sandy’s “food rules.” Chili? No. No. Other than a few burgers here and there, red meat is not recommended. Some vegetables are fine, while others are not. It became a joke, where I suggested that I keep a list of all the acceptable and unacceptable vegetables and when they were. Squishy, cooked vegetables are absolutely unacceptable. Sandy isn’t a fan of onions except when they are used to enhance the onion flavor. I was determined to teach her these rules, so she could be impressed and have food options that she liked. I took it seriously to the point that one night, early in our relationship, when I was making dinner for us, I felt compelled ask her if she liked from scratch chocolate chip cookies. Sandy can attest that she loves them. She probably wonders if I make them more often.

They are so familiar that I don’t even think about them anymore. It’s almost like having natural knowledge. To her credit, she seems to be open to trying more foods. There’s one food that she won’t eat: tomatoes. Sandy will not eat tomatoes, except for a small amount of ketchup and enough sauce to make her pasta noodles semi red. Even though salsa is becoming more popular, Sandy is more comfortable with salsa verde. This salsa is made of tomatillos and is more appealing than the usual varieties.

That’s probably why Trader Jose’s Corn and Chile Tomato–Less Salsa appeals so much to her. It has the added benefit of not having tomatoey guts spilled just for it. It’s a different kind of salsa than other varieties, but I am not sure if it is authentic as a salsa class and not merely gimmick. If I’m wrong, correct me. I have never seen or heard of corn-based salsa other than at Qdoba or Chipotle. Although I haven’t tried it there, I find that it tastes more like a salsa than a salsa. This is how TJ’s brand appeals to me, though it might be a bit exaggerated to say that it’s spicy. The jar label doesn’t include the spicy pepper meter, which is a way to overstate heat levels. I think this was intentional because it would barely register any blips to me. A little bit of heat can be felt in your throat when you take a corner of a chip-full. But it’s barely noticeable and is more than offset by the sweetness. Like all good American food products, the salsa’s two main ingredients are sugar and corn. The salsa seems syrupy-sweet. There’s not nearly enough jalapeños and spices to combat it with any sort of effectiveness. It’s like throwing rubberbands at an animal. One thing that salsa has going for is its freshness. The corn kernels taste good.

Sandy absolutely loves it. As I was coming down from a post-work/predinner shower, last night I could hear Sandy rustling through our bags. Flaxseed and soy chipsThe sound of a lid being resealed soon after she closed her eyes was followed by a snappy clattering of the lid. I reached the kitchen just in-time to see her standing next to our fridge with half-eaten salsa in her hands and a guilty look on her faces. This is a very common scenario in our home, but the roles are reversed. While we had poked at the item the night before, she worked on it diligently while I was at work. She replied, “It’s so delicious, I could eat it every spoonful.” “Apparently,” I replied as I shook my head, and then tsk-tsked with her. I couldn’t be mad, not because I’ve been the one guilty in this situation too often and therefore thought grace was the best option. But also because frankly, I don’t like her nearly as much. I will give it 1.5. Although it has potential and a solid premise, it lacks enough spice to keep my attention. It is also way too sugary sweet to be considered mild, tasty salsa. Sandy, while she acknowledged that it needed to be spicy, was so excited about finding a salsa without tomatoes that she broke into song when she climbed the stairs to turn in with a good book. It has no tomatoes, no tomatoes, that’s what makes me happyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. Beloved little fur baby as he no doubt shot back a quizzical look. Sandy tried to give it a perfect five, but eventually settled on a 4.5 and tripling (!!!). My score. We usually agree more or less on our ranking, so this split is certainly unusual and difficult to repeat. Sandy will probably be happy because I dislike it so it means more to me.

Take the rest of this jar, my dear. All yours.

The bottom line: 6 of 10 Golden Spoons