Well, readers, gotta admit: all of us at WGaTJ's are a little disappointed. You see, in years past right around this time, we've been privileged to be part of the taste test process for new, interesting, exotic products before they hit store shelves. It's sorta like the once a year bone that Big Joe throws us for hosting one of the Internet's biggest rolling Trader Joe's lovefests.
But not this year. No particular reason why. Just...nothing. Maybe there's still some fallout from last year's sampling which just didn't quite meet final quality standards for some reason - what a crappy excuse. Eh well.
So, instead, we're going to branch out and give something a try that first came back to Trader Joe's shelves a few months back: Trader Joe's Cotton Kitchen Towels. They're sold in a three-pack for like $5.99, which seems to be a pretty decent value. But, really, we're confused here. Literally, there's no instructions or descriptions or anything, so it's like TJ's is selling these 100% cotton towels with the assumption that we're supposed to know exactly what to do with them.
I mean, how in the the heck are you supposed to eat them?
No preparation instructions at all, so we're just winging it here, trying to take some clues. Seeing that the towels are apparently shelf-stable and not frozen, refrigerated, canned, or packaged, we first tried them as is, just what I presume would be "raw." Bleh. Literally, no taste - with the red coloring I was hoping for at least a hint of strawberry or sriracha or bacon or something. Instead, it's just this bland, fibrous, tough cloth-type sheet that is impossible to bite through.
Giving TJ's the benefit of the doubt, we began thinking just maybe we're doing wrong here. So, with the lack of guidance, here began the experiments. We tried microwaving - just warmed it up, slightly, but otherwise identical to our first taste. We thought maybe boiling them would do the trick and soften them up - it certainly made the towels hot, wet and steamy, but the only thing that got any softer out of it was my beard. The smoke alarms made it unbearable to bake them for more than a couple minutes, and we had a nice little chat with the fire chief after trying to grill them...really, at a loss here.
I thought maybe we got a bad batch (it can happen) so on our next TJ's trip, I asked one of the crew members for a sample and some advice of how to properly prepare a kitchen towel. Much like the blank stare and head shake from the fire chief, the look we got was kinda discouraging and not entirely helpful.
Fortunately, these towels do seem to have a decent absorptive property to them. It's been a struggle over the years to scrape off every last bit of some tasty sauce or whatever from a bowl or plate - well, fortunately, these flat fiber sheets are flexible enough that I can wipe off most any dish and it'll pick up all those flavors. And apparently this is a process that can repeated over and over again, because these towels do so seem pretty durable, and there's just not any process we can find that make these towels digestible seem possible. So, there's that.
But, fortunately, I'm not alone. The Rodgers picked up this product about the same time we did. They went about the preparations a little differently, but found the towels similarly perplexing and disappointing. Here's a short video review chronicling their experience:
As you can see, we gotta go thumbs down across the board. From all of us here at What's Good At Trader Joe's: Zeroes.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Cotton Kitchen Towels: 0 out of 10 Golden Spoons
p.s. - Are these even gluten free?