We here at Oh Dear God Why Laboratories apologize for the delay in reports. Static on the line. Unavoidable interference. Resuming experiments according to schedule.
To accomodate perceived user discomfort over the lapse in transmission, the laboratory administrators have acquired a truly unique specimen for our re-entry into your gastronomic consciousness. Behold, if you find you have the stomach for it, this entry’s subject. Beef in a can.
The glass, in case you’re curious, was more or less decorative, but also served as an extra barrier between the laboratory occupants and the substance in question, which in the days leading up the testing event, certainly provided us with some comfort. Before we hurl ourselves headlong into the belly of the beast, a few salient details:
We apologize for the quality of the image. Our gastronomic bravery is only matched by our technological limitations. The text reads: “Donated by the people of the United States of America for domestic Food Assistance Programs NOT TO BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED” so for clarity’s sake let’s spell it out. This beef is NOT for sale. As a matter of fact, it’s not even licensed to be given in TRADE. That’s right: we are about to consume Non-Barterable-Beef. If there is a more suspect substance in existence I hesitate to enquire as to its nature. Other relevant text from the outside of the can:
“Preparation Ideas: Serve the beef hot in soups, stews, casseroles, and sauces. Serve it cold in sandwiches and salads.” Because nothing goes down easier than a Beef Salad. Yum.
“Remove the top layer of fat from the meat by:
– chilling the can until the fat hardens and is easy to remove from the juice; or
– draining off the fat and the juice.” Ok WHAT
“Ingredients =: Beef – not less than 99 percent;
salt – not more than 1 percent.” WAIT WHAT
Ok we will admit to feeling a certain degree of trepidation after examining the exterior of the can. While nothing will stop us in our ceaseless quest forward in the name of science and eating disgusting garbage that should probably be shot into the deepest recesses of space, this particular tasting object is giving even us, the heartiest of adventurers, some pause. Removing hard fat from juice? NOT LESS THAN 99 PERCENT BEEF? What the fuck, audience, have we gotten ourselves into?
You, as a discerning and educated reader, may have noticed that we’re nearly 400 words in without actually opening the can or discussing its contents. That is because we’re scared. But luckily, our trustworthy Tasting Engineer is on hand, with his robotic appetite and mechanical digestive tract, to drive us ever onward. So, without further ado, the contents of the can of “BEEF.”
Take note of the fact that even our own robotically augmented Tasting Engineer is avoiding this smell (and only breathing through his mouth as he types this, by the way), which could only be described as somewhere between “Week-Old Thanksgiving Leftovers” and “Dog Food.” Also take note of the fact that this shit seems to have the appearance and consistency of Sasquatch vomit. My god. Oh ick, the smell is just everywhere. Fuck. Oh fuck I have to eat this shit. What have I gotten myself into?
Ok. Ok ok ok. Time to regroup. Oh I can’t even think because of the smell. All right. The thing to do here is drain all the non-beef substance off of there. Which, christ, that looks like a good portion of the can. I’m thinking straining is the best plan. I’d rinse it too but that seems like cheating, somehow. Okay let’s see what this looks like after I dump it through a colander. Oh no, my dog is interested now. Honestly this smells exactly like the last can of Sirloin Flavored Alpo with Chunks that I opened for him.
One more picture, only because words alone cannot convey the horror that exists inside this can. Ok here we go:
Oh god. Oh my god, the smell is overpowering. It’s everywhere. It looks like a brain. It looks like I just opened up a can of dog food made out of brains. Oh for fuck’s fucking sake. This is the worst god damn idea I’ve ever had.
All right. After straining, scooping off as much fat as was manageable, and dumping back into the can, this is what we’re left with. This is what I’m eating. On purpose. With my face. Because I decided to do it. God, I wish I had some help with this thing. Something to spur me along. Something to quell the nastiness. Something to invigorate my blood. ODIN, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?
BUT WAIT! Alas and fuck, just when we thought all hope was lost, it arrives in the form of my vaguely assumed Norwegian heritage, and an old friend that diligent readers may recognize from one of our earliest tests. This magical elixir is what gave my ancestors the strength to sail across the bitter, cruel sea and discover the continent on which I currently reside CENTURIES before Columbus (in your face!), and one of the few things that makes living on the frozen hell-bog that constitutes most of the Scandinavian peninsula even vaguely plausible. BUT! Will it provide me with the fortification I require to plow through this rapidly ripening cylinder of what is only barely plausibly even meat? Only one way to tell!
SKAL! Feel free to consult the earlier entry referenced above if you’d like to know more about the taste of the thing I just drank, but in the meantime I’ll say I think it’s invigorated my blood enough to be able to tackle this garbage. Time to put my mouth where my money (or notable lack thereof) is.
Wow. Ok well the Tasting Engineer has to report that after the initial shock of the texture and smell passes, the flavor and consistency of the beef in a can is actually somewhat reasonable. It resembles most closely a food item known as “Chipped Beef,” which if memory serves is more widely consumed in the northern part of this nation, but shouldn’t be that hard to imagine even if you’ve never had it, the consistency being somewhere in between “ground” and “shaved” on the beef scale of things. All in all, I’ve got to say it’s not that bad. After stashing this can of questionable cow substance in my pantry for well over a year, glancing at it only out of fear and concern, and psyching ourselves up for this particular taste test for several weeks straight, we are surprised, marginally disappointed, but somewhat pleased as well to report that “BEEF” in a can is not entirely inedible. I wouldn’t eat the fat straight off a spoon or anything but I’d say it’s not any worse than scraping the meat out of a shitty sandwich and just eating it at room temperature. Which, in the pantheon of things that have been consumed on this particular internet blogging eating entertainment site, puts it fairly well close to the top. I’m not saying I want to devour the entire can right this moment or anything (although I’m sure I will before the end of the night), but it’s definitely “inoffensive” to say the least. It just tastes like beef. I’d say that’s ironic but I think it’s actually the literal opposite of irony. It tastes like what it looks like. It smells godawful, granted, but it’s just meat. Push comes to shove, you’d eat it too. Trust me.
Canned beef. I ate it without dying. It’s good to be back. Further experiments to follow soon.
special thanks to akavit