This week I made a foray into the beautiful, new, expansive, gourmet Kroger that has just grand-opened in our area. This gorgeous store with its wide selection of everything from the exotic to the mundane, is entertainment, not grocery shopping. I mean, how much more thrilling can you get than choosing your own loaf of “artisan” bread from the bin and dropping it into the slicer? Why, it just makes you want to buy, buy, buy (imagine that). But I digress…
This post is not about gourmet food. It is about childhood memories and the things I recall eating waaaaaaaaay back then. And asking: why?
We ingested many unhealthy things back then (notably gallons of Kool-Aid), although I believe our diet was likely much healthier than it is today. We certainly did not eat fast food as a way of life, and Mom cooked from scratch mostly.
Still, there are those big questions—mostly centering around “meat products.”
What has brought this on is that as I was tooling down the Kroger aisle, looking for water-packed tuna, I spied the canned corned beef.
As you know, food is not just about taste and nutrition. There is a huge emotional component to it. As I regarded the canned corned beef, I recalled my lunch sandwiches, made by my mother, with yellow French’s mustard and my favorite dill pickle slices on canned corned beef . Before I knew it, one of those cans was in my basket. When I got home I crafted myself one of those sandwiches, and it was as good as I remember.
When I got up to wrap the leftovers, I hesitated (my emotional/nutritional craving momentarily sated). That canned corned beef looked for all the world like…well, like….well—oh, I can’t say it. Let’s just say that Chili and Scout got the leftovers, and that seemed appropriate. Given what it looked like, I mean…
So, back to the question: Why did we (do we) eat such things? Why would I eat canned corned beef when I make a killer one from the brisket? I meant the gourment deli was just steps away—they’d have corned beef?
I threw the can away before I yielded to the temptation to look at ingredients and nutritional information printed on the label. I.Don’t.Want.To.Know…
I began to recall some of the many questionable things I ate as I grew up. Please tell me if you, too, experienced any of these.
A Vienna sausage (Viennese/Austrian German: Frankfurter Würstel or Würstl… The word wiener means Viennese in German…In North America the term vienna sausage has most often come to mean smaller and much shorter smoked and canned wieners, rather than hot dogs…made from meat such as chicken, beef, turkey and pork (or blends thereof) finely ground to a paste consistency and mixed with salt and spices, notably mustard, then stuffed into a long casing, sometimes smoked and always thoroughly cooked, after which the casings are removed as with hot dogs. The sausages are then cut into short segments for canning and further cooked.
As with any sausage, the ingredients, preparation, size and taste can vary widely by both manufacturer and region of sale.
We also occasionally would eat “potted meat” on crackers. This, I guess, is just the pure “meat paste” not stuffed into the casing. I’ve given this up.
Spam. ( There was also a product called “Treat”). Myths abound about what these delicacies are made of. We at this mostly lightly fried in a skillet…I’ve given this up, too.
If you have made it this far without gagging, I’m probably about to fix that because I need to tell you that my brother and I learned to just ignore the stiff hairs that would sometimes remain on them and chew on the salty, vinegary fat that was clinging to the bones of these trotters.
Really, Mom, what on earth were you thinking???
There are many gross things I never touched: members of my family, for example, love cracklin’ cornbread (look it up). I don’t touch tripe (chitterlings), brains (ask V), squirrel and most other game (I prefer domesticated), oysters or snails (I don’t care how fancy-dancy you think this stuff is).
And it is beyond me why anyone would eat a frog.
So, all-in-all, I’m pretty picky. So, why canned corned beef? Why???? C.