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big men, little wieners

The poor potted meat selection at Safeway brings Patti to tears.

I guess the sign has always been in the grocery store. I just never noticed it before. Canned Meats. The very name was enough to send chills down my spine. This is a section of the supermarket where SPAM was at the gourmet end of the spectrum.

We were at the grocery store, looking for Turkey SPAM, when we hit the motherlode: the canned meat aisle.

My original idea was to have a Badmouth Thanksgiving. I had noticed the Turkey SPAM on an earlier trip to the store. I thought we could buy some, cook it, dress it up to look like a real turkey, then do a taste test. But once I opened my eyes to the other “meat” on the shelves, I realized that we had a bigger issue than any one can of SPAM. I saw the Armour Potted Meat Product.

I decided then that we needed to have a taste test of the entire canned meat section. I assembled a crack team of tasters consisting of myself, girlfriend Patti and my friends Aaron and Russ. Then I selected
five “meats” in a can for us to try.

I found this box of “Moist & Meaty” dog food at Raley’s. Coincidentally, “Moist & Meaty” was also my nickname in high-school.
  1. SPAM – The control food. SPAM is the only meat in a can that I can remember eating – and that was under threat of legal action. It wasn’t bad, though. It was the benchmark meat.
  2. Armour Potted Meat Product – This was the nastiest sounding product of the bunch. They couldn’t even call it meat. It was “meat product.” And what kind of meat? Aardvark? Diseased lemur? It kind of left it to your imagination. I read the back label. I should have continued to leave it to my imagination.
  3. Gerber Graduates Meat Sticks – Okay, so this is baby food, and it came in a jar. But it was meat, and I seemed to remember that putting things in a jar is called “canning,” so I decided it qualified.
  4. Liverwurst Spread – This came with a fancy paper wrapper around the can and a little picture of a devil. For some reason, the wrapper made all the difference. This was obviously a high-class canned meat product.
  5. Iams Premium Dog Food: Turkey and Rice Formula – After reading the side of the potted meat can, it occurred to me that dog food couldn’t be much worse. In fact, the top three ingredients in Iams seemed better than the potted meat. The word “premium” seemed vaguely reassuring, too. I picked turkey for variety.

We topped it off by buying a box of Club Crackers to put the meats on. According to the back of the box “The light, flakey, buttery taste of Club Crackers makes everything taste better.

We were about to prove them wrong.

Next on Badmouth:

Arf! Arf! I barf.

I take careful, scientific notes as Girlfriend Patti dictates.

So we were down to the tasting. To recap: My friends Aaron and Russ, girlfriend Patti and I were all tasting various “meats” you could buy in a can. The meat-like substances were: Armour Potted Meat Product, Gerber Graduates Meat Sticks, Liverwurst Spread, SPAM, and Iams: Turkey and Rice Formula Dog Food — for variety.

All of our meat products were served on Club Crackers, because evidently “”they make everything taste better“. The crackers were then put on plain paper plates, so the meats became “mystery meats” in every sense of the word.

Since girlfriend Patti and I had a pretty good idea about which meat was which, we thought it only fair to allow Aaron and Russ to choose what meats we would eat. The only rule was, if one of them ate it, I had to eat it too. We warned them that one “meat” was not made for human consumption. Russ won the coin toss, so Aaron went first.

Meat-Like Substance #1: Gerber Graduates Meat Sticks
Meat-Like Substance #2: Armour Potted Meat Product
Meat-Like Substance #3: SPAM
Meat-Like Substance #4: Liverwurst Spread


Russ finally manages to make smoking look cool by killing some taste buds after eating potted meat.

So what did we learn from all this? I learned that Aaron is some sort of sick degenerate who will eat anything. In his defense, he claimed that he “felt he had no choice” and that by the rules he “had to eat it.” So he indulged in his perverse desire to eat food not fit for humans, and he drug me down with him.

I learned that Russ likes wieners designed for small children. I learned to avoid foods that I never would have eaten in the first place. I learned that no matter how nutritious the dog food label reads, it still tastes like dog food.

Even on a Club Cracker.

God Bless.