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Dirty Little Secrets: Campbell’s Tomato Soup

In the not-too-distant past, I have railed against Campbell’s condensed soups, in particular the cream of mushroom and cream of celery varieties that are commonly substituted for béchamel sauce in casserole recipes across this vast and blessed land. On several occasions I’ve also remarked on the puzzling consumption of Velveeta cheese, for which I inevitably receive a handful of responses extolling its virtues, but let’s leave that for the nonce. People like what they like and the palate is a mysterious organ. How else to explain the existence of head cheese?  Witness the recipe:

I assure you, that is NOT cheese. Via Cheese Dip blog.

To make head cheese, clean the hog’s head by removing the snout, eyes, ears, brains and all the skin. Trim away all the fat from the head and cut it into four pieces. Place in a crock or enamel container. Cover with a solution of 1/2-cup canning salt to 1-gallon water. Make sure the pieces are completely covered. Let it soak for 5-hours to draw out all the blood…

There’s more, but I can’t bear to go into it. At least they remove the snout, though it’s unclear to me whether it gets tossed out or thrown in the crock. Anyways, you get the idea. Different streaks for different freaks, as they say.

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Talk dirty to me

Really, what CAN’T you do with Spam? Courtesy Wikipedia.

To my great surprise, there has been widespread misunderstanding as to my stance on the Secret Treasure Loaf featured in a recent post. For the record, I discovered that particular gem in a search for a truly repulsive recipe (to pair with the most revolting of vegetable dishes, green bean casserole) that would not only turn a foodie’s stomach, but leave deep emotional scars. I believe I succeeded.

Still, the whole experience has left me wondering. If there are people out there who find this appealing, what must they have ingested previously? Is it possible there are worse things than Secret Treasure Loaf, things so vile and stomach-turning that a meatloaf made from Spam and Velveeta APPEALS? The mind reels, the spirit quails, the sphincter puckers. Nonetheless, I’m going there, folks. I am asking the question and as God is my witness, I will address each and every  response. Ready?

What is the worst food you have ever been served?

Velveeta fudge squares. Courtesy

Perhaps it was in your mother’s kitchen during the Atomic Fifties? Or maybe you’re a world traveler who encountered a particularly exotic culinary abomination on the road to wherever. It may be that a recipe mishap was involved, or you simply thought it would be interesting to try tripe. No matter, the more lurid and nauseating, the better.

I’ll go first, and I am really throwing down the gauntlet here. Witness: Velveeta fudge squares by none other than the fabulous Paula Deen. And no, I don’t know what she was smoking.

Talk to me, people. Unburden yourselves. Believe me, you’ll feel better once you get it off your chests. Plus it’ll help me kickstart that New Year’s diet plan I’ve been putting off. Win win!

How ’bout some cheese with those fries?

If you’re familiar with my culinary ramblings, you’ll recall that I have a soft spot for the cuisine of the atomic age: casseroles, Jell-O, turkey divan and such. And until recently – like yesterday – I had thought that this kind of food had met a fate similar to that of Latin: more or less dead and just kind of limping along in places no one wanted to go, like church services and criminal court. Well, it’s easier to come by than you might think, and I’m big enough to admit I was wrong. In fact, after two days at the trough in Ohio I’m also big enough to land a fighter jet on.

That’s correct, I’ve just finished up a mini-tour through the heartland where the trees are turning, the air is clean, and the folks are unfailingly friendly. Unfortunately the coffee is thin, the gravy is white and apparently the Velveeta runs like a river through the entire region. Now, I have it on good authority that there is plenty of good food to be found in corn country, but I cannot honestly say that I encountered much.

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