Saturday, April 2, 2011

As the Arteries Harden...

Okay, what would you do?  

Picture this:  It's Saturday morning and your entire family is sleeping in.  This in itself is not unusual on a weekend morning, but it's almost eleven o'clock and you (and the pesky dogs) are the only ones up. 

This means it's ALMOST noon-time and you haven't eaten yet.  And YOU get crabby when you don't eat... 

Do you:
  1. Continue to thump loudly up and down the hall with your lithe 220+ pound frame hoping that someone wakes up so you're not alone and maybe they'll cook for you?  (Naaaaaah...  NOBODY cooks for YOU in YOUR family)
  2. Open the pantry door and stare longingly into the darkness hoping that the 'Pantry Fairy' has re-stocked the closet since you last looked eight minutes ago? (Naaaaaaah...  The Pantry Fairy walked off the job with those Teachers up in Wisconsin weeks ago)
  3. Trek down to the garage where you noticed a lonely, dust-covered can of corned beef hash the day before and, eat it?  (Hmmm?  Possible?)
Let me say two things before I begin the official post:
  1. I worked in a 'real' dining-car diner for seven years from the time I was thirteen until I was twenty years old.  The owner of the diner made his corned-beef hash from scratch.  According to Rachel Ray (whom my wife watches constantly (odd, considering that my wife hardly ever cooks)), it was 'Yumm-O!'
  2. I can eat almost anything except lettuce (lettuce has nothing to do with this post, but just in case you were wondering...  If I bite into a erroneously-placed piece of lettuce, you'd better be wearing a wet-suit if you are anywhere near my 'Splash Zone'.)
Okay, enough hypothetical 'YOU' stuff.  In my house, no one was going to get up and cook ME breakfast.  And given the fact that it was almost lunch-time, I had better get something cooking pretty quick so I could be hungry again in less than an hour when noon arrived.

I stomped down to the garage, still hoping someone would wake up and offer to cook for me, or, more likely, "Run out and bring something back for me".  No such luck.  I was on my own.  Time to do or die.

I found the corned beef hash on the shelf in the garage where I had seen it a day earlier.  But, there was something wrong

The normally-red "Mary Kitchen's Corned Beef Hash" can was shorter, squatter, and, blue.  It was NOT our regular 'gourmet' corned beef hash, it was a hash that must have been on SALE. 

It was "Armour Corned Beef Hash". 

This is a photo of this hash 'poser':
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"Hearty Homestyle" Corned beef hash on a cold Saturday morning!  Wow, that sounds great!  Now let's venture to the 'dark side' of the can - the ingredients (a.k.a.:  the Warning Label): 
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So what's IN the hash itself?  On the label above you'll find: 'Beef', Rehydrated Potatoes, Water, Salt, Sugar...  (Sugar?  In hash?  People eat it for 'dessert'?), Seasoning (apparently 'too many seasonings' to list here), Natural flavors, Un-Natural flavors, and finally, some cancer-causing chemical additives.  
Excellent, just what the doctor ordered (for a long, protracted illness, later in life)... 

Whoa!  Check out the bold print!  It's 'Gluten Free'!  BONUS!  (It's great to know that they didn't sneak corn or grain into a product which features MEAT and POTATOES as its primary ingredients.) 

I prepare my feast by following the detailed instructions on the can:
  1. Open can and dump contents contemptuously into skillet while your ungrateful family sleeps. 
  2. Heat contents of can in skillet until the hard, whitish-opaque food clot product liquifies into a bubbling, undulating mass of goo highighted with fluorescent-red meat flecks.
  3. Remove food 'product' from heat when you can no longer stand the smell of the product, the dogs begin whining at the back door to 'go out', and/or when your nasal passages become sealed shut from grease thrown off by this noxious, steaming, festering, gibbering (yes, it will actually 'gibber' at you) 'gluten-free' liquid swilling in your favorite 'Silverstone' skillet. 
For future reference, check out the photo below.  What does this prove?  You should NEVER doubt me when I tell you somethin'...:
blog post photo

This is NOT a meal, this was 'Atherosclerosis ' in a skillet. 

It was so bad that I was afraid to eat it.  This, considering that my wife tells friends, "Yes, my husband, Mike, that man can eat stuff that would make a billy-goat gag...".  (Well, we all need to be good at something, right?) 

I could have skimmed the grease off the top of this mess with a garden trowel.  Actually, I DID remove the top-most layer of the greasy 'protective layer' with a large spoon.  It looked a little less scary, but it still wasn't something I was putting into this temple, 'my body', without testing it first. 

I gave several cooled 'heaping tablespoonfuls' to the dog.  Our little, sweet, innocent, unbelievably annoying, 'Sandy Woo', our rescue dog

Sandy tentatively sniffed the cooled down hash, took three bites, staggered into the living room and fell down onto the floor, panting. 

This photo was taken immediately after the 'feeding' (notice the partial 'snarl'):
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I miss that dog.  She's the one who used to recycle her own pooh...

But the hash, the hash, it was...  The hash was too much for her.

(Sobbing heard in background)

Oh, and in case you're wondering?

The hash needed more sugar...
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