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Offal - or at least Awful - in a can

Some recent threads round about the chowhound e-world got me to pondering some of the things I've seen in cans that I would never never never NEVER never NEVER NEVER even considering opening, let alone actually ingesting.

These include:

Pork Brains in Milk Gravy
Potted Meat Food Product (Food product? Kind of like Cheese product when applied to yellow blocks of plastic?)
Underwood Deviled Ham - is no one suspicious of a potted meat product that comes from a company named PET?

BTW, some of these include something called "mechanically separated poultry".

While the immediate picture that springs to my mind is that of robots callously separating a loving hen from her chicks and rooster, apparently what this actually means (according to the USDA):

is a paste-like and batter-like poultry product produced by forcing bones with attached edible tissue through a sieve or similar device under high pressure to separate bone from the edible tissue. Mechanically separated poultry has been used in poultry products since 1969. In 1995, a final rule on mechanically separated poultry said it would be used without restrictions. However, it must be labeled as "mechanically separated chicken or turkey" in the ingredients statement. The final rule became effective November 4, 1996.


I quiver in terror!

You will be relieved to know that "mechanically separated beef" is now deemed unfit for human consumption (due to the mad cow disease scare).

However "mechanically separated" chicken, turkey, pork, and who knows what else are still "fit" for human consumption, apparently. So 'ware the Mad Pig disease outbreaks in our immediate future!

Here is one man's journey of discovery with regard to "Potted Meat Food Product"


Be sure to play the advertising jingle at the end - quite catchy!

Then there's lutefisk.

Yes, lutefisk. The Dreaded Lutefisk. Lutefisk does not, apparently, actually come in cans, or at least if it does, I've not been able to find it (much to my lack of disappointment). In fact I am unsure how you would properly package something one of the main ingredients of which is "lye". Perhaps in glass lined casks. I don't know. The gelatinous, pale, quiveringness of this item - I hesitate to call it "food" - would be enough to put one off one's feed, were it not for the absolutely appalling smell. However, according to one lutefisk manufacturer:

"Lutefisk has always had a bad rap because of the perceived nasty smell, but when it is processed correctly, "it doesn't stink," Kimmel vows.

"It doesn't have a strong flavor either," he said, smiling. So why do people eat something that has a sometimes-questionable texture, described by some as "glutinous" or like Jell-O and with very little flavor?

"It's the butter."

Yes. It's the butter. People eat fish dissolved in lye solely for the chance to nosh down on some butter.

Well pass me the butter dish and a spoon. Hold the lutefisk.

Here is the PROPER way to eat lutefisk:


Then there is Simmenthal Jellied Cured Beef. In attempting to research this item, I came across this blurb on the Kraft Foods website:

"Italians have long enjoyed our Simmenthal brand of canned meat in jelly. Simmenthal is a convenient ready-to-eat meal or can be used in many tasty recipes. It’s perfect with salad, vegetables, cold rice or pasta. Simmenthal’s latest products include beef in jelly with chili and chicken in jelly with curry. "

"Beef in Jelly with Chili" and "Chicken in Jelly with Curry". Just when you thought we had plumbed the depths of culinary depravity!

Oh my stars and little hoppy toads! WAIT! I take that back! Lest someone should think to come up with canned Hoppy Toads In Jelly With Milk Gravy!

Oddly enough, there are more depths yet to be plumbed. Let us consider Cuitlacoche.

What, you may very well ask, in your innocence (or more likely by this point, foolishness), is Cuitlacoche?

Well, it is also known as Mexican Truffles. Truffles! Yum! (not so much from my point of view, but whatever . . . ) Who would want a faux truffle?

Well truffles are AWFULLY expensive. A 750g white truffle recently sold at auction for 100k euros. For those Americans among us, that's almost $5300 per oz. Granted that was at the high end, but still. Truffles COST.

Cuitlacoche, however, is MUCH cheaper. You can get a 7 oz can of Cuitlacoche for about $8, or 2 lbs frozen for in the neighborhood of $40. Fresh Cuitlacoche? I'm not so sure anybody should actually want fresh Cuitlacoche (or frozen, or canned, for that matter). But you can get it that way, at least in Mexico.

Alright, alright, alRIGHT already! So I have made fun of Cuitlacoche (apparently also spelled huitlacoche) without telling you a THING about what it tastes like. So off I go in search of someone who has actually tasted the stuff, and what do I find, but a blog named "STEVE! Don't eat it!"

Apparently Steve DID eat it. And this is what he has to say about it:

"So, how does Huitlacoche taste? Does it matter?? LOOK AT IT!

I guess it would be fair to say it doesn't taste as truly horrible as it looks. The flavor is elusive and difficult to describe, but I'll try: "Kinda yucky." Hey, that wasn't so hard after all. (Sometimes I forget I'm a goddamn wordsmith.


For any connoisseurs, I'm not sure if this stuff would go better with red wine or white. How about with a bottle of Bactine? I've always found that goes great with infections."

For the curious among you (who have hung with me thus far) I'll tell you what c/huitlacoche is.

It's corn smut. Yes, that awful, horrible, spore that if it infects your corn crop can only be BURNED out. Well, except for some farmers here in the states who have sued for and gotten permission to purposely infect their corn crops with smut so they can get a piece of that $20 a pound action.

Here is Steve's blog address so you can read the whole smutty story:


As a final salute to culinary depravity, I refer you to the following blog entry. Nothing I could say or do could possibly top this story, aptly, so APTLY entitled "The Six Most Terrifying Foods in the World".


I laughed so hard it hurt. My son asked me what the heck I was doing.

"Reading about horrible food" sez I.

Looking at me with sad puppy dog eyes, he pouted, "Is that REALLY a smart thing to be doing just before you cook me dinner?"

So on that note, I must be off. Returning to the world of the merely plebian Marinated Tofu Stir Fry is such a let down!

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  1. Read Upton Sinclair's, The Jungle and pop a top of Deviled Ham.

    2 Replies
      1. re: Passadumkeg

        I was a vegetarian for about 6 months in high school because of that book. It made cooking such hell for my meat-loving family that my dad jokingly threatened to sue the history teacher who assigned it.

      2. I'm with you on the tofu stir fry, a frequent meal in my home. But I have fond memories of Potted Meat Food Product and have a can of Palm-brand luncheon meat in the cupboard since Spam was too expensive. As for huitlacoche, I'd pair it with a white. Reds will bring out some terribly earthy flavors.

        6 Replies
        1. re: JungMann

          I think "terribly earthy flavors" is what huitlacoche is all about, LOL!

          1. re: JungMann

            I've never tried huitlacoche, but have a recipe that calls for it in one of my Mexican cookbooks. I thought about asking my CSA if their corn had any fungus they'd like to sell me, and but was concerned they'd think I was crazy. I want to try it, but not from a can.

            My view on canned stuff is eat the fresh version first, and if you love it, it's okay to use canned in a pinch, but don't make that your first exposure.

            1. re: Isolda

              As I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, fresh huitlacoche (cuitlacoche is an alternate spelling, though less common) is VERY difficult to come by. In the US, the FDA spent $millions to eradicate it through development of resistant seed. There are only a few farms in the US that grow it , one is in PA, and Roy Burns in Groveland, FL. is the largest grower and supplier, mostly to top end restaurants and food wholesalers. It is in an edible stage only a few days per year, after which it dries out and airborne spores develop. This is the reason why it is not grown in areas adjacent to other corn farms that want only corn, although the yield per acre for huitlacoche-infected corn is multiples. (Roy is smart). It is a bit surprising that is is grown here at all, and could lead to real Hatfield-McCoy neighboring wars. I say "grown" loosely; individual corn plants must be "infected" by hand at a stage of growth.
              It occurs naturally but infrequently in Mexico where different hybrid seed is used. Little ladies will scour miles of corn rows to pluck a few dozen infected ears, and sell them roadside for a pittance. When I lived in Mexico City, my ladyfriend there who was a great cook who previously owned a restaurant in Guayaquil Ecuador, introduced me to the delicacy and we would drive hundreds of pleasant miles to little towns to buy all we could find in it's brief season. Her casserole with fresh huitlacoche was by my account extraordinary, and something that very few have experienced. It freezes well, although like anything else freezing is a 2-point deduct on a 10 scale. Roy sells frozen. He has experimented with canning and jarring, but he said he has to add too much water to can it, so freezing is the best option.

              1. re: Veggo

                god damn if I DON'T learn something every darn day.


                1. re: Veggo

                  Thanks, veggo, I have a coworker who is one of the pickiest eaters on earth, but considers himself an arbiter of What's Good. I say huitlacoche and he gets the shivers- his usual restaurant for lunch is from Chipotle. For years. I would like to taste it myself, not sure if i'd liked to see it prepared, but I'd like to taste it.

                  1. re: EWSflash

                    It's on the menu at Oyamel in DC if you are ever here for a visit.

            2. Several years ago there was thread about canned whole chicken

              1 Reply
              1. re: paulj

                whole canned chicken is some weird stuff, but awfully tender. good on a camping trip.

              2. I like SPAM. I haven't had it in over a year, but I like to keep a can or two of it, just for whenever I'm in the mood. As far as canned meats go, it's good and has its place.

                I don't have an issue with separated meats, simply because it's better to use them than just throw them away.

                One thing I can't stand are those canned vienna sausages. I tried them a couple of times a decade+ ago. They tasted as bad as they smelled and the texture was far worse than I had imagined. Slimy SPAM meat is like rib-eye when compared to those sausages.

                As far as food goes, unless you have an ethical (or religious) objection to it, I say give it a shot. After all, we should be a bit adventurous with foods, to both the high and low.

                1. Any meat, or meat-like "food product"," in a can is a definite NO. Never had it, never will. Meat is meant to be purchased fresh, at your local market or butcher.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: gaffk

                    This reply is for all the anti-Vienna sausage guys.

                    I feel blessed that way back in my youth
                    my jobs were blue collar, and somewhat uncouth.
                    The wisdom that flowed
                    from those Everyday Joes
                    oft eclipsed bloated snippets from PhD's booths.

                    They would cradle that four ounce round can
                    in their callused coarse workingman's hand
                    They called 'em "Vy-eenies"
                    and pulled zip-top so sweetly
                    then consumed those meat stogies with glee, to a man.

                    Sure, there's doubts 'bout "mechanical separation"
                    and concomitant emulsification.
                    But Vy-eenies will rule
                    as a favored lunch gruel
                    that gives grunts, grins, upon its ingestion.

                    Though it's been many years
                    since Vy-eenie I've speared
                    I defer to each person's own palate.

                    1. re: FoodFuser

                      He's a poet
                      I know it
                      Hope he don't blow it.

                  2. The Dreaded Lutefisk. ... In fact I am unsure how you would properly package something one of the main ingredients of which is "lye".

                    Yes, the dried fish is soaked in a lye solution, but it soaked in 4-6 changes of plain water before being used. So the final product is not caustic.

                    Lye is also used to make hominy and prepare the corn used form Mexican tortillas.

                    19 Replies
                    1. re: paulj

                      I know that, it's called hyperbole. LOL!

                      I don't know if it's true or not, but I have a Norwegian friend who swears up and down that if you don't cook it "properly" (whatever that means) it will turn into soap. Could be a bit of hyperbole on his part.

                      The final product is not really all that palatable either. Hence . . . MORE BACON PLEASE!

                      1. re: ZenSojourner

                        I like lutefisk, never canned and reminds me of Juleaften en Norge.
                        Har en rikdig God Jul!
                        It is melt in your mouth mild fish.

                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                          I think it's one of those things that you either love or hate. This is what my Norwegian friend has to say about lutefisk when asked what it was:

                          "I shall tell you, though you will not thank me for it:

                          Lutefisk is Cod most of the time, that has been dried for months on wooden sticks in near full exposure of the elements.

                          When the fish is properly dry, so dry you can actually shatter it by throwing it at the floor(or anything else that is reasonably hard), it is put in soap.. lye to be specific..until it once again can be chewed.

                          ..well, slurped anyway, because by now the "lutefisk" is a yellowish gelatinous shivering blob. .which is served with potatoes, bacon, peas, and liqour called "Linje Akevitt"... which in itself is worth several fiery curses for its nasty consistency and taste, but I understand perfectly that you need to be good and drunk when you try to eat any "lutefisk".

                          Where did the idea for lutefisk come from? I should think that would be obvious, good sir. From absolutely steaming drunks on a food binge.

                          "look he..* lochk here.. I knows the st * store housh burmed down, but I had shome * dr* dry fishh ther.. * cnat be tooh bad"

                          voila, lutefisk, since lye comes from coal anyway and since it was Norway it had probably rained for weeks already. Water, heat, lye, thats the birth of a great tradition at the bottom of an insanely strong glass of 192 proof moonshine."

                          According to him, the Vikings HAD to go raiding, in order to get something decent to eat, LOL!

                          And then there is SMALAHOVE. LOL!

                          I think all cultures have their "delicacies" that gross people from other cultures out. I don't know, possibly the Whopper is ours.

                          But personally I draw the line at things like rotten shark (hakarl), smut in a can, and cheese filled with live leaping maggots, LOL!

                          BTW I can't figure out how hakarl didn't make it onto the most-terrifying-foods-in-the-world list. It's poisonous if it's not rotten and it's poisonous if it's TOO rotten. You have a very small window of opportunity there to eat the stuff and survive, it seems, LOL!

                          1. re: ZenSojourner

                            Sounds as dangerous as an Oscar Meyer.
                            Don't knock it if you ain't tried it.

                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                              I believe the point is that he DID try it. Many many times.

                              1. re: ZenSojourner

                                So have I. I lived on the west coast of Norway for 5 years. I really enjoy lutefisk, cod tongues and cheeks, cod roe, and pickled herring.
                                And Golly Gee, I survived w/ no Mickey Dee's around.
                                Whale meat? Reindeer liver soup? Reindeer pizza?

                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                  deer makes really good dry sausage for pizza

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    I'm about to make some elk and red chile sausage.
                                    I can't fin my chorizo recipe for the chorizo link.

                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                      Did you find your recipe? If not, I have one from a local ranch family. Makes a fairlt large amount if remember. Let me know if you want me to post on home cooking link.

                                  2. re: Passadumkeg

                                    Decriers of Lutefisk are forgetting the history and the climate from which that preserved foodstuff come.

                                    "Lye" gets right to the point of alkaline reactions in food preservation. If I were facing a Norskie winter a thousand years ago I'd say bring on the strong sodium hydroxide drip-boiled from wood ash as a way to keep fish through the winter.

                                    There's a rule that grew true in all food storing cultures: If you can turn your animal protein into a dry hockey puck, then pack it, there ain't no way microbes would enter and fuck with it.

                                    Lutefisk is an atavistic and ancestral treat that takes one back to harsh winters and salt spray when we Norskies splayed nets from our boats out at sea.

                                    1. re: FoodFuser

                                      With 96% mountains, Norway has not been food self-sufficient since the 1300's. The black plague had its benefits.
                                      Ain't 'Mericans a squeamish lot? Wait 'till the grid goes.
                                      Mister can you teach me how to make lutefisk? Saurkraut? Pickled fish? Jerkey? Hams?

                                2. re: Passadumkeg

                                  Passa, is that a drink? How's it made?

                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                      well if you have a Bass-O-Matic I suppose

                                      1. re: hill food


                                        I'm sure glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read that!

                                      2. re: Passadumkeg

                                        I sure wish I could remember what I meant by that.

                                  1. re: ZenSojourner

                                    Surstömming is fermented herring which is canned. It both frightens, yet tempts me.
                                    Here's a link to a description...

                                    Also I have no desire to ever eat durian straight from the package again. I initially laughed when the smell chased my son from the room.

                                    I stopped laughing when I took a bite...

                              2. re: paulj

                                You can make it with lye, but the method in Mexico is to use slaked lime.

                                1. re: deckape

                                  Slaked lime is calcium hydroxide, lye sodium hydroxide. The Wiki article also mentions a Finish version of lutefisk that used potasium hydroxide. Calcium hydroxide is the mildest and probably the easiest to produce by low tech means.

                              3. So your point here is to ridicule food you've never tried?

                                My sister-in-law has a problem with "green pasta." Never could figure out whether the compaints stemmed from pasta that was made with spinach (delish) or dressed with pesto (ditto). But her narrow conception of "pasta" is white noodles with red sauce. Everything else was weird and disgusting.

                                There are foods out there that may sound weird to you (or me or anybody else). That doesn't mean they aren't tasty.

                                Huitlacoche is a delicacy. SPAM isn't, but it's still damn tasty. Those who try things and don't care for them have opinions. Those who refuse to try things because they sound "different" just have closed minds.

                                30 Replies
                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                  Aaaamen! Aaaamen! Amen, amen, aaaaaaaameeen!
                                  Zen, would you eat your father's scrapple?

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    NO! But I loved him, so I cooked it for him.

                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                      Let us pause to thank a loving providence for scrapple, another widely-maligned but deeply satisfying dish made from lots of pig parts some people can't bring themselves to mention, the twits.

                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                        scrapple, yes, but only once or twice a year.

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          "... loving providence for scrapple..."

                                          That's music to this old pig-grinder's ears.

                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                              Can't fathom meat in a can . . .as I said upstream, never tried it and never will.

                                              But scrapple is yummy.. Maybe my Philly roots? Thick sliced with ketchup. Parents liked it thin sliced, crispy on sandwiches. Mom always said it was everything in the pig but the oink ;)

                                              Hmmm. . . now I'm hungry for some scrapple.

                                              1. re: gaffk

                                                What about tuna? Is that a meat-equivalent? Do you eat it?

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  I'm gaffk's brother taken at birth. Tuna is a blizzard/hurricane/tornado/power outage food; so is meat in a can. In this affluent, cornicopious country w/ no reason to eat canned when so much beautiful, fresh, foods are available.
                                                  The second sin that God will not forgive.

                                                  Carpe scrapple.

                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                    My brother from another mother . . . I've never had a significant outage, so I have never eaten meat\fish\veggies from a can. I've had blizzards, but always with enough warning to keep real food in the house.

                                                    But scrapple . . . Yumm . . .I classify that as real food.

                                                  2. re: c oliver

                                                    Honestly, I buy 10 cans of tuna a week. My cats love it. I was told it was bad for them, but my old cat lived to 21. And now the 2 young ones scarf it up.

                                                    I, on the other hand, do not eat canned tuna. A nice tuna steak, yes; canned, never--that's cat food.

                                                    And yet I still love scrapple . . . weird how our tastes develop.

                                                    1. re: gaffk

                                                      YOU try some Italian tuna packed in olive oil. THE BEST!

                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                        Our cat love fresh elk kidney's.
                                                        CO, can it, Lady!
                                                        Fresh tuna fried in Italian olive oil. La dolche vida.

                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                          But I can keep a can of Italian tuna in the pantry, we have a blizzard but want to have neighbors over for dinner. That tuna will make a really nice app.

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            Hey! Put the tuna in yo' freezer and ya got summtin' to eat when the power goes out.
                                                            Don't even start w/ blizzards! You got a roof rake?? Shovel off your roof? Studded snow tires? Tahoe may freeze; how about the ocean? We got it all.

                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                              After I drive 100 miles RT to get fresh tuna, I'll do that :)

                                                              Roof slope is such that we don't need a rake but do get the occasional ice dam. Studded tires? That's for the wimps at 5000'. Lake Tahoe NEVER EVER freezes. Too deep. Never happens. Second largest lake in the US behind Crater Lake.

                                                              But, hey, thanks for the rec for Peruana (?sp) beans. Fixed my first batch recently, loved 'em and have leftovers in the freezer.

                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                Tahoe the second largest? In Maine, we call it a pond. Dear, the Atlantic is pretty deep too. All weather tires.... don't get me going.
                                                                Canned tuna is for folks thtt don't like fish: "Merica's largest selling fish is in a can sez it all!

                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                  Not the second largest, the second deepest. I'd have to drive all day to fish for tuna. As would you nowadays :) In addition to "all weather tires" we also carry chains. I buy the best I can get and the best I can afford. Sometimes the best canned is better than inadequate "fresh."

                                                                2. re: c oliver

                                                                  Tahoe the largest? I think you mean deepest, most of the Great Lakes are a smidge larger (granted Lake Michigan is the only one entirely bounded in the US, but even the ones sharing a shoreline with Canada...) if you want to claim these are not lakes, but inland seas, well I'll entertain that idea.

                                                                  although Tahoe and Crater ARE beautiful, what kind of fish come out of them? I lived in SF for years and never made it to either even had a friend who had a cabin on Tahoe but never did.

                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                      thought so, and they are beautiful.

                                                                    2. re: hill food

                                                                      Out of Tahoe they get "Mackinaw" which I have no idea what it is. But it's sport fishing which involves going out in a boat. It's definitely not an economic or environmental friendly "sport."

                                                                      You must come to Tahoe. Email me if you want to come out.

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        would love to some day, but it will be quite a while before my sights are set again on the West Coast/Sierras, but thanks. many good memories.

                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                          mackinaw in lake trout. Exceptionally good. The color is as red as salmon since the water is so cold. They also have coho which is a type of salmon. Best fishing for coho is in October. Lake trout is also best in winter months (probably because there is no jack@$$ on a jet ski 20 feet behind your boat stripping 30.00 worth of lures. The whole lake is empty - but apparently they need company. Both fish are delish. Lake Tahoe is the only thing I miss about living in Carson City. It's not really sport fishing (the charters use underwater sonar), the fish are so deep that by the time they get close to the surface they get the bends and their bellies look like they sallowed a large ball.

                                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                                              Yeah, I know, TMI. I absolutely love fishing Tahoe.

                                                                              1. re: nvcook

                                                                                When I read my first post, I thought I sounded like one of those "Bing" commercials ;)

                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                    That's what I figured but didn't want to put words in your mouth.

                                                    2. re: alanbarnes

                                                      If that's the way you want to look at it.

                                                    3. I have a major problem with folks who reject food because of the "idea" of it. Mold? ICK! Fungus? YUCK! Fermented? PTOOEY!

                                                      If food is going to make me sick, it will be because of either an allergic reaction or a bacterial or viral infection. The notion of being sickened by the "idea" of a thing is irrational, and therefore unacceptable.

                                                      10 Replies
                                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                                        Go on and have your major problem then. You can have all the smut in a can and rotten cheese crawling with leaping carnivorous maggots that will eat their way out from inside your stomach you can hold.

                                                        1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                          sounds like a theme for a dinner party!

                                                          blue cheese or gorgonzola, crumbled over a corn chowder accompanied by rollmops and a wilted spinach salad with a corn smut vinaigrette, followed by dry aged ('bout a month) beef served blood rare and a raw egg custard.

                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                            You forgot the kimchi.
                                                            Thanks or the brevity.

                                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                                              What about vegetarians who haven't tasted meat because they reject the idea of slaughter or flesh-eating, or for whatever other reason?
                                                              I think it's very possible to have a somatic reaction to something and become ill at the thought of it; not ridiculous at all.
                                                              There's a cheese sold in Italy that has small parasitic worms in it that tunnel and leave room for the resultant mold/spore affect. And the thought of this makes my stomach do backflips. I don't need to see it or smell it to know that I wouldn't like it. And if that makes me a faux-hound, so be it. ; )

                                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                                Don't read a Consumer's Report analysis of sausage. Fly bits, rat feces....

                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                    You mean natural organic seasonings?

                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                      Twenty years ago I was nuking a bowl of canned chili.

                                                                      A guy in my office grinned, and informed me that product had the highest allowable ratio of insect parts.

                                                                      He'd spent four years in a factory for Hormel, and had a few stories to tell.

                                                                      Here's reading for those that are leery:

                                                                1. I never thought somebody would actually can this item, but they did. Goya makes canned Mondongo. Who knew? Saw it for myself on the shelf of a NY supermarket.

                                                                  Posing for you here --> http://www.flickr.com/photos/88697202...

                                                                  18 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                    I've got a can of menudo in the pantry for emergency illness or hangover.
                                                                    Mexican penicillan.

                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                      Zenny, so, you do not crave, a baccala, (stock fish), as a lenten treat in Italy or Trippa alla Romana? Or sitting in a trattoria in testaccio feasting on pajata, baby lamb's intestines with the mother's milk still inside that curdles when sauteed in a nicely flavored sauce served over rigatoni? You are missing a true taste of local cuisine.

                                                                      During WWII people who survived starvation found novel, not traditional, ways of getting protein, those who were so trapped in trdition/cultural norms...... died. and some of the dishes remain today as a testament to their savoriness.

                                                                      I have found, if "the people" eat it how bad can it be........and I have been pleasantly suprized on most, repeat "most" dishes.

                                                                      1. re: ospreycove

                                                                        Funny. I had bacalao (Brazilian) for the first time about a year ago. My preconception of its taste was 100% off. I'm not a great lover of really strongly flavored fish. This was so mild. Since then I've kicked myself for the good meals I missed when I had my mind closed to that.

                                                                        I've loved menudo for decades so it was an easy and luscious stepto Trippa alla Romana at Salumeria Rosi in NYC with a couple of other CHs. One of the best preps ever.

                                                                        1. re: ospreycove

                                                                          My dad grew up during the depression in a tar paper shack. Got typhoid fever from bad water and took a year to recover. Grew up anyway. Then wangled an academic scholarship to Purdue.

                                                                          He'd eat dang near anything, but even HE drew the line at brains. LOL!

                                                                          Obviously if we're starving we'll eat all sorts of things we don't prefer. If necessary, all the way up the food chain until there's nothing left to say but

                                                                          DONNER! PARTY OF ONE!

                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                            Today I have learned that I enjoy not only pigs' "twits" (t/y Will Owen), but the livers, snouts and lips, and whatever else might slip in.
                                                                            You only live once, right? Go big or go home. The bacon grease thing sounds mighty tasty, although I might opt for unsalted butter for a part of it. In for a dollar, in for a dime I guess. Since I only get to eat this once every 7 years or so, I figure it all evens out and eat carrots for the rest of the week. :-)

                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                              What's that saying? When I die, want to come tearing into heaven, drink in one hand, chocolate in the other, body completely worn out, screaming, YAHOO! WHAT A RIDE!

                                                                              Something like that . . .

                                                                              1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                Red wine and some ancient wisdom plant, too. So I'd just drift on in in a most benign manner...

                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                  O.M.G, c oliver. Them's some of the yummiest tasty pig parts I've ever seen or heard described. (swallowing own saliva)

                                                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                                                    Crazy good. A couple of years ago I was embarassed that I had my plate so full/heavy that I couldn't hold it in my left hand in order to "shovel" more food on with my right.

                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                      I would love to have a recipe for that shrimp in yucca cream, boyoboy.

                                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                                        I've never made it but found this (very large) recipe:


                                                                                        A few years ago we went to a place that specializes in it. With a bottle of champagne, it was a great lunch!

                                                                              2. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                Brains, especially sheep's brains,lightly cooked in acidulated water (vinegar will do), then

                                                                                chilled, sliced how you like it dipped in batter and fried.

                                                                                I am mad for it.

                                                                                  1. re: Naguere

                                                                                    That sounds and looks great! The only time I can remember having them they were scrambled with eggs. I considered it pretty much a non-event taste and texture-wise. I'm going to rethink that.

                                                                              3. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                I only eat fresh,, Saturday morning, menudo, best example is at the La Libertad Mercado in guadalahara, in my opinon.

                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                  Hey,P-keg. I've got two or three cans cause when it's on special, I can never rememer if I have any. It can't hold a candle to the real thing but it has its moments, as you point out :)

                                                                                2. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                  Ooh, I gotta get a can of that. Love mondongo.

                                                                                3. Just last night, I heard the taste of huitlacoche described as "hairy, strong old cheese." which was more than enough to cure me of any desire to taste it for my very ownself. I consider myself adventurous, pretty willing to try new things, but sometimes I gotta just trust the evolved opinion of another foodie. Onto "mechanically separated poultry." Also known as soft-serve chicken. It just blows my mind what the USDA deems fit for it's people to eat. That stuff is VILE. Before I knew what it was, I bought a roll many years ago, and when it came time to squeeeeeeeze it out, that was it for me. Didn't even make it to the frying pan to see what this stuff would cook up into; straight to the garbage can, straight to the phone to call in an order of Chinese, to be delivered asap. Had lutefisk once, at the holiday table of a friend in Minnesota. The butter was good, the butter was fine. Loved the boiled potatoes and that good bread. The main course, though? It truly tasted like the stuff (I think it's agar) that lines a petri dish. Couldn't wrap my mind around it, although I do understand childhood taste memories. One item that fascinated and horrified me for years was "deviled chicken?" I saw someone open a can once for a sandwich, and that grainy, greasy yellow film over the top just did me in; then she spread it on bread, and I looked at it, and couldn't see a thing that looked or smelled like chicken.
                                                                                  I think we're having tofu stir-fry tonight. Suddenly, it's the only thing that sounds good. And let's not even start a thread on genetically modified soy products, because this girl has to hang onto one or two deeply-held food beliefs!

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                                                    Huitlachoche tastes like a fancy mushroom. If you like to call your food by shudder-inducing names, you can it a fungus, or corn smut, just as you can call lobster an enormous insect, or steak slabs of dead mammal muscle tissue.

                                                                                    This thread makes me sad.

                                                                                    1. re: small h

                                                                                      You're true, Huitlachoche tastes of fanciest 'shroom.

                                                                                      Some of them Fungi's are pretty fun guys.

                                                                                  2. "I'm not so sure anyone should actually want fresh Cuitlacoche?"
                                                                                    With that, whatever comment previously held the lead as the most ignorant and uninformed on Chowhound this calendar year, has relinquished it. You have no concept of how few days per year it is available fresh, how difficult it is to source, and what a delicacy it is when fresh. I'm surprised to hear you waxing disparagingly about something about which you know nothing.

                                                                                    1. Food snobs are funny, aren't they?

                                                                                      I love Underwood's Deviled Ham, on my good home-baked bread, as an occasional treat. It's intense and salty....delicious in a retro comfort food way.

                                                                                      As for Spam, Klik, that ilk of canned meat, I usually buy one can a year, to make one of my favorite sandwiches:

                                                                                      Spam salad. That's Spam mixed up with pickle relish and Miracle Whip. On white.

                                                                                      I think it's an insidious form of bullying to mock food that other people might enjoy, but at this stage of my life I've formed my own opinions, thank you very much. I'm lucky enough to live in an area where can source humanely raised meat and chicken, and I get my eggs from a local farmer, buy local produce and so on and so on. I do my best, most of the time.

                                                                                      Not everyone is so lucky, and some people are mature enough to be able to accept everyone's different tastes and likes and dislikes......... without mocking them.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: SherBel

                                                                                        I think I could easily get behind a sandwich made with your Spam salad, SherBel. Sounds remarkably akin to ham salads I've eaten in tea sandwiches down in the Southland. And I will re-iterate, for the sake of continuity, that there are many, many things around which I WILL put my mouth that other people wouldn't consider quite do-able, and a very few - VERY few--that I would not. But I mock nobody.

                                                                                      2. You've obviously never had the mouth pleasing dish that is Spam Musubi. And exactly how far is the potted deviled ham from the Teewurst I buy at my local German deli? I agree that there are always more refined levels of what is basically the same thing, but affordability is pretty important to a large segment of the population.

                                                                                        1. I've a friend that was tempted at Costco today
                                                                                          by the 8-pack of Spam in it's shrink-wrapped array.

                                                                                          Eight at one time? That's "2 cubed" of salty greased pork in a can.
                                                                                          Six pounds of pork shoulder been ground salted steamed and metallically reamed.

                                                                                          I guess I'm more cautious. I buy the cans one at a time. And basically use 'em when I happen to peruse 'em in cabinet checks for expiry dates.

                                                                                          But when I get down to Fryin', there ain't no denying, that I love a pan-crusted piece of Spam. The flat of the slab, crusted hard like a scab, sliced to half inch to ensure both crunch by the tooth and release of the grease...fried nirvana from the annual cabinet check.

                                                                                          I sure miss Fujisaka
                                                                                          with his so many "gotcha"
                                                                                          and his uncanny grasp of "Life's Can."
                                                                                          and a parallel force of "Life Can".

                                                                                          It exceeded the boundary
                                                                                          of his Spam-filled Musabi.
                                                                                          There were times of discussion elevated to percussion.
                                                                                          Where I sensed that he was quite a marvelous man.

                                                                                          But, hey, just for now,,
                                                                                          I'll morph from his moniker
                                                                                          and credit him Dr. Seuss gift "Spam I am."

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                            Is it alright to admit that I'm the Chow-friend...with a pantry full of (reduce sodium) Spam? Love it, FF.

                                                                                            1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                              After a holiday with my eldest son who worked for Samsung in Seoul I am never surprised:

                                                                                            2. Here is a lovely picture of mechanically-separated chicken, in case you are interested in never eating strawberry soft serve ice cream:

                                                                                              1. How about trying it before rejecting it?

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: toomuchfat

                                                                                                  "Its translucent larvae are able to jump about 6 inches into the air, making this the only cheese that requires eye protection while eating. The taste is strong enough to burn the tongue, and the larvae themselves pass through the stomach undigested, sometimes surviving long enough to breed in the intestine, where they attempt to bore through the walls, causing vomiting and bloody diarrhea."

                                                                                                  Yeah. Don't need to try that!

                                                                                                  "Leaping larvae, batman! That cheese is MOVING!"

                                                                                                  "That's not the cheese, Robin! That's the maggots that LIVE in the cheese! RUUUN!"

                                                                                                  1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                    zenny......how 'bout cream cheese and grape jelly on Wonder Bread??!!??!!

                                                                                                2. It's really not awful
                                                                                                  to partake of the offal
                                                                                                  whether fresh
                                                                                                  or preserved in a can.

                                                                                                  They might vary by species
                                                                                                  by cut, by delivery,
                                                                                                  but appeal of them offals remains pretty grand.

                                                                                                  There might surely be,
                                                                                                  those many not yet ready
                                                                                                  to suck upon dish of fried brains.

                                                                                                  But for those, got the muscle,
                                                                                                  to get down there, and suckle,
                                                                                                  on innards, there's much to be gained.

                                                                                                  The liver is giver of iron it delivers
                                                                                                  Tough muscled good gizzards give forth some good chew.
                                                                                                  Eating all the good parts of animal taken
                                                                                                  is something seems thrifty
                                                                                                  that we ought to do.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                                      I tip hat, give accord
                                                                                                      to the jest that dear Nipsy did truly afford.

                                                                                                      Though he never talked guts or innards or butts,
                                                                                                      I'd still love to take him to dinner.