A story: Someone I knew admitted to having eaten Alpo. The dog food reputed to be the meat of last resort of impoverished senior citizens. It was pretty good, he said.
He did not specify the circumstances, whether poverty or curiosity, that had led to that ingestion, but he sparked my curiosity.
You see, like everyone who has some connection to Hawaii’s local culture, I love Spam, which too is canned meat. Spam is excellent sliced, fried, and served on fluffy, sticky steamed short-grain rice like Kokuho Rose brand. Serve in stir-fry dishes with vegetables, cut it into matchsticks and put on top of your ramen, and of course make sandwiches.
Spam is an excellent ingredient in omusubi (rice balls) or sushi, replacing the traditional pickled plums in the former and the boiled shrimp in the latter. This video shows the simplest way of making this homestyle comfort food. Did you know you can make delicious sushi on the cheap? Indeed you can!
Being a poor graduate student, I looked for ways to eat more cheaply, since I subsisted on sandwiches from the convenience store. So I decided to try Alpo.
When I opened up the can, I was surprised at how good it smelled. I saw bits of offal in it, veins and such, but being an eater of such delicacies as fish eyeballs and chicken hearts, I had no hesitation at its looks.
I dug into the can. Oh, the horror! The horror! It tasted indescribably nasty; the bits of offal were rubbery to the point of being unchewable; and the heavy grease had no flavor, being more appropriate to a tallow candle or lubricating a garden fence hinge. Promptly I threw the can away. The word “animadversion” was made for such a situation.
So I was intrigued when I ran across “Canned Beef Meat” on the Lehman’s website. “Be prepared to cook hot, wholesome meals in an emergency, or simply stock your pantry for your family’s everyday dining.” “Enjoy in all your favorite recipes: stews, soups, casseroles, ethnic dishes and more.” Ethnic dishes? Hmm.
The sole ingredients are beef and salt. I can’t help wondering: Is it more like Spam or more like Alpo? At least it’s made for human consumption, but…
I would love to find out. But at $10.95 plus shipping for a 28-ounce can, it is too expensive to fulfill my curiosity. Maybe you can try it and let me know.