Food for the Apocalypse

It started innocently enough. A Mexican friend, a worldly and sophisticated kind of guy, a man who had actually lived in foreign countries for substantial periods of his life, started out with a fond reminiscence about canned chili. One thing led to another, and before long, the topic of misunderstood canned food came up. Well, it had to, sooner or later.

And then before you knew it, Daily Show writer and otherwise famous guy Rob Kutner writes this book, Apocalypse How, telling us how to get ready for the end of the world. But he carefully leaves out one very important fact. Guys who plan to survive do this, you know. (We have to mention his name as frequently as we do law or sex, because he sends us $10.00 each time we utter his name. We know a good thing when we see it.)

So, I’m at Albertson’s in Santa Fe, and what do I spy on the shelves? Yes, you guessed correctly: Hormel canned tamales. Those rich celebrity folks in The City Different know their gourmet cuisine, that’s for sure. Only hours after returning home to Morelia, it was time to send out a plea for more, and a very connected person in the next town over had confirmed orders for replacements on their way all the way from the U.S. to Mexico in a matter of minutes.

Suddenly, canned tamales became all the rage in central Michoacán. The mere sight of a can brought tears to the eyes of even more sophisticated, worldly folks, the kind who hang with the cognoscenti of Mexican culture. They spoke fondly of the first tamal that ever touched their tongues in far-off places like Springfield, Missouri, Dallas, and San Diego, savoring it right down to the paper wrappers, congealed orange morsels of flavor, and playfully light chili sauce.  One elderly man recalled his very first brush with the humble canned tamal in Denver some fifty years back.

Only yesterday, a half-case of Hormel canned tamales was placed in my custody. I fondly read over the label of the canned tamales, carefully noting that no xanthan gum, red dye number five or diethylhydrodemocratic acid or other foodstuffs not found in nature lurked in this all-natural, all-beef, preservative-free product. Yearning to open a can for my own selfish pleasures, I read the stamp on the cans, only to find that this stuff is best if served in 2011. This means that I have to wait three more years before this stuff is fully matured.

It’s for the best. Come 2011, we’ll all be good and hungry, if not starving, once the Apocalypse comes.  And those canned Hormel beef tamales in chili sauce will be even more damn delicious.




6 comments on “Food for the Apocalypse

  1. billiem says:

    OMG, you are serious about these canned tamales. They are really for real.


  2. Artery-cloggers. Reminds me of the fixation on Spam in other developing countries.
    Eat a salad.


  3. I eat tamales only occasionally. But never canned. (shudder)
    But I do have a confession to make. I used to consume at least one entire can of Chef Boy-Ar-Dee ravioli a week, preferably Jumbo sized, with lots of Kraft powdered Parmesan Style cheese (complete with methylcellulose {to prevent clumping} on top. Yum. It’s the umami, you know.
    Here in Mexico, no Chef Boy-Ar-Dee for me, nor Hormel canned tamales. We are having Polish Sausages with col agria (sauerkraut) for lunch.
    Ah, Springfield, Missouri, I knew it well. Home of the famous Springfield Cashew Chicken, the Ozarks’ answer to Chinese cuisine. I don’t miss it.


  4. Temo says:

    I can’t believe it, Jen!!!!!
    I’m speechless. And touched. And hungry?
    Coffee tonight?


  5. Patricia M. Joyce says:

    Like Mike, I grew up with a fondness for canned food. But in my case it was Spaghettios.
    We could never have them at home because Mom said they were too expensive to serve to 9 kids. I loved to eat at friends’ homes because there were no such restrictions there.
    When I was old enough to move out on my own, I overdosed on Spaghettios — every night for an entire night.
    I never want to look at them again.


  6. Richard M. says:

    More than 30 years ago, as a young Texan working in the North Sea, I was in London for a week off, and went into Fortnum & Mason, where I found the most amazing delicacy– Wolf Brand Chili. It was ambrosial.


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