1/13/09 | Hartford House Beef Stew
[ Currently Eating: NOT dog food ]
I’m not going to lie to you. I like the word “Kibbles.”
It just rolls off the tongue nicely, like a bottle of Albertsons vodka mixed with OJ (not Simpson). It also rhymes with Tribbles, which is handy in case I’m ever writing a Star Trek limerick. Finally, it goes along nicely with the word “Bits.” This gives you the canine culinary creation: Kibbles ‘n Bits.
What does Hartford House Beef Stew have to do with Kibbles ‘n Bits?
Come on, Eileen. You can do the math yourself…
Truth be told, this can of stew was part of my earthquake food supply kit. But seeing as how the date on the can was getting a little close to the expiration date (really, 1/13/11 is coming up way faster than you think), I thought I’d crack it open and have some stew on a cold, windy day.
Thank god I opened it now, because if I had to eat this after an earthquake, I might throw it up. Now I can go and replace it with something tame like Spam or Vienna Sausages.
Do you know the buttery, fungus paste that grows between your toes if you don’t take a shower for a few days? Oh no, it doesn’t taste anything like that. Not that I would compare it to something like that, on penalty of being banned for life from the Dollar Store by the cabal of food manufacturers that puts out this crud. I smell libel, I smell suit.
No, this was probably not as bad as I’m making it out to be. But after eating luxurious frozen food for a few weeks, it was rather disturbing.
On the surface, this is your typical canned beef stew with potatoes, carrots, and “meat”. Speaking of “on the surface”, when I first wrestled the can open (note to self: make sure to include high quality can opener in emergency earthquake supply) there was about a 1/4 cup worth of orange blobbity on the top of the can. Oh cool, I thought – some pureed carrots to thicken the stew. Not so fast, Bugs Bunny.
I dunno what it really was – probably a combination of lard, grease, oil, tomato paste and spices. I mean, I see a bit of that inside the top of nearly every can of Chili or soup I open up. But there was just gobs and gobs of that orange stuff, and it was harder than Ronald McDonald’s arteries after ingesting 55 Big Macs.
But you know what they say – if you’re going to play with fire, you might as well stick your whole hand in. Uh, any 10 year old kids, disregard that last sentence. I scooped most of the orange goo back into the can and just heated it up. Once I got it all mixed up, the orange color wasn’t as noticeable. The stew took on the consistency of glue, or maybe some of that Fix-All that we use to fill up holes in the wall. At least it wasn’t gritty like spackle.
I guess the potato pieces were pretty standard, and the carrot pieces, while small and pasty, were at least unremarkable enough that I could eat them. The sauce had a strange flavor, somewhat like buttered popcorn mixed with coagulated blood. I think it has something to do with the “tin can” effect, where you get foods picking up a metallic taste. It was VERY noticeable. I tasted it in the sauce and meat mostly.
Now, that meat – here’s where we get into the Kibbles part. It was like eating dog food. I’m not claiming that Hormel Chili or any of those other cans of stew have superb chunks of meat. But these little beef shmears were like the tiny hairball gems that my cat upchucks every so often. I just could not get past the taste and texture. Maybe if they were larger, or if they stuck some more spices in it to fake out my taste buds. Anything else, please, anything.
Would I eat this if I was starving? Sure. Last I checked, eating bad stew is an excellent alternative to starving. But I think I’m going to have to go back to the dollar store to get something else. Sorry, Hartford House (I seem to have liked your Corned Beef Hash better). It’s probably unfair to compare this to Kibbles ‘n Bits. I don’t even have a dog. But if I did, I think I would trade him his Kibbles for this stew.
Found At: Dollar Store
Cheap Eats Score: 1/10