I am amazed by what some people will eat.
The other day, when my husband asked what I wanted for dinner, I told him “Chinese food.” Unfortunately, without a real Chinese restaurant in the area, Chinese food is not something we can easily get. We had grilled steaks instead.
Yesterday, my husband came home from the supermarket with a surprise. “Chinese food,” he told me, removing a can from the grocery bag.
I stared. It was La Choy Chicken Chow Mein.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this stuff. It comes in a pair of cans — a tall one and a short one — attached together to make a really tall can package. The small top can contains the chicken and sauce. The big bottom can contains the vegetables, packed in water. You make dinner by heating up the contents of the small can, then dumping in the drained contents of the big can and heating it back up. Dinner in about 8 minutes.
When I was a kid, we used to eat this stuff. We used to eat SpaghettiOs and Hamburger Helper, too — but that doesn’t mean I eat it as an adult. I had no desire to eat La Choy Chicken Chow Mein. But Mike was kind of excited about it. “I want to see if it’s the same as I remember it.”
I prepared dinner while he fed the horses. I opened the small can and caught a whiff of something that smelled remarkably like cat food. There was a brownish gravy in there with small tidbits of a meat-like substance. Mike had instructed me to add a can of regular chicken (which we buy to make chicken salad), so I drained some of that and added it. Now it had chicken and tidbits in it. I tried not to breathe through my nose as I put it in the microwave to heat up.
While I waited, I opened and drained the big can. It contained mostly bean sprouts, but some small pieces of baby corn, water chestnuts, and microscopic pieces of red bell pepper. At the proper time, I mixed it all together and popped it back in the microwave. The odor was beginning to permeate the kitchen. Oh, and the finished product looked nothing like the photo on the packaging.
I mixed us some vodka and plum wine on ice and took a good long drink, preparing myself for the worst.
We had dinner a little while later. The best part about it was the plain white rice I’d made to go with it. I had two small scoops of goo over the rice. It was horrible. What was worse was putting the leftovers in the fridge. Now I have to look at it and remember it every time I open the refrigerator door.
I think I’ve discovered a new diet: the prepared food diet. That’s when you heat up prepared food that’s so bad you can’t eat it.
Does anyone other than me remember the little jingle for the La Choy commercials on TV? “La Choy makes Chinese food…swing, American!”
And can someone explain to me how a food product that tastes this bad can survive all these years?