Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 6: Know When to Walk Away

Tonight, we took a horrible gamble. I'll take full responsibility for it. In retrospect, it was clearly an error of truly epic proportions. The Man said it best, when he said "If you're gonna play the game, boy, you gotta learn to play it right."

Wise words, Kenny. Wise words.

First off, the set up. I'll admit that today was kind of a cheat. See, one of the rules of the game was that you weren't allowed to plan meals around cans. However, we skirted through a sort of loophole (that I just made up completely)...we hadn't planned any meal for tonight. Since it has been brought to my attention that skipping days all willy nilly is costing us the trust of our readership (which we all value incredibly highly), we needed to crack open a can anyway. Little did we realize that this would send us into a greater cooking process than anything we had done thus far.

The can we chose bore some cryptic and helpful warnings:

How kind! Instructions on how best to enjoy the Righteous Happy Beaks within!

Oh. Nevermind.

Since we had no meal planned, there was nothing for it but to crack it open. The internal compromise that I worked out with myself for bending (totally breaking, but whatever, they couldn't eat fucking gravy) the rules was that we would not taste the substance within. We would smell it, look at it, and plan the meal from those impressions alone. Thus, this meal represented A Great Gamble.

Crystal Gravy?

On first glance, it looked like most of the cans we had opened. Some kind of translucent liquid with who knows what (OH MY GOD KILL IT KILL IT) within. Because it almost said to 'serve hot', we decided to dump it into a pan.

If you've been reading this blog, this is a very ominous picture.

As I poured, we kept waiting for the other "shoe" (or tentacled spiny horror) to drop. Nothing. The whole can was this translucent goo with some kind of little meaty chunks in. Well. As we put our noses over it to savor the bouquet, the only thing we got was that it smelled 'spicy' (like poison) or 'fruity' (like hot trash).

I suppose the only explanation is that the very innocuousness of the substance put us off our guard. Remember what we've been eating all week. Something that was just clear goo couldn't possibly be that bad right? This is what caused us to Make A Huge Fucking Mistake.

Meg said that maybe it was just gravy. Which sounds crazy, but it actually sort of fits. See, I'm kind of known for eating gravy. On top of that, Mike went to extreme lengths to apologize loudly and vehemently about the cans we had left. As I was staring at the pot, in my mind I was thinking: Ah ha! Perhaps he doth protest too much! Those of you who are acquainted with Mike know that he has no scrap of duplicity. He lies about as well as the Lamb of Hosts. This somehow led me to believe that it was likely that the reason that he warned us so thoroughly was that he was trying to set up an elaborate trick (like the time he managed to convince Kurt and I that magic was real, and then destroyed our burgeoning sense of childlike wonder in a dickmove worse than 10,000 Grinches, all within 20 minutes--nevermind, another story).

Now, all of that being said, Sara was still involved. So a simple poultry gravy was Right Out. Still, maybe it wasn't 'normal' gravy. Maybe it was made out of some kind of inapproprate meat animal.

Or perhaps it was made out of chickenoids what had all their blood removed and then replaced with gravy. Meta-gravy.

Whatever. How bad could it be? So we planned a meal to utilize gravy. Easy. Chicken Fried Chicken with Homemade Mashed Potatoes. We had everything we'd need to put it together. So I tossed the 'gravy' (as an aside, you've all probably figured out that by this point in the game that there is no earthly fucking way that they would have chosen anything so edible as gravy...I can only say that perhaps the smell of it burned out crucial logic paths in our brains) onto the back burner and prepped everything I'd need.


I really got in to this. I think that I was perhaps giddy with excitement to be preparing something that was going to be so edible. For the first time since the competition began, I was really cooking! I seasoned the pans of flour with two different layered blends designed to be distinct and yet still be complementary. I pounded out the chicken to ensure even cooking. I washed, peeled, and cut all the potatoes that we had left.

I meticulously and perfectly executed the 3-stage 2-hand breading method for the first time ever.

Through the entire process, I kept slowly stirring the pot on the back of the stove. I nobly resisted the urge to taste it. I was just completely convinced that this was gravy.

They sizzle, awaiting what can only be incredibly delicious gravy!

After the tempest in the kitchen was over, everything was ready to rock. I got it all dressed up on plates. I was so hopeful that I may have skipped my way to the table.

I completely doused my portion.

Meg, in her wisdom, was more cautious. Gravy on the side, and a big ol' bottle of Hydrocodone ready to go.

First taste. Not gravy. Not even close to gravy. Gravy is not in its ancestry in any way. The people who regularly eat this have never even heard of gravy. The people who 'cooked' and canned this substance actually despise gravy. Gravy killed their parents. There was a gravy flood that drowned their entire village. They were kidnapped as children, and force-fed gravy for twenty years, only to escape and swear terrible vengeance.

Now, we tried. The first taste was bad, but it wasn't repulsive. It mostly tasted like fish. Probably some kind of fish soup. Eating chicken and potatoes covered in hot fish soup was no fun at all. Meg gave up. She couldn't do it. I wanted to persevere though. I didn't want to just give up. We'd come so far through the week! We were so close to the end! I ate a whole chicken and at least 25% of my potate.

Then I found this.

Aaaaaand this:

It's true. Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me.


Day 6: Apparently it's OK to skip days.

So I finally got those jellied farts I was looking forward to. I'm glad about that, I guess. Although, Jamie cryptically told me earlier that I have one "really awful" can and one "kinda awful" can left and I can't tell you which one I picked tonight. It was the second can to actually make me gag while eating it, but the other to illicit that response was the seemingly innocent gravy, so do what you want with that. Anyway, both of his are fucking terrible, so that's gonna be fun for everyone (me).

Seriously, though, this is the first time since we started this game that I couldn't even accurately describe to you what I just ate. Clear, slightly sweet with a bitter aftertaste and cubed. Oh, and it was probably a (fart) plant.

Can you see the packing date on that can? 2008. Nearly TWO YEARS AGO.

Oh, that's right. Not only did these guys find all this stuff out behind the Meijer, they picked up the stuff that sat on the shelf for two years. This can probably rolled back in between the shelves and some stock boy found it, took it into the break room so everyone could joke about how the store hadn't stocked this product since 2008 where it sat for a few months. After the shift manager (Karen) threw it out, Jamie and Meg find it on one of their opossum-adventures and decide to feed it to me since "technically, it's still not expired". I did the only thing I could in this situation.

I fed it to Mike.

Five minutes later he wasn't dead, so...

I fed some to the dog.

Let me explain something about Sandy (the dog). She'll eat damned near anything. I know what you're thinking...most dogs will eat anything, but Sandy will eat shit like radishes and watermelon rind. Not dog things like 'LoL my dog eats peanut butter, isn't that crazy (LOL)?!'. Sandy will eat a fucking turnip. She eats topsoil in great clumps because it smells loamy. I've also seen her swallow a goose whole.

Sandy balked at this stuff. The dog that will knock you down to lick soapy dishwater off the kitchen tile had to think about putting this in her mouth. When I finally convinced her it was 'Food, Sandy! Cookie! Yum Yum!', she chewed it thoughtfully for about 20 seconds, then sneezed. She didn't really want anymore after that.

She didn't die or puke, though, and Mike didn't mind it and thought it was kind of like a pear, so I threw it in a strainer to get a better look at what I was dealing with and how it would go with our Campbell's Soup recipe (baked chicken and Cream of Celery soup) and egg noodles.

Can't wait to shove double-fistfuls of that into my yammer.

I still have no idea what this jellied-hell is, but aside from the texture (which is really damned awful, like a combination of a grainy pear and those strings from celery but also Jell-o), it doesn't have an extremely offensive taste.

Fuck it. WhipCrem.

Even after huffing half the propellant out of that whipped cream can, I could barely handle the texture of this stuff. I gagged trying to make myself finish my allotment, but I did it. I look over at Mike and see this:

Those are the eyes of a man whose soul is long departed.

I can only hope Jamz and Meg enjoyed their can tonight as much as we did.

Bonus Cool Pic! Mike got his infrared camera today and took this while we were getting dinner...the cool part? This is the heat from our bodies reflecting off the fridge doors!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 5: Doubling down for real...Part 2

After my bout with the gravy this morning, I wasn't completely thrilled with eating another can of something for supper this evening. It was leftover night since the Breinings have had visitors this week and there's been quite a bit of cooking going on. Grilled chicken, teriyaki beef, pizza, Mexican ten-layer dip...just a real fancy international spread. Oh, and a dented to fuck can of "food".

What the hell did you do to it, Jamie?

Seriously...all the cans I sent were untampered with when I put them in that box. Did you guys just find this one out behind the Sav-A-Lot? Was it something they were trying to throw away, but you two were out there pushing around a jankety, rusted out old shopping cart (wheel missing) full of discarded food until the Night Manager shined a flashlight on you and you both run away, but Meg can't push the cart straight because of the wheel, so she crashes it and you only manage to grab this one can? I don't even feel safe opening this thing after all that. It was also rusted in one spot.

Now, I admit that I had it easy tonight and kind of cheated after I opened the can. Which looked something like this:

Is that paper in there? Yes. Rusty can? yes.

I've had canned tamales before. They're not completely horrible taste-wise, but there is one incredibly dangerous thing about a canned tamale which, like some crafty-but-lazy prey animal, doesn't reveal itself until it's too late.

Not terrible...or is it?

Look at the right side of that picture. That translucent orange liquid? It's grease. About 75% of the orange "sauce" in that pictures is just waiting to slide down into some unsuspecting schmuck's guts and wreak havoc in a most horrible fashion. Otherwise, this isn't too bad a meal to have to deal with. The worst part is actually the peanut gallery of family members who crowd around every night while I open the can and proceed to tell me how disgusting I am for five minutes. I KNOW, ALRIGHT GUYS!? STOP JUDGING ME! FUH!

The trap-door spider of meals

They're pretty bland. Even with Cholula (the best hot sauce, shut up) and sour cream, they're still bland. Maybe the included sauce makes them "flavorful"? I'll never be able to tell you, because I won't eat that part. Since we cheated a little and pretty much just made this a meal, it wasn't hard to eat the required 50% and in fact, between the two of us, we ate all but one tamale. However, had I not known about the sauce thing and just drank that down all unsuspecting-like, it probably would have killed us. Creativity: 0. Lethality: 10. I'm onto you guys and this thing isn't over yet.

Day 4 & 5: In Which Much is Revealed

I'd like to pretend that doing two cans in one meal was some kind of super awesome idea to make an interesting post. No, mostly what it was was laziness. The other part was fear. I spoke a bit about this yesterday, but this Can Game shit is taxing. Every day you're staring down the barrel of a gun. In the early days, we could hope that we might get something delicious. Something from a named animal, perhaps. Maybe a fruit? But no more. After the first 3 days, that hope is dead. Killed off by snouts and lips and things harvested from caves by grave men.

Yet we're only halfway through. We're not going to be the ones to puss out on the Can Game midfield. So we continue. Therefore, after our day of pizza delivery respite, we have to knock out two cans. The plan? Open 'em, throw 'em together, and (if necessary) eat the result weeping over the sink.

The Can Game has taught us many lessons, the first of which is that Mike and Sara do not have kindness in their hearts (or hearts at all, really). Instead they have small withered organs in their chests that pump noxious ichor. Armed with this knowledge, we hit up the store trying to get some post-traumatic-cangame supplies.

Cheese, Candy, and Yogurt.

I picked eggs and cheese, hoping that I could drown out whatever fermented meef we were going to have to eat. Meg? She chose pickles...

She has chosen poorly.

Because nothing takes the taste of despair out like more yuck, amirite? Anyway, it was go time. We picked our two cans for the night, put clothespins on our noses, and said a prayer.

Dear infant Jesus: Protect us from these ratspines and fishfeet we are about to recieve.

Time for the big reveal. Can #1:

Well, clearly some kind of ankle.

Well, it's not the best looking perfectly normal beast I've ever seen, I'll grant you. But all in all, it could be worse.

Meg: "It smells like catfood." Me: "That's not so bad!"

As an aside, can I just mention what a sad state of affairs it is that the above picture fills me with a feeling of relief? I look at that, contemplate putting it in my mouth, and think: "You know, this isn't the worst thing I've eaten in the last 24 hours." Ponder that for a bit, friends.

See those taste-test faces? It's like when you punch your siblings so much that they flinch every time you move your hand.

Relatively bland miscellaneousmeat? At this point in the week, that is comforting. I'm actually a little excited now about this meal. I can find it in my heart to believe that if I had actually seen the label for this can, it would have contained less than four chemicals known to cause cancer in laboratory animals.

It would have been better if they had removed the hair and skin first, but whatev.

Easy enough. We'll make omelets (I knew egg and cheese would be the hero). We had some month-old smoked sausage which we probably wouldn't eat under normal circumstances...but we're midway through the cangame here. Any Normal White American Food is going to be superedible, regardless of age.

Left: Sausage. Right: Probably seahorse.

All fried up, it looked pretty tasty.

Well, provided your taste buds have been so de-sensitized that even a completely unknown meaty substance looks wonderful.

Can #2, though. Can #2 was a different story. A story you wouldn't read to your kids. The kind of story you remember years after and think "Wow, that was a creepy story."

You have the balls to bitch about gravy when you send us concentrated darkness?

What is that? Is it motor oil? Motor oil may not be so bad, I guess. I mean, it's poisonous, but maybe it will numb the mouth as you eat it. Maybe it's the Black Blood of Kali. I could certainly use a good Black Sleep right about now.

Om-nom She-bai, Om-nom She-bai

Time for a closer look. I start to drain what I think is black liquid out of the can over the strainer to catch whatever terror lies beneath. Instead, this happens:


That's right, nothing comes out. About a teaspoon of black goo comes out, and that's it. Maybe it's scared? Is there something in there holding on to the sides of the can? I apply some wiggle, and then it happens.

No one should have to hear the sound this made coming out of the can.

It's a mass of black slime, perfectly retaining the shape of the can. I flip it into a bowl, where it (no joke) continues to flop around for several seconds. I take a couple of minutes to scratch my head. Then I poke it. Nothing happens. Hum. So I bravely pick it up and take a huge bit----no, I'm totally kidding. I cut off a piece and fed it to the dog.

Who promptly sniffed it, sneezed, and then shook his head. That's right. Sara and Mike finally found a substance that the dog wouldn't even consume. We actually shot a video of this, where he literally smells it and shakes his head "no fucking way guys, I don't care how many times you tell me to 'get' it." Unfortunately, Blogger and Blackberry phones do not play well together. I cut it in half and flipped the reject into the disposal.

Where it refused to die. I cut it with a knife like twelve times to get it to go down the drain.

No help for it, but to man up and smell. Not to bad, really. It mostly smelled like old tires and tea. Some kind of galvanized teaslime. It also had no taste. You put a slice in your mouth and chew and get nothing. Then after you swallow, you just smell it again. A re-smell.

Heating had no effect.

It sort of sat there in the pan and whistled for about 10 minutes. Then, to my total shock, it did not explode. It didn't do much of anything. I was hoping that it would dissolve. My plan was to maybe put a fuckton of sugar in it and put it on ice cream. Meg wasn't too thrilled about sacrificing some of her precious ice cream supply, but it turned out to be moot. The substance was inert. I was completely stumped at this point. Then a bolt of brilliant inspiration hit me.

That bolt was Meg telling me we should make bubble tea out of it.

Bubble tea, if you're never had it, is basically iced tea mixed with milk that has random goo balls in it. They call these 'bubbles', perhaps because 'gooball' isn't really a marketable word. Normally, those 'bubbles' are made of tapioca pearls. In our case, we had a gooey tea-tasting mass that would have to do.

It seemed that no matter how much we chopped, there was still more.

Put slime in jars. Pour half tea and half milk into a shaker. Shake well.

Mug for the camera.

Add the stuff to the jars, and enjoy! The final meal wasn't bad. Decent omelets, decent approximation of Bubble tea. All in all, I'll consider it a victory.

Two cans left. If I know Sara and Mike, they'll be the worst of the lot. I know the cans that they have left are certainly no prize. Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 5: Doubling down for real...Part 1

I'm a dirty liar. We didn't eat two mystery cans to catch up yesterday. However, we did make it up today. I'm also pretty sure it's killing us.

The day started pretty well, really. We've been looking for a Dogloo for our tortoise for a few weeks and finally managed to find one on Craigslist for an insane $25. Of course, people on Craigslist are always fucking insane (sometimes, also painfully stupid) and we had to pick it up before 10 a.m. On a Saturday. Whatever, Crazyface, you're selling us something we need for like a quarter of what you paid for it.

What's all that have to do with mystery can? Well, it meant when Mike got home, we ate a late breakfast and since I'm a cheating sneakthief what shirks her can-consuming responsibilities at every turn, I had to make up some lost ground.

What luck! There are fresh bagels in the kitchen and that seems pretty perfect considering bagels are amazing vessels to cart cream cheese into my face.

I chose "everything" flavor, but I'm pretty sure I didn't taste any snout.

Mike chose yumberry.

Those look decent, right? I didn't want to mess it up too bad, so I chose the next smallest can in the mystery can box. It looked like a legit can of food, like it might have come from a real factory that produces something made from the good parts of plants and animals (not stems, teeth and eyelashes).

Thanks for blacking out the text saying "DO NOT EAT", Jerkasses.

See, I thought I might get away with a soup...not something real tame, of course, but perhaps a specialty soup made for people who developed their tastes during the Great Depression when people would boil down shoes and call it supper.

Great. Onion Gravy.

Yeah, fucking brown onion gravy. It smells horrible. Just truly horrible. Unluckily for me, I chose to eat a savory bagel for my breakfast, which pretty much means that I get to try and eat this crap. After all, it's be a real shame to ruin a yumberry bagel with something that smells, looks and tastes like liquid trash.

Oh Boy! There's my Breakfast!!

Yum Yum...Here we go...

... and I claim complete failure on this one. I could not eat half a can of Onion Gravy. For the record, I like gravy. Even with a bagel that would lend itself well to this sort of thing, I couldn't do it. After the third bite, I was gagging at the thought of taking another. The flavor crept into my sinus passages and even though it's nearly 12 hours after the fact, I CAN STILL SMELL AND TASTE IT. I've brushed my teeth, chewed gum, eaten mints, consumed another (mystery can) meal, and nothing I've done has lessened its presence at all. Give me 100 cans of whatever the hell meat that was I ate yesterday morning. I do not want more Onion Gravy.