A Facebook friend who goes by the moniker Sherry Senile Camper Swanson posted a photo of a can of Hormel Tamales on her timeline: “For my gourmet dinner friends…here is my post of my lovely lunch of canned tamales…which I LOVE. Be jealous. Hee he.”
Wife Lila chimed in, “Ken Steinhoff loves those things. Our grocer here quit carrying them, and I was charged with finding some… NOW! About six weeks later, I found them at another store and bought enough to keep him from going into a fetal position.”
That launched into a long discussion about those foods people keep in the back of their pantries for emergencies (in our case, hurricane supplies) or for the once or twice-a-year cravings. (If you can’t get them locally, here’s an Amazon link for Hormel Beef in Chili Sauce Tamales.)
It was interesting how many Cape Girardeans admitted to tamale urges. It must be a Bootheel thing, one said.
Smoked clams and oysters
When nothing else hits the craving spot, I’ll reach into the hurricane supplies to pick up a can of smoked baby clams or oysters. I like them scooped up on Ritz Garden Vegetable crackers. I didn’t see the brand we buy listed on Amazon, but I haven’t been able to tell much difference in brands. For as seldom as I eat a can, cheapest is best.
All things being equal, I think I belch smoked clams for a shorter period of time than smoked oysters. Now, THAT’S a food review you don’t see on Friend Jan’s food blog.
I was doing OK with this food talk until Ms. Swanson brought up Vienna sausages. I don’t think I’ve cracked a can of those things in 30 years, but I decided I should pick up a couple cans (they were on sale) when I went to the grocery store this afternoon. When I got home, Wife Lila was getting ready to make greens out of the broccoli leaves from her backyard garden.
She took one look at my cans and said, “You know how you have to leave the room when I drink buttermilk, well, I’m going to have to leave the room if you eat those.”
They DO look nasty
Ms. Swanson rhapsodized about her VS experience: “I still have a can that I carried all the way across the US on my bike adventure. I was always afraid I’d end up in some podunk place with nothing to eat. I ate in a lot of gas stations on that trip…and the can of VS made it to the Atlantic Ocean and back here to Missouri.”
When I cracked my can, I wish I had carried it unopened from one coast to the other.
Reading the ingredients didn’t make me feel any better: “Sausage: Mechanically separated chicken, water, salt, corn syrup. Contains less than 2% or less of beef, pork, Dextrose, natural flavors, sodium nitrate, garlic powder. Broth: chicken broth.”
Still, I had 50 cents invested in this adventure, so I had to go through with it.
I now know what “bilious” means
Wife Lila didn’t run screaming from the room after all. She consented to photograph my experiment. She kept saying, “That one didn’t look exactly right. You’d better eat another one while I shoot it from a slightly different angle. Oh, there’s a bad shadow on that one.” [Editor’s note: For the record, Proofreader Lila doesn’t remember the photo shoot that way. I think she is suffering from sausage-induced amnesia.]
I had a horrible, guilty flashback. We had a feature columnist who did lots of what he thought were “funny” stories requiring personal deeds of (not) so daring feats. We photographers resented the space devoted to him that we thought could be better used by serious stories, so we didn’t cut him much slack.
One shoot involved a test of a laundry detergent to see if the stains really would come out after [name removed] had been dragged through a mud puddle by a motorcycle. One of the most reliable photographers on the staff had the darnedest time that afternoon. They light was wrong, the timing was off, his film slipped on the reel… Poor [name removed] and his clothing were certainly muddy after about half a dozen takes, but, to his credit, he didn’t gripe about the misfortunes the photographer had.
I now sympathize with [name removed] and feel a little guilty.
After I finished the seven “sausages” in the can, I looked inside and saw a gelatinous goo left behind that wouldn’t even pour out.
A word floated into my mind; a word that I hadn’t used in so long that I had to look it up to make sure it was the right one. Yep, “bilious” was the right term: “Bilious fever was a medical diagnosis often used for any fever that exhibited the symptom of nausea or vomiting in addition to an increase in internal body temperature and strong diarrhea. “Bilious” means the condition was thought to arise from disorders of bile, the two types of which were two of the Four Humours of traditional Galenic medicine. The term is obsolete and no longer used, but was commonly used by medical practitioners in the 18th and 19th centuries, often cited as a cause on death certificates.”
Topics for future exploration
When I get over my bilious condition, we can explore those other foods of Swampeast Missouri like tongue with horseradish, pickled pig’s feet and brains and eggs.
19 Replies to “Crazy Food Cravings”
You needed to squeeze them out of the can first, rinse and pat dry “like a baby’s butt.” It’s what my husband always said and swore by! He loved those little weinies. And yes, every now and then I crave them, too.
So gross! My husband loved such delicacies as Vienna sausages, Spam, braunschweiger, and fried bologna.
My daughter climbed up on a chair and cleaned out my kitchen cabinets some months ago, and I think we found an old can of the sausages hidden at the back of a top cabinet. Since I detest the things, I can only assume they had been there since before my husband died in 1997.
I can only wonder if his choice of snack item led to his early demise…. Or maybe it was my cooking…
Ken, those great tasting vienna sausages are great for afun gout attack. Bought a six pack and occassionly would open with a cold beer. Ate them in my younger life ( i still remember that far back) , iwould add cheese and crackers a liitle bbq sauce and snack. One good gout attck and i swore off of them!
They were standard fare on Boy Scout camping trips. We called the VIE-eener sausages.
Run the sausages under hot water to remove the jell. They are then warm, add some Frank’s Hot Sauce and saltines. Great to take fishing for a snack and can also be used for bait…lol
I used to put Vienna sausages in kraft macaroni and cheese and I love smoked clams. Sardines in mustard or Louisiana hot sauce are other favorites.
I’m with you Ken on the Vienna sausages with a little Frank’s on a cracker along with a frosty cold one while fishing. Makes them bite better.
Also a fan of the Hormel tamales but I cover them with Hormel chili without beans after unwrapping, nuke for a couple of minutes then add some shredded cheddar and again douse with Franks hot sauce. Yum! Hormel chili is very similar to Steak and Shake.
All these odd ball concoctions sound strange but most of us eat oysters and snails in high zoot restaurants while paying dearly for it. Who was the first person to eat an oyster and just how hungry was he?
All these items are presently residing on the shelves of our pantry. Most of them are Jerry’s but I do like a little potted meat now and then on saltines. I’m also a fan of canned tamales. We always carried Crystal Hot Sauce, saltines, and smoked oysters and clams on camping trips. They were our emergency food items along with a can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew or Sioux Bee Chicken and Dumplings. A few times we even had to cook on the inside stove of our pop-up when the weather was too cold and rainy to use the outside stove. What we now have in our snowbound pantry we used to have in our hurricane pantry in Florida.
One caving expedition, the cooks ran out of pork and the people who came out late got sweet and sour vienna sausages for their dinner (or breakfast). We always had a case of them and canned chicken and canned date nut bread to carry into the cave for meals.
Forgot to mention – when we’re in Missouri, we often buy a case of Senor Edmonds Frozen tamales to trnsport back to Virginia. Those tamales and canned chili are my favorite!
I’m with Bill Jackson–canned sardines.
I have canned sardines for lunch most every day. Tamales in the can from Hormel and smoked oysters and mussles, “Dude you be eating good!”
Vienna Sauages…maybe not.
oysters and sausages, yum…
one thing missing, nothing pickled?
Need to add pickled eggs and sausages to the list.
Ken, you continuously serve up (pardon the pun) delicacies of memory. One reason you may have a latent carving for tamales despite having been born and raised so far from their country of origin may be the tamale vendor that used to have his cart parked along Broadway at the east end of Capaha Park from time to time. I remember my dad stopping to purchase a dozen or more from the vendor when there. As result of the vendor’s inconsistent appearance, one brand of canned tamales that my dad picked up was HyPower.
This topic also reminds me of the Kelly’s Chili commercials that used to play on KFVS. I remember the leprechaun dancing a jig and singing the jingle; “It’s an Irish recipe, brought from Ireland ‘cross the sea, and it smells so very tasty, it’s so good, good, good. Ole’!”
Darn, craving not carving.
Oh, One more thing from the Kelly’s Chili commercials. After the jingle the leprechaun would say,”Pits the hot, uh, hits the spot. Oh well, just heat and eat.”
How could a conversation this nauseating leave out the original “Mystery Meat”??????
S P A M !!!!
Grilled slices of Spam on white bread with dill pickles and mustard. B.u.u.u.u.r.r.r.p.p.p-in-good!
Or how about the old morning favorite…. Spam & Eggs??
They say Spam & canned peaches in heavy syrup won WWII. Or was it WWI? Had K-rations by WWII. No… just googled it… Spam invented by George A Hormel in 1937.
To clear all up, I was only Senile Camper for a day or two…family joking aside. Mr. Steinhoff you can now bill yourself as the Canned Food Connoisseur of the day. Look at you running out and getting canned tamales, Vienna sausages and the such to chow down on. Who knows where one innocent little post will lead.
Ms. Sherry, I’m pretty sure your picture doesn’t appear next to the dictionary entry for “innocent.”