Make no mistake about it, prying open a can of Army Brand Chopped Pork Pattie Loaf is not for the faint of heart.
Sure, the Chopped Pork Pattie Loaf may be a bit confused as to whether it's a "patty" or a "loaf." (I, for one, think of it as more of a plug.) Pry the thing open, though, and any taxonomical confusion fades as the Pattie Loaf reveals itself as pure coagulated, heart-stopping pig.
To pull the ring on a can of Chopped Pork Pattie Loaf is sort of like in The Matrix when Neo chooses the red pill: You're about to travel deep into the pig, from snout to tail and back again. Spirited along lard-greased rails, you will encounter pork meat and pork skins. The label even promises a taste of that most piggy of ingredients: pork ham flavor.
But while your taxonomical confusion may have dissipated, gnawing on this lard-laced cylinder of pork products presents a more troubling question: Why?
Why, for instance, must any sort of canned chipped meat be interred in lard? Or why, you might ask, would the purveyors of the Pork Pattie Loaf specify that you'll be eating not pork skin, but pork skins, as if they'd come upon a pack of feral hogs, slaughtered and peeled them en masse, and tossed the resulting pig skin crazy quilt into a can? Or why, I wonder, do I sense a hog bristle between my incisors? Why is the can wrapped in a camouflage label? Why would they infuse this brick of hog with "pork ham flavor?" Aren't the pork skins, pork meat and lard enough?
Burning though they are, these questions merely hint at the broader question posed by a can of Army Brand Chopped Pork Pattie Loaf: Namely, in a world equipped with widespread refrigeration and efficient shipping routes, why do canned meat products endure? Or, rather, why do so many canned meat products endure?
Take Army Brand Chopped Pork Pattie Loaf. The only army I can imagine this being fed to is one on a forced march. The meat (or are these pig skins I see before me?) is tough and sinewy, while at the same time flaking apart with the lard that has invaded it on a molecular level. Pinkish and salty, Chopped Pork Pattie Loaf smells like cat food, and, I think I can say this with a certain degree of authority, tastes worse.
So why do they keep making the stuff? I have no idea. I do know, though, that next time I'm taking the blue pill.
Seen a foodstuff you're too timid to try? Malcolm will eat it! E-mail particulars to email@example.com.