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Potted Meat Food Product

"This Takes Guts"

Today we present the exciting results of a Scientific Taste Test we ran recently here at the Institute of Scary Foods. This test was inspired by alert consumers Ken Weidner and Eric Simonson, who sent us a label from a canned food name -- we are not making this up -- "Armour Potted Meat Food Product." The ingredients listed on the label include: Beef Tripe, Beef Hearts, Cooked Fat Tissue Solids, and Partially Defatted Beef Fatty Tissue, which is always a family favorite ("Mom, I'd like another heaping mound of Partially Defatted Beef Fatty Tissue!").

Also on the label is a color picture labeled "SERVING SUGGESTION," which shows a brownish substance with parsley and an olive sitting on it. Here at the Institute of Scary Foods we are highly suspicious of olives, which, in our opinion, are the eyeballs of giant frogs. We believe that if you stood outside an olive factory, you'd hear the unmistakable tragic sound (RIBBETT-THUMP; RIBBETT-THUMP) of terrified sightless frogs leaping into things.

So we were not exactly insane about the Potted Meat Food Product label. However, our job is to keep you, the food-eating consumer, informed, so we called up the manufacturer's Consumer Information Center, where we spoke with a perky and informative person named Barbara.

"What is 'beef tripe'?" we asked.

"Well, it's a part of the cow," said Barbara. "I'm trying to think of what part it is."

She put us on musical hold for a few minutes, then came back with a solid answer.

"The tripe is part of around the stomach area of the cow," she said.

Thus reassured, we set off for the convenience store. This is the same store where we once bought an amazing digital wristwatch that cost only $1.99, yet told the time. And when we say "the time," we mean it. If you set this watch at 2:14, it would keep saying "2:14" until you changed it to another time. This watch was so convenient that you didn't even have to wear it, because you always knew what it said.

Sure enough, this store had Armour Potted Meat Food Product, so we bought some, as well as another brand, Libby's Potted Meat Food Product. In addition to the beef tripe, the Libby's label says it contains pork stomachs, which could be a real selling point ("Now With TWO KINDS of Stomachs!").

To round out our Taste Test, we purchased: A can of Spam; a can of Mighty Dog brand dog food; a can of Bonton brand "natural" snails; a can of something called "Beanee Weenees."

We also bought some tortilla chips, because we were concerned about an article we recieved from alert reader Stuart Ritter about a woman who ate an improperly chewed chip, which ripped a five-inch gash in her esophagus. The article quotes the woman's doctor as saying: "A poorly chewed tortilla chip can produce serious injury."

For the Taste Test, we offered the various food products to a five-member Expert Taste Panel, consisting of me; my wife, Beth; our son, Robert; our large main dog, Earnest; and our small emergency backup dog, Zippy. The results were as follows:

Spam ranked highest, earning the title of "The Rolls-Royce Car Product of Canned Meat Products."

The Potted Meat Food Products had the same appetizing look and texture of internal-organ-colored wood filler, but did not taste as good. They were definitely a cut below the Mighty Dog, which was grainy but at least tasted as though it had once been organic matter.

Robert spat everything into the garbage except Spam and Beanee Weenees.

Earnest licked everything a LOT and continued to lick the floor for several minutes after all detectable food molecules had disappeared.

Nobody except Beth and Earnest would eat the snails, which look like little Jabba the Hutts and are clearly being sold as a prank.

Zippy got so excited about the sudden unforeseen onslaught of food products that he had a little accident product in the kitchen.

For safety reasons, we did not attempt to eat the Tortilla Chips of Doom. But we did establish, in a chilling experiment, that a single chip is capable of ripping a large, ugly gash in a personally computerized fund-raising letter from the Rev. Oral Roberts. Our advice to you consumers is: Don't try these experiments at home. Not without plenty of carbonated malt beverage product.

(C) 1990 THE MIAMI HERALD

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