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5 Processed Meat Products We Love to Hate (and Hate to Love)

1. Vienna Sausages

Vienna sausages: not exactly from Vienna.
Vienna sausages: not exactly from Vienna.
Derek Thomas

Vienna sausages are those pale mini-weenies that sort of look like sausages but don't really. They look more like lobbed-off fingers after a horrible Cuisinart accident. And they come in a can. Ensconced in gelatinous liquid. I used to wipe away the slime and pop these babies in my mouth whole when I was 10-- but I was 10, and it was 1977. Did I mention I was 10? What I'm trying to say is, do not eat these. Vienna sausages are not your friends. They are not even made in Vienna.

2. Oscar Mayer Bologna

Oscar Mayer is not a nice man.
Oscar Mayer is not a nice man.
Derek Thomas

Oscar Mayer may have a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A, but he also has a product that spells nutritional disaster. What's in Oscar Mayer bologna, exactly? According to the label, a delightful mix of chicken, pork, water, corn syrup, sodium lactate, sodium phosphates, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrate and, oh yes, salt. (There's also an ingredient simply called "flavor.") At least it doesn't have any partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Yet.

 

3. SpaghettiO's Meatballs

This is not Italian food.
This is not Italian food.
Derek Thomas

These tiny balls of joy are my favorite part of the chemical soup that is Campbell's SpaghettiO's & Meatballs (formerly Franco-American's SpaghettiO's & Meatballs, for you original gangstas). The "meat"-balls satisfy every time, as surely and completely as the circle-shaped pasta they bob amidst. The spaghetti sauce may be a neon-orange mockery loaded up with high fructose corn syrup, but when you need canned meat and you need it now, this shiznit does the trick.

4. Spam

Not just for Hawaiians, apparently.
Not just for Hawaiians, apparently.
Derek Thomas

Spam may be mocked, abused, parodied and trivialized, but you can make some tasty treats with this mystery meat. Here are two recipes of my own invention to get you started:

"Sp'achos." Spread nacho chips on a cookie sheet. Place a bite-size chunk of Spam on each chip. Top everything with shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and the stench is intolerable.

"Sp'ores." Layer graham crackers, chocolate squares, marshmallows, and Spam so as to resemble a S'more. What you actually have is a Sp'ore. Eat at your own risk.

5. Potted Meat Food Product

What exactly is "partially defatted cooked pork fatty tissue?"
What exactly is "partially defatted cooked pork fatty tissue?"
Derek Thomas

The lab guy at Libby's who invented this may be laughing in his grave, and I hope he is, but I actually used to call for this by name when I was a kid. "Mom, do we have any more Potted Meat?" And of course the answer was yes, and I'd spread that unholy pâté onto saltine crackers and eat my way to processed-food paradise. Little did I know I was eating cow lips. Or as the label states: "Mechanically separated chicken, pork skin, partially defatted cooked pork fatty tissue, partially defatted cooked beef fatty tissue, vinegar." Which is a fancy way of saying "cow lips."


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