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Canned Food Confessions


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What canned (tinned for our English friends) foods do you eat?

Admit it! Even though it's not cool for gourmets to eat canned stuff, you do it. Tell all.

Sure, you'll admit to canned San Marzano tomatoes, fine Italian tuna and the like. Okay, we should hear about that.

But what about canned . . . Campbell's soup! Beans! Fruit!

It's time to confess, and then to justify. There's good stuff in cans. Cans need a voice.

Let's hear it.

Ellen Shapiro

www.byellen.com

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i hardly ever soak dried beans. i pop a can. tonight we had a grilled skirt steak (marinated in garlic and tequila) on tortillas with fresh guacamole. the side was fresh corn, off the cob, sauteed with butter, cumin and canned black beans. it was tasty.

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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I admit to Campbell's Tomato Soup. I make it with milk and about 2 cups of cooked pastina (tiny pasta stars). My mother made it for me, and now I make it for my kids. They love it. The few times I made cream of tomato soup from scratch, my little monkeys wouldn't touch it. Sigh.

Karen

It really doesn't take more than three bricks and a fire to cook a meal, a sobering reminder that it's the individual who makes the food, not the equipment. --Niloufer Ichaporia King

FamilyStyle Food

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I am a personal chef. One night I was pressed for time and needed a soup fast. I used a can of hearty tomato soup and a package of cream cheese. Now I can't get rid of it. They love it.

Edited by Mhaus7 (log)

Michael

That which does not kill you makes you stronger

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Often: Canned tomatoes. Canned beans. Canned corn (the vacuum-pack kind). Canned mushrooms, not as a substitute for fresh, but as a different ingredient in their own right. Canned reduced-sodium chicken and beef broths.

Canned Asian vegetables like baby corn, straw mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts. Canned lychees and mandarin oranges. Jackfruit, too, when we stop by an Asian market. Canned evaporated skim milk to use in my mock Vietnamese iced coffee. Canned sweetened condensed milk for the real thing, or dessert-making. Canned coconut milk for cooking.

Occasionally: Canned tuna. Canned white meat chicken (Costco's Kirkland brand). There's one brand of canned clams I like. Canned soups, for a fast "emergency meal" (and my daughter likes canned chicken noodle soup). Canned chili, likewise. We always keep a few cans in the pantry.

My husband likes tins of sardines and smoked oysters. Inexplicably, he likes canned green beans (I can't stand the stuff!).

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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I love canned tuna, I just buy whatever the cheapest is (Starkist or Bumblebee usually) true, not artisinal Italian stuff, but dump some hot sauce on it and eat it right out of the can and it is a good breakfast. Sardines of course are a very similar pleasure.

Tinned anchovies of course are a staple as well. I mean, why just add salt when you can add salt plus fish? Anchovies can improve almost any dish (anchovie creme brulee anyone? err... well, maybe not... then again....).

The best curry pastes I have found have seen and tasted have been canned, so I keep a stock of those around.

Canned smoked oysters are great on occasion for a quick snack.

Canned clams are great for making a quick chowder or soup. I really really wanted to like canned octopus and eels, but haven't been able to get into them yet... but wow, how convenient would that be?

The philipino grocer sells great canned corned been. All the convenience of spam with 10x the fat content and flavor.

As far as veggies go I still have like five cans of canned asparagus I bought. I figured I'd like it because I love asparagus, but blech, so mushy.

For good cannd veggies -

The best sauerkraut I have had comes from cans. I like the soft really vinegary kind, not that still sweetish 'new kraut' you find in the refridgerated section. No, give me .59 cents a can Acme brand canned kraut anyday.

Suprisingly Bush brand canned collard, turnip, and kale grees are very palatable as well.

I love pickled jalepenos. The better ones come jarred, but the canned ones are really cheap, so I can't pass that up. On a similar note, no pantry is complete without a stack of Rotel tomoatoes and chiles.

Oh, and of course, I have all the staples that seem to just naturally come in cans, like coconut milk, and broth of fowl and heiffer.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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The best curry pastes I have found have seen and tasted have been canned, so I keep a stock of those around.

This raises a question about the definition of a can. For example, when you put something in a glass jar, like fruit preserves, you are said to be "canning." But a jar is not a can, at least I don't think it is. And then there are all these other variants, like plastic tubs that are rather can-like but aren't really cans, and also there's there are all these modern paper boxes and plastic bags and foil pouches that seem to accomplish the same thing that a can accomplishes, maybe.

In the curry-paste department, in the places I shop, it's interesting to see the different packaging methods in play. The two Thai-style curry pastes that I think are the best are the Maesri brand, which comes in a can, and the Mae Ploy brand, which comes in a plastic tub lined with a plastic bag. I actually prefer the Mae Ploy, even though everybody I know with even the slightest Thai food expertise says the Maesri in cans is superior. But they're wrong. Now, for whatever reason, the Indian curry pastes I like -- such as Nirav -- all seem to come in glass jars. Not sure what's up with that.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I agree on the Mae Ploy, I have red and green in my frig right now (a great way to whip up some dinner). That would also use some canned coconut milk! I also always have canned diced tomatoes, garbanzo beans (and others), canned anaheims, chipotles, anchovies (though i prefer in the jar with the lid that you can screw closed). I like the "fresh" canned crab from Costco. I eat canned tuna- I consider Spanish and Italian canned tuna a real treat. I will also on occasion eat pickled beets, artichoke hearts, and roasted bell peppers (when they are out of season and really expensive)- all canned!

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I love to sail, (Please explain to me why I live in a dessert) but back to the point I don't think anything "canned" other than tomatoes has food value left in it. Trying to live on nothing but canned foods for a long passage will prove it. You will suffer.

Michael

That which does not kill you makes you stronger

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I use a few canned foods. Usually specialty items that I can't buy fresh around here.

Thai curry paste, coconut milk, bamboo shoots, waterchestnuts, eel, baby corn are almost always in my cupboard.

The other canned non-exotic items are canned tomatoes, mandarin oranges, several kinds of beans, and pickled beets. I also have some canned soups for quick lunches. Some of the Campbells Select soups aren't really bad.

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My list sounds like everyone else's:

Common stuff includes Brunswick sardines, Clover Leaf (Wild Pacific) Sockeye, bamboo shoots, palm hearts, baby corn, and Campbell Chunky for all-nighters. Canned tomatoes also make it into the pantry in winter.

I also have tins of eel (Japan and Taiwan) and lamprey (Bordeaux).

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Very rarely, when I get a craving for Thai food, I open a can of bamboo shoots or baby carrots.  Otherwise, the can opener belongs to the dog that shares the apartment with me.

I've seen seeds for it--it's babies of a particular variety of corn.

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While from the land of tropical hurricanes, you can find most ANYTHING canned in my pantry.... from fruits to veggies to even corned beef hash (my husband's tastes)... after a couple months it is all given up to a food pantry in the area... and every spring the processes of rebuying begins.

The only thing I find I open often is sliced black olives. A favorite of my son.

~K

Thank you as well for the conversational haitus. I generally refrain from speach during gustation. There are those who attempt both at the same time. I find it coarse and vulgar.

Big Dan Teague

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

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I rely heavily on the basil, garlic, olive oil and tomatos in the can. I put it in anything I make calling for tomato sauce. I don't mess about much with soaking beanseither. I just rinse the canned ones and get on with it.

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I rely heavily on the basil, garlic, olive oil and tomatos in the can. I put it in anything that I make calling for tomato sauce. I don't mess about much with soaking beans either. I just rinse the canned ones and get on with it.

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My List:

Alpo Dog Food , Cat Food ,

Progresso Brand Lentil Soup (heat w/diced 'Sabrett' dogs)

Evaporated & Condensed Milk

'Melitta' brand fine ground Coffee

Portuguese & Maroccoan Sardines, yes: Tuna & Anchovies

not to mention 'Marzanos' & Tom paste

Sliced Peaches

'Hero' & 'Mamman' Confitures (that's Jams Jellies & Marmelades) , Nutella

Italian Mustard Fruit

3/4 Mustards

Iish Steel cut Oats

Gallons of Extra Virgin Olive Oils

Peter
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Does baby corn exist outside of cans? Is it, literally, baby corn?

I have seen fresh baby corn cobs stiff in husk in a Taiwanese market, so yes, the stuff does exist outside of a can or jar.

We let the kids grow some a few years back. I don't remember where we got the seeds but it was good and sweet.

I think I have seen it frozen somewhere but don't remember that either.

It is a different strain of corn because if one were to try to eat "baby" corn it would have no kernels at the early stage.

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Add to the list of the usual suspects plenty of spicey V8 juice for Bloody Mary base, Steak and Shake canned chili, Goya mango paste and canned chipotles.

What disease did cured ham actually have?

Megan sandwich: White bread, Miracle Whip and Italian submarine dressing. {Megan is 4 y.o.}

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