Food fail: Lynne's Famous Baked Beans
Sharing the most spectacular Food Fail ever in my family, because I'm still in a terrible mood
This one's for you, @rachaelhogg and @cursedbeans
Screencap of commercial circa 1974, right in my wheelhouse
Van Camp's Pork and Beans: the beans of my childhood. The red can with the picture of the beans with the lump of pork fat on top, that would seem to be a poor rendering of the product – but was, in fact, more flattering than it deserved:
This is what I had to look at, every single night of my childhood
I have previously asserted the fact that my folks were not only poor, but utterly devoid of any type of sophistication whatsoever. Never mind that my mom's cooking was not worth a damn, and that we couldn't afford one decent side dish, let alone three (my dad did not feel he was getting a proper supper if there weren't three side dishes on his plate each and every night). My mom would usually heat up a can of some vegetable with the intent of making my brother and I eat it. As if. Anyway, that's one side.
It did not matter one iota what the rest of our dinner would consist of: steak; roast; chicken; spaghetti; stew, what have you. Every night my old man would take a scoop of cottage cheese and plop it on his plate. Then, he would open up a can of Van Camp's beans, find any sort of uncovered area on his plate, and pour that raw assed can of mediocrity right in there. The glistening, rubbery hunk of pork fat would torment me as he would swirl everything on the plate around into a congealing, oozing maelstrom of sick. And he would devour it with the glee of a small child:
This was the look on his face as he dug into his self inflicted pig trough of slop
As times got better and we could afford finer things in life, I at least convinced everyone to start eating Bush's.
Hey, they had Duke the Golden as their spokesdog! Quality!
As I had learned to cook some, I would take some Bush's, mix it with some bacon cooked al dente, some sauteed onion and some quality barbecue sauce, and bake it for a nice side dish suitable for cookouts as well as fried chicken dinners.
Sorry about the subtext. Now, Lynne's Famous Baked Beans.
One day about fifteen years ago, something emotionally catastrophic happened to my mom, not that she didn't bring it on herself. We came over to be with her. We had zero intention of having her cook a meal; after all, on her finest day she couldn't manage to make a piece of meat anywhere close to tender.
But she insisted she would, and she whipped up the single most disgusting thing that anyone had ever sincerely tried to serve to anyone. I mean, in college we whipped together some shit to eat out of boredom. But she honestly thought she had things under control, and banged this out, and had the unmitigated gall to be put out that we didn't eat it.
Even this picture really doesn't do it justice.
Now. For real this time. Lynne's Famous Baked Beans. Here we go.
First, she rummaged around in the cupboard and managed to find a rogue can of Van Camp's that must have been sitting in there since before my dad got his promotion. She opened it into a buttered (?) microwavable casserole dish.
Then she opened a package of bacon, grabbed about half a pound, sliced it in half and threw the two handfuls into the dish. There was a sliced onion on a plate that I was going to use to top burgers. She grabbed a handful and threw it in the dish. She got a bottle of mustard and gave it a squirt.
She microwaved the dish, covered, for 60 seconds. The butter melted, the bacon kind of started to separate into its slices. The Van Camp's, in its substandard and spoiled glory, clung to everything like a toxic film. She stirred it and brought it to the table.
That, right there, is Cursed Beans. To this day, whenever we have a terrible meal, one of us will remark that "hey, it least it was better than Lynne's Famous Baked Beans!"
In summary, for those of you who feel I am being a bit uncharitable about my mom, I agree. After all, it was just a dish full of beans. But she also took four beef filets that day and BOILED them in water... shanty Irish git.