It was delicious, AND it actually tasted like bacon! Bonus! But for some reason I stopped buying it. Then I stopped seeing it in the market. I assumed that the company went out of business, leaving the turkey bacon industry up to the likes of Oscar Meyer and Butterball. (A quick aside: Butterball turkey bacon shouldn't even be allowed to be called food. It is the most awful product on the face of the Earth. Stay away!)
But today I did a little research and I found that Oscar Meyer turkey bacon IS Louis Rich turkey bacon! They must have purchased the brand or something, because I would never have known to look for the little "Louis Rich" label under the giant "Oscar Meyer" label. Another example of big business taking down the small fry.
Will I try it again? Maybe...just to see if it is as good as I remembered. But turkey bacon doesn't kill you as quickly as regular bacon and everyone who loves bacon knows the pleasure/pain dilemma of which I speak. Bacon is tasty that you don't mind that it is actually killing you. I don't think you get that with turkey bacon.
So this led me to think about other forgotten foods from the past and the first thing that popped into my brain was Underwood Deviled Ham. It's still out there and it's still in an aluminum can covered in paper. Like something ripped from my childhood memories in all it's gory detail.
When I was a kid I think we always had a few cans of this stuff sitting in the cupboard. I don't think we ate it all that often, because...well, it looked like cat food, to be totally honest. And it had that small layer of congealed fat on top of the spread that you would always have to scrape off before you could begin digging in.
I'm normally not a big fan of food products that require you to scrape off a layer of congealed fat before you can begin digging in.
But there was always something, um...tasty about Underwood Deviled Ham. I checked out the ingredients and they seemed harmless enough. Ham (cured with water, salt, brown sugar and sodium nitrate) and seasoning (mustard flour, spices and tumeric). That's it. OK, I'm not too sure about sodium nitrate and "spices" seems a big generic for me, but still.
Anyway, would you believe that out of the blue I actually purchased some last week? It's true! I think its the first time in my adult life that I've had Underwood Deviled Ham. I was even a bit embarrassed to place it on the conveyor upon checkout. Was anyone watching? Would anyone even know what this paper-wrapped can contained? How could I hide my shame without shoplifting?
But I somehow made it throught checkout intact, and I hurried home with my childhood memories surging and immediately showed my find to Gia. Her face lit up as it had been this side of forever since she had tried it either. I bought it because we wanted a meal of dips, fruits, pickled things and cured meats that night. And on some weird impulse, I was able to find it.
We set up our meal with dishes of hummus, eggplant, cheeses, smoked sausage, crackers and stuffed peppers and I happily tore into the wrapping of the deviled ham. There it was...the congealed layer of fat that I always loathed. I shamefully slunk into the kitchen to scrape it off into the garbage. Along with a thin layer of my soul, or so it seemed. What was I doing eating Underwood Deviled Ham?
But it really wasn't bad, I'm sorry to report. Nothing great, nothing awful. Just so-so. In fact, I think they must have changed the recipe because it wasn't as spicy or salty as I remembered. Which was fine, because there was probably much too much salt in it anyway. But it just didn't have that tang that I remembered from my childhood. A little disappointing.
How about you? Any semi-forgotten foods from you childhood that you secretely yearn for?
Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Like Mason Reese said, it's a smorgasbord in a can!