Ever since I first tried it, SPAM has always held a special place in my heart. I’d have that special place surgically removed, but my doctor told me the procedure was high-risk. So now I’m stuck with the occasional craving for salty, canned meat products, a fate only slightly better than taking a chance under the knife.
And while on vacation in Madeira Beach browsing the aisles of Winn-Dixie — a supermarket chain so rare in my hometown that I’m occasionally surprised to hear it still exists — my curse kicked in and I was involuntarily willed into purchasing this monstrosity: SPAM & Penne Pasta in Alfredo Sauce.
SPAM Meal For 1 microwaveable meals sit comfortably on the shelf next to Hormel’s other line of human food troughs, Compleats. Considering the reputations that precede both SPAM and Hormel as a whole, the aisle admittedly set the bar pretty low as far as expectations go. But, at five dollars for two trays, and with a sizable chunk of my savings having already been spent on said vacation, my options were relatively limited when it came to sweet, nourishing fuel. And, at 410 calories a serving, I’d say I got a decent bang for my buck. Not that 410 calories worth of pantry-safe TV dinner is a good thing…
The microwavable marvel has the added benefits of being good to eat for well over a year and being ready to eat in just one minute. After peeling the film back from the tray, I briefly considered awaiting the apocalypse and subsequent post-apocalyptic world that would necessitate the consumption of this and similar foods. But after quickly stirring it around and pouring it onto a plate (for presentation), my meal looked sufficiently more appetizing.
The first bite left me pleasantly surprised at the actual palatability of the meal itself. I was a bit disappointed that it was nowhere near as comically distasteful as I imagined. I was underwhelmed on both fronts though, that the meal was neither delicious nor disgusting, a pervasive presence devoid of any strong flavor that could only be described as Bland. Spoonful after heaping spoonful I waited, searching desperately for a flavor that didn’t want to be found, or perhaps was never there to begin with.
After separating out the ingredients for individual tasting, I was pleased to note that the SPAM bits were identifiably SPAM by flavor, sating my accursed desires. The rest of the meal was an inoffensive but not necessarily appetizing experience, similar in consistency and slightly in taste to canned New England Clam Chowder, complete with gratuitous amounts of sodium.
I’m not saying this SPAM & Penne Pasta With Alfredo Sauce was the worst meal I’ve had in weeks. I’m not saying that because I ate a Chicken With Dumplings MRE a while back, and that is the worst meal I’ve had in weeks. I’m not even saying it tasted BAD, per se. I’m just saying the meal would be more suitable eaten as one of the last things left in your dusty unlit kitchen, boarded up in the zombie-proof haven that was once your home.
(Nutrition Facts – 410 calories, 230 calories from fat, 26 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 990 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.)
Item: SPAM Meal for 1 SPAM & Penne Pasta in Alfredo Sauce
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 12 ounces
Purchased at: Winn-Dixie
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Surprisingly palatable. Real SPAM bits. Not expensive. Filling. Ready in 60 seconds. Ready in a year and 60 seconds. Winn-Dixie.
Cons: Bland. Not comically disgusting. Not very healthy. Curses. Chicken With Dumplings MREs. The zombie apocalypse.