Thursday, December 4, 2008

Nothing says Merry Christmas like Canned Beets

We were doing a food drive at church and the youth pastor told the kids to be sure not to give the homeless gross food. Only food you would like to eat yourself. Good tip. He has to say that because as soon as we hear the words "food drive", we all think "Here's our chance to get rid of those canned beets."

Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about.

I don't think the question is about whether it's right to give homeless people canned beets, I think the more fascinating question is why we even have canned beets in our pantries in the first place? For God's sake why?

Here's what I have in mine. Canned asparagus. I only tolerate fresh asparagus on a good day. Canned, it is the slimiest green foul-smelling mush on the planet. And I know my slimy green foul-smelling mush, believe you me. Also we have a can of Carnation condensed milk. It's not that gross. But it's mysterious. Why is it in there? Who bought it? It's like the ghost of my grandma snuck in and placed that can of condensed milk on the shelf one night to remind me that I should be baking cheescake from scratch like any good post WWII housewife would have in her day. (Wait, do you even bake cheesecake? I have a long way to go on that one.)

But here it is. The Peace of Resistance (Joke. Like to point out the weak ones): A Can of CREAM OF SHRIMP SOUP. Yes, in my pantry at this very moment. I feel certain that if I did some internet research, Campbells's would deny ever manufacturing Cream of Shrimp Soup at any time in their company history. It was a grave error best wiped off the historical ledgers of soupdom. But I, Cynthia Reber, possess this sole reminder of that horrible time in Campbell's research and development leadership (The 70's? I'm assuming? There was a lot of weird stuff going on then.)

And no, I will not donate to the canned food drive. And somehow I'm not able to throw it away, because then how can I ever convince myself again that it really existed? So for my sanity, thready as it is, I quietly push it behind the tuna and all-too-familiar chicken noodle soup. To remain there a silent witness to the mysterious underworld of the pantry shelf.