Yeah, I Ate That...

Sometimes, what you buy because it's funny ends up being a not-so-great idea. (Also, note to self: choices made when you're recovering from the flu aren't really good ones. Just because it's absolutely freezing outside and the fridge is down to 50 jars of chili paste and a quart of milk doesn't mean you should eat mystery meat...)

A couple of months ago, while I was perusing the aisles of Kam Man, I bought this can of "Pork Paste (Chili Pepper Flavored)," which was displayed prominently on the side of an aisle. What could be bad? It had pork and chili (two of my favorite things). Its can was awesomely retro. It was even made in San Francisco and proudly wore its Department of Agriculture seal! So I, giddy with the thought of porky-chili goodness, laughed and bought the stuff--and believed it would be AWESOME!

You know what? Just because it's made in the US doesn't mean it's going to be edible. If anything, I would probably have been better off buying the Chinese-made equivalent...

When I opened it, the aroma was not was I expected. I optimistically thought it would smell like Dan Dan Noodles...but instead, the scent of processed leftover meat parts wafted to my nose. Was it feeding time for my friends' cats?

Regardless, I forged ahead and cooked some rice noodles, then sauteed them with the mystery meat and some spicy black bean paste to up the chili quotient. I downed the whole bowl, but the aftertaste was pretty nasty. I was grateful for the pile of blood oranges on the table--those babies fix everything.

Lesson learned? Heck no, that wasn't the end. As I'm slightly crazy and too stubborn to admit defeat, I used the stuff again at lunchtime. There HAD to be a way to make it work. I stirred in a tablespoon of Szechuan Pepper Pickle, a little Szechuan Pepper Oil (which is probably antifreeze, but whatever...it tastes good), and some chili garlic sauce. I actually ended up with some fairly edible noodles.

So, here is what I've learned: When the end of the world is nigh and there are only cans of dog food remaining in the ransacked supermarkets, my emergency supply of Szechuan Pepper Pickle will save the day!

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