The Worst Convenience Foods

  • Meeter’s Kraut Juice (Stokely USA)
    Yes, that’s sauerkraut juice, which is even worse than it sounds. The taste and smell can be a bit, well, harsh, but KJ is reputed by its fans to have certain medicinal benefits (as a source of vitamin C, cure for intestinal bugs, etc.), which adds up to a classic case of the cure being worse than the disease.
  • Guycan Corned Mutton with Juices Added (Bedessee Imports)
    The best thing about this Uruguayan canned good is the very pouty-looking sheep on the package label — he seems to be saying, “Go on, eat me already.” The second-best thing is the presence of both “cooked mutton” and “mutton” in the ingredients listing, which would seem to have all the mutton bases covered.
  • Armour Pork Brains in Milk Gravy (Dial Corp.)
    If you’re really looking to clog up those arteries in a hurry, you’ll be pleased to learn that a single serving of pork brains has 1,170 percent of our recommended daily cholesterol intake. All the more ingenious, then, that the label on this product helpfully features a recipe for brains and scrambled eggs.
  • Sweet Sue Canned Whole Chicken (Sweet Sue Kitchens, Inc.)
    From its size (think growth-impaired Cornish hen) to its overall appearance (it’s stewed in a quivering mass of aspic goop), this product may change forever your idea of what constitutes a chicken. Gives new meaning to the old line about meat “falling off the bone.”
  • Musk Life Savers (Nestle Confectionery)
    You may think musk is a scent, but over in Australia, they think it’s a candy flavor. A candy flavor that tastes disturbingly like raw meat, to be precise. But what did you expect from a country where everyone happily consumes Vegemite?
  • Blind Robin’s Smoked Ocean Herring (recently discontinued by Bar Food Products)
    Possibly the world’s most bizarre prepackaged tavern snack. Interestingly, the product’s titular robin isn’t actually blind, he’s blindfolded — the better, presumably, to avoid looking at these heavily salted herring strips, which look like giant slugs.
  • Kylmänen Reindeer Pate’ (Kylmänen Oy)
    This Finnish canned good may not be particularly tasty, but at least it answers the age-old question of why Rudolph was so eager for that safe, steady job on Santa’s sleigh team — he didn’t want to end up a cracker spread.

    I have actually tasted this one, and it isn’t really as bad as you think. Far worse in my eyes was the instant blood pancake mix that my grandmother insisted on bringing home from Finland, and then preparing for all of her friends. Let’s just say there were not enough preserves in the house to make them palatable.

  • Tengu Clam Jerky (Tengu Co.)
    Nothing you’ve ever consumed can prepare you for the horror that is clam jerky. Still, this product does score a sort of conceptual coup: If you’re the sort who’s always found raw clams too slimy and gelatinous for your taste, these dried, shriveled mollusks will help you dislike clams on a whole new level.
  • Post Oreo O’s (Kraft Foods, Inc)
    A substance, supposedly a breakfast cereal, patterned after the notorious Oreo cookie. Oreo O’s look exactly like used cat litter. They smell and taste so bad dogs won’t eat them. Put milk on Oreo O’s and you have a bowl of something that looks like oily refried beans. If Kraft had deliberately set out to make the foulest cereal possible, they could not have exceeded the putridity of Oreo O’s.
  • Whole Peeled Lamb’s Tongue (Salislbury Farm)
    If the thought of eating a lamb’s tongue is enough to put you off your dinner, you probably shouldn’t look any closer at the label. The lamb tongues in this tin have been peeled. Talk about convenience! Is there anything more horrible than eating an unpeeled tongue?
  • BBQ Flavour Silk Worm Pupae (Various, Korea)
    This popular street snack food from Korea has been gathered up, prepared, cooked in a some sort of gooey substance, and flavored with barbeque spices. Yum!
  • Grass Jelly Drink (ChinChin)
    The stalks and leaves of a plant similar to mint are steamed with starch and then cooled for form a jelly. The jelly itself tastes like iodine and lavender. It can be eaten straight from the can or made into a drink.
  • Traditional Recipe Haggis (Grant’s)
    Haggis is made from taking the organs of a sheep, like the heart, liver and lungs, and mixing it with onion, oatmeal and spices, then stuffing it into the stomach of a sheep and cooking it. Canned haggis is all of the above stuffed into a can where it sits for who knows how long before a brave soul, read drunk people of Scotland, eats it. *Shudders*
  • Cuitlacoche Maize Mushrooms (Monteblanco and others)
    Cuitlacoche or corn smut is a black fungus that infects corn fields, swelling the corn kernels and filling them with spores. Farmers in the US destroy it – the farmers in Mexico put it in cans and consider it a delicacy. It has a very pungent earthy flavor with hints of mushroom and corn.
  • Surstroming (Various)
    Also known as “Stinky Swedish Fish” this traditional dish from northern Sweden is sour, fermented Baltic herring. Just enough salt is dded to the raw fish to prevent it from rotting. The fermentation process takes at least 6 months, and gives this lightly-salted fish its strong smell and acidulous taste. The gases that build up during the fermentation process can be volatile and frequently cause the cans to bulge. Cans have been known to explode with little or no warning.
  • Häkarl (Brekkuhusum)
    Similar in idea to the Swedish fish, the folks in Iceland make their stinky fish delicacy with sleeper sharks – fermented for several weeks and then hunt out to dry for several months. As bad as it smells, the taste is probably worse – unless you are from Iceland.