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5 Mexican Foods That Should've Never Been Sold in a Can...But Were (Or Are)

tamales_in_a_can.jpg
Yes, Mexis: these exist
Whenever I lecture about the history of Mexican food in the United States, I always bring up the point that Americans love the cuisine so much that they have long subjected themselves to devouring its worst manifestations. I ain't talking Tex-Mex or Javier's, but rather the disturbing trend of dishes that demand freshness...yet were put in a can.

We're not talking isolated incidents, or food prepared for our soldiers or survivalists; we're talking about industries that, at various points in our nation's history, were multi-million dollar endeavors. Some of them are still around, and are even used by Mexican families in a pinch; others, on the other hand sound so preposterous that audience members refuse to believe that people ever ate, say, tortillas from a can, or tamales. Then an elder member of the audience sheepishly raises their hand and admits to doing the deed...and the audience erupts in embarrassed giggles.

Most Baylessistas will consider all of these items heresies, and they have a point to a certain extent. I, on the other hand, understand why they existed: Americans wanted Mexican food so bad, they subjected themselves to its canned form. And we'll always need these items because when the zombie apocalypse comes, we'll still need our Mexican food.

5. Menudo in a Can

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I'm putting this one on the bottom of the list, because every Mexican family has cheated at least once and used a can, mostly likely Juanita's, the pride of Wilmington. And the end results aren't TOO bad, since menudo's excess of fat serves as a perfect natural preservative. That doesn't make it right, though, and nothing can replicate the hours that tripe needs to be cooked in order to get it at its unctuous best.

4. Mole in a Can

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Far more offensive from Juanita's is mole in a can. Mole is a rich, complex stew that takes hours to make and years to perfect. How can you reduce it to canned form? Easy: overcompensate with chocolate and spice, make it thick as hell, and claim it's casero--house-style. Sorry, Juanita's, but not abuelita would ever pass off this mole as her own.

3. Pulque in a Can

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I've already trashed this monstrosity here, so go take a look!


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92 comments
Fatima Oliveros
Fatima Oliveros

hahaha wtf?? As a Mexican I'm confused. Kind of curious to see what they look like.

Cukis Quiroz-Gonzalez
Cukis Quiroz-Gonzalez

I have a gringo friend that once said: "wow, you're mexican? I love Taco Bell!!" .... -_-

Yolanda Telles
Yolanda Telles

Comfort food? Really? hmm.. to each their own I suppose. And as I lay my head down tonight I will say a special prayer for my Abuela & my Mommy for never having to eat that, and to this day since the recipes have been passed down I still will never have to eat that!

Lauren Summer Roberts
Lauren Summer Roberts

Oh, I guess it's a female, and it's whites she couldn't stand. Either way, jerky thing to say......

Lauren Summer Roberts
Lauren Summer Roberts

I love the guy who said he'd only feed this stuff to whites. Hey guess what? White people know good food too; jerk..... Also canned albondigas should've been on this list. So gross............

Ezra Frida
Ezra Frida

I tried these once, ONCE! I took a bite and it grossed me out so much I almost threw up! Guacala!

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

So what's a decent Pulque in a bottle? Any of the mexican supermarkets sell that corn beer they talk about in "Born to Run"?

Valerie Nayak
Valerie Nayak

Does Hormel chili still taste like dog food? (Never having tasted dog food, I can assume it's possible that the dog food might have an edge on this crap.)

Stephanie Garrabrant-Sierra
Stephanie Garrabrant-Sierra

TY for admitting that. We did the same thing back then! Eggs and canned tamales and tang for breakfast in LA.

Cristi Garinger Moore
Cristi Garinger Moore

I just bought a can of these at the .99 store...I was curious, but havent tried them yet...might not now :)

Will Webb
Will Webb

que asco.... casi tan desagradable como chicken in a can... bueno, todo lo que viene de una lata ya de por si es bastante nefasto.

Crazywolf Melanie Bandfield
Crazywolf Melanie Bandfield

That's almost all me and my brother got to eat! Had to heat them on the woodstove then eat them from the can. Nice mother we had!

Josh English
Josh English

Oh, come on. The canned Hormel Tamales aren't that bad. Authentic? F**k no! LMAO. :v

Anne Bagasao
Anne Bagasao

I hope you don't have to eat them anymore. It's kinda like canned hash. Ew!

John S. Whitford
John S. Whitford

Growing up in Oklahoma in the 50s this was how I learned about tamales.

Paula Millet
Paula Millet

Didya ever eat Chung King Chow Mein- it was an Ohio favorite.

Nelson Mills
Nelson Mills

This article is like one of those people that you can't stop staring at because it's so ugly. Why god why

Felicia Ruiz Raprager
Felicia Ruiz Raprager

Those tamales were never a better alternative to the real thing, but when the family is broke and short on time to cook, they worked!

Art Garza
Art Garza

LOL!! That's priceless man,,

Amie Shepard
Amie Shepard

So glad I live in So Cal. Close enough for authentic food. Canned tamales sound like prison food!

Sala Ponnech
Sala Ponnech

As a kid in the 60's I saw ads for Ashley's canned tortillas but being a SoCal resident, I never had to try them. Gustavo, are you going to cover frozen Mexican food also? Frozen enchiladas+beans+rice was Mom's dinner specialty whenever my Dad wasn't home and she had spent all day cleaning the house.

Ascary Morera
Ascary Morera

When I was living in Mexico city (D.F.) I loved flan in a can, it tasted soo good.

Andrea Schonberger
Andrea Schonberger

I'd only feed that shit to whites I couldn't stand like my cuñada.

Michael Mastagni
Michael Mastagni

I know, I know...I love autentico but I secretly buy these and mash them up to add thickeners to my Mexican sauces. Surprise, surprise.

Nash Alvarado
Nash Alvarado

This is why they are pushing Obamacare, nearly every American is constipated or in bad health. Gee, it cannot be due to going to the beach and the movies, can it?

Juan Berber
Juan Berber

Nothing's better then home made comida!

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