Look, I’m not saying that putting a food item in a tin automatically makes it better. In fact, for many, it’s a place for a food to go and horribly die – a strawberry, for instance, or a haricot bean. Yes, I said it.
But for some items, it’s a storage vessel that works for them in a very real way – raising them to a level way above reasonable expectation. This works directly against logic.
It’s the food that shouldn’t be in a tin, and in particular the most rudimentary and unimaginative variant thereof, that benefits from being in just that; armour plating for the most average of the average. I’m going to focus on two such examples: meat pies and sponge puddings.
Fray Bentos pies are surprisingly lovely, albeit pretty difficult to open with a basic can opener. Don’t even get my Average Food Blog colleague Joshua started on can-openers of any kind.
Base sponge puddings enjoy exactly the same sort of boost from being confined to a sealed metal prison. Perhaps it’s the average food’s joy upon release, a quite literal release of flavour that it never thought it had, like the enthusiasm of a reformed petty-criminal on a back-to-work scheme that offers something they’re actually really interested in pursuing as a career for life. Perhaps this anthropomorphising of food is getting us absolutely nowhere.
To at least make a tokenistic attempt to describe the aforementioned specific foods, I’d say that the Fray Bentos tends to be well-filled with fairly salty but borderline-succulent meaty morsels in a hearty sauce that forms a pleasant carby mush in the gob. Get some roast potatoes and a spot of broccoli in the mix and sir/madam, you got yourself a hell of a meal.
Follow that up with, for example, a Heinz tinned treacle sponge pudding, and my word, a day is made. You might have won a promotion at work, been given a miraculous all-clear from terminal cancer and fucked a 10/10 stranger on your lunch break that day, but this will have still marked the high-point.
God, the Heinz tinned treacle sponge is excessively sugary, Jesus, the texture is a bit weird when compared to a home-baked delight, but there is no doubting that this is another example of where the tin provides an almost divine intervention to pull the food towards glory.
Other things that I’d quite like to see tins include: beef burgers in buns, lasagne and apple strudel.
TINS: +2/10 on cicca-5/10 foodstuffs that shouldn’t be in tins