Campbell’s “Pork” & Beans
Mom was alright. Even though she wanted it for herself, if you happened to be in the kitchen when she poured that can of Campbell’s Pork and Beans into the saucepan, and if you were the first to find it, she’d let you eat that tiny piece of pork that was always hidden somewhere among the beans. Like I said, Mom was alright.
Did I say pork? What it was, and continues to be, is more a bit of fat, the sole purpose of which, it seems to me, is to protect the Campbell's folks from having to have only the word “beans” on their red and white label. I got a little nostalgic the other day when I opened a can, and you know, I never even found that tiny scrap of fat. It must have been an oversight on my part; I'm certain that Campbell’s is unfailingly vigilant about putting that tiny glob in each can. It’s like some glutinous, artery-clogging Crackerjack prize.
What I don’t understand is how they get away with calling it Pork & Beans in the first place. Oh, I suspect that a hundred or so years ago when flatulent cowboys sat around the campfire, it truly was pork and beans, with big hunks of glistening pig floating around in there with all them beans. Why, if the cook had even once dared to serve beans with just a single, dime-sized morsel of fat, well, I have no doubt he would have been lassoed, tied to his own chuck wagon and dragged around the cactus-strewn prairie for a few miles. And deservedly so.
Originally I thought that they are legally compelled to call it Beans and Pork, as beans, being the major (and practically the only) ingredient, should be listed first. Then I realized that this is only required on the list of ingredients, not in the name of the product itself. (The three main ingredients, incidentally, are water, beans and, of course, America’s national beverage: high fructose corn syrup.)
Still, if you bought a can of, say, Lobster and Wild Rice, and got home to find only a can of rice with but a tiny speck of lobster not large enough to fill a molar, well, I bet you’d be plenty peeved. And yet we’ve been putting up with this Pork and Beans scam since I was a kid, and probably a lot longer than that.
So Campbell’s, why don’t we do this: Let’s just drop the whole charade, do away with that piece of “pork,” and just call your product Beans. Or better yet, Barbeque Beans. It certainly would be more honest, and there would be other benefits besides. For example, based on the quantity in each can, I would estimate that you barely use one whole pig per half a million cans, or so. So admittedly, even if you eliminated the pork from your product you’d probably save only one pig’s life a year. It doesn’t seem like much to you, I know, but I’m sure he’d appreciate it.