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31 Days of Spoooktacular: The Horror in the Tin

I really like the show Good Eats with Alton Brown. This is important if you’re to know about The Horror in The Tin and why I did what I did. I need you to understand that I was once very much like you and I was normal. I was so normal.


Alton, I can call him Alton because, in my head, we’re good friends, began to talk about these little fish called brislings and how good they are and how, yes, technically they’re sardines, but they’re still good and healthy and provide valuable nutrients and you should eat them. I laughed at my friend Alton’s claims and shook my head. “I will never eat sardines, Alton. No matter how good you say they are.” Alton didn’t respond, because he’s on the television.

But later, in the grocery store, I kept thinking about those damn little fish. Alton said they were good. He doesn’t lie. Maybe…maybe I could try them. I stood staring at them in store for ten minutes, trying to make up my mind. Finally, I grabbed the most expensive can (because I’ll be goddamned if I buy budget fish in a can) and bought them.

I brought them home and set them on the table. The spider watched me. He would not follow me on this journey, his red eyes reproachful and wary.


They looked unassuming in their cheerful red wrapper. How bad could it be? How truly awful could this…Horror in the Tin be?


They could be that bad. Immediately upon opening the tin, I was awash in the smell of fish. They lay in their untidy little rows, oily and glistening. I poked them with my chopsticks (Alton recommended eating them with chopsticks) and they broke apart easily, exposing the dark flesh inside, the skin sliding free from the meat. Their fins lay folded flat against their sides, thin membranes stretched between clear points of bone.


I picked one up, pulling it free from the oil and the other fish. I had been so worried that they’d still have their heads, but that might have been a silly fear. They do not, they did not, look like any kind of appetizing. But, over the years, I’ve learned that it’s best not to dwell and just throw yourself in, even if the water is moving fast and filled with dirt and sticks and poisonous snakes. I ate the little horror from the tin.


And, as soon as it began, it was over. The tin was empty. Flecks of silver scales and bits of meat and bone floated in the remaining oil. It had been so fast, so brutal and I had eaten them all, consuming the horror with relish and without pausing and, by the end, I realized that it was I that was the horror the WHOLE TIME.

They were pretty good. I’d probably get them again.



Filed under Halloween: Rock and Shock, 31 Days of Spooktacular, Spoooky Beer Reviews and More

Recipe: Lil’ Griddlin’s

I haven’t talked about it much, but I do a fair amount of cooking. I’ve long ago conquered the egg and ramen is no longer beyond me. After all this experience, I’ve decided to share with you, my lucky readers, a recipe I made up just yesterday. I call it Lil Griddlin’s, because cutesy names hide the despair.


A half pound or so of ground meat

Some cheese from the back of the fridge





Whoops, almost forgot the onion


So what you want to do is chop up the onion and put it in a frying pan at about medium heat. Then have a panic attack when you smell burning onions and you realize that you forgot to put in the oil. Put in some oil, you dingus.

While that’s getting mushy and oily, mix up some salt and pepper into the meat. Throw in some cheese, because why the hell not? Cheese is good.

Make three or so irregularly shaped patties and drop them into the oil and onion mixture. Everything should now smell pretty good. Congratulate yourself. Flip the patties a couple times until you get bored.

Slash one of the patties and take a gander inside. Recoil at the sight of bright pink meat. Holy shit, these are still raw. Hack at all three patties until everything (the patties, you and the wall) is coated in hot oil. There shouldn’t be any pink left.

Take the remains of the patties and scoop them onto a plate. This does not look appetizing. Cover it with some more cheese in an attempt to cover your shame. Squirt mustard on it and enjoy your Lil Griddlins!

Best enjoyed in the dark by yourself.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Food: Cooking It, Eating It and Drinking It