Or, now everybody can stop sending me links to Candwiches now that I have proved I know they exist
Before I start reviewing the Candwich, I should mention that I spoke with Mark Kirkland, the founder of Candwich on the phone in August of 2010. At the time, the Candwich was scheduled to be released shortly, but they experienced a number of production delays. The good news is that they were finally able to get the Candwich into production and it’s now available to buy on their website and at selected retailers in Utah.
I enjoyed my conversation with Mark and his passion about his product. One thing I found interesting was the potential for the Candwich to be used in humanitarian relief situations, both in the USA and abroad. It’s really easy for us with access to farmer’s markets and artisan brie and such to mock shelf stable food, but as somebody whose own mother was partially fed as a girl by stuff dumped out of airplanes after the Korean war, I have to say it most certainly has a place. Especially Spam.
Now, to the review!
Shown with a bottle of beer and a jar of peanut butter so that you get an idea of the size of the can. Also, to show that I do sometimes eat real food made out of ingredients.
Just a simple push-tab type top. Fairly easy to get open, the edges of the top and lip of the can were not unduly sharp. I think most kids over six or seven could open one of these on their own.
I’m afraid it’s not going to win any nutrition awards except possibly for being calorie dense. Which in some situations would be a very good thing indeed.
Shelf stable foods have such fun ingredients! Like fungal alpha amylase!
Everything is so neatly tucked inside!
Love that they included a knife and packet of desiccant!
No we’re getting to the good part! Unfortunately the candwich bread on its own is rather…confusing. It tastes and feels like a hot dog bun and a twinkie had a baby. At first, it tastes rather sweet and dry and crumbly perhaps a bit like stale Hawaiian bread, but then it dissolves into a sort of sharply chemical paste on the tongue.
I had a bit of a hard time opening the peanut butter neatly, but I am also somewhat inept at opening things. It tasted like a waxier version of standard peanut butter, with an odd aftertaste which was not entirely unpleasant to me as it brought back good memories of digging into the peanut butter from my Dad’s MREs back in the early 1980s.
The jelly tasted just like the regular Concord grape jelly that most people use on their PB&Js. There was a more than ample amount of both included, I squeezed it all out to show, but really it was far more than I’d prefer to use on a sandwich. YMMV.
Included this photo to demonstrate an important truth: Peanut butter belongs on one side, Jelly belongs on the other. Some people don’t want to hear it, but it’s the way that nature intended.
Hey, that doesn’t look half bad if you are open-minded enough to pay no mind to the commonly accepted wisdom that peanut butter and jelly belong on sliced sandwich bread and not a bun. You can’t just slap anything on a bun and call it an acceptable sandwich. Trust me, I’ve tried and have had many a PB&J on hamburger bun or hot dog wrapped in a slice of whole wheat thrown right back in my face.
But you know what’s weird? Even though all the ingredients on their own were cloying, foul, waxy and in all ways substandard, put together they weren’t half bad. It did have a very weird aftertaste that to me tasted disconcertingly like wax-dipped cloves, but I could see lots of people liking it as it tasted far better than:
- Yoplait Light
- Laughing cow light cheese wedges
- Diet Pepsi
- Anything made by Russel Stover and the Palmer corporation
So, while I can’t endorse this as a good choice for a lunch on the go, it wouldn’t be terrible to keep a few around in the car or pantry for some sort of emergency situation. Some people might actually enjoy them, I mean, after all, a lot of people like Crystal Lite even though it tastes like chemicals and sadness. However two caveats, they are a bit expensive ($12 for four, shipped) and this:
That’s quite a bit of trash to throw away for just one sandwich – on the other hand, the inside of the can is pristine, so it could be re-used for storing things or arts and crafts. It’s probably a bit less waste than most Lunchables.
What do you think of the Candwich? Have you tried one? Would you be willing?
(btw if you’d like, you can see larger versions of these photos on Flickr)