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Morton House Mushroom Gravy & Salisbury Steak 

$1.77
Grand Supermarket
2700 South Grand Boulevard

Nothing quite trumpets the arrival of fall like prying the lid from a tin of Morton House Mushroom Gravy & Salisbury Steak, a meal so unnatural that its four meat wafers emerge from their squat tomb domed like slices of fried bologna.

Just like fall, a can of Morton House has a treat for each of your senses. It's vacuum-packed, so it delivers a gratifying phsst! as air rushes into the can's oxygen-deprived contents. Better yet, the "mushroom gravy" clings so forcefully to the lid that peeling it away creates a ripping sound not usually heard outside the skinning room of a slaughterhouse.

Lid wrested from gravy, a peer inside the can of Morton House Mushroom Gravy & Salisbury Steak shows it to be a dead ringer for the output of a laxative-loaded baby — were it not for the multitudinous orbs of fat that don't reabsorb until the "gravy" is heated.

By now you may be thinking that Morton House Mushroom Gravy & Salisbury Steak smells like dog food. Well, you'd be half right. It smells worse than dog food. You open a can of dog food knowing it's going to the dog. With a can of Morton House Mushroom Gravy & Salisbury Steak, on the other hand, you're smelling it with the foreknowledge that in a few short minutes you'll be ingesting it.

But as I dump my Morton House into a saucepan and apply it to flame, it occurs to me that I might have built this "steak" into too great a demon. As the "gravy" begins to simmer, its aroma is not that of a Grade D food ration, as I'd imagined. No, I think I can safely say that Morton House Mushroom Gravy & Salisbury Steak would merit no less than a C-minus (adjusting for grade inflation, of course).

On the tongue I don't detect a hint of mushroom in the gravy, but a quick scan of the ingredients list reveals, toward the bottom, in the "contains 2% or less of the following" section, that a can of Morton House does contain "mushroom pieces." The meat falls apart at the touch of a fork, though not in a very appetizing way, and I'm able to suck down only one disk before aborting the mission.

Ultimately a can of Morton House Mushroom Gravy & Salisbury Steak is harmless. The "steak" shares the same meatball DNA of countless Chef Boyardee products. Which is to say you might as well be eating meat product-flavored wheat gluten.

I'm no better for having eaten the stuff, a realization I'd happily have been spared, but as fall's changing leaves remind us, once opened, there's no resealing a can of Morton House Mushroom Gravy & Salisbury Steak.

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