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Q: How can refried beans still be so tasty even though EVERY SINGLE time I open a can, I violently recoil due to the preciseness with which they resemble canned dog or cat food?

A: I believe this is a simple answer, really, as there are many other foods that tempt ye olde buds-de-taste while sharing the visual qualities of canine victuals.

We are gluttons for punishment.

Gastrointestinal punishment, that is. Consider the nutritional value of foods in the "eat it for the taste and not the looks" department. I'll start with the refried beans, and all I have to say to get my point across is GAS. Crampy intestines followed by noxious blowouts.

Another fine example is corned beef hash. If ever a food for people resembled dog food, it was hash. Chopped meat and potatoes, bound together in a can by a mysterious mixture of seasoning and goo. Not only does this look wrong in every sense of the word as it issues forth from a cracked Dinty Moore can, it smells unholy as well. Until you cook it. Then you have a crispy, savory, hearty pile of acid reflux stew.

Though I feel my point's made clear, I'll share one more example: sausage. This culinary compost heap is a "link" to our past, fighting for survival by preserving and eating every last part of an animal. Composed of pieces of fat and meat (and in the industrially-produced meat packing industry, "meat" is used loosely), encased in sheep intestine, then cooked up by any available heat application, eating sausage is the nutritional equivalent of a cholesterol injection.

All these foods, however, share the common denominator of tastiness. We probably first experienced these foods as children before learning of their unappetizing initial states, leaving a lingering desire to consume them that overwhelms our revulsion at the site of slop-in-a-tin.

So that does it for Ask Dan #2. Stay tuned for Ask Dan #3, and start thinking of those questions!

Now pardon me as I go eat some gravy made out of turkey entrails...