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More Dogs on Main

It’s been almost a year since the news about the Candwich first broke. Last July, a Draper man was arrested and charged with securities fraud. It was alleged that he had talked a number of people into investing $139 million with him in a fund that was supposed to be buying commercial real estate. Instead, he spent the money on a wide range of ridiculous and high-risk things (most of which probably performed better than owning vacant shopping centers). One of the ventures he invested the money in was a company developing the Candwich a line of gourmet sandwiches sold in cans.

I have no idea what happened to the guy charged with fraud. He’s probably months away from trial at the pace these things move. But I have followed the Candwich with great anticipation. It has a very lame website that, for months, said that the products would be available in the fall of 2010. But they weren’t. I’d check back frequently, and get the same, outdated message. I’d about given up hope.

Then, with the end of the world predicted for 6 p.m. today, I thought it would be handy to have some provisions around just in case I don’t make the cut, and rather than being vacuumed up to heaven, I’m left behind with all my friends. We all might want to have something on hand that doesn’t require refrigeration (though with this weather, refrigeration is the least of our worries). I checked back, and much to my delight and relief, the Candwich is finally available. The only flavor available right now is peanut butter and grape jelly. The barbecue beef and chicken products aren’t quite ready for market.

The Candwich is the brainchild of MarkOne Foods Inc., which, of course, is based in Salt Lake City. The shipping label actually had a West Jordan return address. It took an annoyingly long time for the case of Candwiches to get from West Jordan to my house. I suspect that their volume is pretty modest still, and that the shipping department is only open a few hours a week. There were no phone numbers available to call and see if I could just drive by and pick them up in person. There was no sense of urgency, despite the impending end of the world.

When they finally arrived, I admit to being quite surprised. I had thought that the idea was to have a canned sandwich that would fit in a vending machine. I was expecting a can the size of a Coke can. Instead, the Candwich comes in a cardboard "can" like those Pringles potato chip things. The can is very purple. I guess that works well with the grape jelly. It promises right on the can that Candwich is "great for school lunch," and "kids love them." It also says it has an "extended shelf-life." On the bottom of the can it says my Candwich is "best" before April of 2012. There is no expiration date. There is also a "Candy surprise" inside, though printing that right on the can gives it away.

So what’s in the can? I couldn’t resist opening one, even though I may regret it if the Rapture comes on schedule. Inside, there is a bun for the sandwich. It’s about the size and shape of a hotdog bun, and nicely sealed in its own cellophane package. The bun is not pre-sliced, but has a shelf life of over a year.

There are ketchup-style packets with the peanut butter and jelly in them. These are labeled as "Squeezers, the ultimate squeeze snack." They probably are no more disgusting than some of the energy snacks they market to athletes. There is a plastic knife to spread the stuff when you squeeze it on to the bun. It’s enough of a knife to keep you off an airplane, but not much use for post-Apocalypse self-defense.

This may be the zenith of American cuisine. For three bucks, you get a total of 5 pieces of packaging (including the UPS carton) surrounding about 50 cents of actual food-like stuff, the disposable plastic knife, candy surprise, and a small package of something else labeled "Do Not Eat." The total sandwich didn’t look like enough to make a meal. And you still have to go to all the work of making the sandwich. If this is what post-Rapture food will be like, I’m beginning to rethink some of my plans.

Of course, the bottom line is, "Was the Candwich as tasty as it is convenient?" I wish I could tell you, but after about 15 minutes of trying, I couldn’t get the bun out of the wrapper. That knife couldn’t cut through the packaging.

Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column for nearly 25 years.

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