Since The A.V. Club’s hometown of Chicago has been experiencing a heat wave and our office air-conditioning is broken, now seemed like the ideal time to Taste Test Hot-Can, self-heating cans of soup and drinks that we picked up at last year’s National Association Of Convenience Stores Convention. While tomato, mushroom, and asparagus soups and mocha, latte, and hot chocolate are not really notable foods in and of themselves, their Hot-Can permutations are some seriously next-level convenience-food shit: Inside each can is a compartment, separate from the liquid inside, that contains calcium oxide and water, and when you push down on the bottom of the can, the two combine to create a thermal reaction that heats the liquid inside. So they’re basically like mass-market, liquefied MREs. While the Hot-Can promotional materials tout the product as ideal for those with busy, on-the-go lifestyles, the fact that most of the places that carry Hot-Can are outdoor-sports/hunting shops indicates it’s found a more suitable niche among hunters and outdoorsmen who just can’t get through that early-morning hike or pheasant-hunt without some hot asparagus soup.
While these weren’t as labor-intensive or disgusting as the powdered hamburger kits we tried last time, the process of popping the can, shaking, and waiting for it to heat up ranked about a 6 on the Pain-In-The-Ass Scale, and the taste results ranged from “barely acceptable” to “get that out of my mouth right this second.” On the bright side, combining all five liquids (we couldn’t get the latte to heat up) into a “suicide” made the individual products seem a lot tastier by comparison.