Sweet Sue Canned Whole Chicken

One night I went to the grocery store, alone as usual, wandering around, trying to find something to destroy my loneliness, because that’s how healthy people deal with sadness. They eat something disgusting. I heard the siren call of Hell come to me from the canned meat section, and I saw a tall can with an American homestyle red-white-and-blue color. It sang to me in a dead language, a language that disappeared from the face of this mortal coil with the fallen angels, as God struck them into Hell.

“Dennis,” said the can. “Fuck you.”

I looked at the can, reading its label carefully, as if I had unearthed an ancient artifact. Sweet Sue Canned Whole Chicken. I almost threw up. Then I bought it. Someone once said that there’s nothing more dangerous than a man with nothing to lose. Whoever said that is right.

Back at home, I sipped on bourbon while I contemplated the can. It was almost midnight. The room began to swim and suddenly a can opener appeared in my hand. I found myself reading the inscription on the back.

It read:

Remove chicken from the can. Be sure to save the delicious broth. Place chicken in an uncovered pan, baste well with some of the broth. Place in a hot oven, 475° for 10 to 15 minutes. Baste two or three times while heating. To prepare a delicious gravy, brown two tablespoons flour, mix in a cup of broth. Allow to thicken over burner until desired consistency. A delicious chicken soup may be prepared by adding rice, cooked noodles or dumplings to the broth.

Other Excellent Uses

Creamed chicken and mushrooms, chicken ala king, fricassee or serve cold just as chicken comes from the can.



I frowned. The can used the word “delicious” three times. It lacked the use of the Oxford Comma, telling me that there was something unholy about the entire inscription from The Ancients. It suggested I recreate a dead recipe, “Chicken ala King,” which sent shivers down my spine and into my cavernous ass.

Then I read the worst words of all: Serve cold just as chicken comes from the can.

I began cackling madly to myself as I repeated the words, “Chicken comes from the can.” I laughed and muttered, “Your mom comes from the can.”

My eyes grew dark and I followed the directions, summoning Hell with every excruciating turn of the can opener. I opened the can and I heard a strange noise, almost as if a very small child was shrieking. It was me.

I prepared the abomination as instructed. The madness inside me swirled like a maelstrom of chocolate pudding being dumped down a toilet.

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The deed was completed. When I poked at it with a fork, the entire thing nearly disintegrated. I sampled a small morsel. It tasted like partially digested baby food, as it melted inexplicably in my mouth. I tried the “delicious gravy.” The “delicious gravy” tasted like a wet fart. I threw the entire thing into a sealed chamber (a tupperware container), and disposed of the entire thing.

Something inside me died that day and never, ever, came back. It was my dignity. All of it.

Happy Halloween!



  7 comments for “Sweet Sue Canned Whole Chicken

  1. Derrick Tung
    November 1, 2014 at 7:25 AM

    I think I threw up a little bit inside my mouth reading your description. And I feel bad for the tupperware container… Such a short life, and to be filled with Chicken in a Can and tossed away so unlovingly…

  2. rarerollingobject
    November 1, 2014 at 9:23 PM

    Look at the picture of the unsheathed, pre cooked chicken..and then go and google image search “vagina dentata”. Or, don’t.

  3. Jake
    November 3, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    This might be the most amazing scary Halloween story I’ve ever read. Those photos are legitimately horrifying. Especially the one right after it’s uncanned. I feel a little sick. In addition to all of those things, you also made me laugh out loud. For a long time.

  4. Mike
    February 8, 2015 at 11:57 AM

    In my less caution tempered youth I too once bought a chicken-in-a-can, though that one was called ‘Bonus chicken’. Surely the product was the same as this.
    I bought it from a local convenience store that twenty years earlier had occupied another location about a block away. Later reflection had me wonder if the Bonus Chicken had not been a part of the stock that was transferred to the new store.
    While the can displayed a photo of a golden brown tastefully prepared bird brimming with stuffing like this can boasts, the contents of the Bonus chicken’s can may have been even more appalling than Sweet Sue’s.
    Now I was in no way naive enough not to realize that food displayed on a package seldom looks as appetizing when opened and seen, but never was the disparity between label and reality as stark and horrifying as in this case.
    I opened the can and was greeted by some kind of smelly and cloudy ichor with loose bits of biological matter suspended in it and the shadow of some greater horror further down. I had the impression of looking down a foul and abandoned well that contained a long dead chain weighted body just below the surface.
    As carefully as my shaking hands could, I gingerly tipped the can toward a large platter and the defiled yard hawk’s carcass slid out and flopped onto the plate. Unfortunately, despite my best attempt at gentle care, the mere pull of the Earth’s gravitational force present in my apartment was more than enough to cause all of the joints of the now unsupported bird’s corpse to disarticulate, and the remains began to settle before my horrified gaze, as a gradually expanding glutinous patty.
    The unholy mess bore so little resemblance to any sort of food I’d ever seen or read about that I made no attempt nor did it cross my mind to actually taste any part of it, rather I consigned the whole thing to my kitchen trash can.
    In a move outside of my normal practice, I placed the can on my back porch.
    The platter was never scrubbed so clean as it was following that misguided experiment in culinary adventure.

    • Dennis Lee
      February 8, 2015 at 9:27 PM

      This is one of the best stories I’ve ever read.

  5. June 18, 2016 at 2:13 AM

    Hi, I just found your blog! Ironically, there’s similar to that in Korea, but with Samgyetang in a bag, AKA freaky whole yummy chicken in a bag with some ginseng and random rice 😉 I think I’d venture to try that Sweet Sue chicken if I could get a hold of some so I could compare! The Korean samgyetang version is quite good, so I really think this one could be pretty good too, with a few fixins on it! Love your site, by the way! 🙂

    • Dennis Lee
      June 19, 2016 at 1:45 PM

      My sister had that once! (We are Korean.) She forgot to show me the picture of the chicken after the bag gave birth to it. And thank you!

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