It’s definitely the most unusual Christmas dinner I’ve ever had... but whether I would like to repeat the experience is far from certain.
The ‘Hot Can’ is a self-heating tin containing all the elements of a traditional Christmas meal, from “succulent” turkey and chipolatas to roast potatoes, carrots and gravy. There are no sprouts but you do get chestnuts!
All for the princely sum of £5.99, the blurb on the side of the large white capsule before me boasted that the unique device would provide a “delicious hot meal in minutes - any time, anywhere”, with no need for a microwave, a kettle or any cooking implement.
Campers, hikers and those with a military background may be familiar with the way such cans work and it’s really quite a simple concept.
Inside the container is a can of food, surrounded by an outer can, and in the space between the two cans is a chamber, which contains a water sachet and granular limestone, the same compound found in some toothpastes.
To heat the can I simply had to use a provided metal spike, like an Allen key, and insert it into three holes in the top rim of the can. This pierced the water sachet, causing the water to flow into the limestone, and sparked off a natural reaction between the two, which produced heat.
I’m a man who is always willing to try new food, whether it’s rare haute cuisine, or more often than not the latest takeaway offering!
But I must admit it was with some trepidation that I gripped hold of the ring pull to reveal the contents and watched the process begin.
A fair amount of steam started to emerge from the three holes, similar perhaps to a small boiling kettle.
As I stirred the food within, which at this stage looked similar to a thick stew, the can’s exterior warmed in my hands.
The food allegedly reaches the “perfect eating temperature” of 60-70°C within eight to 12 minutes, and after 10 minutes had passed I dived in.
I have to say my “delicious” Christmas dinner looked a million miles away from the culinary delight my mum serves up on the big day, and contrary to the instructions, it was only lukewarm.
Pouring it out onto my plate, I could make out the potatoes and several chunks of turkey, along with a suspicious substance that I believe may have been a chestnut.
If the sausages were in there I couldn’t taste them, and let me tell you, I’m serious about my sausages.
In all honesty it wasn’t as bad as it looked, but neither did it live up to the bold claims of its manufacturers, Heat Food and Drink Limited.
The novelty of the experience and the fun of watching it cook was the best bit about it.
I’m just hoping Mrs Docking doesn’t reach for one on Christmas Day!