Sweet Sue Canned Whole
Chicken 50-ounce Can
Bryan Foods Inc.
The idea of a
a chicken
in every
pot is
fine and well, but
it really depends on the chicken.
That's the primary lesson to be
learned from a Sweet Sue Canned
Whole Chicken, a fully cooked
product that probably isn't giving
Frank Perdue any sleepless nights.
As canned goods go, a Sweet Sue
chicken seems relatively harmless --

the ingredients listing is just chicken,
water, and salt. A more curious
tidbit, however, appears in the
nutritional breakdown: "Serving size:
2 ounces; servings per container:
about 15." A puzzling entry, this --

anyone who's ever planned a
Thanksgiving dinner knows it takes a
huge turkey to feed 15 people, and
I'm fairly certain that even the
drumstick from such a bird wouldn't
fit inside a Sweet Sue chicken can.
And who can subsist on two ounces
of chicken? My cat eats more 9 Lives
than that for breakfast. My
interest piqued, I spoke with Paul
Matthews, marketing manager for
Bryan Foods, which owns the Sweet
Sue brand. "It may not make much
sense," he said, echoing my thoughts
exactly, "but the idea is that most of
the consumers we've talked to
who've used this product are taking
apart the meat from the bone, just
like they were making homemade
chicken salad. When used that way, it
can make up to 15 servings."
Matthews didn't mention that a
larger, more logical serving size
would result in significantly higher
levels of fat, cholesterol, and sodium
per serving, but I suspect that had
something to do with it too. But
let's face it, nobody's buying a
canned chicken for nutritional
reasons, so let's move on to the taste
test. After following the directions to
chill the product, I opened the can,
dumped the contents into a large
pan, and found myself staring at a
quivering mound of congealed goop.
Figuring there must be a fowl in
there somewhere, I pawed my way
through the gelatinous mass and,
sure enough, discovered one very
sorry-looking chicken about the size
of a Cornish hen. I poked at a wing; it
fell off. At this point it was hard to
imagine anyone following the label's

suggestion to "serve cold just as [the]
chicken comes from the can," but I'd
been planning on a hot meal anyway,
so I popped the pan into the oven for
the specified 15 minutes and then sat
down to some of the blandest chicken
it has ever been my duty to consume.
I had to hand it to Sweet Sue on one
count, however -- two ounces turned
out to be plenty. Speaking of
Sweet Sue, she s depicted on the
label as a fresh-faced girl in a floppy
straw hat. I was hoping this
illustration might be based on an
actual person who still served as the
company figurehead -- I imagined a
grumpy old Sue, now about 60 years
old and tired of posing for photo-ops
with poultry farmers at the county
fair, haunted by the lost youth that
stares out from each can of chicken
bearing her name. Unfortunately,
Matthews said he was unaware of
any real-life model for the character.
Whatever Sue's culinary skills,
language does not appear to be her
strong suit. The label includes a
reminder to "save the delicious
broth," instructions for making "a
delicious gravy," pointers for
preparing "a delicious chicken soup,"
and a reference to the brand's
"delicious, homemade taste." If
nothing else, Sue's going to be very
easy to shop for this Christmas --
I've already got her down for a
thesaurus. (Bryan Foods, Inc., 1
Churchill Rd., Westpoint, MS 39773
Sweet Sue Canned Whole Chicken)
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