Bee Baby Canned Bees - Retro Tin

Bee Baby® Canned Bees – Retro Edition

My, these bring me back. Funnily enough I was at the store specifically looking for a box of Fudge Miracles—which recently returned to shelves in retro packaging after something like 16 years in limbo—when I spotted the clever promotional "hive" for Bee Baby Retro jutting out from the canned meat shelf. The buzzing sound emanating from within fooled me into thinking it was an actual wasps' nest, but like the faux rain effects you hear in the produce aisle, it was merely good merchandising!

I was surprised not to have heard of this reissue, as I keep pretty good tabs on the consumer packaged goods world, ESPECIALLY "throwback" items. Anyway, they're the real deal—the original Bee Baby recipe you might remember if you were born before a certain year. *Cough, cough* … oops, did I just "date" myself? 🤷 They even brought back the slightly confusing slogan "Bee Free!" from the old commercials. (Needless to say, the product itself is not bee-free.)

It's funny how, while the taste is exactly as I remembered it, certain details were a little strange to re-adjust to after so many years of eating the more familiar Bee Baby whole-thorax bees. I'd forgotten that the original recipe was a lot less uniform than it's become, so it was a little jarring to open the can and see bees of different sizes and shapes (I'm not sure how responsibly these were sourced, to be honest), including one which I'm not sure was even a bee, because it had a stinger more like what you'd see on a swordfish, though much smaller obviously.

They're also a little more crunchy than the standard version, which come packed in cold water. These came out of the can in something more along the lines of aspic, but whatever it is preserves the integrity of the bee flesh to a pretty good degree.

I decided to have them in a Cobb salad, substituting the bacon for bees and doubling the amount of Roquefort I normally use, figuring that would provide some cushioning from the stingers. This was okay logic, but I had forgotten how much sharper the old stingers were prior to the recipe change. As a result, in just one mouthful I inadvertently harpooned my lips together with one large stinger, while another one, almost as large, pierced into my salivary gland, causing a profuse torrent of saliva to fill my mouth with no means of escape. Not unlike that flooded cave situation from a few years back, come to think of it!

I thought for sure I was going to drown right then and there, when a third, medium-sized stinger swirling around in my mouth managed to knock into the one pinning my lips, creating enough of an opening that I was finally able to expel all the saliva and catch my breath.

Unfortunately, a jagged piece of that stinger broke off and slipped back into my throat, where it lodged directly behind my uvula. It has yet to dislodge, even though it's been almost 72 hours and I've been flushing with salt water persistently. The salt is absolute murder on all of the mouth punctures, of course, but it's a small price to pay for nostalgia so richly rewarded.

Review by Wimpempy Tarlisle