Teriyaki Beef Jerky

Brand: Hempler’s

Cost: $6.89

Found at: Safeway

            Being an occasional expat, I’ve been called all sorts of names by people who feel that I do not love America enough. I’ve been called a communist, a Libtard, an America-hater, a sheeple – all the usual terms of derision that become so popular during election years. It doesn’t really bother me (sticks and stones, after all) but I am invariably surprised by these sudden outbursts. I never quite see them coming – though I probably should. The problem usually arises if the offended party feels that I have cast aspersions on the fine institutions of my home. I might, for example, mention that I find the rules of football confusing and uninteresting and it will suddenly send someone into a fit of blind rage. If you don’t like one thing about America, the logic goes, you must hate all things about America.

            But they are wrong. I do not hate all things about America. In fact, there is one thing, hand over heart, that I can clearly see that America does better than any other country in the world. And that thing is beef jerky.

            I’ve lived in Socialist Sweden and Communist China and whatever the United Kingdom is calling itself these days, and I can tell you that they’ve all got it wrong. The beef jerky there is either too stringy or too chewy or too dry. The choice of flavors tends to be limited – and don’t even get me started on the price! It’s not even that I am that much of beef jerky fan to begin with. But there is no betrayal quite like craving beef jerky and then biting into something that is almost, but not quite, beef jerky.

            But now I have come home to the great beefy country of my youth, and I remember how it is supposed to be. I don’t know if it is the cows or the spices or the crisp, clean Northwest air, but the jerky here is a triumph. This Hempler’s teriyaki is not even particularly good American beef jerky and it’s still wonderful. It’s sweet and tangy and salty and just chewy enough without breaking your jaw. It’s everything I’ve been missing this past year – and it is only $7! Eating it brings back a flood of memories of road trips and camp trips and those occasional days where I just could not face making dinner. It’s so good, it makes me want to drive to a state park and climb something!

And if that’s not patriotic, than I might just be a sheeple after all…

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