Hormel Dried Beef: the Perfect Big-Kid Drinking Glass

Two years ago I discussed using Kraft Pimento Spread jars as toddler drinking glasses.

Yesterday, Thinga-reader Nancy B. from Wisconsin e-mailed to report:

"My husband and I read your page on toddler glasses and went out on the Great Pimento Spread Hunt. We couldn’t find any, but we did find something even better!  Sandwiched between the tins of Vienna sausages and the boxes of dried sardines, we found Hormel’s Dried Beef. For $1.50 a jar, we got not only that same glass container, but the metal lid on it snaps on and off easily, so that I can put the leftover glass of milk back in the fridge without worrying about all the ickies that could fall into or out of it! And in our household, the dried beef is much more useful than the Pimento Spread… the cats loved it!  Here, kitty kitty!"

I had to investigate.

Hey dads, do you know the look that a grocery clerk gives you when you’ve come to the store alone to buy a bag of chips and some frozen burritos? It’s that "this guy lives alone in an apartment" look. Well, when you buy a single can of Hormel Dried Beef you don’t get that look. The clerk is too afraid to look at you at all.

A photo of a Hormel Drief Beef jar next to the same jar stripped of its lid and label, now filled with a third of a cup of orange juice. Next to it is a smaller drinking glass filled with the same amount of orange juice. It is a former Kraft Pimento Spread jar.

Above you see two Hormel Dried Beef jars and one of my original, smaller Kraft Pimento Spread jars. The two on the right are each filled with one-third of a cup of orange juice.

Claim #1: The jar is found next to Vienna sausages and dried sardines:
Verdict: True. And, now I know that grocery stores sell pigs feet, too. I found all of these glorious wonders near canned beans in the "ethnic food" aisle.

Claim #2: The cost is $1.50 for a jar the same size as Kraft Pimento Spread.
Verdict: Probably true. Nancy B. reported it having the same dimensions as Kraft. Hormel sells two size jars, the larger one contains 5 ounces of beef and is pictured above (the only size I could find at a California Safeway… for $4.78). Hormel’s smaller jar may be similar or identical to the Kraft jar.

Claim #3: The metal lid is great for reusing.
Verdict: Your judgment may vary. The lid is steel surrounded by a plastic ring and I surmise it’s possible for liquid to get trapped between the two. I don’t believe it easy to clean properly, and the type of plastic used in the ring is undocumented (there is no easy way to determine whether it contains bisphenol-A). I’m completely okay with leaving a glass open-mouthed in a refrigerator all day.

Claim #4: The cats loved eating the dried beef.
Verdict: I hope so, because it truly is disgusting. It resembles sliced salami, but smells funny. One of our cats licked the beef, but didn’t bite.

Side-by-side comparison:

  • Pimento: perfect width for tiny hands to grasp (2.25 inch diameter).
  • Dried beef: perfect for slightly larger hands, perhaps 4 or 5-year-olds  (2.75 inch diameter)
  • Both: Short, so they are less likely to be tipped and dropped (3.5 and 4 inch height)
  • Both: Composed of thick, sturdy glass.
  • Both: No winding screw-cap grooves. There is only a lip (visible in the photo) for a slip-on lid.
  • Both: Stand straight like a normal drinking glass, without a tapered sippy-cup-like end.
  • Pimento holds half a cup of liquid filled to the rim. Dried beef holds 1 cup filled to the rim. How much less you choose to fill the glass to be drinkable will vary by child.

At almost 4-years-old, my daughter refills her pimento jar two or three
times at dinner. The dried beef jar requires two hands, but holds much
more liquid than the pimento, so we will be slowly transitioning her to
the beefier glasses.

In case you’re wondering, a 5-ounce can of dried beef contains 38 slices of oily beef. Mmm.

Photo of a dinner plate filled with 38 slices of salami-like dried beed slices.

If anyone else uses pimento jars or other non-standard glass drinking vessels, do tell. I relish helping subvert the plastic sippy cup paradigm.

Update: Nancy B. sent along a photo of the smaller dried beef glass with a toilet paper roll and Toddlers Sing Rock ‘N’ Roll for size comparison. Serious ear damage may occur if you listen to that CD.

Photo of a small Hormel's Dried Beef jar next to and dwarfed by a toilet paper roll and CD music case.


17 Responses to “Hormel Dried Beef: the Perfect Big-Kid Drinking Glass”

  1. summer says:

    OK, the jar idea is pretty cool, but SHEESH, why is everyone so hard on Dried Beef? Maybe its because I am from the south, but one of my favorite breakfasts my dad used to make is Dried Beef & Gravy over toast. Sooooo yummy I could eat some right now. I used to beg my dad to make it. He actually learned how to make it while in the Marines – they called it SOS… I’ll let you figure that one out, but its something we eat in the south all the time. I’ll admit dried beef looks gross in the can. In fact, my husband won’t look at it and won’t try dried beef and gravy just because he doesn’t like the way it looks in the can, but I’ll tell you its so yummy and those who haven’t had it don’t know what you are missing out on. I wish I weren’t on a diet cause I’d make it for breakfast this morning!

    May 13th, 2008 at 4:32 am

  2. cj says:

    I never understood the sippy cup thing. I thought we needed them, bought them, gave them to my daughter, and she never learned to use them at all. She’s been using regular adult glasses and cups since she was less than a year old. Now, at 2, she’s a pro. She’s never broken one yet, and very rarely drops them, although she does have an occasional spill.

    Why do kids need small cups at all???

    Also, those glasses probably cost five cents to make, so it’s not really that great of a deal getting them for a couple bucks. Have you tried thrift stores?

    May 13th, 2008 at 5:08 am

  3. Kathleen says:

    We use small glasses similar in size to the pimento jars (since I couldn’t find the spread at the grocery store) that I found at IKEA. They come in a 6 pack (REKO) and are $1.99. They fit my little one’s hands perfectly and are a good weight without being too heavy or fragile.

    May 13th, 2008 at 6:10 am

  4. brettdl says:

    I am about to show my age: I remember when those kind of glass containers were common in the grocery store. My mom used to keep them at home.

    May 13th, 2008 at 7:23 am

  5. JMo says:

    Great timing! My to-do list includes “search for Pimento Spread” b/c I’m ready to kill the sippy cup. (The BornFree sippies leak like crazy!) If I can’t find pimento, I’ll head over the “ethnic” aisle for dried beef.

    Good cookin in our house tonight…

    May 13th, 2008 at 8:26 am

  6. Jennifer says:

    I wonder how well the lid holds in the liquid. The only time I every use a sippy cup is in travel, and that’s only to keep the liquid from spilling everywhere. I take the lid off in use. Sippy cups, especially now with those valves, are really just bottles in the shape of a cup.

    They really are an unnecessary supply.

    May 13th, 2008 at 8:41 am

  7. AJ says:

    CJ, kids “need” small cups for the same reason they need small scissors and small tooth brushes. It’s about appropriate sizes. It’s why preschools have small toilets and small sinks. It’s a confidence builder to have things designed for them instead of designed for adults because they can master its use in a normal fashion. Kids just want to be normal, drinking one-handed like everyone else. You could say it bears a strong resemblance to accessible technology for people living with disabilities. Such adults live in a world designed against them.

    Kudos if your child mastered adult glasses. In our home, we use short 12 ounce glasses that are nonetheless very heavy because they are restaurant grade (bought at a restaurant supply store no less… before we had kids). And yep, we picked up some of our pimento jars at a thrift store. The bigger question is… why are toddler glasses so hard to find? Everything is plastic.

    Kathleen, thanks for the IKEA tip… good information for those living near an IKEA. Are the glasses thick and sturdy?

    Jennifer, try stainless steel sippys. The Klean Kanteen has worked like a champ for us, and there are other brands available too.

    May 13th, 2008 at 8:56 am

  8. Nancy says:

    I guess in defense of myself, the comment about reusing the lid is more for keeping gritties out of the drink. Dear Husband and I have a habit of putting odd things in odd places in the fridge and anything without some sort of cover always comes out with added content. The Hormel lid functions just fine to keep frozen peas, coffee grounds, cheese shreds and any other detrius out of the drinking glass. I never intend it to keep the milk IN.

    I also do believe that I had the smaller of the two dried beef jars, as I measured it at 2.25″ in diameter and 3.5″ in height.

    May 13th, 2008 at 9:20 am

  9. Kathleen says:

    I think the IKEA glasses are sturdy. They aren’t super thick like the pimento jars but they survive daily use by my 3 year old…especially when he decides to put them in the sink and they get thrown in there. Plus they have held up extremely well in the dishwasher.

    May 13th, 2008 at 10:26 am

  10. Kate says:

    My kids use pimiento spread jars at the dining room table, thanks to your recommendation!

    I also want to say that our Born Free cups leaked, too, but I went back and bought the other kind of nipple, and that took care of the problem. I have no preference between those and the Kleen Kanteen, except that the BFs are cheaper. My son prefers his KK, though, because he thinks it looks cooler.

    May 13th, 2008 at 10:57 am

  11. John Lloyd says:

    We have always used collectible jelly jars (welch’s), but I also like kraft jars (not a fan of pimento but I do like the pinapple cream cheese that comes in the same size jar).

    May 13th, 2008 at 11:41 am

  12. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    OOoh. We love pimiento cheese. I’ll have to keep the jars in the future for son.

    May 13th, 2008 at 1:57 pm

  13. Wendy says:

    I found some juice glasses at target that are perfect for a toddler. They are small and perfect for small hands and they are thick and have survived several droppings. They have ridges/indentions in them which is not a design that appeals to my style but it seemed like it would make the glass have an even break, not shatter, if it actually did break. I think a four pack was in the $6-$10 range. For me this is the best option because I’m vegetarian and I live no where near an ikea.

    May 14th, 2008 at 7:12 pm

  14. Amber says:

    My grandma used to get these little glasses for me that were really jelly jars (like the kind Welsh’s jelly came in). They were just the right size for little kids and some of them even had pictures on them. I wonder if they still make those?

    May 17th, 2008 at 7:37 pm

  15. Zoe says:

    Seriously, it’s as easy as going to Bed, Bath and Beyond or Crate & Barrel and getting those small (I think 8 oz) glasses for $.89 each. They’re made of thick glass and are perfect in every way for little kids. I actually think they’re made for kids — too small for adults. I honestly don’t understand what all the fuss is about. These small glasses are readily available at these stores.

    September 17th, 2008 at 10:14 pm

  16. AJ says:

    Zoe, neither store existed within several hundred miles of my home when I wrote the original article. There is a Bed Bath now, but its juice glasses (the only small drinking glasses) are thin by comparison.

    But my larger point is, parents might be throwing away perfectly good toddler glasses if they happen to already consume certain foods. Meanwhile, if you’re like me and don’t live in chain store central, you’ve got to be resourceful.

    September 17th, 2008 at 10:27 pm

  17. Paige says:

    Growing up my Mom gave us jar glasses to use. The fact that they are virtually unbreakable is great. Plus she actually used the contents (she makes dried beef gravy over rice) so they were free glasses, essentially. Now that we’re sick of plastic & have broken all but one Target juice glass, I’m looking to get some jars. I plan to check on Freecycle, as well as the thrift stores, to keep from extra manufacturing, if possible.

    August 15th, 2009 at 6:03 pm

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