The standing joke at my house is that when people are over and I serve something, they ask if I made it, and the response is ALWAYS yes. Tomato sauce? Grew the tomatoes. Ice cream? Made it this morning with berries and mint I grew.
Occasionally, I can say the same about the actual plates.
I love being self-sufficient and making/growing/crafting and creating. So my friends would be shocked -- SHOCKED to learn about the secret crap foodstuffs that I covet. And I do mean covet. Perhaps it's tied to childhood memories or maybe I’m just a whore for sugar and preservatives, but even I can admit there are certain foods that I am inexplicably unable to wrestle out of my diet.
xoJers, I hang my head in shame to fill you in, so please, judge away (I know I do) at the junk foods that will probably kill me.
1. Movie Theater Nacho Cheese
Please, do not tell me what is in the nacho cheese, either when it comes out of what I imagine to be a large vat, or once it's been sitting in the theater for who knows how long, collecting God knows what.
Thing is? I don’t care. I don’t care that nachos are like 8$ for a pitiful amount of cheese that can never cover all your chips, that the entire thing should cost 2$, that you’ll inevitably walk out of the theater with orange stains on whatever you’re wearing or that you will spend the whole movie licking your fingertips, in the dark, wondering if anyone notices the insanely loud crunching noise your chewing makes, or is that just in your head?
I don’t want to try to deconstruct this recipe at home, because I’m almost certain real ingredients couldn’t taste this good. I’m pretty certain it's the preservatives that make it taste so good. To solve the problem, I just avoid movie theaters altogether.
2. Apple Jacks
As a kid of the 80s, we had legions of cereals to choose from. I grew up in the age of Cookie Crunch. Think about it, a cereal made of CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES.
We weren’t allowed to have those - we had Cheerios and Apple Jacks. Back in the day when “The Jax” were all pink and sugar coated, I could double fist them during Saturday morning cartoons and by 10am, be ready to run to the moon and back while beating on tin pans and reciting the pledge of allegiance.
As an adult, I reserve these small, dry bits of perfection (always dry, never with milk) for road trips or conferences where I want something to snack on in my bag.
Intellectually, I understand there is likely very, very little chocolate in a fudgesicle. In fact, I don’t even like chocolate that much. But there is something about the fudgesicle, with its promise of a mere 40 calories, its bite-resistant consistency and slurpability that make it my favorite summer treat.
It's dangerous to buy a large box or the double pops. I think I’ve traced it back to summer camp, where as a young kid we would welcome afternoon break from the oppressive sun with a trip to the lunchroom to grab a fudgesicle.
4. Salt and Vinegar Chips/Cheetos/Pickle Flavored sunflower seeds
What do these items have in common? I’m almost certain all were given their powdery flavoring by a lab somewhere in Germany. These are the kinds of things requiring enough engineering they devote entire episodes of "How It's Made" to them (which I watch obsessively so stay tuned to accompanying article on "TV shows that are Probably Going to Kill Me").
I am sure there is not a legit thing about the colored stuff that is left on your fingers, and again - don’t care. Have you tried pickle flavored sunflower seeds? 3% of heaven, and might as well be called “Sodium Road Trip Accessories.” What is it about salt and vinegar chips? They make you immediately gain 5lbs of water weight, they almost hurt to eat and yet, you really don’t pull your hand out of the bag until you hit the floor.
And Cheetos? I just, I cannot. It's just too much. And yet so good.
When I was a little kid, there were actually TV commercials for Ramen. And each time I saw one, I’d demand my mother make that for the next meal.
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned that Ramen did not have a ton of vegetables in it. Damn, my sneaky mom. Don’t get me wrong, Ramen isn’t the height of foodism, but occasionally, I am just drawn to it. There was a girl in high school who used to keep it in her bag, and eat the noodles, completely dry and uncooked, as a snack. I should totally FB that chick.
When I’m in super crunch mode for work, it's the perfect easy to make cooktop item. Occasionally, I add an egg and some soy sauce to attain an egg drop-esque version.
6. Stouffer's Mac and Cheese
Some people are drawn to the blue box. Not me. We were fancy. My mom never ever let us just microwave the box, rather making us wait out the 40 minute “we have to legally include oven directions but no one actually uses them” instructions. Doing so results in this yummy browned crust that I go gaga over.
As an adult, I’ve learned the shortcut is 8 min in the microwave and then 2 under the broiler.
We’ve all got these food weaknesses; I’m always so fascinated by what others are drawn to. Tell me, xoJers, what’s your secret food crush? And please, PLEASE, feel free to try and shame me into better food behavior.