Yep, foodies also enjoy things that are either bad for them, overly processed, filled with preservatives, bad on the waistline, the heart, the stomach and skin, and they are loathe to share these things so not to be stoned by a judgmental foodie public and set off into the culinary wilderness.
But I am of stout heart and unafraid.
So, without further ado, here are some of my “guilty pleasures”. They aren’t ranked in any particular order.
Papa John’s “Special Garlic Sauce”. I put it in quotations because calling it a sauce is a bit of a stretch. Let’s face it, it’s an herbed”butter”. And I put butter in quotations because, let’s face it, it’s not butter either. The ingredients are, as best as I can see without getting out my microscope because the print is tiny: liquid and partially hydrogenated soybean oil, water, salt, garlic* (* means dehydrated), vegetable mono and diglycerides, soy lecithin, natural garlic flavor, artificial flavor, sodium benzoate (a preservative), lactic acid, calcium disodium EDTA added to protect flavor, citric acid, beta carotene (color), vitamin A palmitate added. Oh yeah, says “contains soybeans”. Well, duh.
Having said all of that, I love this stuff. I might be putting my body through shock therapy by dipping perfectly good pizza and bread into this, but, what the hay? Tasty. I’m sure that I could create a great and slightly healthier alternative by melting down some ghee and adding some garlic powder, but then I wouldn’t have the handy little disposable bowl, right? Oh dear, need to make sure that it hits the recycling bin…
Honey bun. Especially Little Debbie’s 50¢ little sugar bomb. Here’s the procedure. Buy a “cappuccino” (a guilty pleasure itself since it’s hard to say what’s actually in the instant powder from which it originates) from some place like MAPCO or 7-11 or other quick-stop type market. Make sure that I mix all of the flavors together until the cup is about 2/3rd full and then top off with coffee. Take Little Debbie’s honey bun and place in microwave. Set timer for 20 seconds. Remove warmed, soft and gooey package and eat it as a side to the cappuccino. Plan on an instant extra 3 lbs on the hips and a jittery, slightly speedy buzz. Thank the stars that I’m not diabetic like my mom was (yet). A caveat – avoid the “frosted” versions at all costs.
SunChips. I like to fool myself that this is very healthy for me. After all, you need to get your fiber, right? One can ignore the salt levels if one concentrates on the fiber aspect. Sadly, this is getting ready to go by the wayside. Why is that, you ask? Well, they had the perfect size ($1.29 bag) for someone who uses it sometimes with the above mentioned cappuccino for a “breakfast” that gets one through the lean and hungry times. Now, they’ve decided to raise the price by paradoxically going to a .99 size and reducing the quantity so that it seems like you’re paying less, but you’re actually paying more. Now that wouldn’t bother me so much, but the $1.29 size was perfect as a “single serving” (I would of course ignore the actual “suggested serving size”, which is “about 4.5”). A “breakfast” of that and a cappuccino would get you through a lunchless day because of the filling nature of the chips, while possibly killing you softly with its crunch. The flavor is really good. I prefer the orange colored “Harvest Cheddar” over the green “French Onion” but I’ll eat either, at least up to now. Unfortunately, the .99 size is not quite enough. So, this might very well be a “former guilty pleasure”. Sadly, it’s one of the only packaged chips worth consuming. But all good things must come to an end, I suppose.
Jack In the Box bacon, egg and cheese biscuit. Yum. A decent biscuit with good flavor, texture and size and the requisite BEC. Simple, inexpensive and even a little buttery. And if you haven’t had your share of trans fats for the week, this will bring your quotient up.
And, speaking of biscuits, how about them Church’s honey brushed biscuits? Oddly not available until lunch, these are some of the tastiest biscuits available. Rough-hewn and slightly crunchy on the top, the honey brushed on the top makes this an almost dessert. You can buy them singly or in boxes of 4.
Finally, a “buttery” toasted sandwich from Sonic – the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Toaster. It’s the Jack in the Box breakfast sandwich on steroids. Loaded with trans fat, this Texas toast sandwich comes in a foil pack and has what I guess is deep fried bacon. Who cares if the egg is only an egg product? This thing will set your butter gene off, despite the fact that it’s likely to have as much butter as Papa John’s Special Garlic Sauce. Don’t be fooled though – the sandwich won’t look like that. The Texas Toast is quite a bit thinner and it’s sometimes quite saturated with mystery oil.
Oh yeah, that just made me think of Sonic’s Creme Slush. Damn. Talk about hitting the sweet spot. I order the blue coconut and pineapple mixed together to get a bizarrely colored variation of a virgin piña colada (I’m a sucker for both pineapple and coconut) or the Dreamsicle-esque Orange Cream Slush. Basically, this is a mix of a slush and ice cream and whatever flavors you choose (the strawberry is good as well since it has bits of real strawberry that get hung up in the straw). Creamy goodness in a cup. And they’ve thought of everything. they give you an extra-wide straw so that you don’t end up killing yourself trying to get enough suction to get it into your mouth. They give you a wide-mouth domed top that allows the generous drink maker to give you more than the cup will hold (not all of them do this though). And then there’s the little mint that comes in each bag. It’s their version of the chocolate mint on the pillow at a 5 star hotel.
Now that I’ve completely destroyed my foodie street cred, I’d advise you that you enjoy these items at your own risk. Please don’t sic your doctor after me when it turns out that you’ve either developed adult-onset diabetes, hypertension, blocked arteries, acne, obesity or strange allergies. Obviously, if you are sensitive to gluten, soy, animal products or preservatives, you’ll want to avoid these like the plague.
These are all products that I would call trailer park umami. For those of you who don’t know what umami is, google it. Where have you been – in a trailer park?
Oh yeah, all tradenames are trademarked and owned by their respective owners.