People are never asking me, "Leonard, you're a gourmet, by which I mean a fat pig who can't stop eating but who is also snooty. And yet, every year
, you conduct the Crappys
, an annual competition where you and your hapless friends
eat really bad junk food
you bought at grocery stores and write about it in a misguided attempt to milk humor out of the time- and money-wasting endeavor. But the question remains: with your pretentious foodie ways, is there any junk food you actually like
To which I fail to respond, "Why, of course, imaginary inquisitor! The fact is, I like all sorts of junk foods! I like them so much that, as you were kind enough to point out, I am a fat pig who can't stop eating! I like so many junk foods I can scarcely think of all the chemicals coursing through my overthickened bloodstream. From frozen Swedish meatballs to saddle-shaped potato crispoids to the slaughterhouse leftovers known as lunchmeat, if it was created by an industrial food-chemistry engineer, I will attempt to digest it. There are junk foods I hate but eat anyway, like Hot Pockets, and there are junk foods that I love but try to avoid due to the genocidal effect they have on my insides, like White Castle sliders. But, more to your point, while I attempt to cook as much as possible and avoid junk foods because they are unquestionably going to be the cause of my death, there are a few crap products I still consume with semi-regularity despite the fact that they are awful."
For example? Sure, for example!
1. RAMEN NOODLES. Pretty much everyone got hooked on these in college, because they're dead cheap and very filling. They're also 'tasty' in the sense that they're saturated in MSG, which makes you think things taste good even when they taste like sticks and gunpowder. Like most people of my station, I went through an extended period of eating this crap when I was impoverished, but unlike most people of any kind, I keep buying them on occasion even though I can now afford to buy steak. I really shouldn't, because my blood pressure is high enough to launch a suborbital missile and noodle cups have roughly six thousand tons of sodium per teaspoon, but they're quick, easy, and a sly approximation of delicious.
2. BEEF STICKS. I'm not talking about gritty, frontiersy, harder-on-your-jaw-than-an-hour-of-cunni
lingus beef jerky; I'm talking about the greasy tubes of we're-legally-allowed-to-call-this-meat that are vended under the name of Slim Jim. These things are severely gross. Eating one leaves you feeling like you've been punched in the clavicle by an angry steer-man for several rounds. They're made from parts of a cow that even the cow doesn't wish it could have kept. Their texture, which falls somewhere between "mushy" and "chalky", neither of which should ever be applied to something made of meat, is second only to their peculiar (and peculiarly offensive) odor in the cavalcade of offensive sense data that begins when you open the package. And their nutritional value is is approximate to the financial value of a deed to the Brooklyn Bridge you get from a guy selling used sex toys off a blanket in Tompkins Square. But still, every few months, I eat one. I always regret it, but I do it anyway. Why? Because I'm an idiot, clearly.
3. GATORADE. Okay, let's get one thing straight: unless you're sick, dehydrated (and by this, I mean actually dehydrated, not just thirsty) or an actual hardcore athlete who's just done something a lot more strenuous than move the beer keg at a softball game, you do not need
Gatorade. It was designed for real athletes
, not people playing handball while smoking cigarettes at the Y. The fact that you can buy a thousand bottles of it at a goddamn pet store is a pure triumph of marketing; it doesn't sell by the barrelful because Americans are so hard-working or athletic -- in fact, given our ever-increasing bovinity, quite the opposite is true. It sells because people respond to advertising. And unless you need the electrolytes and nutrients, which if you're like 90% of Gatorade drinkers you don't, all you're getting when you swig a bottle is sugar water, no more healthful than drinking an identical amount of Coke. That said, Gatorade is goddamn delicious, even the funky-ass flavors like Fierce Watermelon and "Riptide Rush". An icy cold Gatorade on a hot day satisfies like nothing else. Once you open a bottle, you're almost compelled to drink the whole thing. It's great for mixing with vodka, and it's also great for drinking the next morning to help you recuperate from the hangover you got from drinking vodka and Gatorade the night before. It's such a perfect product that millions of people, myself included, continue to swill the stuff even though their long-running ad campaign features it secreting from the armpits, groins and foreheads of sweaty, bloody, smelly jocks.
How about you, food-lifers? What can't you get enough of even though you know you shouldn't get any at all?