If this is bad, I don’t want to be good.

Photo credit: Torbenh (Flickr)

Photo credit: Torbenh (Flickr)

What is it about guilt that makes it so delicious? Whether it’s sleeping in, watching hours of TV, or listening to Bon Jovi, there’s something indulgent about doing something you’re not supposed to.

And when it comes to food, it’s entirely another thing. When I was in Denver last month for the IACP, in room of nearly 100 food writers, we were asked to confess our culinary guilty pleasures. There were two streams of thought. The first was that there are no guilty pleasures, just things that are eaten in moderation. The other was a laundry list of things we know to be bad for us, either because they’re full of tasty calories (ice cream) or because they’re full of preservatives (junk food).

I fall into the latter category. I have no problem eating butter, bacon, or cake. I do have problems eating processed food. If it’s pumped full of so many additives and preservatives that even bugs won’t eat it, why on earth do people eat it? Further, the packaged food industry is so far removed from actual food that it should hardly be called food.

But take that all with a grain of salt, because my guilty pleasures are completely, fully processed foods. I never eat them – not because I have any restraint – but because they’re not allowed in my house.

My guilty pleasure list:

  • Oreo cookies (minus the milk)
  • microwave popcorn
  • grilled cheese sandwiches made with Wonderbread and Kraft Singles
  • strawberry Pocky

They’ll be the death of me – what’s your poison?


14 Responses to “If this is bad, I don’t want to be good.”

  1. Posted on May 13th, 2009

    I will join you on the grilled cheese sandwich front. And add homemade lavender shortbread, Haagen Daz ice cream,and homemade chocolate pudding. Now you’ve made me very hungry! :-)

  2. Posted on May 13th, 2009

    I can’t do Oreos. Nope, nope, nope. But guilty pleasures: I’ve got lots. Probably the top of my list is instant ramen. And popcorn chicken at KFC. And…now I’m getting hungry, too!

  3. Posted on May 13th, 2009

    Ohhh, lavender shortbread. It’s so tricky, because I either put in not enough lavender (what lavender?) or too much (there’s soap in my shortbread!). Such a fine balance.

  4. Posted on May 13th, 2009

    Beef or Pork Jerky from Bee Kim Heng on Fraser & East 26th in Vancouver

    Homebaked Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies from PBF Pita Bread Factory in Burnaby (also great place to get day-old pita bread & tortillas for dirt cheap on Sunday afternoons)

    Butter croissants, green onion or cheese & sausage waffles from Patisserie LeBeau on West 2nd in Vancouver

    Apple tarts from New Town Bakery on Cambie & West 19th in Vancouver (Hong Kong Bakery on West Pender in Chinatown originated them when I was a youngster, but they retired the recipe along with the shop. Their tarts were naturally sweet but not sugary, much flatter and flakier–way more shortening was used). Say hi to Marian behind the baked goodies!

    Great article/subject matter Eagranie!

  5. Posted on May 13th, 2009

    Thankfully I am full right now…but I would have to say that grilled cheese and cream of mushroom soup are up there along with oreos and homogenized milk. I don’t really eat the oreos much anymore but a good grill cheese is still part of my repertoire. I suppose I have just graduated from “wonderbread and kraft slices” to “fancier white bread and any kind of yummy cheese”.

    That being said I could totally go for an oreo dipped in milk right now :-)

  6. Posted on May 13th, 2009

    Joseph – oh, instant noodles. They’re my preferred snack after midnight, so they’re also banned from the house.

    Nancy – I have fond memories of the original apple tarts from New Town bakery. My godmother would buy them for me, and that made me think she was godly. The revived recipe isn’t bad, but it’s also not the stuff of memory.

    Dawn – cream of mushroom soup reminds me of being a kid, nestled under blankets watching TV. I guess that pleasure is in the memory and not so much the food!

  7. Posted on May 13th, 2009

    Your comment about lavendar is so funny.
    I must say that I’m pretty proud of myself. I managed to minimize eating from cans and boxes by a lot. But… Coke… is always something I wish I could drink without feeling guilt. But I rarely drink it these days. trying tio model good behavior to my kids :)

  8. Posted on May 13th, 2009

    They should be banned from my house, too, but they’re not. I’m indulging right now…

  9. Posted on May 14th, 2009

    Grilled cheese sandwish.. but only cooked with butter !

  10. Posted on May 14th, 2009

    Ohhh! Don’t get me started. Todd and I often indulge in a pleathura of snacks. Movie theatre popcorn, yanyan, okononomiyaki-style chip balls, bubble tea, chinese-style popcorn chicken and homemade pepporoni sticks.

    There is a huge reason why we work out at least 3-4 times a week.

  11. Posted on May 14th, 2009

    For all my talk about organic, sustainable, seasonal, and healthy, I have an awful lot of guilty pleasures that subscribe to none of the above.

    Most of them are foods that I grew up eating so it’s nearly impossible to kick the habit:

    – Spam
    – Vienna sausages
    – Instant noodles
    – Coca-cola

    Some are junk foods that I will latch on to for a week or so in fits of unprocessed food binging:

    – Cheese puffs
    – Aero / Kit Kat / Twix

  12. Posted on May 14th, 2009

    I understand the love of oreos. we have a bag right now in fact…
    Reeses pieces, and reese pb cups
    and sometimes i have a craving for cheesies…the gnarly crunchy ones.

    I remember eating a lot of instant noodles while growing up (and eating them “raw” too) Like a few of you, i keep that out of the house.

  13. Posted on May 15th, 2009

    What kind of Foodist admits to the crap they eat between the gourmet meals? Ok, ok, I’ll do it.

    Why has no one has confessed to a Foie Gras addiction? I feel guilty about the ethics of harvesting it, but it’s s rich, buttery, and unctuous. Shit man, I gotta stop eating it.

    I also must confess that I LOVE sugary cereal with cream on it. You heard me: cream. I know, I know…

    Perhaps my worst and most embarrassing guilty pleasure? The one that always gets me in trouble? McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish. Oooohhhh….there’s no fighting it when the urge comes over me for that sweet/sour tartar sauce and flaky white fish-like patty on that hot steamed white bread bun. I want to go there. Right now.

  14. Posted on May 15th, 2009

    Good point, Mark. I still enjoy good shark’s fin soup and abalone. Definitely not ethical choices.

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