Several really kind of gross things I dearly love

Andreae Prozesky isn’t quite as pure as one might think.

Every now and then I’ll have a weird encounter involving food. I’ll be out picking up groceries or grabbing some kind of quick bite and someone, sometimes a stranger but more often a vague acquaintance, will come up to me and say, “you write that food column, don’t you?” “Yes,” I’ll reply, and realize that my shopping basket is carrying packets of Kool-Aid and a bag of white dinner rolls and a Styrofoam plate of confetti squares, or that my food court tray is holding up a large poutine and a giant waxed-paper cup of Sprite.

Then I’ll get the look, the “well, now I can’t believe anything you say, because I caught you sucking back high-fructose corn syrup at the mall” look. If I were a truly secure person, I would be able to ignore this judgey judgeness, perhaps even offer a cheese curd-draped French fry. But instead I get all socially-awkward and say things like, “Uh… I’ve just read a fascinating article on dying felted wool with Kool-Aid… if only you could get organic drink powder, but oh well, heh heh heh…” or “Man, this Sprite is gross, but when you look at the environmental impact of bottled water, I mean, heh, what are you supposed to do?” Then I babble nervously for a while, and the Nerd-spotter walks away, no doubt never to read my column again. Way to go, Food Dork.

I mean, yes, Sprite is gross, but it’s a kind of gross I like. I don’t drink enough of it to do any lasting damage, and it’s only ever in combination with greasy fries. Based on my own highly scientific research, I feel that the acidity of the soft drink counteracts the greasiness of the dinner somehow—although that’s probably wrong in about fifteen different ways. Oh, well. And poutine? Well, that’s food of the gods if you ask me. I’ve been known to go to the mall for no other reason than to get a big dish of it. Poutine is just tasty stuff.

Invariably, as the judgey-pants former reader walks away, I get all mad with myself for being so sheepish about my trashier food choices. For one thing, I know enough about food to balance my confetti square addiction with steady doses of green vegetables and whole grains. For another, just because I love a plate of sautéed Swiss chard with garlic butter, does that mean I can’t also revel in the magic that happens when hot gravy meets cold cheese? Just because I can whip up a gorgeous brown-rice soda bread, resplendent with sultanas, each slice yieldingly gritty beneath its thick layer of sweet butter, does that mean I should be ashamed of the pleasure I get from tearing paste-white dinner roll from paste-white dinner roll, the strands of unholy gluten pulling and snapping, the interiors soft as the dough they once were?

Hells no!

These are the sorts of things people call “guilty pleasures,” but I think that’s ridiculous. Feeling guilty about food isn’t going to help you eat more healthfully, and it’s certainly not going to make you a better person. In fact, I think that applying the principle of guilt to eating just waters down the meaning of guilt. Guilt is a potent feeling, so for heaven’s sake, save it for when you’ve actually done something wrong. If I eat half a chocolate cake, I may feel bloated, sticky, simultaneously wired and lethargic, and mildly nauseated, but I’m not going to feel guilty. Unless I stole the cake from a child’s birthday party. (Stealing from children is so wrong!)

Eating too much cake is perhaps a little stupid, but it’s not immoral.

So there you go. No guilt, no shame, and moderate amounts of junk food. There’s not a thing in the world wrong for it. Should you catch me in the grocery store, loading my cart with nasty, sugary, chemical doughnuts, rest assured it’s not something I do often, and that I’ll pay for it later when I feel like absolute rubbish. Then it’s back to the sensible homemade goodness for me.

Several really kind of gross things I dearly love
(in no particular order)

Marshmallows. I can’t have them in my house because I will devour the entire bag over the course of 48 hours, standing on a chair in my kitchen so that I can reach the top self where I’ve hidden them. And those fruity pastel mini marshmallows don’t even make it to the 36 hour point.

Miracle Whip. Oh how I love it. I know it’s not real mayonnaise. But you know what? Neither is Hellman’s. It’s all just glop in a jar. I’ll take my glop in a jar sweet and tangy, thanks.

Egg salad sandwiches made with Miracle Whip. On white bread, cut in triangles. At a school fundraiser. So very good.

Assorted squares. Of the sort that you find in the bakery section of your grocery store, or in convenience stores, especially those attached to gas stations, for whatever reason. Assorted squares needn’t be square, actually: peanut butter balls and their cousins, peanut butter mice, both count. I cherish them, even if they actually list “Parowax” as one of their ingredients. *Shudder*

Fried egg sandwiches. If you look at the components of the fried egg sandwich – fried egg, toast, cheese, mayonnaise (ahem, Miracle Whip, ahem) – there’s nothing actually wrong with them, but any sandwich that drips greasy egg yolk is kind of gross. But it’s oh so tasty.

Viva Puffs, and any of their copycat versions. See above entry on marshmallows. I can easily eat a whole package of them. Nobody in my house likes them but me. I’m so lucky!

Fried chicken. From Mary Brown’s. With Orange Crush. There, I’ve said it. Now you know.

 

Send your questions, comments, and guilt-ridden suggestions to dreae@thescope.ca

7 comments

St. John’s city council live blog for Oct. 31, 2011

St. John’s city council live blog for Oct. 31, 2011

The St. John’s city council liveblog: council, served up fresh every Monday in easy-to-swallow 140 character bites.

7 November 2011

  1. Erin Whitney · November 7, 2011

    Perfect reading material for my breakfast of chocolate chip cookies. (Hey, I had a grapefruit first, ok!)

  2. Hailey · November 7, 2011

    Knowing that you love marshmallows and poutine just makes me appreciate you more. Now you’re more of a real person instead of just an organic foods goddess.

  3. Shelley · November 7, 2011

    Each time I read a new Food Nerd article I think “I’m going to leave a comment on the website and tell Andreae just how right on she is – about everything”. This time I happened to read the article online and hence the comment actually being written.

    Or in other words – each article you write I fall more and harder and deeper in love with you. Er, I mean, with your food knowledge and views, of course.

    And so you know, I am not intimidated by your vast and awesome food knowlege, at all. But by your writing skillz, completely so.

  4. April Lacey · November 7, 2011

    I could not agree more with this article! As a relatively healthy person, in pretty good shape, I get scoffed at by friends for adding cheese to a pizza or going completely over the edge and ordering a deluxe burger with everything. Feeling it is their civil duty to alert me of the sodium levels, calories or copious amounts of carbs I WAS happily enjoying without commentary. These same know-it-alls feel the need to scoff if I decide I want a salad, or veggie wrap, passive-aggressively hinting that I’m too thin or possess some minor eating disorder, which requires their council. I try to be healthy and I eat quite well. I don’t see the harm in enjoying a fried egg sandwich (one of my personal favorites as well!) and if I’ve learned anything since I moved downtown, I’m going to burn most of those calories walking back up Long’s Hill anyhow. I think the problem is more with the judges than the judgees (sp?) Pick one side or the other to be on…then shut the hell up about it. When I’m on my death bed for eating that one cheeseburger a week, then you can happily say i told you so.

  5. Noah · November 7, 2011

    When I haven’t been finding new methods of preparing fresh halibut and venison, or plucking rockweed from the beach and dressing it with a balsamic reduction, I’ve been on one hell of a Pizza Pop kick lately…

    As to your not being as pure as one might think, that’s OLD news…

  6. Andreae · November 7, 2011

    Aw, you guys are the best (except maybe for Noah… ahem…). I knew I wasn’t alone in appreciating the greasier, tangier, and more marshmallowy things in life. And @April: I’m on the Long’s Hill daily hike/workout plan, too. It’s the best!

  7. seo · November 7, 2011

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my website thus i came to “return the favor”.I’m attempting to find things to improve my site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!