Look, when it comes to food, I try to be good like every other “good girl” out there. I really do. I love fruits and veggies. There’s not a salad I would ever turn down. I enjoy spending time with my fellow suburban libtard friends, gnoshing on artisan, fresh-baked breads and local greens at a downtown café, or sampling the latest shrub cocktail at the local hipster watering hole. But I’m also an American. An American who grew up kinda-sorta white trash, so naturally, along the way, I accidentally developed a taste for the vulgar. The following are my go-to trash-food faves:
The more processed the better. There is maybe nothing more I like to put in my mouth than a fatty, salty, garlicky, spicy bite of smoked, cured or brined organ meats. I love the snooty varieties we can get at our local European market, like Braunschweiger or Prosciutto or Saucisson, but a warm Slim Jim that’s been hanging out in my glove box for a few months will do almost as well. I can taste the spicy grease sliding down my throat right now. I even like those disgusting vinegar pickled sausages you can only buy at gas stations, though the last time I had one was in college, because I don’t want to die. Same with Vienna sausages, those nasty little fat-wieners in a can. And I’ve never bought a gas station hot dog, but I’ve fantasized about it, more than once. Grocery store bologna? Yes, please. Pimento loaf? Hell, yeah. Summer sausage? The kind you might receive in your Christmas stocking? Whack a fat chunk of that off, and hand it over, NOW.
Processed cheese food
Again, don’t get me wrong. I love real cheese. I adore all the frou-frou aged cheeses from all over the world, the ones that cost twenty bucks a pound. (With the exception of brie. Brie tastes like something that comes from between human toes.) But I also love all the cheap-ass processed cheeses, including, but not limited to: American, Velveeta, Cheez Whiz (which sounds like it should come in a spray can but doesn’t), Easy Cheese (this is the one that comes in a spray can!), nacho (from a can), queso (from a jar), that pimento-cheese spread stuff that looks and smells like vomit, and those weird little cheese food triangles that don’t need refrigeration and are individually wrapped in foil and come in a cardboard wheel. Growing up, my best friend’s mom would buy industrial-sized cans of nacho cheese and industrial-sized jars of pickled jalapenos and I would make bucketsful of nachos to my heart’s content. It was absolute heaven.
Occasionally, I have an inexplicable need to open a can of Spaghetti O’s or canned ravioli and shove it in my face. I don’t even bother to put it in a bowl and heat it up. Just straight out of the can, at room temperature. Do I love rustic, artisan pasta, handmade with love and care and herbs picked from a rooftop garden? Of course I do. But once in a while, trash pasta is a necessity. Especially when I was pregnant. (I know. Blarf.)
Chips & Dip
Now when I say “dip,” understand that I’ll happily cram handfuls of your hot, homemade spinach-artichoke dip served on baked pita chips into my pie-hole. But I will also eat those plastic tubs of dip from the grocery store. The store brand. The ones that go on sale three for a dollar. I will scoop up obscene amounts of it on generic chips, downing it until I’m sick from eating too much grease and salt. When the chips are down to nothing but crumbs, I’ve mixed them in a bowl with a few scoops of plastic-tub-dip and eaten it with a spoon. No chips at all? Just the spoon will do, then. French onion, chive, bacon & cheese, ranch … the flavor doesn’t matter. The tantalizing combination of cheap dairy fat plus salty chemicals always keeps me coming back for more!
Though not technically food, I have chewed my fingernails as far back as I can remember, since about the age of three. Nail biting, clinically known as onychophagy or onychophagia, is generally considered to be part of the obsessive-compulsive disorders as classified by the American Psychological Association. I can’t explain my desire to chew my nails. All I can say is that some days it’s nearly all-consuming. Other days, I have zero desire to engage in it. The longest I ever went without chewing my nails was maybe a year and a half, but I always seem to come back to it. There’s simply no substitute for the texture of a fingernail, and the satisfaction I get from gnawing on them is indescribable. I have totally destroyed my nail beds, which means I’ll never, ever, EVER have pretty nails. Better turn in my Woman Card.
What are your nasty food favorites?