Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Guilty pleasures are much on my mind of late. Charming Suitor and I started a Guilty Pleasure Movie Series with some friends of ours, about once or twice a month we have dinner and a movie night. We alternate who gets to choose the movie. The rules are, it has to be a guilty pleasure, not one of those movies in the pantheon of great films...nope, we are talking about those movies that if you are flipping channels and spot it, you have to stop.
Some of the movies we have watched so far include Ghostbusters, Wayne's World, Addicted to Love, Face Off, Lost in America, Airplane, Valley Girl, Modern Romance, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Some really hold up surprisingly well. (Wayne's World) Some REALLY do not. (Valley Girl) But many discussions have been brought up about the idea of the "guilty pleasure". And how much the guilt and pleasure part are intrinsically connected, that the nature of the enjoyment is in direct correlation to how sort of sheepish we would be if people knew about it. It feels almost like getting away with something, stealing a couple of hours for a less than stellar movie that, for whatever reason, holds a special place in your heart.
The same thing happens with food. I love really good food. Top quality. I try very hard to stay away from processed foods full of unpronounceables. I buy meat, poultry and eggs from either a local farmer, or a butcher I trust. Charming Suitor and I mostly make our own lunches, cook dinners about 5 nights a week, and go to decent restaurants or dine at friends homes for the rest. We are lucky that even our last minute take-out options are pretty great nearby restaurants, a small family-owned Italian place, a terrific Japanese/Sushi house, an amazing Filipino soul food place, an organic rotisserie chicken joint, awesome Middle-Eastern, the best Thai food in Chicago. I would say that 98% of what I put in my mouth is made from amazing fresh seasonal ingredients by either myself or skilled chefs.
And the 2%?
Total, unadulterated crap.
Yup. The guilty pleasure foods. The ones that you would never admit to in public. The ones you don't even buy at your regular grocery store, hiding them under the QTips at Walgreens, or at a little convenience store off the beaten path. The ones you remember from college or early childhood, that evoke amazing sense memories, but are generally really bad for you.
I can give you fantastic recipes all year long, recommend delicious restaurants, but just because I am mostly devoted to great quality eats, I am not immune to the guilty pleasure.
Ramen noodles, so full of sodium that it is amazing they don't come with a defibrillator. Mac and Cheese, of either the neon orange Kraft or mushy pallid Stouffer's ilk, each carrying its own very particular type of delight. Speaking of Stouffer's, the spinach souffle still holds a weird little place in my heart. God help me, Buddig sliced turkey...not the actual turkey breast, the blended and reformed turkey PRODUCT. That plastic dip made with velveeta and ro-tel canned tomatoes and green chilies. SPAGHETTIOS for the love of Mike, those stupid squishy O pasta bits floating in that sickly sweet barely-tastes-of-tomatoes sauce. Preferably served with bread and butter for sauce dunking. White bread. (With real butter,TYVM. I may occasionally walk on the dark side, but margarine does not pass these lips.)
I know. It is shameful. These are horrible horrible things that can barely be considered food. They provide way too much carb, fat, salt and chemicals and nearly no actual nutritional value. But for whatever reason, once a year or so, they call to me. Usually when I am in the last month before book deadline and any type of real cooking seems to use too much bandwidth, and I'm in need of not only quick food, but also comfort. I seem to revert right back to college finals eating, minus the Jeana's steak and cheese subs and the Chinese delivery that weirdly came with poofy kaiser style rolls for free, but made you order white rice.
Unlike movies, which we have discovered can be shared with varying levels of enjoyment with friends, guilty pleasure foods sort of have to be eaten alone. You can't ask people over for dinner and serve them this stuff, they would never come back. And unless your significant other shares your particular guilty pleasure foods (CS does not. But I don't get his Popeye's chicken thing either, so we are even) you are stuck.
But there is a certain amount of psychological benefit to naming and claiming your guilty pleasures. To owning them, acknowledging them, and indulging them occasionally in moderation without beating yourself up about it.
So I am declaring this Name Your Pleasure week. And since Ice Cream is a pleasure sometimes guilty (whole pint of Chubby Hubby in one sitting out of the container while watching Real Housewives) and sometimes not (demure little scoop of organic gelato with a single wafer cookie and a sprinkle of fresh berries), I've got two Oxo Good Grips ice cream scoops to give away.
Comment below with your top guilty pleasure foods and movies by 11:59 CST on Tues May 14, and I will pick two of you to win these awesome scoopers.
Only rule? No judging here, Chickens, we all have our stuff. Please keep comments positive and supportive. And if someone names something you love too, let them know so they don't feel so alone.
Yours in (mostly) Good Taste,