Friday, January 26, 2007

Perfume-Smellin' Things is having a vivacious discussion today about, among other things, Philly Cheese Steaks. Poor Columbina's Philly-born husband waxed so poetic about them to his bride when they lived in England that when confronted with the reality of white bread, cheez whiz and beef scragglings she was thoroughly perplexed. I've had one, and I can understand both sides of the story- there's something so thoroghly American about this sort of food that foreigners just never get (As we look on in horror at their beloved treats). From cheese steaks in Philly, chili dogs from Pink's in Los Angeles, giant wedges of greasy pizza bought at a vendor on Second Avenue (or an artery-clogging but yummy deep-dish slice on Wabash) to a butter burger and a banana malt from Sully's in Milwaukee, we have a whole country full of high-fat, high calorie comfort food.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Despite my gourmet tendencies (yes, I am a big foodie, I live and breathe Cooks Illustrated and I think Nigella Lawson should have a religion founded around her), I have a weakness for one of these: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. The kind in the box. The kind with the powder. Made with margarine, not butter. It has as much to do with real Mac & Cheese (which I also make from scratch, and I have outside evidence that it's pretty damned good) as a roll of plaid shelf paper has to do with a Monet, but it has a sharply compelling industrial taste to it that for me has its own weird allure.

Now that y'all are silently judgeing me, c'mon: what's your favorite bad food?


colombina said...

"Giant wedges of greasy pizza"- now we are talking. That is something I like :-) I also love mac and cheese from the box, and so does my child (what a great mother I am). And Nigella is truly a Goddess. I have a girl crush on her. :-)

Britain has some great cooks, and many of them have such fun Gordon Ramsey. :-D I was thinking of him on Wednesday when those losers were talking of how Wolverine is not nice in the kitchen. I hope they never get to work for the poisonous snake that is Ramsey :-)

tmp00 said...

I would love to see Gordon Ramsey take over as guest chef on the next "Top Chef"

He would have made those three whiners cry. I would have paid to see that..

elle said...

OK, I've been a vegetarian since I was 16 (I think the blame here goes to parents w/ very adventurous eating habits and a weekly meal of tongue throughout my childhood), so since I didn't grow up in the US, I've missed most of the classics you mentioned that involve meat. However, I had my first Kraft Mac and Cheese made for me by a good friend when I was in my 20s. Sue me, but I love the stuff! Don't actually have it very often (once every two years or so), but it's a great treat when I do. Have never had a malt of any sort. MUST remedy that soon! I really refuse to call it bad, but my favorite less than nutritious food is Dutch salted licorice. Oh, also Chinese plums (salty w/ some licorice flavoring...yes there's a theme here). I could live on them.

elle said...

Oh, and Nigella? Love her. Madly. Would seriously consider a switch in sexual orientation for her. Actually, screw the ambivalence - I'd be there.

tmp00 said...

Malts are delish- and even borderline good for you. The ones that I listed are good in that "I'm only going to eat this once" kind of way; that butter burger thing is pretty gross when it comes down to it.

Chinese plums are wonderful: I love it when actual fruit has that unctuous sweetness that you normally have to get candy to enjoy. No wonder they fry them to make prunes (which I also love)

tmp00 said...

As for Ms. Lawson, I can think of no man, woman, beast or small appliance that would not feel the same way. Charles Saatchi is one lucky bastard..

tmp00 said...

That should have read "dry them to make prunes"

More coffee now.