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Sunday, February 7, 2010

An Edible Lament

Some of you may remember that, a couple weeks ago, I decided I was going to give up red meat. For those of you who don't remember, or who just want to languish leisurely in the tepid, fetid pool of nostalgia, here's the hyperlink.

I've been pretty much on-target with my decision, and, as Michael Palin once said in a perfectly-aged Monty Python sketch, I'm not only proud of that, I'm "smug about it."

This self-denial has gotten me to think a little bit more about food than I have heretofore. I have always had kind of a strange relationship with food, as do I suspect most 29-year-old men who are 6'0" and weigh under 140 pounds. Unlike people my age who do Olympic-level mat gymnastics in sleek unitards and have funny, pale, Slovak names, I eat voraciously, and have not thrown up afterwards in over fifteen years-- and never intentionally. Not even after accidentally seeing a clip of a four-hundred pound woman fucking a chihuahua online when I was in my late teens.

I love eating meat, but I'm just as happy not doing it, as long as whatever I am eating is lovingly slathered in sodium. For instance, last night, I sat happily on the sofa with a gigantic bowl on my lap filled with nothing but raw broccoli florets covered in a sauce made out of House of Tsang Classic Stir Fry sauce, soy sauce, five cloves of garlic, vegetable oil, garlic salt, seasoning salt, and sugar.

And, yes, I farted all goddamn night. My ass sounded like the bass on a Scion xC tricked out by an Asian high school kid. And my breath smelled like the contents of a Chinatown dumpster.

Giving up something like red meat has gotten me to think about other foods I used to eat that I don't anymore. I've never specifically said, "I'm never eating ________ anymore" the way I did with red meat, (and let's face it, maybe "never" is too strong a word anyway) but I've phased out a lot of foods over my lifetime. Here's a few:

* Combos

These things are addictive when you're twelve to fourteen years old. I probably had some of them rolling around in the pockets of my Bar Mitzvah suit just in case I had a mid-service craving. Fucking irresistable to teenagers, Combos should be given to any high-school student who is undergoing treatment for drug addiction or who is flunking out of school. Combos are deceptively simple until you begin to think seriously about the substance in the center. There must be some sort of chemical inside the cheese that makes the centers somehow both powdery and creamy at the same time, leaving me to believe that they were either developed in NASA laboratories by a lot of sexually-frustrated, hyper-intelligent ex-band geeks or in the back of a truck in Jersey City by someone wearing an eyepatch, mutton chops, and lots of strategically-applied Vaseline. I wouldn't dream of eating a Combo as a man approaching thirty. It just isn't done.

* 5th Avenue Bars

God how I loved these fucking things back in the day. Every now and then, my wife will attempt to convince me that 5th Avenue Bars are indistinguishable from Butterfingers. Right. Like a blowjob is indistinguishable from a kick in the nuts.

* Doritos

There aren't many jokes about Doritos that I can make that haven't already been made, so I won't even try. All I can say is that, when I was twelve, I used to love only two things: 1.) NASCAR racing and 2.) Doritos. On Sunday afternoons in the kitchen in front of the white, 9-inch TV, I would combine these two affections until my heart was a-flutter with fits of pre-adolescent tachycardia. I would fill up one my my parent's red plastic bowls with an overflowing heap of Doritos, licking both thumb and forefinger before starting the engorgement process, to ensure that the maximum powderage would stick to both digits, and then I'd fucking have at it. When I was done with that bowlful, in would go another. Then, and only then, would both fingers be sucked dry in an antesexual ritual that was probably as disturbing to witness as it was unhealthy to perform.

* Big-Kat Bars

Back in college, when I was retarded, I would frequently leave my dorm room in the morning, and, instead of making breakfast in my dorm room or visiting the dining hall, I would make the acquaintance of the two vending machines in the lobby of my dorm. There, I would insert a mind-boggling amount of change and out would roll my breakfast libation: a Diet Coke and my breakfast sustenence: a Big-Kat Bar. For the uninitiated, the Big-Kat Bar is made from the same exact components as the Kit-Kat Bar, but it is shaped, more or less, like a brick. Now I eat "Smart Start" because I am old, married, and somewhat less retarded.

* London Broil

Obviously, I'm not going to have London Broil again, because I gave up red meat. Even if I didn't, I wouldn't ever have it again because I don't know how to cook it and would be too afraid to try. Also, I wouldn't order it at a restaurant because it's too expensive. My mother used to make London Broil, back in the days when she both cooked and ate. Now she does neither, and I'm not there to pine for it anyway whilst nibbling on rabbit food or whatever passes for sustenence in her and my father's lives these days. I also used to eat, and will probably never eat again: hamburgers with onion soup mix mixed in, flank steak, broiled chicken, breaded chicken, and all the other dinners from my youth that have faded so far back into the recesses of my addled, sodium-encrusted brain that I can't remember what they even were anymore.

* Roy Rogers Fried Chicken

When I was six or seven or eight or nine or ten or more, I always knew that Saturday morning drives with my Daddy were special. He would drive me to his factory and I would "help" him at work by taking down his answering machine messages, taping up boxes with him, and, the most exciting part of going to work, riding down the motorized conveyer belt on my butt. When he wasn't taking me out to a diner afterwards, he took me to Roy Rogers so I could sink my developing teeth into crunchy, greasy, sloppy, salty, horrendously awful-fer-ya pieces of fried chicken that my mother would have promptly shoved up my father's ass if she knew he was taking me there. But what she didn't know didn't hurt her.

Besides, there are no more Roy Rogers' around here, and I only go to KFC once a year. Invariably, an hour before Passover dinner is supposed to start, I get a panicked phone call from my father telling me that he has everything he needs for the seder plate except for "a fucking shank bone."

"Mummy," he says, "I need you to go to Kenta-kee Chicken and get me some goddamn chicken shit."

"You mean a bone," I reply.

"Yeah, yeah-- come on, already, it's almost sunset."

And so my wife and I take off for the closest KFC drive-through, and I get a leg which I wolf down on the way to their house. And my sweet vegetarian wife lovingly attacks the biscuit.


  1. I wipe off the Dorito dust on my socks

  2. I gave up red meat 5 years ago. I really, really don't miss it. I've replaced hamburgers with turkey burgers and if you're a good cook, they taste just as good.

    But are you sure about the Doritos? I understand cool ranch because those smell like body odor. But the nacho cheese?!

  3. As I'm quickly approaching 28 (gasping and clutching onto 27 for what it's worth) I still eat Combos. Except now I hide them from my hubs which somehow makes it worse. And Doritos- I can only do the Spicy Nacho. I think I was on cool ranch overload and now just the smell is enough to make me gag.

  4. Hi
    Every time I see this commercial I think of you. I guess because you crack me up on your wife's crafty site! Then you mentioned broccoli tonight and i almost choked in front of the comp.
    Here is a link of the commercial I mentioned.

  5. I've never seen a free-standing Roy Rogers. The only existing Roy Rogers that I know of is in the Maryland House on I-95. Whenever I drive to Baltimore, I stop there for the three-piece chicken strips with honey and a side of potato wedges: the stuff of which dreams are made.


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