How can you know pleasure if you've never experienced pain?
How can you know love if you've never experienced hate?
And how can you know what foods you'll never eat again if you've never delved into the bowels of American cuisine? (Yes, pun intended.)
Now don't get me wrong, this is not a list of foods I hate.
I've eaten everything on this list. I've enjoyed at least half of everything here at some point.
But those data points have been recorded. I can move on with my life. And if I never have to revisit any of these foods – or food-like substances – again, I will still lead a fulfilling life.
13 Foods I Can Live Without
1. Velveeta "Cheese" - Seriously, what's the molecular makeup of this stuff? I'm pretty sure it's not organic. Until some grad-student researcher concludes that it's a legitimate food item, I've had enough. But...if Kraft decides to go with the 1960s style packaging seen above, I just might get back on the wagon. Delicious!
2. Spam - Yes, I know this meat-like product is very popular in Hawaii. But have you ever pan fried this stuff? Your kitchen fills up with that blue burnout smoke of a drag race. Forget about your arteries, what about your lungs?
3. Ground Bologna - Is this really any better than Spam? Or right, it's spreadable.
4. Powdered Milk - Trust me, this is not good on any cereal.
5. Hamburger Helper - Hey, I was a broke college student - and yes, this was way before Pink Slime was even a glimmer in the eye of the public consciousness.
6. Anything with Cream Cheese - Yes, this includes cheese cake.
7. Ham and Cheese Hot Pockets - Okay, think deli-meat and nacho cheese calzone, but made with puff pastry, not pizza dough. And now Hot Pockets are made with 'real cheese' – whatever that means!
8. Grape-Nuts - An alleged 'health food' cereal. It's really like pouring milk over a bowl of gravel – not very healthy for my teeth.
9. Foie Gras - This is a fattened duck liver and it's very popular in France. I have eaten it in France. It's supposed to be a delicacy. PETA, you'll be happy to know I do not like it.
10. Those glistening mashed potatoes at the Lone Star Steakhouse in Jackson, Michigan - When you've managed to transform ordinary produce into something born out of a high school science fair, you've gone too far with the heavy cream and butter.
11. Cream of Mushroom Soup-based dishes - Really? Do I even need to elaborate?
12. Lou Malnati's Pizza - This Chicago-style pizza is famous for having a layer of thick sausage spread across its entire diameter. Yes, it's blasphemy for somebody writing from Chicago, but I can still do without it.
13. Chicken in a Biskit - Full disclosure: These are actually delicious. I loved these crackers throughout my college years. But now I've got things like blood pressure and cholesterol to consider. Imagine taking a buttery Ritz Cracker and dousing it with the seasoning packet from Chicken Ramen Noodles. Delicious. But also Heartburn City. (By the way, I still do eat Ramen Noodles.)
What foods would you be happy to do without?
Thank you to Paul Malon on Flickr for reminding us how awesome the 60s were!