Ok, they say getting something out in the open is better than keeping it bottled up. So here goes.
I have refined taste when it comes to food—the only thing is, I don’t use it. You could put me in a fine dining establishment and the first thing I’m going to look for is the dessert wine section. The second thing I’m going to look for is the desserts. If they aren’t on the main menu and the appetizer list sucks, then it’s time to curl up on the floor and come to the realization that all I have to talk about are vinaigrettes, oils, spice blends and the same routine song and dance I sit through at every other dinner.
But, wait! There’s a beacon of hope here, because there’s a junk food shop around the corner—and they make their own marshmallows. It’s all I’m thinking about the whole meal, screw the steak, forget the foie gras, and don’t even mention the salad selection.
Why don’t I care? Because I am a junk foodie™.
Yes, you did see me put those words together; let’s say it together: junk foodie. It’s not blasphemy, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s a new way to think about everything gummi, greasy, chocolate-y, sweet and/or savory. There’s a breaking point when combing over menu after menu of reduced fat, vegan, soy, gluten-free, and farm-raised that you reach, when you simply have to remember to have fun eating. And the best thing about fun is, it doesn’t have to be refined.
I’ve watched the craft and artisan movement head closer into chocolate, soda, marshmallows, toffee and beyond. What’s interesting is that people don’t perceive “artisan” or “handmade” junk food as junk—they just see handmade, premium or artisan. Don’t worry, it’s just as bad for you and it tastes just as good. That’s the definition of the junk foodie, and explains what they will accept. When you are a junk foodie, you are still eating bad-for-you junk food, but it’s a little more unique than your standard candy bar.
Think Champagne ketchup and fries, single origin chocolate covered gummi bears, artisan marshmallows made with seasonal fruits—I could go on and on. This is refined junk food, and it doesn’t stop there.
You want to know what comfort food looks like to a junk foodie? It’s a cookie made out of potato chips, chocolate chips, oatmeal, caramel and butterscotch. Curious about shameful but exploratory endeavors at a gas station? That’s called a bag of hotdog flavored potato chips and an afternoon of regret. Junk foodies come with all sorts of palettes, some are savory focused, some are sweet, and others are only in it for the chocolate.
So, as I write out this overview of my strange fascination with junk food I am reminded that I am not alone. There’s a lot of us out there, whether they admit it or not. Some are exploring bacon rubs and searching for the next deep fried Oreo at the county fair, others are trying to make a Kit Kat® bar in their kitchen—with a raspberry filling, of course, while others are just appreciating the glorious junk food that lines their supermarket shelves.
Do you find yourself relating to this? My advice to you is simple: take life one flavor at a time—and then mix them together. Junk foodie style.