As our metabolisms catch up to us, we realize we can’t routinely eat the junk foods we did as children. However, occasional indulgences that transport us back to the joys of our childhood are perfectly acceptable. The Food + Drink staff collaborated to share our favorite childhood snacks that have now become our guilty pleasures.
Whoever deemed cereal a breakfast food was truly limiting its potential. Whether it’s mid-morning, mid-afternoon or midnight, a craving for cereal cannot be restricted to a specific time of day. As a kid, I would eat non-portion controlled helpings of sugary cereals to start my days. Unfortunately, now that I’m an adult (at least according to legal definitions), I have to be more conscious of incorporating nutrients into my diet. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t store a cereal box in my pantry to satisfy sudden cravings. Whenever hunger pains ensue, I find myself drooling over the thought of crunchy, toasty flakes perfectly balanced with the cool, refreshing relief of milk. When it comes to cereals, a wide variety appeals to me. From simpler options such as Special K, Corn Flakes and Life to the more flavor-packed assortments like Honey Nut Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, just slap the word “cereal” on there and I’m sold.
I would probably eat so healthily if french fries didn’t exist. I’m slightly ashamed when I think about all the times that I’ve gone on a mid-afternoon french fry eating spree or gorged on an order of fries at 3 a.m. because I was feeling a craving for them. I’m that person who goes to a restaurant and orders a salad with a side of fries, sparking weird looks from waiters and nearby onlookers. There’s just something about those golden, deep-fried sticks of potato that make my mouth water uncontrollably. Willpower is a virtue, but all sense of self-control flies out the window when I pass a McDonalds (I know) and find myself swerving in for a quick trip by the drive-thru window. Maybe it’s my Irish heritage or maybe it’s my American upbringing, but there’s something about a freshly fried potato that just really makes my day.
Since I was a small child, peanut butter has been the bane of my existence. s The texture, the taste—it was all horrible for me. So when my family to ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I was more than resistant. My solution, however, was to take the bread, fold it into a taco and smear jelly onto it so I’d have two jelly slices and no peanut butter. I thought it was a happy solution, but I was wrong. My dad, who is a health nut, stopped buying jelly. It is still so comforting to make these sugar monstrosities, I’ll even toast the bread and add butter if I’m not feeling guilty about that day. It’s so soothing and the ultimate comfort food.
I was brought up in a household that appreciates food, so I like to think I have always had a more refined palate and adventurous appetite. Like I said, I’d like to think that. I’d like to forget that when I was little, I would only eat food if it was drowned in ketchup. Whether is was shrimp, steak, chips, fries—you name it I put ketchup on it. I vividly remember going to a restaurant when I was six and the waiter chiding me for my liberal use of ketchup, with his remark “Do you want some fries with that ketchup?”. Granted there is nothing nutritionally redeeming about ketchup, but I genuinely considered it my vegetable serving for a while (and I’m pretty sure my mom conceded to that too). I’ve grown to appreciate a more complex flavor profile in food now outside of vinegar, sugar and tomato puree, but I maintain that there is nothing quite as satisfying as fries smothered in ketchup.
There are two types of people in the world: those who prefer salty or sweet. Personally, I lean more on the salty side, but for my guilty pleasure it’s a combination of both. Being from the border town of Brownsville, Texas,, adding something spicy to the meal is a necessity, and being a native of Texas, the popularity of Kettle Corn popcorn is a general craving. Kettle Corn popcorn, Valencia hot sauce and Trechas chile powder put together is my idea of a mouthwatering snack. The perfect mixture of the sweet and buttery popcorn and the spicy and salty topping goes great for a chill Saturday night in watching reruns of Friends. It might seem a bit much, but if you enjoy both flavors you will understand my obsession.