Last night on the train home after work, I sat next to a man and his little boy who was eating a portion of KFC chicken. When I got on the train, food was pretty far from my mind and I was engrossed in my newspaper. Within 30 seconds, I was ready to mug the man and his child, steal the chicken and run off the train at the next stop, to devour my bounty in a quiet corner of the station and snarl at anybody who tried to take it away from me.
Yes, folks, my guilty fast-food secret is that I love KFC. McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Burger King? Not a problem – I can walk past them without a glance. But let me have one whiff of KFC and I am transported into a state of glassy-eyed desire. I know that it’s bad, bad, bad for you – fatty, fried and about as far from free-range as you can get (some say it’s not even real chicken!). But that’s my guilty pleasure and I’m sticking with it.
It’s almost mandatory that all guilty pleasure foods have to be either ridiculously bad for you, or consist of something so unattractive or a combination so weird that you would never consider eating it in public. Some foods seem destined to be enjoyed solely as guilty pleasures – just like nobody today admits to voting for the National Party pre-1994, nobody would admit to buying them but somehow their sales figures stay high. Here are a few more of mine:
Hellmann’s mayonnaise – On toast, on crackers, mixed in equal quantities with hard-boiled eggs on a sandwich, spread on a thick slice of cheese… or straight from the jar. Yes, I know I should be making my own and or watching my fat intake. No, I do not care.
Knorr Aromat seasoning – The ingredients list used to start: “Salt, MSG, lactose” – how can you help but love something that has 2 allergens and one health threat as its main ingredients?? I grew up with it and I suspect I will never lose the taste. Some people keep cocaine and a rolled-up banknote. I keep my Aromat shaker.
Peppermint Crisp chocolate bars – The chocolate is baaaaad (all sugar and milk, no cocoa) and the Kryptonite-green filling is made with a food colouring that is banned in the USA. But there is no way to replicate the crazy crispiness or the minty tang. Plus there is no way you can make a proper Peppermint Crisp fridge tart without it!
Apricot jam and Bovril sandwiches – Some people do peanut butter and banana sandwiches – my sweet & sour tastebuds crave apricot jam and Bovril together, separated only by a slice of Elite cheddar cheese. On soft white bread, of course. (And yes, I know how Bovril is made…)
Chocolate Nesquik – I have tried some outstanding hot chocolates, made with melted flakes of the finest cocoa-rich chocolate, or mixed with chilli and cinnamon in Mexico. But the only chocolate drink I crave, hot or cold, is sugary, un-gourmet Nesquik.
So, now my secrets are out – what are your guilty pleasures?