Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bah, Foodie Food: The Best-Tasting Foods I've Ever Eaten

I know that many people like trendy food like free-range, sustainably grown, organic grass-fed arugula in a citrus balsamic vinagrette topped with pan-seared sun-dried tomatoes on a bed of whole-wheat bulgar.

Sure, that's healthy but, to my unsophisticated taste buds, most foodie food tastes like doody. 

All right, that's a bit hyperbolic. Let's just say I think it tastes worse than normal food. 

Not to mention, it's expensive and the portions microscopic--It usually works out to about $200 a pound. Lest you think I exaggerate, have you ever been to a restaurant where they serve an appetizer on a vast plate that's empty except for, in the middle, one shrimp? $12.95 for a one-ounce shrimp. That comes to $207 a pound.

To provide a mote of counterbalance to foodie phantasmagoria, here are the best-tasting things I've ever eaten. 

While most are loaded with fat, the consensus is that dietary cholesterol has only modest impact on blood cholesterol, which itself may only modestly increase heart attack risk.  

Calories, however, do count. And most of these yummies have plenty:

1. I love cheese and the best tasting I've ever had, would you believe, is Kraft Cracker Barrel Aged Reserve Cheddar won the gold medal at the World Cheese Competition? I'd give it platinum. And unlike frou-frou cheeses, it's under $4 for 8 ounces and available at any supermarket.

2. Garlic cheese bread. I can't even conceive of anything tastier. Try THIS diet buster.

Simpler variation: a plain 'ol grilled cheese sandwich with tomato or tomato soup. Try making the sandwich with the aforementioned cheddar.

3. Costco apple pie: Better than all the gourmet apple pieces--crisp fresh apples with just the right sweet/tart/cinnamon flavor. $9.99 for a pie that feels as heavy as a bowling ball. Ridiculous bargain.

Of course, it wouldn't be complete without vanilla ice cream. Any will do but I usually go for Breyer's Natural Vanilla. Compared with say, Haagen Daz, it's less sweet, less calorific, is all-natural, and the vanilla bean flecks delude me into thinking it's healthier. See what a health nut I am? Oh and Breyers is less than half the price of those super-"premium," super-priced, super-fattening pints, which are just small enough to tempt me to knock off an entire container in one sitting or standing. (Silly to risk putting that bit back in the freezer, where it would grow ice crystals.)

4. Thai yellow chicken curry at a good hole-in-the-wall restaurant. (You can usually find one on Yelp.) They often use too much fish sauce, a salty brew that drowns out the yummy curry, so ask them to go easy on the sauce, fish sauce, that is.

Now they're saying coconut milk is good for you. If so, does that make this dish, swimming in the stuff, health food?

5. A good croissant. You'd think that a local bakery's would be best but unless you're close to a great patisserie, you won't find any better (or cheaper) than  Costco's: $5.99 a dozen. Or try THESE frozen babies from Trader Joe's. (Only $3.99 for eight minis.)

Or if you want to go sweet, try TJ's also-frozen Kouigns Amanns. They're to die for, hopefully not literally. (Just 3.99 for 4.)

Noting my touting of Trader Joe's and Costco stuff, I feel the need to reassure you that neither TJ's  nor Costco is paying me a penny to swoon over their products. Actually no one has ever offered me a penny to swoon over anything.

6. A crisp Fuji or Jazz apple. Get around the healthiness by enjoying the apple with that Kraft cheddar or your favorite blue cheese. Mine is--you guessed it--Trader Joe's Cave-Aged ($6.99 a pound.)
7. While I'm, for a moment, thinking healthy, I love good corn on the cob. Yeah, I know, it's high in carbs and sugar. Make it worse by bathing it in butter.

8. Last and weirdest, I love sliced bananas in nonfat plain yogurt, perhaps adding cinnamon. At least it's healthy--unless you're a vegan, who insists dairy is death.


Rex said...

Agree that eating out at expensive "foodie" restaurants is a complete waste of money. Disagree that eating fresh, organic, regional food falls into the same category or is hard to prepare. I go to Whole Foods every 2-3 days. I buy all organic fresh fruits/vegetables/grains/meats/seafood. My bill comes out to $20 on average. I estimate I spend around $300-350/month on food. Eating organic is not expensive. Eating processed food is. The health benefits of fresh organic food are huge, and it's so easy to base one's diet off of vegetable stews/soups or even one-pot meals with rice, beans, meat, veggies etc. Toss in some spices/herbs/nuts/seeds/etc. Most of the items you mentioned are toxic, and the idea that high cholesterol does not increase heart disease risk has been debunked so many times over the years. The foods you mentioned are tasty, but they also will make you sick long term.

Marty Nemko said...

Rex, no question that the stuff I mention is not healthy. I certainly don't recommend eating them on a regular basis. I just felt like writing something hedonistic and perhaps humorous as a brief break from the intensely sober stuff I usually write. While many experts believe dietary cholesterol increases heart attack risk, it's not as assuredly so as some argue.

Rex said...

OK...fair enough...In case you haven't picked up on this, I'm a bit of a food nut. I really am. Trader Joe's is like the Antichrist for me. Not even joking. Having worked there, I feel their lack of transparency regarding their suppliers and mostly strict adherence to processed junk in the guise of high-quality, nutritious, and tasty food products is both clever and diabolical. People think they're getting high quality stuff at a bargain, but the truth is they might as well shop at Safeway or Shaw's. No doubt Cotswald cheese and raspberry pie are extraordinarily tasty...I was addicted to them until I radically changed my diet...Don't even get me started on CostCo...talk about excess...

Marty Nemko said...

Sobering. Thanks, Rex. I guess my attempt to be less sober didn't last long.

Rex said...

Sorry...lol :)