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Guilty Pleasures Redux

  • v

I know the LA board had a "Guilty Pleasure" thread as recently as June, but I didn't see one on the General Topics board.Interested? Mine: Pringles. Egg Foo Yung.

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  1. v
    Vital Information

    shocking confession at chitown chowdown:
    i like cheesecake factory!


    1. Funny, I was just thinking of that today as I dove into my third packet of Fruit Loops fruit snacks. Totally fake, totally fruity and nicely gummy. Between these and Blues Clues fruit snacks, it'd be a hard choice for guilty pleasure #1. Oh--and Dots candy.

      8 Replies
      1. re: berkleybabe
        Caitlin McGrath

        Apologies in advance if you only like totally fake [g], but if you're into gummies, I highly recommend Kasugai fruit gummies. They are the size of a nickel (except some are heart-shaped), and have a perfect soft-but-chewy texture. They're not devoid of artificial stuff, but they are flavored with fruit juices, and most of the myriad flavors actually taste amazingly like their namesake fruits. You can find them at pretty much any Japanese grocery or large Asian supermarket for about $2 per 4-5 oz. bag, or at the online source below for $3. My own favorites are the muscat (soo good), the peach, and the pineapple. SO also adores the lychee. Warning: they van be highly addictive.

        Link: http://jsnacks.com/ssi/osb2/showitem....

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath
          Jason Perlow

          The kasugais are great. I particularly like the muscat ones.

          1. re: Jason Perlow
            Caitlin McGrath

            Muscat's my absolute favorite. Welcome back, Jason.

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              Asian markets are a treasure trove of great snacks!

              Here in Northern Virginia we have several the size of ordinary supermarkets. The snack aisles are brimming with interesting savory and sweet delights.

              Also, if you are into packaging design and/or like to read labels, it's a feast for the eyes too.

              We also like the kasugai gummies but my real weakness is konnyaku jelly cups with the little square of lichee. You can get a big jar that holds about 100 of them for about 5 bucks.

              1. re: Bob W.

                "...my real weakness is konnyaku jelly cups with the little square of lichee." Just be careful--the FDA issued a warning that they pose a choking risk and many stores have stopped carrying them. At least 3 kids have died in the US. (This is not a bubbie meiser hoax).

                1. re: jenniferfishwilson

                  We have heard that too. Very sad that something so good can be so dangerous to little kids. Maybe they can reshape them or something to eliminate the hazard.

          2. re: Caitlin McGrath

            Sorry, Caitlin, I just now saw you 9/6 post. Actually, I think it is the kind of fakey taste I like in some of the fruit snacks. Only kind I think I'd like is really true citrus. Guilty secret, but true! Thanks for the heads up on the Asian gummies --might keep my eye out for them, but am thinkin too schmancy...

            1. re: berkleybabe
              Caitlin McGrath

              The orange ones do taste of real orange. These are definitely the Cadillac of gummies (and I suppose French pates des fruits are the Rolls).

        2. Barbecue Potato Chips. I can't stop eating them so I don't buy them.

          3 Replies
          1. re: e.d.

            There is something about bbq flavor, isn't there? I'm like you, can't stop so don't buy. I wonder do they sell bbq chip flavor by itself? Then I can sprinkle it on toast or something...

            1. re: Wendy Lai

              Try any good barbecue dry rub. It'll give you most of the flavor you're after. Remember that those chips are loaded with MSG, so you may have to add some to a rub to get the intensity of flavor you find in the chips.

              1. re: Greg Spence

                yeah, the msg, for sure....I wonder if citric acid, 'sour salt', might not be another part of the intensity formula...?...although I might be fixating on another addiction, sourcream & onion chips.

          2. Ho-Ho's and Ring Dings. There, now I can NEVER reveal my real name on this board.

            1. my guilty pleasure is popcorn sprinkled with Bragg's, nutritional yeast and this seaweed/sesame seed seasoning from some Jpanese store. It's my guilty pleasure because I will eat a huge bowl and will probably not share, no matter how nicely you ask. . . .

              4 Replies
              1. re: blandina

                You must be kidding us. Anything with "nutrutional yeast and seaweed/sesame seed" doesn't sound like a guilty pleasure. One word comes to mind when I think of them, and it is not yummy.

                1. re: Maria

                  No! My sister introduced me to brewer's yeast on popcorn, and it's really good. Try it! And the seaweed/sesame seasoning sounds like a great idea, too.

                  1. re: Cloudy

                    My mother used to force-feed us stuff like that: brewer's yeast, liver powder, wheat germ, soy flour... It only tastes like medicine to me. I don't eat food that you need to take its nutritional value into account to consider whether it's worth eating.

                    If you enjoy it, more power to you.

                    1. re: ironmom

                      I think it must be an acquired taste. I second ironmon's opinion. Having been forced fed all kinds of nutritial stuff when I was young, I have developed a strong dislike to most things that will be considered "healthy".

                      My guilty pleasure is fried chicken at KFC, however after reading the posts about Popeye's chicken I think I am ready to jump ship.

              2. m

                all right already, you havent been truly debauched until you work your way through a bag of corn bugles and fill each one like a icecream cone with bacon flavored cheez wiz from the spay can.
                it takes awhile but its worth it while your doing it.

                1 Reply
                1. Plump Lithuanian meat dumplings smothered in butter, chopped bacon, bacon grease, and Breakstone's sour cream.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Bruce

                    Do you make these or buy them? Are they similar to Pelmeni? If you make them, would you be willing to share a recipe? (I'm part Lithuanian).

                    1. re: Leslie T.

                      Not sure what pelmeni are. The Lithuanian dumplings that I am most familiar with are somewhat similar in size and shape to Polish pierogi--but I've rarely seen Polish pierogi filled with meat--more often with saurkraut, potatoes, even plums. On the other hand, I've seen variations on the Lithuanian type filled with mushrooms and also with cheese--generally topped only with butter then. And there is still another type of Lithuanian meat dumpling-cepelinai (Zeppelin) which are huge and are constructed with some kind of mashed potato dough for outside are are part veal inside--never cared much for these.

                      The dumplings I referred to used to be available frozen in delis in one particular neighborhood on the south side of Chicago--but said neighborhood is now one of the worst slums imaginable, and the delis are no longer there. One butcher, A&J meats, moved out of that area and relocated to somewhere around 99th & Central Park, on the far south side of the city. The last I knew, you could still get the meat dumplings there. (I think they're called kaldunai, but I have also heard them referred to in a name beginning with a "v".)

                      Since I no longer live in the Chicago area, I am forced to torment my wife into making these by hand--rather labor intensive activity--but she does not mind working with dough (something I abhor) and they freeze well, so you can make several meals' worth at a time. If you want recipe, post on board or e-mail me.


                      1. re: Bruce

                        What to my best recollection was very similar to a potato pierogi, my Lvovian grandmother called 'verenikas' (spelled as close to the pronunciation as I can remember.) Drenched in chicken fat.

                        1. re: Bruce

                          Hi Bruce...I will email you for the recipe. Sounds delicious. Thanks!

                    2. c
                      Chuck Kirkpatrick

                      One cup of heavy cream, brought to near simmer. Mix in four ounces unsweetened chocolate and six ounces bittersweet, add 1 tsp hazelnut extract. Drink. Serves two.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Chuck Kirkpatrick

                        If you can't finish it, you can eat the leftovers for dessert with a spoon, eh?

                        1. re: ironmom

                          If he can't finish it, he can send it to me. I'll take care of it for him.

                        2. re: Chuck Kirkpatrick
                          Christopher Oliver


                          Drink a ganache? Truly evil! ;)

                          What make of chocolate?

                          1. re: Christopher Oliver
                            Chuck Kirkpatrick

                            OK, I confess, I don't use the best. I have not spent the money to develop a sensitive chocolate palatte. I use Baker's because it is cheap and gives me the fix I need. I'm reluctant to use top quality fearing it will become another expensive habit. Besides, the extract probably gives me a little tolerance to use cheap stuff. Bring on the abuse!!

                            While we're on this topic, sometimes I warm peanut butter in the microwave, add the chocolate sauce and some vanilla ice cream. That way, I get protein!

                            Btw, I didn't know I was drinking/eating ganache.

                        3. (for chilly weather)

                          1. Dinty Moore beef stew on a bed of buttered flat egg noodles. Excellent remedy for sadistic boss, student loan payments, and post romantic breakup.

                          2. Salt lick by TV (just kidding)

                          1. I'm not trying to out-sick anyone here--honest--but this was an absolute fave until I couldn't find it anymore----Buitoni Toaster Pizzas. Anyone remember this? It was the savory answer to Poptarts--round, minimal reddish filling, nice burnt pastry taste when you double dip them in the toaster (necessary since they were still frozen inside after one go-round.) A box of six in one sitting. Mmmmmm.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jlight
                              Taz Goldstein

                              How odd that I find this message. All last week, for some strange reason, those round toaster pizzas have been leaping out of my deep subconscious. I was doing a search on google, trying to find if they still existed... but all I found was your post. Nice to see I'm not the only one who remembers those horrible things fondly. Getting hungry. Have to go.

                            2. Onion dip made the '50s cocktail party way - one package
                              of Lipton Onion Soup mixed into a carton of sour
                              cream - and chips.

                              Also, deviled eggs (even if they're made with
                              "Miracle Whip")...

                              1. "Tiger tail" coconut Zingers. (This might be, uh, indigenous to the West Coast.)

                                1. I was just reading a few of the postings on this catagory outloud to a couple of guys here at the paper and our college intern told us about one of his room mates:

                                  "This guy really likes spaghetti-o's, right? But he says that they aren't cheesy enough for him, so you know what he does? He crunches up a bunch of Doritos into it!"

                                  He obviously thought I'd be grossed-out by this, but I can't think of anything that sounds quite so good (except if you added some Cajun-flavored peanuts as well). After a moment, I realized what would make this Nirvana - add capers!

                                  What a week to have joined Weight Watchers!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: fladd

                                    oh, yes - spaghetti-o's scooped up and eaten with a piece of buttered white bread!

                                  2. A couple of ounces of salmon eggs from Russ and Daughters,some creme fraiche,and a cold,dry beer.

                                    1. c
                                      Caitlin Wheeler

                                      Hmm -- taramasalata on whole wheat toast, or triscuits. Chocolate pudding with triple sec or grand marnier. Corn tortillas "grilled" over my gas burner with melted butter.

                                      My college roommate (usually a very fastidious eater with excellent taste) used to dip oreos in cool whip when she got stressed out.

                                      1. j
                                        Janet a. Zimmerman

                                        The "guilt" part of this thread is a topic that interests me. Is everyone here using the term facetiously, or do you mean it literally? The combination of food and guilt is ubiquitous in our society, but why is it that we no longer question why we imbue food, something so necessary and so enjoyable, with such a negative moral cast?

                                        It seems to me that there are two general types of food mentioned when people talk about "guilty pleasures." The first category of "guilty" foods are those that are incompatible with our view of ourselves as sophisticated diners, as chowhounds, and my guess is that we use the term "guilt" over these foods with tongue in cheek. There's a sense of one-upmanship in those posts -- "you think you're bad, liking Kraft mac and cheese -- well, I like mine with Spam! So there!" -- that inclines me to think that we're actually rather proud of these "lapses" in taste.

                                        The second type of guilty pleasures are foods that are high in fat and calories. Presumably these inspire guilt because they aren't healthy or are fattening, but damn, we still love them and eat them anyway. These foods, it seems to me, do inspire some real guilt, as the prevasiveness of anorexia and bulimia proves. But I still think that in threads like these, we're not using the term literally. Or are we?

                                        That, I suppose, is my question -- when you talk about "guilty pleasures" or "secret vices" in food, are you using the terms playfully, or seriously? Do some foods cause you to feel real guilt? If so, why exactly? And if not, then why use the language of morality to talk about something ethically neutral?

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: Janet a. Zimmerman

                                          Well, there's an obvious third connotation - not having read many of the posts (oops) I can't say whether this has been covered by anybody else - but there's an increasing number of foods with dubious moral or religious values. Obvious examples: whale meat; foie gras; veal; anything involving meat if you're a mediumweight-radical PETA-style animal rights activist.

                                          Which could be another whole thread in its own right. My question for you - what are the criteria for judging the eating of one dead animal to be a worse moral act than that of another? OK, so it's partly due to conditions of the animal's life and death - but to make judgements on that basis requires a lot of knowledge not only of the conditions of the animals' lives and deaths, but also a detailed understanding of animal psychology and neurology... something I doubt many of us have.


                                          1. re: chowdoglondon

                                            Good grief! I believe I'll retire to my fainting
                                            couch with a nice, cold compress, and contemplate
                                            my sins (which, by the way, rarely include guilt -
                                            certainly not about food)... Sigh.

                                            1. re: chowdoglondon
                                              Janet A. Zimmerman

                                              Hold on, here. I'm not talking about the ethical treatment of animals, or vegetarianism, or any of the other legitimate moral issues concerning the things we eat. I'm talking about a certain sort of embarrassment at admitting we eat some foods, and whether that feeling is truly guilt. In all of the responses to the many threads on the subject of "guilty pleasures" or "secret vices" or other similar topics, none that I read dealt with your sort of moral question. They were mostly, as I mentioned, admissions of eating foods that are not up to chowhound standards, with a second bunch that dealt with fattening or unhealthy foods.

                                              You're right, your question is a whole other thread, an interesting one, perhaps, but not really relevant to what I had in mind with my original question.

                                              1. re: chowdoglondon

                                                I definitely see a different "third" connotation here--it's where people enjoy something which they see as "healthy" - for instance, nutritional yeast on other healthy foods - and feel guilty because they enjoyed anything.

                                                If you think it's good for you, why are you feeling guilt?

                                                1. re: ironmom

                                                  Okay, I have to defend myself here, as an enjoyer of popcorn with brewer's yeast. I think the first interpretation is the operative one in my case. It's not bad for you, but it isn't terribly sophisticated. I'm really offended by the suggestion that I feel guilt for enjoying anything; you should note that I owned up to enjoying Ho-Ho's and Ring-Ding's, which can be considered healthy only in my wildest dreams. I like things that taste good, regardless of their healthiness or lack thereof.

                                                  1. re: Cloudy

                                                    I was afraid you were considering doing penance. (g) Whew, I am relieved.

                                              2. re: Janet a. Zimmerman

                                                Interesting question, Janet, and one that I can speak to from experience. Here's my take on it:

                                                Guilt is what you feel when you think you've done something wrong, something that has hurt someone, or could.

                                                Embarrassment is what you feel when you've transgressed, not some moral law, but some social convention -- when you're not being "cool". I'd say this, if anything, is what we as chowhounds feel when we admit we eat Ring Dings or whatever. We haven't done any harm to anyone, but we're afraid we'll be shunned by our fellow hounds, and our chow opinions will be discounted or something.

                                                Shame is what you feel when you think you ARE wrong, inherently defective somehow -- way, way beyond uncool.

                                                Growing up into a fat body, I experienced my share of shame and embarrassment, but not really guilt. In our culture a fat person, especially a young girl, is made to feel like a monster, grotesque, out of control and definitely out of style. Naturally I tried all kinds of diets. Finally I figured out that it was the conventional wisdom about body shape and eating that was screwed up, not me, and I was going to be fat no matter what kind of diet I adhered to, and I'd better learn to like it. And eventually the shame went away.

                                                Now, when choosing my food, I shoot for a nice mix of health and pleasure, and be damned to anyone who has a problem with it. I still feel a li'l pang of embarrassment when I admit that I don't confine myself to steamed tofu and broccoli on a full-time basis, but
                                                I get over that pretty quickly.

                                                So yeah, when I talk about "guilty pleasures", I'm being playful. ;>

                                                1. re: Janet a. Zimmerman

                                                  Janet, you raise some interesting questions about our society's relationship towards food. But I think you're forgetting that there's another connotation when it comes to "secret vices" -- those foods that we love to eat but would be mortally embarrassed about if someone walked in on us. The shame may stem from the fact that you've gone out of your way to create something that sounds disgusting AND is bad for you (I'd put the spray-cheese-in-Bugles in that category, as well as my childhood habit of spreading peanut butter on Pringles). But it's more likely just because you're ignoring the rules for how a food's meant to be eaten. Don't tell me you've never eated spaghetti sauce straight out of the jar?

                                                2. Skipping the psychology and going straight to the guilt:

                                                  There's a Mexican cream product sold in SoCal supermarkets that I think is just labeled "Crema". Stiff like sour cream, but not sour, and sold in a conveniently wide-mouthed jar. Dip your favorite cookies in it!!!!

                                                  1. I have several, but they come and go on a cyclical basis.

                                                    Right now, I'm into unthawed Cool Whip Lite, Glenny's Soy Crisps and poptarts (the unfrosted ones). No, not all at once.