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You rub on the magical Chowhound Lamp and....

...the Chowhound Genie appears before you and allows you to choose three foods that will magically forever have no calories (or carbs, gluten, sodium, etc., whatever you want to avoid).

Now, the Genie’s a bit of a hard-ass, and will retract the offer if you try to cheat by choosing categories rather than single foods, so no saying “meat” or “frozen desserts” or “Chinese food” or “cheese” or “cookies” – you have to say “steak” or “rocky road ice cream” or “sesame chicken” or “brie” or “chocolate-chip cookies.”

You are also not allowed to choose common ingredients which show up in many foodstuffs, such as sugar or butter or flour, unless you intend to consume them in unadulterated form – for example you could choose butter if you meant the butter you put on bread or potatoes, and not butter which has been incorporated into another food to make a separate whole, such as sauces or croissants. If you want to eat Bearnaise sauce or croissants, you have to choose that single thing.

What do you tell the Genie?

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  1. Spaghetti carbonara
    Peanut butter and chocolate ice cream
    Pulled pork sandwiches

    I'm not really happy with this list, but those were the first things that popped into my head! But how did I leave out burgers and pizza??

    1 Reply
    1. re: woodleyparkhound

      I want to switch out that ice cream for the best flavor I've ever had in the U.S.: Chocolate Sluggo from Toscanini's in Boston! And I'll switch the pulled pork for a Ray's Hellburger!

      Different days, different priorities...

    2. no gluten? i'm sold!

      NY pizza.
      Kossar's bialys (or hearty whole-grain bread. i'm torn).
      real soy sauce.

      1. chocolate mousse cake w/ raspberry filling
        (these are all the things I have to stop eating in the New Year)

        1. Hmmm, hard call but I'd have to say:

          1) Wonton noodle soup
          2) Hot. crispy, salty chips
          3) Burgers

          It's a hard list to compose, but if I was asked right now that's what I would ask for.

          1. Savastrano's Deep Dish Chicago Style "Hancock Building" pizza with their homemade Italian sausage
            Homemade yeast rolls

            1. beer

              1. Mousseline of Pattes Rouges Crayfish with Morel Mushrooms
                Lobster Savannah
                Veal Cheeks with Périgord Truffles

                With a bottle or two of Pernod-Ricard Perrier-Jouet

                1. Potatoes - think of the endless possibilities
                  Lamb - in any form
                  Chorizo - and don't make me choose between Spanish and Mexican, because I can't

                  10 Replies
                    1. re: debw1946

                      OMG. Totally cheetos.

                      Other than that -

                      rib-eye steak
                      any kind of pasta dish that has cream and or cheese in it (is that cheating the genie?)
                      cheese in any form (i realize that's cheating but cheese is my life)

                      1. re: debw1946

                        +1 on the Cheetos.........*holding up 1 single orange stained index finger*

                      2. re: jhopp217

                        My first thought was potatoes too. But... for purposes of the game, potatoes aren't that bad for you, it's the oil in the french fries, the potato chips, the chees in the au gratin, the butter in the mashed potatos, etc that makes the dish bad for you.
                        So, do you eliminate the calories in the potato making each dish marginally healthier, or do you choose a favorite preparation like french fries to eat endlessly.
                        It's a tough call.

                        1. re: jhopp217

                          Oh damn. I forgot about lamb in my response WAY below this one. HOW could I forget about lamb?

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            what about your beloved scallops, linda??

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Not caloric enough to waste one of 3 wishes on, methinks.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  See, this is why I said the Magic Genie should put me out of my misery, as I wouldn't want to do without anything I'm not allergic to. :-)

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    Join the club...all booze, all fried foods, Chinese and Indian cuisines, all candy, all ice cream, all...
                                    Another topic - what are the most delicious foods with fewest calories? Oysters, Sichuan pickled cabbage, berries and melons about covers it. Life is not fair.

                        2. Steamed Lobster with melted butter and all the fixing’s
                          Beef tacos with hard shell corn tortillas, shredded cabbage, pico de gallo and shredded cheese
                          Grilled Rib Steak with a really great barbecue sauce and all the fixing’s

                          If the above had no calories, fat, sodium, cholesterol, etc. I could eat them for every meal every day forever, heavenly thought! Until then, I guess I have to go back to my low-fat, low-cholesterol, diabetic diet…

                          1. "What do you tell the Genie?"

                            I say "Go bother someone who gives a shit about calories"

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Harters

                              ahahahaha! love it!

                              I'm going to go with:
                              french fries
                              rib eye steak
                              big fatty pork shoulder

                              1. re: Harters

                                And this is why I love you, Harters. :-)

                                1. re: Harters

                                  That's so great. I'd tell the the genie the same thing.

                                  1. re: flourgirl

                                    well in that case, can i take both of your allotments? because i can easily think of 6 more items from which i'd like to ask the genie to remove the gluten or soy...

                                2. frozen custard

                                  I can't eat any of this. Well I might eat a tiny piece of cornbread if I had some of my own in front of me. I suppose I should say, I don't make cornbread anymore and I miss it!

                                  1. Well, I want to say beef and milk, but the genie tells me that is too general, and I don't mean milk to drink.. I want milk to be calorie free so that all that it makes is calorie free. Failing that...

                                    is ground beef too general? or do I have to maybe limit it to burgers. If I have to limit it to burgers I think it is only fair that whatever I use to make the burger or put on the burger would be included. A spud burger, an avocado burger, a double cheeseburger with sauteed onions, two kinds of cheese and a rich dressing.... sure no problem right?? A lobster and crab burger with a fried egg and hollandaise on a rich buttery croissant? you got it.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                      1. Strong raw farmhouse Cheddar
                                      2. Marlborough Sauvignan Blanc (assuming 'wine' is not an option)
                                      3. Marcona almonds

                                    2. CH Genie, present me with a fresh whole salmon steamed with thyme and sage leaves and brushed before serving with a mixture of lemon, maple syrup and soy and leave me to my fork and knife.

                                      1. I have to go with Woodleyparkhound...Carbonara!

                                        Dry aged Ribeye's

                                        Truffle lobster Mac and Cheese! please if there was a culinary god

                                        Every damn good cheese plate known to man

                                        Chicken Wings...I am sucker for chicken wings!

                                        Merlot, Shriaz and martinis

                                        I know more than 3...throw them out there and take what I can get ;)

                                        1. Sichuan eggplant, marinara sauce and cornbread.
                                          I've developed intolerances and can rotate corn products in occasionally, but eggplant and tomatoes are no-goes.

                                          1. Pinot Noir
                                            The "Italian Bomb" pizza from Modern Pizza in New Haven, CT

                                            The wine has to be on there because frankly, I drink a fair share of it! If it were calorie free, wow. That would be fantastic. If it wouldn't make me enormous, I am convinced I could eat pounds of avocado a day. Guacamole is what I chose specifically since I could smear it on sandwiches, burgers, use as a dip, eat it by the spoonful... Finally, I love me some New Haven style thin crust charred pizza. Specifically, the Italian Bomb which has bacon, Italian sausage, pepperoni, peppers, onions, garlic and is fantastically greasy and cheesey.

                                            Man, am I hungry.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: mels

                                              I'm with you on the avocados! We eat 3-4 avacados a week, Lots of healty fats and fiber in them.

                                              1. re: mels

                                                I heart Modern Pizza with bacon.

                                              2. sweet chestnut paste (expense and calories)
                                                Maplebrook smoked mozzarella (cholesterol and saturated fat)
                                                lamb (expense and whatever else is in it that's not healthy)

                                                1. Lasagna bolognese
                                                  booze (too broad? beer then)

                                                  1. Cheesecake, or is that too broad?
                                                    Salt and vinegar crisps
                                                    And probably butter, so I can load up my toast.

                                                    I eat pretty healthily, so the above foods are the ones I really wish I could chow down on all the time!

                                                    1. Scrambled eggs with bacon.
                                                      Oozy-cheesy artichoke dip.
                                                      Deep-fried shrimp.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: cayjohan

                                                        Honestly, eggs and bacon isn't that bad (as long as it's not 12 strips of bacon). I think it's the toast and butter that most people add that adds the bad calories.

                                                        1. re: jhopp217

                                                          True, true...the main problem with the scrambled eggs with bacon is the unbridled gluttony of This Eater! Where's that Genie?

                                                      2. Prime rib
                                                        pasta carbonara,

                                                        fettucini alfredo
                                                        yorkshire pudding
                                                        pumpkin pie

                                                        1. 1. Potato chips
                                                          2. Mud pie ice cream from Sarris Candies OR my homemade tiramisu- can't decide!
                                                          3. Malai Kofta

                                                          1. White bread
                                                            Butter for spreading on bread

                                                            But really, who could choose only three items ;)

                                                            1. Cantonese BBQ duck
                                                              Gulab Jaman
                                                              New York style cheese cake

                                                                1. meaty burger with caramelized onions, grilled portabello mushrooms, on a toasted bun
                                                                  sweet potato tempura
                                                                  molten chocolate cake with vanilla bean ice cream

                                                                  1. fried chicken mashed potatoes and steak. Your turn visciole. What say u?

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                      I've been getting so many good ideas from all of you guys (except Harters ;)), but I'm thinking instead of going extravagant (lovely dishes I probably rarely eat, no matter how fattening and yummy), I ought to go practical, and choose stuff I would eat a lot if it weren't so... you know.

                                                                      --potato chips
                                                                      --chocolate chip cookies

                                                                      All the replies have made me smile, so thanks. Oh, and the Genie has had to give a few of you the smack-down. You know who you are.

                                                                    2. Dirty Buffalo Wings (fried, sauced, fried, sauced again) from a local tavern here in CT....
                                                                      Poutine (which I've only had twice and found my true love)
                                                                      Chicken and Rice from 53rd street in Manhattan

                                                                      1. Is it cheating if I say bread, pasta and alcohol or are those too general??


                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                                          too general - i had a hard enough time deciding among bagels, bialys and whole grain bread...i decided not to even bother *thinking* about choosing a single cold cereal, even though that's one of the glutenicious things i miss most.

                                                                          re: the alcohol, maybe at least pick one category or spirit - red wine? beer? scotch?

                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                            I guess that applies to pasta as well?? I'll take lasagna noodles then because I can cut those into strands and make anything from spaghetti to linguine.

                                                                            I'll take baguette or Vienna (basically the same) because they can multi task.

                                                                            And spirits for $1000 Alex.


                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                              I would have preferred the CH Genie take me to Italy for dinner...but that wasn't "exactly" what the OP was looking for :) (drat!)

                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                well if we're going to approach it that way, then i'll just choose a specific *city* where i can get the foods i want...NYC. and the genie doesn't even have to take me, i'll spring for the airfare. i just need him to remove the gluten from everything i eat there :)

                                                                          2. Just three......??

                                                                            Fried Fish of any kind...Especially Catfish.
                                                                            Fried Chicken.......
                                                                            Chocolate Ice Cream.........

                                                                            1. 1. Wine
                                                                              2. Sausage pizza
                                                                              3. Cheese, all cheese.

                                                                              1. French fries
                                                                                See's nuts and chews
                                                                                Soup dumplings

                                                                                1. Cheese
                                                                                  crusty Italian or French bread, non sourdough
                                                                                  cream sauce or gravy

                                                                                  1. Well, the site just ate my words. I hope they were very very fattening, because I tried hard! I'm disenchanted so won't try as hard this time, but Chow Geni, if you can grant my three wishes, then make me able to eat the following glutonously with no consequence:
                                                                                    Dongpo rou
                                                                                    Carrot cake
                                                                                    tempura (if that's a category, then tempura calamari or tempura onion rings will do. Either one.)

                                                                                    I also wish the Genie could make this site stop eating my words! It's such a bummer.

                                                                                    1. Szechuan Eggplant (Chinese-fried eggplant)
                                                                                      Three-layer Chocolate Cake--with thick ganache on top
                                                                                      Cinnamon Rolls!--with frosting on top

                                                                                      1. French fries
                                                                                        Chocolate layer cake
                                                                                        Mabo tofu

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                          Oh, Ms. Needle - please don't tell me mapo tofu is bad for you!! I know, I know, the oil factor. But if you have the vegetarian version and go easy on the oil..... it's a diet dish, right? Right????

                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                            Ok ok. If it makes you need to rationalize it, yes, mabo tofu is great for diets! Garlic is a great anti-fungal. Chili peppers releases endorphins. Tofu supposedly has all these great health properties. A body needs fats in order to function. : )

                                                                                            Actually, it's the spice level of the dish that bothers me, not the oil. I've actually made my own version cutting back on the oil and using ground turkey instead of pork. But chili pepper spicy food just doesn't react well with me (as much as I wish it wasn't so!). Unfortunately spice is my vice. I tend to like to push it to see how far my body can go.

                                                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                              Whew. That's the sound of relief you're hearing. Chili fiend myself, here, with plenty of GI issues, but none of them related to chilis. Thankfully! I like to push the envelope as well!!

                                                                                        2. Chocolate babka, pizza and Cherry pie (alas, the last time I rubbed a "magical Chowhound lamp" I got slapped)

                                                                                          1. If Barbara Eden ca. 1965 pops out of the lamp, I couldn't ask for anything more.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                  hah! thought so. ala Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass album?

                                                                                            1. 1. Cheesecake
                                                                                              2. Creme Brulee
                                                                                              3. Milkshakes

                                                                                              I can no longer eat sweetened dairy, and these are the things I've been missing the most.

                                                                                              1. Spaghetti Carbonara (surprisingly a popular choice!)
                                                                                                Ice cream

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: uwsister

                                                                                                  Hey, no fair! For ice cream, you have to pick a flavor! :-)

                                                                                                  1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                                                    Oh then it's WAY too hard! Especially now that Haagen Dazs sticky toffee pudding has been discontinued... I think I'll choose vanilla so I can mix stuff in it.

                                                                                                2. Buffalo wings
                                                                                                  Mint and chip ice cream
                                                                                                  Tortilla chips and guac

                                                                                                  1. Hmmmm....

                                                                                                    Like another posted, I'm going with things more routinely in front of me (via family gatherings, weekly outings, etc.) rather than once-in-a-while splurges - those I'm willing to enjoy sans Genie (even if the fit of my clothing isn't as gracious).

                                                                                                    So -

                                                                                                    frites & aioli

                                                                                                    1. Bacon
                                                                                                      Vanilla ice cream
                                                                                                      Frank Pepe's pizza

                                                                                                      If the Genie was feeling generous, I'd ask to include puff pastry. If she says yes then I will roll said pastry into a lovely croissant to share with her.

                                                                                                      1. 1. Wine
                                                                                                        2. Spaghetti carbonara
                                                                                                        3. Pizza

                                                                                                        1. Spaghetti Marinara (with cheese)
                                                                                                          French Fries

                                                                                                          1. General Tso's Chicken
                                                                                                            Ben n Jerry's Cookies N Milk Ice Cream

                                                                                                            1. Real east coast pizza.
                                                                                                              Cultured, salted butter.
                                                                                                              Whole raw Jersey milk.

                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Vetter

                                                                                                                Where do you get Jersey milk? I thought it had gone the way of all flesh (or the way of all hyper-industrialized dairy farming, anyway). Our hometown dairy used to deal in Jersey exclusively - oh the ice cream...I don't think I've had any Jersey milk or cream for 30 years or more.

                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                  You might check this resource when looking for local Jersey milk. We're lucky to have a Jersey and a Guernsey farm within driving distance.

                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                    I've got a local source - http://www.jackiesjerseymilk.com/ and looking at the website, I see that they've finally started selling raw cream, too! OH MAN, I am SO giddy! It is SUCH good milk. You'll just have to come visit my neck of the woods. Whether I drink it in my coffee or make ice cream with it, I'm a happy girl. The flavor is incomparable to anything else at the store, including the other good local small dairies offerings (all pasteurized).

                                                                                                                    1. re: Vetter

                                                                                                                      You guys talking about Jersey cows and Guernsey cows and raw milk took me back to my childhood and brought on a rush of cravings. There's a raw milk dairy with store a couple of miles from me I've been thinking about for a while, so today we finally checked it out. They don't take credit cards and I rarely carry cash or even my checkbook, so a graceful exit wasn't all that difficult but I am now very curious how much you guys pay for raw or otherwise "artisan" milk? It's $8.00 a gallon in my neighborhood. I find that a bit scary. If the city would just let me have one cow, seems to me I could feed it and get fertilizer for my yard for less than $8.00 a gallon. On the other hand, there are no boarding kennels for cows if I want to go on a trip, but still.... Does $8.00 a gallon seem a bit pricey to anyone else?

                                                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                        Caroline, nope, I think that's right about what I pay per gallon. I'm sure it could be done a lot cheaper, but not "nearly organic" and certainly not when you calculate in lab fees. In my state, raw milk has to be cleaner than pasteurized, by quite a bit. Cleaner as in less particulates, not just less pathogens. And the dairy I buy from has each lot independently lab tested before it ships to the stores, which is just plain smart, in this day of paranoia about raw milk. I'm sure part of what I'm paying for is a clean dairy and lab tests. I grew up going to dairy farms with my grandpa the veterinarian - I know how filthy most dairies are.

                                                                                                                        Anyhow, if you think about how little conventional dairy farmers make, how the industry is subsidized, and how little we pay for milk compared to the backbreaking labor it takes to obtain it, good milk is money well spent.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Vetter

                                                                                                                          I expected raw milk to be a bit pricier than organic milk in a supermarket, but not twice as much. On the other hand, that price will encourage me to drink more water. I do plan on picking some up just to see if it gives me a memory flash back, but I may have to heat it to cow-temperature to really capture that rush.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Vetter

                                                                                                                        I can still remember the raw Jersey cream we got from a farm when I was in my 20s. Yellow and as thick as softened butter. Oh my goodness. And the cows are so pretty.

                                                                                                                  2. Pot Roast
                                                                                                                    Roasted Chicken
                                                                                                                    Chocolate Ice Cream

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      Never mind. After reading all of the responses, I'll just ask the Genie to kill me now. I refuse to do without so MANY food items unless I'm allergic.

                                                                                                                    2. NY bagel with Sable's lobster salad and tomato
                                                                                                                      french fries with ketchup
                                                                                                                      mint cookies and cream ice cream

                                                                                                                      1. hollandaise sauce
                                                                                                                        homemade caramel sundaes with chopped cashews
                                                                                                                        garlic french fries

                                                                                                                        1. Junior's cheesecake - any variety but if forced to choose, it'll be strawberry
                                                                                                                          authentic NC pulled pork - smoked for hours w/ pepper vinegar based sauce
                                                                                                                          Chocolate mousse layer cake

                                                                                                                          1. Pizza - I never eat it anymore because of all of the bad stuff in it. I'm sure if I ate it in moderation I would be fine, but I can't help myself around pizza. There is NO WAY I can stop at one slice ever, so that tops my list.

                                                                                                                            Doughnuts - Some mornings that's the only thing that will do.

                                                                                                                            Ice Cream - Because it's the love of my life.

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                                                                              Hey hey! You have to pick a flavor of ice cream! It's the rules! LOL.

                                                                                                                              1. re: uwsister

                                                                                                                                And a specific type of pizza! And a specific kind of doughnut! :-)

                                                                                                                            2. Mine would be:

                                                                                                                              bacon fudge (this is a new thing for me and I'm obsessed with it and have no self-control around it)
                                                                                                                              my homemade pie crust
                                                                                                                              peanut butter

                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                                                                Could you elaborate on this "bacon fudge" thing? I'm intrigued, I gotta admit.

                                                                                                                                1. re: uwsister

                                                                                                                                  Me, too. Is it as good as lasagne cheesecake?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                    It was a recipe I found through the home cooking board, which the poster there found through an NPR story:


                                                                                                                                    I omit the maple extract and substitute two tablespoons of the rendered bacon fat for the butter. I have no idea if it's as good as lasagna cheesecake, but I probably don't even want to know!

                                                                                                                              2. Macaroni and Cheese
                                                                                                                                Italian Sub

                                                                                                                                What a mix though I would never eat those foods all together.