There are certain foods I used to eat gluttonously as a kid. Foods that, when I think back on my childhood, bring with them a wave of fond memories. Unfortunately, they just so happen to be the same foods I can no longer indulge in now that I’m a grown-up. At least not if I want to have any self-respect.
Well, for one, I am now acutely aware of just how horrible they are for me, and two, because it sets the wrong example for my kids. Okay fine, and three, because I just look stupid eating them in excess as an adult. (Truth be told, that last one holds the most water.)
But, damn, I still wish I could indulge in them the way I could when I was younger …
I wish I could say that my taste buds have evolved. That my palette has matured, and I no longer care for things covered in processed melted cheese or loaded with artificial dyes and all the MSG I can handle. But those would be lies. All lies.
So here they are, in no particular order — the 9 foods I miss indulging in the most since I’ve (allegedly) grown up.
1. Pigs in a blanket.
Geez, pigs in a blanket are TASTY. How could they not be? A mini hot dog wrapped in a fluffy pastry so small that if you eat 20 of them in one sitting, you still feel like you ate nothing but air. It’s no wonder kids and adults love them equally. But kids get a pass with eating pigs in a blanket. Unfortunately, we don’t. (Unless we could go back to the 1970s, when they were considered classy party fare, which is further proof that the ‘70s ruled.)
2. Corn dogs.
I mean, who doesn’t love a good corn dog? (In case you didn’t know, Disney has the best corn dogs in the world. And no, this is not me shilling for the mother company — Disney’s corn dogs are the proven bomb.) Can’t order them with a straight face as a grown up, though. Ever see an adult eat a corn dog? Yeah, you just can’t take them seriously as a human being. So the best thing I can do these days is talk my kids into getting one when we’re at the fair, and then sneak a bite or two under the auspices of checking whether or not it’s “too hot” for them to handle.
Don’t judge me.
3. Gatorade (as a replacement for water).
When I was a teenager I used to drink Gatorade for breakfast.
I was a teen. I could do whatever the hell I wanted to my body with zero repercussions. Nowadays, the only time I even consider drinking Gatorade is when I puke my guts out after a 24 hour stomach bug.
4. Velveeta cheese — eaten by the fistfuls.
I used to LOVE Velveeta as a kid and in my young mind even considered it a healthy snack. I mean, it’s just “cheese,” right? Stupid, younger self.
In my heart of hearts, I still wanna believe that Velveeta is healthy and I can put it all over my broccoli without shame. Oh, stupid, older self.
5. Cheetos (crunchy, not puffy, cause puffy is BS).
One word: high sodium. Two more words: orange fingers. No adult should suffer from either.
6. Double-stuffed oreos.
Regular Oreos? Still totally fine. Double stuffed? Double nope. They are too much fun. And one of the first rules of being a parent — too much fun is not allowed. (Plus once my kids see me with them, it means I’ll have to share.)
What I tell my kids: “No, you can’t have a Slurpee. Those things are pure sugar.”
What I say in my head: “If it were socially acceptable, I would be pummeling a 20 oz. Wild Cherry/Coke Slurpee right now. Preferably with some Hendrick’s Gin thrown in.”
8. Any chicken shaped like a “nugget.”
Sure, anything breaded and then fried within an inch of its life is gonna have a wonderful taste sensation. But no “adult” in would order nuggets as their very own meal, even if they wanted to. And that’s a damn shame, because as parents, we appreciate the nugget way more than our children do. Kids are just eating them because they don’t like anything else. We’re eating them cause we appreciate their flavor profile, their umamai, and their mouthfeel.
9. Ho Ho’s.
Who are we kidding, Ho Ho’s are like the holy grail of childhood foods. A close second? Twinkies. Sure, they’re both loaded with tons of sugar and have a staggering lack of nutritional value that few foods can compete with. But that’s why they’re the stuff of kid dreams. But part of why they’re not exactly “acceptable” fare for adults all boils down to this: The way we ate them.
Think about it. You didn’t just eat a Ho Ho like any other food. You ate it special. You peeled off every bit of that chocolate and ate that first. Then you unrolled the chocolate cake. Then you licked off the cream. Then you finally ate that rolled-out chocolate cake. It was a sacred ritual that only a kid could pull off. As an adult, you can’t even eat a Ho Ho the regular way these days without serious social repercussions. And that’s just not fair.
Man, I could eat about four Ho Hos right about now.