There are all sorts of things that I used to eat that, when I look back on them now, disgust me. I’m really not sure how I managed to eat them.
10) Frozen Pizza
It’s not that I’m so disgusted by frozen pizza, but now I know how relatively simple it is to make real pizza with real dough and real toppings which are actually made out of food. These things are so thin, that you have no choice but to eat a whole one in a sitting. It’s more akin to the cardboard it comes in, than actual pizza. Probably the worst part about them is that you always scald your face off because you’re too impatient to wait for the steaming hot tomato-magma to cool before gobbling it down. Or maybe that’s just me.
9) A Fast Food Burger
If there’s anything the last 10 years has taught us, it’s that the more you know about fast food, the less appealing it becomes. I used to think that going on a big trip was an excuse to get some yummy fast food. One time when I was on a business trip, I thought, “Man, I’m going to stop and get a fast food burger for dinner tonight! It’s been so long since I’ve had one.” The rest of the trip was about the worst trip I’ve ever taken in my life. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt sicker.
8) Boxed Macaroni and Cheese
I used to absolutely love this stuff, but cheese from a powder? Seriously? When I was a kid, I actually preferred the “deluxe” version which had cheese from a little can, but it wasn’t any less artificial. And don’t even get me started on Velveeta shells and cheese. I didn’t even like that back when I was actually eating boxed mac & cheese.
7) Instant Potatoes
I used to eat a bag of these and call it dinner. These actually taste pretty authentic. My dad once swore he could tell the difference while he blithely ate instant mashed potatoes. But does anything seem more artificial than those little potato flakes floating in hot water? A bowl of mashed potatoes in under 5 minutes? I think deep down, we all know something that easy to make is just too unnatural. At least real mashed potatoes are relatively time consuming, so you do gain on the efficiency standpoint.
6) Wonder Bread
Since I mostly only eat homemade, all wheat bread these days, white sandwich bread seems pretty unappealing in general. But I remember the Wonder Bread of my youth being particularly unappealing. It was so thin and doughy, it *always* got pasted to the roof of my mouth. I remember we used to rip off chunks of it and make it into cubes before eating. Disgusting.
5) Fruity Pebbles
The first part of the name is a bit of a misnomer, since I’m pretty sure no part of a real fruit ever touched the ingredients list here. I still like a touch of sweetness on my cereal, but come on! These things were so artificial and sugary, my teeth hurts just looking at the box. It should have been obvious that they weren’t good for you just by looking at what they did to the milk that was left in the bowl. Mom, how did you let these things in our house?
4) Suddenly Salad
Okay, we’re starting to notice a trend here. Things that sacrifice nutritional common sense in the name of convenience turn out to be bad ideas. I think what puts Suddenly Salad a cut above the rest, however, is the way that it was supposed to be fancy. I’m pretty sure I took this as a dish to pass at least once in college. That’s right, I passed off dried noodles and a seasoning packet plus a little hot water as if I had actually put some effort into making a pasta salad. It’s not that a seasoning packet makes you bad, but it at least makes you suspect, that’s all I’m saying.
3) Lean Cuisine
The thing that is particularly heinous about Lean Cuisine is that, even when I was eating one of these a day, every day, I didn’t like them. I would have to psych myself up to eat some of them, but even in the best case scenario, they were gross, cold in the center, and some of the side items were amazingly unappealing. Not only did I force myself to eat them, but I actually convinced myself it was a good idea.
2) Lean Pockets
Because, you know, regular Hot Pockets are bad for you. Too fattening. Everything I said about Lean Cuisines apply here. I’m not sure one of them is better than the other, but at least Lean Cuisine has the decency to make their food-type item look like an actual food-type item. Hot Pockets actually invented a new kind of food. However, I do concede that the little microwave “crisping sleeve” is a miracle of modern science.
1) Bowl Appetit
To be fair, I should have known by the name. Nobody ever had their appetite improved by looking (or smelling) one of these things. Of all of the “convenience items” on this list, this is by far the most unappealing, and yet, in college I used to gobble these things like it was my job. “But they’re so convenient,” my 20 year old self would argue, to which my 32 year old self would reply, “But you don’t having anything to do!”