Confessions of a Preservative Junkie

I actually like hospital food. And airline food. (I flew back in the day when they still had in-flight meals.) I like frozen pizza, packaged macaroni and cheese, spaghetti ‘rings’ and TV dinners. What is wrong with me? Emeril would probably toss me out on my can. Is it possible for a person who relishes a meal while recovering from childbirth to also enjoy gourmet cooking? What I mean is, can you trust that person’s sense of taste?

Granted, I’ve never mistaken the identity of a frozen pizza.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it, right? So you have your pizza rankings, in order from worst to best:

Dominos (What can I say, I hate their pizza for some reason.)

frozen Aldi brand (Mama Cozetti?)

frozen Kroger store brand

DiGiorno’s

Papa Murphy’s Take and Bake

Marco’s

Papa John’s

Noble Roman’s

Little Caesars

Jeno’s frozen personal pizzas

What?! The .99 frozen pizza trumped a national franchise? It’s true. Which brings me to my next point. There must be something habit-forming in the preservatives. How else can I explain my delight in eating fare that most food critics make a career out of mocking?

There could be an emotional element to this kind of food. Prepared food means less clean-up in the kitchen. It hearkens back to my childhood too. Also, I’m being catered to in some form. Hospital? Literally being waited on hand and foot. Airline? Don’t get up. I’ll bring you a frosty drink. TV Dinner? Dinner and a show. There’s this whole ‘being waited on’ theme that I love. Which brings me to my next point: I’ve never met a restaurant I didn’t like. Okay, except maybe for a buffet which shall remain nameless, but whose carpets were filthy, the buffet was crumby and it was uber crowded. Besides that, same concept. People have prepared food for me to eat. I will eat it.

I’m no dummy, however. I can distinguish a diet soda from regular in one tiny sip. I can tell Coke from Pepsi in the same amount of time. I can tell a grocery tomato from garden fresh, no contest. So I know the taste buds are there and in working order. I always tell my picky eaters at home, “If you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat it.” So maybe I’m just really hungry when I eat substandard food. Or maybe, I’m just a happy eater.

Bon appetit.

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