Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ask the Internet: Favorite Processed Food?

Sweet readers! Husband-Elect and I had a Bridal/Groomal Shower this weekend! And it was a surprise! And it was awesome! And pretty! And huge! And generous! And my in-laws flew in! And we got an OXO Salad Spinner that is basically the best thing that’s ever existed! It has a brake button! Who knew?

We’re just starting to recover from the busy-ness, so today is all about getting things back up to speed. Please accept this Ask the Internet question in the meantime…

Q: A few weeks ago, we asked readers what food-type item you can’t believe exists. The answers were funny and overall, pretty shocking, with the clear-and-away winner being pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This week, we thought we’d go in the other direction: What’s your favorite processed food?

A: I have four:
  1. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese: Powdered cheese is a crime against nature and good sense, but I would give up a limb for this stuff.
  2. CoffeeMate: in almost every flavor.
  3. Aunt Jemima’s Butter Lite Syrup. Someday, they will discover that Aunt Jemima is the core component of nuclear payloads. Meanwhile, leave me be when I'm huddled in a corner, chugging this straight from the bottle.
  4. Breakfast cereals. Honey Nut Cheerios. Crispix. Special K Red Berries. Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Kix. Honey Bunches of Oats. The list goes on. I can't help it. There are Grape Nuts embedded in my DNA.
So readers, how 'bout you? What processed food would you fight to the death for?

Want to ask the interweb a question? Post one in the comment section, or write to cheaphealthygood@gmail.com. Then, tune in next Tuesday for an answer/several answers from the good people of the World Wide Net.

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50 comments:

Annie Jones said...

I don't use very many processed foods, but a couple that I have a hard time giving up are cream of whatever soups for cooking and Velveeta for certain recipes.

Yes, I can make chicken, mushroom or cheese flavored sauces from scratch, but I often won't take the extra few minutes to do so. And Ro-Tel dip just isn't the same without the overly processed cheese goop.

Michael said...

#1 is a discontinued, granola-like breakfast cereal called C.W. Post. The stuff was incredible, and it came in a carton like milk rather than the usual cereal box. The more recent Just Bunches! cereal comes close but is not quite the same.

#2 is Campbell's Chunky Split Pea & Ham soup. I don't eat it much these days because the absurdly high sodium content gives me a weird buzz and a metallic after-taste, but the soup itself is yummm.

#3 is peanut butter M&Ms. Disregarding how fattening they are, I could eat so many in one sitting that they give me heartburn. And of course, they're now available in value-size bags...

Carrie said...

i'm all about the mac and cheese and cereal but i just can't stand coffeemate! i have to have real milk in my coffee

Jenna said...

This is so sad to admit... but

1) velveeta. Some things just need the oozy gooey factor.

2) Cocoapebbles and Rice Chex. I have celiac, they are gluten free... and I can make chocolate rice crispy bars on the fly when I desperately need something sweet to munch on. (Added bonus - it's CHEAP. The specialty gf cereals are ridiculously expensive - between the pebbles and chex I can avoid the sticker shock.)

3) Diet Mt Dew and Diet Orange Crush. Horrible for me - not giving them up in this lifetime.

Anonymous said...

1. Totino's pizza rolls
2. Coffee mate

Anonymous said...

Hershey Syrup...nuff said

Alyssa said...

I agree about the mac & cheese! Have tried the powder and organic brands and nothing else is the same. Love it mixed with Trader Joe's chicken jalapeno sausage and peas.

My other processed food staple is frozen Foster Farms orange chicken. Mixed with bell pepper (also bought frozen) and served over rice, it is my fastest non-takeout dinner.

Kristi said...

Peanut butter M&M's...or all types of M&Ms really...I think they must put crack in them because it is just impossible to stay away if you have them!

Jen said...

I was given a pre-made pbj (the kids meal) the other day at a restaurant that sells homemade bread. Go figure! I was really irritated.

My favorite processed food is probably gummy bears. I can eat an entire bag without realizing and then I am mad when they are gone!

Jaime said...

Oh man. Processed foods. So good but so bad.

I can't even have cold cereal in my apartment because I will go through an entire box in 36 hours. It's bad. Fruity Pebbles are the ultimate heroin for me, but I also love Cracklin Oat Bran, Frosted Flakes, Honey Bunches of Oats, Cinnamon Life. It's all really like a drug.

Same for the honey-mustard-flavored pretzel bits. Cannot have those in my house.

Every once in a while I buy a Pop-Tart, and it is so, so good. Brown sugar is the best flavor, hands-down.

My senior year of college is dedicated in my heart to Kraft Easy Mac. Every so often I think about picking up one of the single-serve cups for a treat. Some day I will, and it will be glorious.

Mint Newman-O's are also HEAVEN. Oh my god.

I guess Pop-Tarts are the only ones on this list, though, that are not verboten. Because they come in single-serve (well, two-serving, but come on) packs. Just thinking about those cereal binges makes me feel kind of awful.

Brett said...

@Michael I didn't know anyone else longed for C.W. Post like I do. That stuff was the best! I used to have it most mornings with some yogurt.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree about the blue box mac and cheese. Once a month it's the dinner of choice, and that its fast, easy, and cheap helps too. Now that we have real grownup jobs we make it "fancy" by added shredded cheese and oregano or salsa.

Love my coke zero. And trisquits. and hebrew national franks over a campfire in a nice bun slathered in ketchup. Drooling into my coke zero now.

Alphacyg said...

NUTELLA.

Mamie said...

1. Diet Coke. Chemical nectar of the gods!

2. Kraft mac & cheese... every once in a while my body craves this childhood/undergrad stand-by.

3. Nature Valley granola bars in the GREEN wrapper. It's like super crunch candy!

4. Speaking of candy... Hot Tamales. Road trips or theater movies - both require the chewy, spicy goo of Hot Tamales.

Rebecca said...

#1. Tinned (full size) ravioli. It use to be it had to be the Chef Boyardee brand - but lately I've found that the generic kind tastes just as good.

#2. Hamburger helper. I make a mean skillet pasta from scratch but nothing beats this silky meal for ease or taste.

#3. Fish sticks. You can keep your chicken nuggets (although I would miss them), and other fried-bread products so long as I have haddock fish sticks - cut perfectly rectangular and about as wide as two fingers.

Ali said...

I`ve stopped eating sugar and most processed grains, and I don`t really miss any of it, except potato chips and instant ramen. Both are truly my greatest weakness. Miss Vickies Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar chips, I could live off those, happily, for the rest of my life. And I`ve recently found a kimchi flavoured bowl noodle that is so overpackaged I feel guilt in all kinds of directions when I buy them, but man, so spicy and goooooood.

Alisha said...

I can't even believe I'm admitting this in public but...

1) cold cereals (Kashi, Honey-nut Cherrios, Honey Bunches of Oats)
2) Miracle Whip. There. I said it.

Anne said...

I second hamburger helper and ramen. I could eat these every day and not get tired of them. Also, Ruffles Potato Chips and French Onion Dip. Neither item is especially good on its own, but together they are magical. I'm also kind of addicted to coffeemate. In my book, it isn't really fall until the Pumpkin Spice flavor hits the grocery store shelves.

DownDoggin in MN said...

Buffalo Wild Wing sauces, especially the Asian Zing, it comes in plastic, it full of high fructose corn syrup, it costs way more that it should but I can't help myself that stuff is the best!

midwinter-az said...

My life would be poorer without the big costco jars of Prego spaghetti sauce. I *know* spaghetti sauce is the easiest thing to make from scratch, but I'm really sensitive to tomato flavors (I get overloaded easily), and Prego fits the bill. Plus it works wonderfully as pizza sauce and lasagne filling.

Oh, and Kraft parmessan. I have a microplane grater and I have used fresh parm and it just doesn't work. I'm addicted to the pebbly texture on pasta more than the taste.

On a slightly healthier note, I couldn't survive without Clif bars. They're my go-to breakfast. (Peanut toffee buzz FTW) Oh, and cream of wheat (maple & brown sugar).

#1 processed food? Coke. Straight up, non-diet, Coke. Moreso if it's the real sugar variety.

Myrnie said...

A dangerous and daring question! I can not stop buying the huge Mission white flour tortillas. (But it goes without saying that most packaged cookies are goners in this house. Fudge Mallows. Frosted Animal Cookies. Oreos, dipped in peanut butter of course.) It's for the best that I gave up buying premade foods, no?

Laura said...

Quaker granola bars, Doritos (I only allow myself to eat them if someone has them in a bowl at their party. I'm not allowed to buy them. I eat too many in one sitting), Special K Vanilla Almond cereal, Post Cranberry Almond Crunch cereal, Kraft Dinner, and the ultimate #1 I will never give up:

Kraft peanut butter. That natural peanut butter stuff will never be good enough.

Laura said...

Cereal, yes.

And Diet Coke. Oh, Diet Coke. I wish I knew how to quit you.

Kat said...

I'm a sucker for Velveeta Shells n' Cheese. I love that gooey cheese so much more than Kraft's powder.

Also, fruit-flavored (blueberry!) Pop-Tarts. So dang delicious.

Jane said...

Cool Whip-just can't say no to this awful stuff. If I've had a really bad day I'll eat it frozen out of the container.

Mattheous @ Menu Musings said...

I don't really like processed foods as a rule, but you can have my beef jerky when you pry from my cold, dead fingers.

Then again, who knows what lurks in the stash of expired food my grandmother has hidden away?

Lizalopoli said...

I am glad to hear I am not the only Diet Coke fiend that reads this blog!

Lake said...

I remember Cracklin' Oat Bran! I haven't bought it since high school, because I would eat half the box, out of hand, w/o milk or anything. Looks like dog food, tastes like bran candy!

My biggest weakness these days are jelly beans, preferably Jelly Belly. So many companies make jelly beans, but there's a reason Jelly Belly are so much more $$. Best flavor, best texture.

Mariaa said...

In addition to much of what everyone else has said...

Cake mix. Boxed cake mix. With the white frosting that comes in those small tubs, which I could eat all by itself. Bonus points if it's a generic brand like Key Food or America's Choice. I don't know what it is about that stuff...maybe it reminds me of special occasions of my youth?

Annie said...

I love love love Tostitos Salso Con Queso. It's delicious cheese sauce that I will put on tortillas chips, burritos, etc. I also like to put it on bread and butter. I'm addicted, and just found out that Costco sells a two pack of the larger size for a crazy good price. I'm doomed.

Brighde said...

Chocolate.

MCM Voices said...

Heartland brand raisin granola. Planter's peanut bars.

There are a few awful-for-you things that evoke good childhood memories and I occasionally get them despite my better judgement and they never taste good. I think I'm finally learning. Drake's snack cakes are among them.

Please please please do not tell Casual Kitchen that you saw me here...

Dee Seiffer said...

Twizzlers and Smartfood white cheddar popcorn are my PMS foods. I can live without them until the hormone monsters crawl out of their hiding places. I am too weak to resist them.

Dee Seiffer said...

BTW - congrats on the surprise shower thing. I do LOVE my OXO salad spinner with its little brake button.

Tom said...

Maybe the years cause me to remember it better than it was, but I really miss Quisp.

These days? Yeah, Hamburger Helper and macaroni with foil packaged cheese paste are the guilty pleasures.

Sara said...

Baked Lays Sour Cream and Onion. I can demolish a big bag (1200 calories! roughly) in one sitting. Luckily that's tapering off a bit, but I can still do it if I'm really determined.

April said...

Mac & Cheese (blue box or velveeta) is something I keep around for those "I had to have someone drive me home at 3 a.m. and I am SO DRUNK " nights. I won't go to bed after those nights without consuming an entire box of it, by myself, sitting on the kitchen floor eating it out of the pot it was cooked in.

And potato chips. OMG chips. Every flavor every brand.

wosnes said...

1. Kraft macaroni and cheese
2. Cream of something soup for cooking
3. Velveeta
4. Baked Lays Cheddar and sour cream ( I allow myself to buy them on summer holidays)
5. Miracle Whip -- other condiments, too.
6. Coke -- the classic variety

There are more...

OTOH -- I won't touch artificial sweeteners or reduced-fat products. I make nearly everything from scratch including salad dressings, bread, granola, marinara sauce and too many other things to mention.

I guess it all balances out in the end.

The Nervous Cook said...

The last-processed-food left standing in my diet until very recently was Diet Coke, which pains me to even speak about, I miss it so much.

Diet Coke, I'll never forget you.

Jennifer Jacobs said...

Vegenaise! I'm so mad I spent all those years before I went vegan barely tolerating mayonnaise when I could have been scarfing down this stuff!

Kim said...

Hands down potato chips, the saltier the better. I try to avoid them and eat popcorn or pretzels or even rice cakes when I need that crispy fix but last night I demolished a full size bag of Doritos in one sitting. Let the shame spiral begin.

chacha1 said...

Strawberry Pop-Tarts.
Lucky Charms.
Classico pasta sauces.
and, of course:
chocolate.

Kris said...

Man. Potato chips, Diet Coke, and Hamburger Helper are winning this thing. Coincidentally, that was my exact diet at age 22.

stardust462 said...

Oh man. I could make a list a mile long.

I don't eat a lot of processed foods, as I love cooking from scratch. But I do have a few things I love.

I absolutely love Kraft mac and cheese. Easy mac is not as good, but so easy to make it's worth it.

Poptarts are also amazing, especially the s'mores ones. Special K makes these fruit crisps things that are similar to poptarts, but are smaller and don't have frosting.

Finally, cereal. If I had to live off one type of food for the rest of my life it would be cereal. My favorite is Frosted Mini Wheats. I always have at least five boxes of cereal at my apartment and two at my desk at work.

aletheia_vox said...

Ramen noodles. Definitely ramen noodles.

Jennifer said...

Definitely Kraft Mac & Cheese & breakfast cereals (I agree too, all kinds). I would also have to add Reese's peanut butter cups & diet coke. I can never give those up.

Shana said...

1. Velveeta
2. Doritos
3. Cheetos (crunchy and puffy)
4. Diet Coke, Pepsi and Mountain Dew (especially when they have the limited edition flavors)
5. Cold Cereal

Anna said...

Yeah, pizza rolls! And... ketchup. We go through bottles and bottles in our house.

kennyken said...

Since I changed my eating habits I stay clear from process as much as possible can,but what I was devouring were nutty-bars,snicker bars,and cheese-wiz and crackers by the boxes.

Anonymous said...

Pizza rolls - I only allow myself to eat them if I'm really sick or really depressed

Easy Mac - really? you have to ask why?

Ceddar/bacon potato skins. Only on road trips. (Is going home from the grocery store a road trip? Sometimes!)

Bacon - does that count? mmm...

And the ultimate:

Diet coke with Lime. The lime is the kicker. No lime, no bueno. Mmmm......lime.....

Do you think they'll ever make lime bacon?!