True Confessions: Overrated Foods

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I didn’t cook all weekend.

I’ve been paying others to cook with my friends in Boston, and we’re all pretty content with our culinary choices, no matter how light our wallets feel.

Since I didn’t cook at all last weekend, I have no wisdom to share with all of you about how much lime juice to squeeze on your noodles and how much turmeric to sprinkle on your potatoes. I can’t pretend to talk about a time I baked transcendent cookies that healed a friend with swine flu or simmered a soup so powerful it got me engaged. Rather, I’ll use this valuable space to tell you something true. A confession of sorts.

I think grilled cheese is overrated.

Still with me? If you are, then you’re an understanding reader who probably has a dark secret of your own.

Throughout high school and college, I nodded my head knowingly whenever nearly every breathing human I knew exclaimed, “Ugh, is there anything better than grilled cheese?” I thought, yes, of course there is, you bland-tongued child! What about a Mediterranean Panini or perhaps an overstuffed falafel? But I gulped down my harsh insults (I have serious hanger issues) and agreed. “Mmm, yes, melt-y things, yes, bread that is plain,” I would babble, hopping on the grilled cheese bandwagon to assure a seat at the cool table and an invite to prom.

Okay, that last sentence is a lie, but the rest is a truth I have shamefully hidden for years.

Ahh, it feels good to be free of the burden of Kraft Singles. Utterly free…

But wait. I’ve been hiding something else. Something that goes against the rules of North American childhood.

I hate marshmallows.

Now before you remind me of campfires (because my family was camping every summer?) and baking rice krispy treats with my mom (because my mom bakes?), I do enjoy the smell of a toasted marshmallow. It is warm and comforting. Beyond that, I can’t stand the manufactured, half-dry, half-gelatinous texture of the thing.

Hot chocolate don’t need no marshmallow. This drink is strong and independent without a chalky pillow weighing it down. S’mores are only delicious because of the melted chocolate coupled with the magic of a bonfire. Sweet potato marshmallow salad doesn’t exist in my world, and it never will.

Wow. I’m sweating with exhilaration. This is the truth. The whole truth. This is … oh fine! Fine, I’ll tell you a secret divisive enough to break up a marriage, harsh enough to cost me my job.

Cereal is just okay.

So, you hate me. You must be wondering how this could be. Cereal has been with us since we were toddlers and will continue accompanying us from our childhood homes to our post-grad apartments to our grownup kitchens. Cereal is “cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs” and “nobody can say no to honey nut cheerios.” But, in my heart of hearts, cereal is a bunch of hard particles floating around in a bowl of milk.

Oh, I’ll indulge once in a while. I’ll have a clandestine moment in the kitchen with Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Multigrain Cheerios. But the need to sprinkle some on my froyo or snack on it in bunches never strikes me.

Whenever I think about how I don’t love cereal, I consider that I may be an alien much like Kyle XY, from failed ABC Family show Kyle XY, an otherworldly boy born without a belly button. Am I missing a part of my brain, maybe a part of my heart? Why don’t I long for bowls of crispy flakes with dried chocolate pieces and hardened marshmallows? Why don’t I overlook soft cookies for lifesaver shaped “whole grain” loops?

Can’t you see that all the lies were just so you wouldn’t stop loving me? Can’t you see that I didn’t choose this life?

I want to love. I’ve tried to love. But for now, coming clean is the best I can do.

End session.

Post by Nandini Ahuja.

  • This is so accurate. Completely accurate.
    Down with grilled cheese, I say!
    Though I do concede that it definitely plays a key role in what your “childhood” foods were to forge that synesthesia bond that makes these foods stick out. For instance, I knew of the concept of grilled cheese–and I am not exaggerating, grilled cheese was a concept in a household that indulged in everything sweet, sour, spicy and bitter, aka. Filipino food–thanks to American pop culture. BUT I NEVER GOT TO TASTE ONE UNTIL I WAS LIKE — maybe 11? And it just wasn’t as good as TV or books made it out to be, just kind of meh on the food tier haha
    But I also wonder if I was introduced earlier if I wouldn’t have such a MEH reaction to it, yanno?