During the dinner party I hosted last Saturday, G was helping me out in the kitchen. Looking for the salt, she flung open the doors to my pantry and stood for a few moments surveying the contents. As she did so, I must confess that I felt slightly uneasy - what if she saw some of the non-foodie food items in my pantry? Items that no foodie worth her organically-certified sea salt should rightly own?
It got me thinking about guilty pantry secrets: food items you love even though they're highly unfashionable. The thought has been following me around all week, so without further ado I present to you three items in my pantry that I love but feel guilty about loving, in the hope that you (a) won't judge me too much, and (b) will share some of your own guilty pantry secrets in the comments section...
Old El Paso Pickled Sliced Jalapeños
One of my very favourite trashy snacks is a toasted cheese sandwich crammed full of Old El Paso pickled jalapeños. The ultra-tacky Old El Paso labelling always reminds me of a Mexican restaurant I went to in Edinburgh five years ago with my friend Sam, who was from San Diego and a champion yachtswoman. It was a freezing cold night and we happened upon a restaurant called The Tijuana Yacht Club - I insisted that we dine there, on the strength of the funny name alone, and after much protesting Sam agreed. We ate what would pass for a decent enough Mexican meal in Australia, and as we finished eating I said something along the lines of, well that wasn't half bad. Sammy gave a heavy theatrical sigh, dropped her fork with a clatter and looked at me with pity. "Claire, WHEN you come to So-Cal, and WHEN I take you to Mexico, then you'll understand what you're missing out on. Oh my GOD!"
And yes, when I did make it to Southern California and to Mexico I did appreciate good Mexican food. But that doesn't mean I don't still like the occasional Old El Paso meal! :)
Continental Asian Recipe Base: Malaysian Creamy Satay
Yeah, I know. I KNOW. It's completely fake. It's powder you add to pan-fried onion, chicken, capsicum, water and peanut butter, for heaven's sake. But... I just love the taste of it! I used to make it for my brother and sister for dinner when I was first old enough to babysit by myself, and it remains a guilty comfort food I still love to whip up when I haven't got the energy to make anything else.
Heinz tinned spaghetti
Okay, this is the point in the post where I really hope my Mum doesn't read this, otherwise she may call up the carabinieri and arrange for my Italian passport to be revoked... I think it was the year of crappy college food in Adelaide that made me appreciate the occasional weekend breakfast of tinned spaghetti on toast. To be honest, this tin has sat unopened in my pantry for several months, so it's not even as though tinned spaghetti is high in my list of priorities. But yes: I do own a tin I hoped G didn't notice as she inspected my pantry contents.
Now that I've bared the most shameful items in my kitchen... what guilty pantry secrets do you have? :)