Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Guilty pleasures

I am not fat. I have at various (most) times in my life been so, but I am not presently fat. Some have wondered aloud how such a state is possible considering the skill with which my wife renders butter, sugar, chocolate, flour, nuts, and fruit into some of the most tempting and enviable culinary creations imaginable.

And yet my wife is somehow complicit in my not-fatness. She’s very good about cooking healthy meals most days. On the occasions when she makes brownies or pie or cookies or other things against which I am powerless, she kindly allows me a small portion and gives away any leftovers.

Being fat is the entropy state for me. I am not fat only for the exertion of a great deal of will derived from my desire to ride a bicycle or hike uphill on skis as fast as the abnormally fit people I hang out with. And yet I know, because I have a vague inclination as to what the word “entropy” actually means, that all of this energy applied towards the present not-fat state will somehow someday collapse spectacularly in a cascading rush of donuts and ice cream and french fries that will culminate with me eating myself to death. One simply can’t fight entropy; doing so will only accelerate its occurrence.

The sad thing is that I could bring upon myself this fate even without my wife’s involvement. I present to you as evidence the guilty pleasures I would indulge on a regular basis if I had no self control.*

*Note that none of these things taste as good as Rachel’s brownies or pie or chocolate chip cookies or any other pastries for that matter, but since those can’t be had at the Maverik or 7-eleven or a fast food joint, my inability to resist their siren song is moot.

  1. McDonald’s Oreo McFlurry: You know something that’s under-rated? McDonald’s ice cream, that’s what. The only thing that could possibly make it better is to stir a big handful of crushed oreos into it. At 550 calories, it’s actually not the worst thing you could eat either. Number of McFlurries I typically eat per year: 4.
  2. Dunford double chocolate donut: Dug was the first to introduce me to these wonders. At first I thought “it’s good, but no big deal.” I’m sure a lot of junkies felt the same way about heroin the first time. These are 500 calories each. They sell a smaller one that’s only 290 calories, but as far as I know only in boxes of six. Number of Dunfords I typically eat per year: 10.
  3. Utah milk shakes: Milkshakes in Utah are very different from milkshakes in the Eastern half of the country. Specifically, they have very little milk and therefore more ice cream. In fact, they’re basically just soft-serve with whatever flavor you requested mixed in. Sort of like a McFlurry on steroids. They are also death in a cup. Best approximation I found for nutrition information is a DQ Blizzard—1140 calories!?! Number of shakes I usually eat per year: 4 (and I usually share with Rachel or one of the kids).
  4. Greek Souvlaki: A gyro and fries at Greek Souvlaki is good every time. But it’s about 1,000 calories before the fry sauce. And there’s no point in eating it if you skip the fry sauce. Number of times per year I typically eat at Greek Souvlaki: 3.
  5. Cheeseburgers: I thought about getting specific here, but I realized I really like burgers from just about anywhere. Five Guys and In-n-Out are the cream of the crop for fast food, but I’ll even eat Whoppers or Big Macs on occasion. The small regional places seem to have these dialed, notably Ray’s Tavern in Green River. The best, though, seem to be those I make and eat at home. Homemade cheeseburgers take the guilt out of guilty pleasure. Number of cheeseburgers I eat in a typical year: 25, at least half at home.
  6. White cheddar popcorn in a bag: You know how I quit going to that one 7-eleven? Well I’ve backslid. First Maverik raised their prices and 7-eleven didn’t. Then I felt guilty that I could be walking four blocks instead of driving ten. Then I discovered the 79 cent bags of white cheddar popcorn. 230 calories, so I don’t even feel guilty about it. I’ve been having 2-3 per week since I discovered them about a month ago.
  7. M&M’s: I like all varieties, but lately the plain have been my favorites. I don’t know why. The chocolate is cheap and not particularly compelling. The candy coating is nothing but hard sugar with die in it. I bought a five ounce bag of them for our drive to Boise, thinking I’d share with the kids. I ate most of them. I probably buy and eat a regular small bag myself 4 times a year.
  8. Twizzlers: I’m pretty sure they have an addictive chemical in them. Thankfully the kids like them almost as much as I do, so I don’t eat them all myself. I buy them once or twice a year but am at a loss to resist them when someone else offers. Even during church. Not that Dug would ever do that.
  9. Animal Cookies: the company that makes the pink and white ones filed for bankruptcy and they were temporarily off the market. Thankfully, someone else bought the brand and brought them back into production. I think the pink ones taste better. The unfrosted animal cookies are a great snack for a bike ride. Rachel keeps a tub of the unfrosted in the pantry at all times. She knows better than to do that with the frosted ones.

I’ve listed my favorites. Leave a comment and let me know yours. Let’s keep it limited to food, though—my dad reads this thing.


  1. A bag of ginger snaps and a half gallon of ice cream. Man I love that stuff. I cringe when I see them in the cupboard. It will drop me to my knees.

    The other thing is 2 smothered soft shell chicken taco's from La Frontera with rice, beans covered in cheese and onions. Talk about heaven on a plate. I am sure the smothered taco's have to have at least 2500 calories.
    And yes I am still fat but I am fighting it.

  2. Ghirardelli Midnight Reverie chocolate bars. I usually only eat 2 pieces at a time, for 125 lovely calories. A whole bar is 500 calories. I can honestly say I've never eaten a whole bar in one sitting. Yet.

  3. daylite donuts raspberry fritter, when they're hot. i have eaten 5 in a row before.

    as i type this i'm eating a bowl of reeses puffs cereal. awesome.

  4. Berry cream pie at Pizza Factory. It's a good thing you have to buy it by the slice at like $5/slice or I'd buy the whole pie and eat half no problem.

  5. Speaking of milkshakes... you used to live in Boise, right? Then I'm guessing at some point you made your way North of Ketchum, up toward Stanley and Redfish Lake? If so, I hope you tried a Smiley Creek Lodge Milkshake. Out of this world good. Best milkshake of my life.

    My favorite local GP is probably the Peanut Butter Galaxy at Maggie Moos, although Coldstone's Peanut Butter Perfection is a close 2nd. Actually any chocolate ice cream with peanut butter mixed in...

  6. Mine is stupid. I love Taco Bell regular bean burritoes. Don't know why. But I love them. TB is close and they are cheap. I have no idea how many I eat a year.

    I used to have the same problem with Fryar Tucks scones in Provo back in the day.

  7. I will second the Smiley Creek Shakes. My kids used to go to Camp Perkins and we would stop on the way in and out. Now we just do the Galena Grinder and have to stop. I think they are like 6 bucks each and worth every penny.

  8. Lone Star fish tacos (not really bad unless you drink the cup - like I do - of cilantro/jalepeno mayonaise)

    Grandma B's Pink Cookies


    and what Dug said - those fritters are amazing.

  9. I'm feeling double angst about the Smiley Creek shakes. First because we lived in Boise for five years and I never had one. Second because we were just in Boise last weekend and didn't have one. Not that Ketchum/Stanley is really on the way from Boise to Salt Lake, but one has to have priorities.

  10. I also forgot to mention I really like the corn dogs you buy frozen from Costco. Dunno why, but I really like those.

    Rob, I'm with you on the Grandma B's, but Lofthouse are better still.

  11. Stale Red Vines. Not fresh ones, too easy to chow through them. Stale ones give you a workout while you enjoy them.

  12. Those pink and white frosted animal cookies with sprinkles are my kryptonite. I can inhale those without end.

    Marie Calendar's Satin Pie is sinfully good. We call it Satan Pie. For a mass-produced desert it is diet-shattering.

    My wife loves Snickers ice cream bars. The goodness of a Snickers bar with ice cream. How are we supposed to resist stuff like this?

    I'm with dug on the goodness of Otter Pops (although we prefer the Coolaide brand). Thankfully they are only 25 calories each. I use them to keep me distracted from the harder stuff listed above.