Ode to the Junk

Barbara Kingsolver may be pure of heart and arteries on her self-sustaining Virginia farm, but the rest of us? Well, we talk kohlrabi and kale, but if we’re like the readers over at British newspaper the Guardian, what really makes us happy is stuff like cheesy beanos. (That’s canned baked beans on toast covered with cheese and bacon, Worcestershire sauce or ketchup optional.)

Writes Susan Smillie at Word of Mouth, the paper’s food blog, “I think we have to keep a crap food corner of the blog to ‘fess up to our less-discussed eating habits and share our dirtiest food secrets.”

She then urges readers to post their recipes and recollections of “the rubbish food we relied upon in our younger days” so that “a), we can laugh at you too, and b), we can secretly try them. If you feel compromised by your admission–say, for instance, you’re Gordon Ramsay–you can always start with, ‘Here’s one I used to make when I was a student’. We’ll all know what you mean.”

And so far, the comments are greasy good. This being Britain, there’s a heavy emphasis on carb-on-carb sandwiches, like the infamous “chip buttie,” made with well-salted, properly soggy fried potatoes doused in malt vinegar and wedged between two slices of thickly buttered white bread, followed by the ’”sugar buttie” of white bread spread with salted butter and white sugar. Marmite (or, as more than one poster would have it, “food of the gods”) is also a good friend of the hungover and hungry: “the only stuff that will truly remove morning after wine fur from the roof of your mouth.”

Speaking for the Yanks, a poster from Boston flies the stars and stripes for root-beer floats, potato chip and baloney sandwiches, and English-muffin pizza. We’d admit a secret yet well-justified love of peanut-and-cream-cheese sandwiches on rye bread, sardines in all forms (especially on toast), and Mallomars—the whole box, with a couple of RC Colas to wash them down.

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