Yes... there was a time when I had a 60 hour a week job, in addition to Grad school, and being a young bachelor going out a couple nights a week. In those heady days, when I somehow found the time to curl 75% of my body weight & squat twice my weight... I rarely cooked & many of my meals were fast & cheap... I was an expert at finding the least terrible & least terrible for you food and L.A.s finest junk peddling outposts. I also developed the skill of combining condiments & adding other readily accessible ingredients to make pretty terrible food... pretty delicious and satisfying.
Its been a long time... but today I found myself at a Target (where I go to pretend to purchase stuff that is not really held under my name, and only in stock in the computer... since Bubba apparently likes booking Inventory Receipts for no apparent good reason)..... in any case their private label cafeteria tends to carry even crappier than usual versions of Pizza Hut as well as a variety of their Archer Farms hack "quality" processed food. And I found myself ordering an Archer Farms Mango smoothie which upon first sip can only be described as Kern's Nectar... boiled down then blended with a bunch of ice... not even sure if would be fair to compare Kern's Mango nectar with this... because Kern's taste like Mango... sure, cloyingly sweet cooked Mango nonetheless... while this was more of a generic fruity flavor.... mystery fruit we shall say.
I was about to toss it in favor for Starsucks Iced Latte or some other delicious abomination... when I realized... wait this kind of tastes like Vero Mango lollipops. So 2 packets of Red Pepper Flakes & a generous sprinkling of salt later... i actually had a delicious spicy, fruity, dessert rather than the worst example of a Mango smoothie in the history of crappy Mango smoothies.
What magic do you perform... transforming truly terrible junk food into something quite chowlicious?