Don’t Hate Bad Food

By Asher Cantrell

EVERYONE, LIKE THE NEWS, THE INTERNET, INFOMERCIALS AND YOUR FRIENDS ARE CONSTANTLY TELLING YOU THAT YOU SHOULD WATCH WHAT YOU EAT.  Stay away from the cheap, processed foods is what they’re saying. Eat fancy foods. Because if it’s expensive, you know it’s made from high-class shit. Possibly literally.

Screw that. There’s plenty of great reasons to dig ramen noodles, kids’ cereals, bowling alley pizzas, dollar-menu burgers, and gas station hot dogs. Bad food rules. Here’s why.

1. It’s Cheap
Let’s knock the obvious one out of the way first: Shitty food is generally considered shitty because it’s made out of horse lips and pig sphincters and chicken dicks and other things you don’t want to think about. And you don’t have to think about it. That’s the thing. It’s not like it’s inedible. The FDA still inspects it.

Remember the whole thing about Taco Bell not using 100 percent ground beef in their taco filling from a few months back? You know what else was in there? Disgusting things like ’water’ and ‘oats’ and ‘chili powder.’ Horror of horrors, guys.

It’s not like anyone was expecting free-range cattle in their $.89 taco. Sure it’s mostly filler. But there’s no arsenic in it and it’s less than a fucken dollar. You can’t even get kicked in the junk for less than a dollar in most places these days.

2. It’s Everywhere
You don’t have to get dressed up to eat bad food, and you can find it pretty much anywhere (but maybe you should still put pants on). Naturally, there are the ubiquitous Ameircan fast food joints, but you even have options outside of that. (Fun fact: EvenrestaurantchefsdigWendys.)

Gas stations, in-store lunch counters, arcades, and all sorts of other places have some of the country’s best bad food. But those little hot dogs and sausages they have on rollers at those places? Compare them to any ball park frank you’ve ever had. You might be surprised. A lot of non-restaurant joints are even getting into “gourmet” food, which just means someone actually cooks it instead of just putting it under a heat lamp, making it a little closer to fast food. So it’s slightly less shitty than usual, but still relatively affordable.

3. Your Expectations Are Low
Really, let’s face it: We’re culturally trained to think of inexpensive  food as being terrible, tasting bad, and probably being concocted entirely out of farts. Fair enough. But at least you’re not expecting much.

So when it’s not fantastic, it’s no big deal. And if it is, you just found a secret that you can share with everyone you know, like a real-life version of a video game easter egg.

Proceed into dive bar. Order house special barbecue pizza. Consume. Achievement unlocked: Best barbecue pizza in town under $2.50.

Maybe you actually really like Mexican knock-off soda. Or maybe it sucks. For two bucks for a 12-pack, you might as well find out.

4. No One Will Judge You
The economy’s in the crapper, and it’s gonna float around there for a long time, from the looks of it. Everyone has to cut back, whether that means on their cell phone bill or at the grocery store. If you’ve gotta cut corners with cup noodles instead of fancy canned soups, no one is gonna put your picture on the news right next to your sexual history and a list of all the ways your parents are disappointed in you.

So buy the ground beef that’s 50 percent grease. Fuck it, it gives the food flavor. Buy the hot dogs with cheap dye on them that turns the water red when you boil them. Bag cereal, bread that’s suspiciously absent of any brand names, $.50 frozen meals, anything’s on the table, so long as it doesn’t run away when you try to stick your fork into it.

5. Sometimes You Just Want It
Let no man say that he’s above eating shit that’s not good for him. We’re all guilty of it, so why not indulge in whatever garbage you enjoy? Not literal garbage because that’s weird.

Take, for example, the Krispy Kreme Burger, aka the Luther Burger. It’s exactly what it sounds like: A cheeseburger pressed between two halves of a glazed donut instead of a bun.

Right now, about half of you are disgusted and half are intrigued. That’s normal. But even if you’re disgusted, we bet you’ll think of it every time you look at a box of glazed donuts for at least a couple of days. It’s like it’s commanding you to just try a bite, just once (unless you don’t eat meat, anyway, but hey, donuts are still okay).

So what the hell, why not try one? Definitely don’t like, eat them everyday, but do it for the fucken adventure,  you know? A fucken tasty, calorie-filled, heart-diseased adventure. Normally, at this point we’d get all devil-on-your-shoulder and say just one won’t kill you, but in this case it actually might. So just, uh, excercise caution and stuff.

For more from Ashe, check out his Weird Shit Blog on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook.

Related on The Smoking Jacket:
Man vs. Fair: One Man’s Attempt to Eat All Eight of the Texas State Fair Fried Foods Finalist and Not Die 
Awesomely Bad Foods That Aren’t Hoaxes