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Badly-made food you love


Hest88
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Forgive me if this has been covered before, but I was just thinking about my departed great-uncle. His business sold roast duck to the military, and whenever we went over there he's give us one of his ducks. They were nothing like the plump, meaty roast ducks you see hanging up in Chinatown; they were so skinny they were practically meatless. What meat there was was dry and stringy, and the skin was leathery and overly salty. Oh, but how I loved those ducks. It's partly, I think, because I always prefer skin and bone to meat, and these ducks were pretty much nothing but skin and bone.

So, what kind of badly-made food do love even though you know full well that they're far from the proper renditions? I don't mean things we know are bad for us or are inherently junk food, such as Jell-o, but food items that are badly seasoned, or overcooked or otherwise "ruined" in the eyes of a proper chef that you like just as much--or more--in its ruined form?

My other example is the cafeteria spaghetti I remember in middle school. So completely different from the perfectly sauced, al dente pasta I now make, but if I could ever find spaghetti exactly like that spaghetti I'd scarf it up happily.

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In college they would serve "London Broil". I don't know what kind of meat they used and it was covered in a brown gravy with canned mushrooms but I ate plates and plates of that stuff whenever they served it.

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I would hesitate to call those ducks or that spaghetti badly-made if you enjoyed them. Something can be far different from a traditional example of a dish, yet still be tasty, and therefore, IMO at least, be well-made for what it is, even if it isn't what it purports to be. Tastes good = is good in my book.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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My mom's minestrone soup. A perfect microcosm of mid-century food ideology, it combines canned broth and frozen vegetables with ground beef, but it's so yummy! It's the perfect thing on a cold winter evening with a hot crust of sourdough bread. So keep your roasted veal stock and farm-fresh veggies outta my minestrone! I want the best that Swanson's and Bird's Eye have to offer!

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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I like my chicken overcooked.

There, I've said it, I feel better.

Don't give me that stuff that's cooked just until the "juices run clear" - I want my chicken COOKED. In fact, my favorite part of the grilled chicken breast is the somewhat solid, usually golden brown and chewy thin tail end. Yum.

And the one truly awful food I would like to try again is the pizza from my first grade school cafeteria. It was a long, thin rectangle, the crusts on either end making somewhat of a sleigh bed for a bright red sauce and small oval of cheese. It was completely unlike any pizza I've ever had before or since, and I would pay good money just to taste it once again, to see how it compares to my memories.

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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Ah yes, school cafeteria pizza was a treat indeed!! Mine was a flabby rectangle, with almost no sauce, "sausage pellets" and a decent amount of "cheese". I loved them, and I would probably eat one again if anyone offered.

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Roast duck? In the military? I was in the wrong branch!

"Last week Uncle Vinnie came over from Sicily and we took him to the Olive Garden. The next day the family car exploded."

--Nick DePaolo

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"Hungarian Goulash" - the variety I'm thnking of is neither Hungarian nor is it a true gulasz. This is the elbow macaroni with sweetened red sauce and browned hamburger variety. I just love the stuff even when it's poorly prepared. Don't get me started on Sloppy Joes. :biggrin:

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Hidden Valley Ranch dip mix.

A tub of sour cream, some veggies and I'm in heaven.

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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I absolutely love the baked ziti loaded with mozarella where the top noodles are crunchy and almost uncooked. Nothing better than that. Also, even horrible Chinese food tastes good to me. General Tso's chicken looks like fried tripe coated with unidentifiable sauce? Sounds great!

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
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My mother makes this dip that is simply cream cheese blended with crappy jarred salsa with some "fixins" (i.e. shredded lettuce, tomato, cheese, green onions, and black olives) on top, served with Fritos. It's cheap, simple, straight outta the church social, and I can't stay away from it once she puts it out. I can't imagin what someone outside of the family would think if they came in and saw all of us hovering over the table, silently devouring my mother's taco dip. :blink:

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"Hungarian Goulash" - the variety I'm thnking of is neither Hungarian nor is it a true gulasz. This is the elbow macaroni with sweetened red sauce and browned hamburger variety. I just love the stuff even when it's poorly prepared. Don't get me started on Sloppy Joes. :biggrin:

In our family it was called "American Chop Suey" and made with Campbell's tomato soup.

Didn't we talk about a lot of this on the thread about stuff we like that most people think sucks?

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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My mother makes this dip that is simply cream cheese blended with crappy jarred salsa with some "fixins" (i.e. shredded lettuce, tomato, cheese, green onions, and black olives) on top, served with Fritos. It's cheap, simple, straight outta the church social, and I can't stay away from it once she puts it out. I can't imagin what someone outside of the family would think if they came in and saw all of us hovering over the table, silently devouring my mother's taco dip. :blink:

My mom used to make something along those lines: Creamed cheese, Hormel Chili with no beans and some cheddar cheese on top, some times some jarred salsa. She popped it in the oven until it was warm and gooey, and then we ate it using Fritos to dip. I remember once in a while, when she was super busy, she'd make it for us for dinner - with a salad on the side, of course! :biggrin:

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Creamed cheese, Hormel Chili with no beans and some cheddar cheese on top, some times some jarred salsa. She popped it in the oven until it was warm and gooey, and then we ate it using Fritos to dip. I remember once in a while, when she was super busy, she'd make it for us for dinner - with a salad on the side, of course! :biggrin:

(hastily scratching out a new grocery list) Thanks!!!

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You know, now that I think about it, I might as well get into the mood of things:

My grandmom's tuna casserole. Canned tuna, dried noodles, cream of mushroom soup, canned peas and carrots, and dried french's onions on top. It was oh-so delicious.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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