Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nature's 10 Most Perfect Foods

Today instead of 3 things that make me happy, I'm upping the ante and going for 10. 

Back in college, whenever someone mentioned Twinkies, my dorm mates would chime in with, "Nature's Most Perfect Food!"  I've given an inordinate amount of thought over the years to what would follow Twinkies on this list, and recently decided I have a stable top 6 or so, and rounded it out with other favorites. It's late; I'm awake.  So without further ado, I bring you:

Nature's Most Perfect Foods

1) Twinkies
Definitionally, these Hostess snack cakes top the list. 

2) Hot Pockets with the crisper sleeve.
Without the sleeve they slide to 6th place. Lean Pockets count - I like the artichoke chicken.  Every omnivorous culture has an iconic meat pie, but one that can be microwaved to crispy in 2 minutes makes this ours.  Great for breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner.

3) Easy Mac
Loved Mac & Cheese growing up. As a single adult, I don't keep much milk on hand & a box makes too much, so I rarely ate any.  Finally tried Easy Mac at a house party overrun with kids, and it was like the heavens opened up. Don't need to keep perishables, and it makes only enough for 1 serving. It tastes and feels exactly like I need it to.  What's not to love?

4) Doritos
A case could be made for Cheetos here, but Taco Bell partnering to make a Doritos taco shell brought these into the top 5.  Again, childhood food memories, this time of taco salad at church potluck chock full of chips gets evoked by the Doritos Loco Taco. Doritos are delicious, every chip. 

5) Ramen Noodles
The classic college staple, dried packs of ramen have a nearly infinite shelf life, cost almost nothing, and can partner up with all manner of steamed veggies or eggs & meat or stand alone. I posit that a third of my generation (X) owes their continued existence to access to cheap ramen at some point in their lives. 

6) Chicken Nuggets
These started in my generation, but really took off as a primary foundational food in the kids I babysat. They're now nearly universal & almost universally tasty. What kicks them out of the top 5, aside from my age, is that the best ones come from a drive thru, but the rest of the list can be made at home - or dorm or work or convenience store or...  Probably half the millennials subsisted on chicken nuggets for a good portion of their childhood.  

7) Lucky Charms
They're magically delicious

8) Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
How can you not love exploding rolls of bread? I load them up with bacon or ham & shredded cheese (sharp cheddar, mozzarella, & Trader Joe's Parmesan if you must know), give 'em a little salt & pepper to gild the lily just a bit, then roll & bake. This treat is amazingly filling & sticks to my ribs so well that I usually make a batch for traveling. I eat one or two & can go for hours. 

9) Jell-O, along with shelf stable tapioca pudding. 
With jello, most desserts are possible. Ask me about my crowd pleasing jello mold of the United States. (Alaska & Hawaii did not make the cut but it's all good.) I, myself, being a fan of stirring things, make a mean tapioca pudding, but having it on demand in single servings makes me happy. 

10) Maraschino Cherries
I love these fool things. They're peppy and sweet and always accompany something happy and fun. (Note: this is how I slyly sneak alcohol into the food list, kind of. Mmm... amaretto.)

There you have it!  Nature's 10 most perfect foods, as scientifically decided by Cranky Otter. All of them are engineered to be tasty, most have a substantial shelf life which adds to how easy they are to make & consume.  Clearly part of the selection criteria is a high degree of manufacturing in the creation of these foods, because sarcasm is also delicious.   I stuck with foods rather than beverages or condiments - which I may do another day. I may redo the list with pictures; this list cries out for pictures, but if I put that on the critical path, it could take about 3 months to get it down & I'm awake now. 

Tell me how right I am in the comments, and let me know what you would add to the list - I'll cede spots 11-20 to y'all.