4 Bad Foods We Can Move on From in the Modern World
The sheer variety and volume of food available in the world is enough to make both your eyes and mouth water simultaneously. And yes, guy whose go-to-move at parties is to shut down casual chats by bringing up the saddest possible parts of the human condition, I do realize that starvation and food security is still a massive problem both in the U.S. and abroad. Can we move on now, and you can resume your job as a professional hitman for conversations?
Anyway, as I was saying, through the brains of creative chefs both professional and deeply amateur, there’s never been such an incredible cornucopia of foods to be consumed when calories are needed. Especially in major cities, the spectrum of flavors and cuisines available to fill in even a casual office lunch is incredible. As an omnivorous species, it almost feels like we’ve perfected every variety of sustenance available.
But despite our continual, shining culinary steps forward, a couple of absolute duds remain on our tables and shelves. Whether out of nostalgia or inertia, we’ve let these flavor underachievers coast on the dietary needs of a past U.S. population that had largely never tasted pad Thai and thought that hopscotch was the height of entertainment.
Here, then, are four foods that, as a modern civilization, we can finally kick to the curb.
Let’s start with a softball. Look, I understand that Necco Wafers have a dear history to a lot of people because they used to bring them to their pappy in hospice, but we cannot continue this farce. At this point, most medicine actively tastes better than Necco Wafers.
It’s salt on the wound that Necco has the gall to claim that they’re in the candy business in the year 2023. Are you kidding me? That’s like running a horse-and-buggy rental and telling people you work in transportation. The world has changed around you, while you’ve been chopping up sticks of sidewalk chalk and wrapping them in the sort of wax paper that feels like it was collected from an Egyptian tomb. We’re two months away from Gushers with LEDs in them, and you’re still trying to sell us a candy most monkeys would spit out. Candy is about guilty pleasures, not things that taste like a pharmaceutical you’d give to someone who was lost at sea to prepare their stomach for solid food.
I, like many American Jews, have a deep, insatiable love for Chinese food. Fried pork dumplings are very possibly my favorite food of all time, and if not, they would at the very least make it handily through the primaries. I could happily spend 15 years in a hotel room eating nothing but dumplings like in Oldboy, just hopefully without the trauma, violence, or worse, finding out I’m in the Spike Lee version. However, there is one consistent, unwelcome invader in many entrees at Chinese restaurants: Those fucked-up little corns.
Not mind you, those yellow sweet kernels that are as delicious going in as they are visible coming out. I’m talking about the strange, rubbery little baby corns that, by look, taste and texture, suggest something more suited for cleaning dishes than being served on them. I am sure there are some freaks out there who enjoy them, but to me, it’s like eating the grips off the handlebar of a very tiny bicycle.
Even worse, in my quest for answers, I discovered that these “cornlets” (which, gross) are indeed just baby corn, harvested before they’re able to grow into full ears of actual corn. Which begs the plea: Just leave them alone! If you stop throwing these weird little doorstoppers into stir-fry, EVERY SINGLE ONE could fulfill a long, rewarding life of becoming a delicious, normal ear of corn! Instead we’re denying the world of possible corn just so we can shove these nubbins around a plastic tray as we eat the rest of the food, while they soak up delicious sauce that would taste better on most napkins.
I know, I know. This one hurts, mainly because of the absolute legacy of the Cheerio. Necco Wafers were candy, but they weren’t the candy. Cheerios are the Babe Ruth, the Joe Montana, the Wilt Chamberlain of breakfast cereals. Every cereal that exists today would ask Cheerios for an autograph. But there comes a time when all the greats must rest.
Luckily, there is a modern successor worthy of carrying on the name: the Honey Nut Cheerio. A bumblebee-bearing son and worthy heir, one that the many kingdoms will swear fealty to, and the peace may continue. But the light is dimming for the default Cheerio in the modern world — the new cereals are faster, sweeter and more colorful. The Cheerio is a samurai in the age of gunpowder. It’s gone from breakfast powerhouse to a cereal mostly utilized for its inability to choke babies. Sure, it’s heart-healthy, but of course it is. It’s one simple shape away from a bowl of dry grain. Your watch has ended, Cheerios. It’s time to hang the box from the rafters.
Ah, the king of rattling around in your oldest relative’s weird nut bowl. Honestly, I still do not fully believe these things are edible. Everything about them suggests that they are poisonous, like something Walter White would boil down to discreetly kill someone. More Brazil nuts have gotten whipped at a little brother during a holiday argument than have ever been genuinely consumed.
I am sure there was a point in the history of the human race where the precious food inside a Brazil nut was needed for survival, but I highly question their continued relevance past the invention of fire. The value proposition of the Brazil nut is like breaking into a safe in order to retrieve a piece of dry toast. Not to mention, there are so many other better nuts that are begging you to eat them! You’re telling me you’re putting on the blinders and digging past peanuts, pistachios and cashews just to draw blood trying to access the non-prize that is the meat of the Brazil nut? Were almonds too decadent?
I feel like even if you tried to plant a Brazil nut, the earth itself would cough it up.