• December 22, 2014

Fast food is my guilty pleasure

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Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 6:50 pm, Mon Jul 29, 2013.

I confess. I’m a fast food junkie.

Anytime there’s a choice between getting the tried-and-true, satisfying grocery store rotisserie chicken or the “extreme-cheese-bacon-fat-caramel-loaded mashbox,” I opt for the latter.

I’m watching my weight ... rise.

I’ve played the McDonald’s Monopoly game loyally, almost every day since it started, and I have no intention of slowing down the rate at which I consume Big Macs, Filets O’ Fish and large fries.

The game allows me to do two of my favorite things at the same time —eating and gambling.

My fast food fondness grew in the mid-2000s when I was in high school. A cracked, bruised but new-to-me 1993 Ford Crown Victoria and two nearby McDonald’s combined to form immediate excuses to get out of the house.

My parents are OK, I guess. But I was a teen with wheels and wanted to rebel like the rest of my friends.

My mom had great intentions when she cooked for us, but let’s just say her skills are better suited for an Easy-Bake Oven than a kitchen oven. She’s Italian but is not related to Emeril Lagasse. Bless her heart. (And thank God she lives in Maryland.)

I went from high school to Ohio University, where late-night burrito and pizza joints formed shiny constellations down the main thoroughfare, beckoning inebriated walkers to keep their balance long enough to waltz in.

Then I transferred to University of Maryland, where the infamous Cluck-U Chicken won my heart. My affinity for wings and homestyle sides was never so strong.

Why does bad food taste so good? Food chemists have already worked wonders with diet sodas, and the “Zero” series, so why haven’t they developed a legitimate fat or carb substitute for gluttons like me?

Moving to Bell County was an easy culinary transition. Drive-ins densely line the highways and state roads, making regular supermarket trips a difficult habit to acquire and more of a worthy aspiration than an obtainable goal for a food-loving newcomer.

Not to mention the mouthwatering barbecue around here.

My home state of Maryland cooks up a piddling excuse for barbecue. The best barbecue joint regularly served undercooked brisket, hog and ribs, with eight different sauces. And they all stunk.

And what about the sweets here! Never before have I seen “cookie sandwiches” (a two-cookie, vanilla frosting-centered Frisbee of deliciousness) in so many gas stations.

Munching on junk food is too easy, especially working in the environs of an unpredictable, minute-by-minute newsroom.

There’s too many legitimate reasons to make excuses to not have any — tangy, sweet, spicy, delicious excuses best served with a side of ketchup swirled with mayonnaise and a nice batter-y crunch.

After two weeks, my trash can is filled with a dazzling, uninspiring display of Technicolor paper bags and empty burger boxes.

When last night’s half-drank open beer rests on the counter, the bachelor pad is in full swing.

I’ve put on a few “el-bees” since I moved here three months ago. High school football weight without the shape. Barbecue sauce without the smoke.

But not all is lost. I’m one for three in attempts to cook dishes from a healthy cookbook I recently scooped up from Barnes & Noble. That’s an all-star batting average.

Next up: Master the art of cooking chicken.

How can I cook large breasts all the way through without burning them?

Can someone show me how?

I’ll give free burgers to anyone who volunteers, and I promise not to leave the perfectly cooked chicken in the fridge.

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