License to Eat Junk

Sunny Hostin said on The View yesterday, “Well, I ate a whole bag of Funyuns.”

“Why are you eating Funyuns, Sunny?” Whoopi, speaking from the social distance of her own home, asked.

“I love Funyuns,” Sunny answered, shrugging.

Apparently Whoopi was dismayed because she hasn’t been able to find her favorite brand of potato chips (Wise). Megan McCain’s junk food addiction of choice (also quarantined at home since she’s pregnant) is Cheez Whiz, straight out of the can. Everyone agreed putting it on her finger to eat at this time was too risky.

I read an article about how people are ditching quinoa and kale for Doritos and Oreos, during this stressful time of the pandemic. Many people (including yours truly) are worried about gaining the COVID 19. 19 pounds, that is. Stuck at home, with nothing to do but eat.

My junk food addiction during these freaky as heck, uncertain times has been Trader Joe’s White Truffle Potato Chips. It sounds like a pretty ritzy addiction, but I was simply eating it because it was there. They are, by the way, delicious, especially with caviar dip (now that does sound ritzy!), although I won’t be visiting Trader Joe’s anytime in the near future. It’s crazy enough shopping there during normal circumstances and these are anything but.

The Evidence

My actual embarrassing junk food of choice is pork rinds, a favorite of George Bush Jr’s. (that makes it even more embarrassing). Sometimes, I just buy a small bag in the grocery store and eat the whole thing. Something about crunching those hard and salty snacks is a stress reliever, even though I feel sick after I eat them. There’s a conflict going on in my body and brain, of wanting to eat clean to stay healthy and that of just craving comfort food.

After Hurricane Andrew, my then sister-in-law brought bags full of groceries for our family. The item that made me happiest was a box of Cinnamon Pop Tarts, a blast from my past and link to my childhood. It was one of the few crappy foods my Mom let us eat. I’m sure she brought them for the kids, but I’m the one that ate them.

Likewise, I’ve been craving comforting food during this time, so have been eating a lot of soups and sandwiches for lunch. Tuna melt and Campbell’s Tomato Soup, was homey and warm (although I’d forgotten how awful the tomato soup was with corn syrup in it) and I had Trader Joe’s Poblano Corn soup yesterday, with a Pita Pizza with Monterey Jack Cheese and sliced peppers on top.

In order to establish a sense of normalcy during abnormal times, I created a meal plan for the upcoming week. Sundays, the day my family used to have pasta, is Italian night. Monday is Meatless Mondays (which I’ve been trying to do for a while) or take-out pizza. Tuesday is Taco Tuesday or Flannigan’s ribs (buy one, get one free day). Wednesday is Burgers and Beer night, reminiscent of Riviera’s, or Hot Dog and sausage night, simply because I need to rid the freezer of hot dogs. Thursday is Mystery Meal.

On this night, family members get to request a dish they would like and then they cook it, with assistance by Zeke or I. This way, we’re fed and they get a cooking class. Win-win. Friday is Fishy Friday, with some kind of seafood.

Last night I marinated peeled, deveined shrimp in leftover artichoke heart juice, then put them on skewers (some had bacon around them). Zeke grilled the shrimp; I served it with mashed potatoes, stir fried pea shoots (I need something green!) and grilled N’aan bread, which I was told suffered from freezer burn.

“Welcome to Seafood Night,” I said last night, toasting with my glass of wine.

“I hope you enjoy tonight’s meal and if you don’t…”

No need to finish that sentence, because where else are they going to go?

Saturday night is Grillin’ and Chillin’. We are lucky in South Florida to be able to grill and have such beautiful weather, while we’re stuck at home. I’m not too sure about the chilling part, at this stage of the game, but we have been watching a lot of Netflix– Tiger King, to be specific. The girls and Zeke have also been working on a 1500 piece puzzle in the Family Room. There have also been some games of Beer Pong, though played with Rose. I haven’t (as of yet) participated.

This schedule can be amended depending on ingredients I can procure and the mood of the chef. Luckily, take-out is still an option and I read that the coronavirus can’t be transferred via food, so that’s a relief.

I texted the girls and asked what meals they will be attending, in order to get a head count, because on any given day we could be just the two of us, or up to five people. I’m making my list, submitting in my Instacart order and hoping it won’t take a month to arrive. I’m putting toilet paper, Clorox wipes and rubbing alcohol on the list, although it’s probably wishful thinking. A girl can dream, can’t she? It’s about all we have now- wishful thinking about a day when this is all over. And our health and our family.

Come to think of it, that’s a lot.

Stay safe and support your local restaurants. See my previous post for recommendations.

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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