Junk Food Junkie by Audrey Jones, Palace Kitchen Sous Chef

I have been working in professional kitchens for ten years now.  I went to a fancy culinary school.  I work at one of the best restaurants in the northwest.  And honestly….I am a junk food junkie.

I feel like many people I meet, upon hearing that I am a cook, say things like, “oh you must eat sooo well!” Sometimes I tell them that I do eat well and I cook at home all the time.  Sometimes I am honest and tell them that my idea of dinner is pretzels and bourbon.  There may be some shame in the fact that I spent all kinds of money on school and have made a career out of flavors and cuisine, and when all is said and done, my palate seems to think that tater tots are one of the most incredible things in the world. Maybe I should be more proud of the Bordeaux I have been lucky enough to taste.  Maybe I should put my hard earned education and dollars to better use by dining in fine restaurants.  But I know where my cravings take me, and onion rings with tartar sauce are far more likely than sea urchin or Chateaubriand.

The truth of the matter is, my refrigerator holds condiments, soda water, and milk. My freezer, on the other hand, has a fast moving rotation of Totino’s pizza rolls, ice cream, and an array of frozen pizzas.

I love going to the grocery store and wandering the aisles.  I have recently discovered some truly fantastic products.  First and foremost, I am proud to say that I have learned the magic of processed cheese in the last few months.  In my opinion, the most fascinating product in the wide world of super-processed dairy is… Easy Cheese.  The fact that we live in a country where there are 5 different flavors of cheese in aerosol cans is beautiful to me.  I personally think that the sharp cheddar is the most delicious flavor, but I would like to give a shout out to the bacon-cheddar as well.

My other new weakness in a can is the new-to-the-market Budweiser product, Chelada.  The magicians at Anheuser-Busch have somehow spun their magic into tomato juice flavored gold.  They have blended Clamato and Budweiser (I prefer the Bud Light) in a 24 oz can with lime, salt, and spiciness.  I am not much of a beer drinker, and yet I have fallen in love with Chelada.  I know I could mix these elements together on my own, but there is some mystique to opening a cold can of Chelada.  Maybe it’s the sound, or the smell, or the shiny can.  I’m not sure; all I know is that it’s amazing.

February 12th, 2009

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