In food, as in life, first impressions are everything. In the best circumstances, a dish that’s placed in front of us looks so delicious that we (briefly) consider not even eating it due to its sheer beauty. In the worst, sight alone tells us that we probably don’t even want to venture a bite for our own safety. But some foods simply leave us scratching our heads, not exactly due to disgust, but because they legitimately have no right to even exist on this planet.
All signs point to us currently living through a Golden Age of Messing with Stuff. It wasn’t so long ago that if you wanted to put Doritos on a pizza, you and your friends might get a brief chuckle out of it before moving onto more ambitious endeavors, like combining five types of cereal in a giant bowl. But nowadays all you need is an iPhone and a YouTube account and within days millions of people will think you’re some sort of culinary genius for your epic mashup, bro.
Sadly, this DIY mentality has made its way into all aspects of food culture, from fast food to fine dining. Replacing a bun with fried chicken is hailed as a brilliant move, and nobody seems to realize that topping a burger with a slab of seared foie gras creates an excessive and unbalanced grease bomb. Yes, they most likely taste just fine, but after a couple bites you can’t help but question your life decisions.
Not all foods that shoudn’t exist are mashups; some have been on grocery store shelves for decades. If these foods didn’t exist, the world would go right on revolving. The sun would still rise in the east and set in the west. And even better, maybe that guy would have decided to eat something normal, like a nice chopped salad, for lunch instead of something called “chicken fries.” Well, one can hope. Unfortunately these foods do, in fact, exist, and the Golden Age of Messing with Stuff will most likely go on for quite some time before it tapers off. Until then, we might as well embrace it. Because admit it: a pizza topped with Doritos sounds pretty good.
For those unaware of what aspic is, we’re glad you asked. Basically, it’s Jell-O, but generally flavorless and colorless. Once upon a time, people thought that it was brilliant to suspend other foods, like various meats and entire salads, inside of it. Thankfully, a couple decades ago, the general public collectively wished for all dishes involving savory items suspended in gelatin to go away, and they did. See? It is possible!
Millions of Americans most likely have no idea what real maple syrup, one of the most delicious foods in existence, tastes like. The culprit? pancake or breakfast syrup, usually nothing more than high fructose corn syrup and artificial colorings and flavorings, taking its place on grocery store shelves. And that we can’t abide.