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Too Many Cooks: What was Your Childhood Guilty Pleasure?

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You'll be hearing from the staff at FOOD52 every week in Too Many Cooks, our group column in which we pool our answers to questions about food, cooking, life, and more.

With their still-developing tastebuds, kids love the strangest snacks. The FOOD52 staff was no exception -- today, we answered the question What was your childhood guilty pleasure?

Some of them are outright strange, but none are so weird that we aren't secretly planning a kid-themed snacktime for ourselves. Meet you after school with a bag of uncooked pasta, a peanut butter and dill pickle sandwich, and Chex with butter!

A couple of things:

1. I used to eat dry elbow macaroni, and would chew it until the tiny bits would hold a shape, and then I'd tuck it in my cheek, like a chipmunk, for far too long.
2. White American cheese on white bread, "cooked" in the microwave until the cheese melted into brown chewy plastic on the edges.
3. Oyster crackers with butter and horseradish, and a sip of my dad's beer when he wasn't looking.

Whenever we were away on a family vacation, we always picked up a canister of Planter's Cheese Balls -- which we somehow managed to convince ourselves were a classier version of Cheez Doodles. We never had them at home, which made those little neon orange balls of puffed corn all the more exciting.

I used to make a basic graham cracker crust with graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar but just eat it with a spoon instead of actually making a crust with it. It was like a more delicious, crazier version of just having a graham cracker.

Jennifer S. (AKA Jenny)
For an entire year of high school I ate nothing but a large bag of barbecue potato chips and chocolate milk for lunch.

Mine is a cookies & cream/Sprite ice cream float, and last weekend I ordered one because it's still awesome.

Any flavor of potato chips -- especially Lay's wavy au gratin flavor.

Mine was PB&J. I'd eat more sandwiches (crusts on, thank you very much) than should be legal for children under 12.

Each year, for my birthday, I got to choose one box of sugary cereal. I usually went for Cookie Crisp, Reeses Puffs, Fruity Pebbles, or Razzle Dazzle Rice Krispies (which are no longer in circulation, most unfortunately).

It was all over after I learned how to make banana's foster in the microwave!

Peter S.:
Growing up as a kid in the '70s, my Mom was ahead of her time in terms of groceries... Only homemade cookies. No soda. Potato chips? Ha! Only granola or Familia or muselix (the real stuff, not the box from Kellogg's.) So when we'd go on vacation as a treat I'd get to choose any one box of totally junky crap cereal for myself and I didn't even have to share! I'd invariably end up with the sickly sweet rainbow delight known as Fruity Pebbles. To this day? I still buy a box every 6 months or so.

But Chex played a role in my childhood as well. I would, on occasion, sit at my neighbor's kitchen table with three items: a cereal bowl of Chex -- sans milk, a cold stick of salted butter, and a tableware knife. Pick up the knife, slice off a slightly-thicker-than-paper-thin slice of butter, stick the butter slice -- still adhering to the blade of the knife -- into the bowl and remove the blade with 1 or 2 (are there 3? Jackpot!) Chex stuck to the butter.

Next? I'd put the knife in your mouth and slide the Chex and butter off with my teeth, savor the salty butter-sweet crunch and repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Until the bowl was empty and I'd eaten roughly a 3rd of a stick of butter. I have to say, writing this makes me want to pick up a box of Chex.

I loved coconut macaroons and carrot cake. Still do, actually. Oh, and my grandmother's croustis, clumps of chocolate covered corn flakes of which she made boxes and boxes. 

Mine was the weirdest: peanut butter and dill pickle slices on crackers... Sounds disgusting but I thought it was a delicious combination.

Mine was my 4 o'clock snack: bread and butter with a square of dark chocolate on the side. (Super French!)

Tags: too many cooks, food52 staff, childhood, guilty pleasures, chex, peanut butter, snacks, cereal

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