A gross food I once loved

GrossfoodAlthough some of you, no doubt, are expecting that I’m going to admit that eating an entire soft shell crab was a gross thing for me to do, I can admit that I have sunk far, far lower on the grossness scale.

When I was about 6 years old, I thought that spray cheese (I believe my preferred brand was called Squeeze-A-Snack) was the best treat in the world. Every once in a while, my mom would buy a tube for my brother and I and we’d squeeze it onto crackers, our fingers and, yes, sometimes directly into each other’s open mouths. It was gross, gross, gross but we thought it was fantastic!

(Truthfully, I cringe just typing out this account — that stuff was so filled with preservatives that now when people sometimes comment about how few wrinkles I have for my age, I can’t help but wonder if the Squeeze-a-Snack is the cause.)

In the last 35 years, I’ve changed my mind about eating processed stuff like squeeze cheese; but my mother, finding some in Florida recently, brought me this can as a blast from the past. That she spent money on it is disturbing; however, having the can on my desk for a few weeks has led to some very funny conversations and more than a few worried looks from visitors!

After taking this snapshot, Sabrina and I tried these crackers and neither of us could take a second bite. As Sabrina aptly observed, this “cheese” tasted like a plastic version of the powder inside a package of Kraft Dinner but with more salt. Yeah, it was that good. Blech.

What’s the grossest thing you’ve eaten and loved for even a short time? Was it a childhood fancy, a drunken mistake or a matter of being under the spell of an exotic place or person?


30 Responses to A gross food I once loved

  1. Marie says:

    Oh glory! I vaguely remember those tubes on P.E.I. in the grocery stores. I always wanted my mum to buy one but she wouldn’t.

    We did however have cool-whip.

    To this day, a tin of fake whipped cream, fake caramel sauce and maraschino cherries are my fattycake pleasure. I have some in the fridge right now.

    But, I am glad I never had a taste for spray cheese… but a plastic version of the KD cheese? I’m intrigued and I kind of want to try it now!!!

  2. danamccauley says:

    Marie, leave it alone girl! It’s gross and weird and I took the bullet for you on this one. No need to ‘go’ there. Unless, of course, you want to pop into my test kitchen and try a bit from the can pictured above! That wouldn’t make them any more $$ so I could allow it.

  3. I like that your mother did that. 🙂

    Once, in university, I bought squeeze cheese simply because it was gross and seemed so trashy (in that trailer park sort of way). It was great. I remember thinking, in jest, “So this is how the other half lives.” I never did it again.

    I really have to think about this one because I know that there is something but I don’t know what.

  4. Barb says:

    I’m going to have to think about this, too. I’m no angel; there must be something gross I have eaten but have managed to repress for fear of someone finding out about! (I am noticing wrinkles so it can’t have been spray cheese)

  5. danamccauley says:

    Oh Barb, I have plenty of wrinkles, too. You may find that you’ve repressed squeeze cheese, too.

  6. cheryl says:

    I *loved* that stuff as a kid. I remember trying to squeeze it into a tower — to see how high I could get the cheese to go before it toppled onto the cracker. Now that I look at the can, the packaging makes me think of industrial solvent.

    My favorite gross food was an item on my college’s cafeteria line. We called it “cheese island.” It was a huge slab of deep-fried cheese smothered in marinara. Now THOSE were good times.

  7. Amy says:

    I can’t help but be a die hard for whipped cream from the can…Then again, I don’t even think that ranks that high on the gross scale….

  8. Lisa says:

    Square lunchmeat ham slices in the stiff plastic case, dotted with little rectangles of cheeze. First, I’d roll one into tube, all the little orange cheese cubes would pop out and I’d eat those (a cheese course, if you will) then I’d eat the ham. I could scarf an entire package, just happy as could be. If I could do this operation with Bugles on my fingertips, it was paradise.

  9. Morgan says:

    I`ve never really been one for the cheese in a can or tube but I will admit that I love processed cheese slices. The good kind, that is (Kraft is sooo yummy.) Since I`ve been pregnant I`ve been going through a grilled cheese phase with white bread, real butter and cheese slices. I don`t know why but it just tastes sooo good! I usually prefer whole wheat or grain bread with real cheese so I`m not sure why I`ve switched into this mode. My mom used to buy them for us because it was cheap but she says now she used to always cringe at it `cause she swore her kids would never eat processed food. But when you have four of them and not the largest of incomes you do what you can do. I still prefer real cheese but sometimes cheese slices are my guilty pleasure…

  10. danamccauley says:

    Lisa – bugles on the fingertips! I loved doing that, too. Your luncheon meat confession has me laughing out loud. I think that stuff is called “ham loaf” if I’m not mistaken.

    Cheryl, it sounds like your college cafe likely helped coin the phrase “freshman 15”. Love your tower idea. Although I won’t eat it, I might finish off the can of cheese we have in the cupboard (yes, you read that correctly – even though it has been opened, it doesn’t need to be refrigerated!) by making a tower.

  11. danamccauley says:

    Morgan, one of my preggo cravings was Eggo blueberry waffles with Lyle’s golden syrup. A flash back to childhood for me as well.

  12. Now that I think about it, I think one of my favourite dishes of childhood was something my Mom called Yap-Yap Casserole. It may have come from the Best of Bridges cookbook. Ground beef, egg noodles, and about 5 different kinds of canned soup. That and those giant, oily Costco muffins kept this former competitive swimmer in the calories as a teenager.

    Grossest thing that I didn’t like? Making blood sausage in a tiny Saskatchewan kitchen on a ridiculously stifling summer day. I just flinched while writing that. Nasty.

  13. When I was 10, my best friend used to make us Peanut Butter, Mayonnaise and Bacon sandwiches. I often wonder how her cholesterol levels are!! It artery-clogging delicious!

  14. Debbi Dubbs says:

    Before I really knew what food was about, we loved the spray cheese but we had cheddar with bacon and we called it pig in a can! They still make it (it would probably last forever in the pantry!)
    I don’t think it’s gross but a lot of people do, we grew up eating pickled pig’s feet and I still love them to this day!

  15. Rachel says:

    This blog post is so timely for me! My brother sent me a text message yesterday which said “Orange lunch”.
    “Orange lunch” was our favourite treat as kids (and young adults) (and grown adults)! It consists of Kraft Dinner (with Ketchup in it) grill cheese sandwiches made with kraft singles with BBQ chips inside (dipped in ketchup) and orange pop!

    Needless to say I gave this special “treat” up – cold turkey! (Just now.)

  16. Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries. I used to beg my mom to buy it instead of Shredded Wheat. She told me I could eat all the Cap’n Crunch I wanted when I grew up and had a place of my own.

    Years later, I got my first apartment, bought a box and HATED it. All I could taste was sugar-coated chemicals. Not the childhood delight I experienced.

    • Charmaine: We were never allowed sugary cereals as a kid, except for when we were travelling. I always said that when I was “grown up” I’d buy it. Once I was in the position to I didn’t want to.

      I loved Alphaghetti (and other related shapes) as a kid, as well as Kraft Dinner. I still occasionally (maybe once a year) like KD with its powdered cheese – though really, when I buy boxed mac ‘n’ cheese it’s President’s Choice white cheddar. I haven’t had Alpha-ghetti in years.

  17. Tiffany says:

    Mine would have be a discovery I made in Australia as a kid. No, not Vegemite (I still enjoy that now and then!), but a combination of squeeze cheeze and Vegemite. I loved it in 6th grade. The next time I got my hands on it (not that long ago) I had to spit it out.

  18. danamccauley says:

    I can’t believe all the squeeze cheese I’m seeing mentioned here today – I thought my family was odd. Looks like this product was more pervasive than I expected.

  19. Donna says:

    OK, here’s one – Map-O-Spread. Fake maple spread from Quebec. Used to LOVE it on toast. Concept now seems kind of frightening. Oddly I saw a few containers in a discount bin at my local Loblaws just last week.

    Does anyone else remember this stuff?

  20. danamccauley says:

    Donna, I never even heard of it – scar-ee-air-ee-air-ee-o!

  21. Sharon Haslam says:

    I have a ‘when I was pregnant” story…fried egg on toated raisin bread! Every morning in the cafeteria at work the guy behind the counter would see me coming and put the egg on the grill and the raisin bread in the toaster–I didn’t have to be embarassed ordering it out loud! By the way the meat with the cheese squares–meat, maccaroni and cheese loaf–it’s still at the deli counter–right next to mock chicken and olive loaf–now that’s gross!

  22. danamccauley says:

    Sharon – that’s hilarious that you had a craving so well-established that it was known by your lunch counter!

    I can’t believe they still make those weird composite cold cuts. I wonder who buys them? Actually, that makes it even worse since if hardly anyone is buying them, then the people who do buy it are getting old, stale stuff. (forgive the bad sentence structure -it’s late!).

  23. Allison says:

    I’m sorry, but how is eating an entire soft shell crab gross?

    Also, while it’s true that Cheez Whiz/any cheese-in-a-can product is full of preservatives and is not healthy whatsoever, I think it’s kind of ridiculous how many times you had to use the word “gross” in one blog post for something tons of people still eat.

    One would expect much less snobbishness from a recipe writer. I came to this site via the “Weird Family Foods” recipe on SeriousEats. This post was totally underwhelming.

  24. danamccauley says:

    Thanks for taking the time to write. I’m surprised you bothered given how underwhelming you find my blog.

    In reference to the soft shell crab, if you were a regular reader you would know that I adore soft shell crab but that not all of my readers or my guests find eating the entire crustacean – guts and all – appetizing.

    You’d also know that this blog is about me: it’s my food writer’s diary. It is not about what other people like or eat on a regular basis. The fact that many people still eat squeeze cheese is of no real relevance to me.

    I think if you read other posts on my blog you’d also discover that I have my own very publicly acknowledged down market food preferences (take ketchup for example) that I own up to without a care of whether other people like them or not.

    So, I wish that you would have spent your time scanning my blog instead of judging me based on a quick glimpse at one post out of the 409 that this blog has to offer.

    That said, I’m glad you shared your opinion. That’s what the comment section is for.

  25. LNE says:

    UGH! That looks horrible. What a funny post and blog. I’ll definitely be back. I do remember that when my parents served pate to guests, they would give me a little bit on a cracker. I loved it! One afternoon in kindergarten, our teacher asked each of us about our favorite foods. Everyone else said pizza, hot dogs, other normal kid stuff. I said “Liver.” Even my teacher made a face.

    I’ve got a post about gross food on my blog, too, if you’re interested 🙂


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