Here are some things I call my secret food shames. Food which people who love food, or generally have tastebuds or, you know, mouths, usually shun. But I love these and I will no longer be ashamed.
1. Overcooked cabbage
I know, I know, we are meant to saute cabbage with butter and caraway and bacon until it is crunchy and delicious. But I love it - adore it - when it has had the hell boiled out of it and is smushy and barely tastes of anything except cabbage water. Especially with a carvery roast dinner. Probably some memory from childhood, though not from my actual home. Truth is, I don't know why. Just do.
2. Instant noodles
I love them. This might stem from my theory that other people's packed lunches are always more interesting than your own - but when we were in 6th form, my friend Laura brought these in for lunch most days and I sat there, a seething ball of jealousy with my peanut butter sandwiches and my apple. I felt vindicated when I travelled around China for a month and saw how incredibly popular these were - mainly for long train journeys (did you know in China, at the end of every train carriage is a hot water dispenser for making tea and noodles?). The spicier, the more luminous, the more E-numbers, the better, and I always have a full selection in despite noticing, after extensive research, they all taste the same.
3. Cold baked beans
I think they just taste better cold. Perhaps it's because seasonings taste less strong when the food is chilled and therefore I can taste the sugar less? Not sure, but even as a child I asked for these cold. Even better if they are straight out of the tin - the ultimate hangover cure, despite the elaborate gagging it causes Andy to do as I spoon these little orange nuggets of joy into my mouth.
4. University Rice Soup
This has no name really. I made it up when I was at uni and money was tight - yet again and again I turn to it for proper cheap, quick comfort food. Only when alone now - the list of ingredients makes lots of people, not just Andy, do elaborate gagging. Cook one portion of rice. Add one can of chopped tomatoes and heat. If you have any frozen peas, chuck those in too but it makes not much difference. Add a really good splosh of soy, a good couple of teaspoons. So far, so not bad. Now pour into a bowl and cover the lot with loads of cheese. It's the soy/cheese combo that puts people off but it works, I love it, I am writing it on the internet for all to see. It's my happy place.
5. Uncrispy bacon
It's the proper way to eat bacon, despite what the rest of the world says.
There are more, I'm sure of it. If you read this and get the urge, please share your secret food shames so I am not out here on my own. This is a safe space and I, for one, will not judge you. I will not even do elaborate gagging.