Very Bad Things

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Virgil Evetts

I’d like to say I’ve always tried to be good. But up until recently this wouldn’t have been true. Even now it’s a bit stop/start. I’d like to tell you I’m remorseful. But I’m not. I’ve had a whale of a time indulging my taste buds, waistline and liver with all manner of things best not ingested at all, let alone infrequently. It’s been great, and quite often still is. Most recently I’ve fallen prey to the flawless pleasures of Lewis Road Creamery butter. I’m a sucker for dairy fat at the best of times but this stuff is just obscene. I want to eat it like cheese, by the thick, fragrant and ultimately lethal sliceful.

I like to think I eat a lot of  healthy things too though- lots of plants from my garden and very little processed  food, which must in some way balance out my weakness for so much that is bad. I’ve never smoked because I think it’s a weird, unpleasant habit and while I like a drink of an evening,  it’s fair to say my intake is pretty modest. Usually.

But the fact remains, just about every one of my favourite foods is terribly unhealthy according to most conventional medical opinion. This is probably why I’m such a fan of outmoded medical opinion. Elizabethan physicians were  heroically misguided in this regard. Assuming most people would be dead by 30, they advocated the consumption  of pretty much everything in sufficient quantity to induce gout in pre-teens. Those were the days.  But the thing is, I don’t want to keel over just yet. I quite like being alive and look forward to a protracted decrepitude in which I become an ill-tempered burden to those around me, disapproving of most everything and everyone. I probably don’t have far to go in this latter regard.

So I’ve been trying out random acts of restraint lately. Out of the blue I’ll elect to forgo wine for the evening, or meat, or dessert. Never all at once mind. I’ve also taken up the Japanese (I think) tradition of stopping just short of satiety. Not only does this leave me with fonder feelings for the food, but after 15 minutes or so, when everything has settled, I often find I didn’t really have room for more after all. My best beloved would like to formalise these nights off from Very Bad Things – so we can do it together, solidarity and all – but that’s not for me. I need to control the process rather than being bossed about by the calendar. Or her.  And some nights I just can’t be doing with denial, for whatever reason. Some nights I find my plate crowded with things too delicious to tackle gingerly. These things, for example…

Duck Fat

I’m told it’s mostly unsaturated, but it’s still animal fat and doesn’t half give one’s lips a good greasing. Along with its goosey cousin, duck fat is the enabler of the crunchiest  potatoes and stickiest, most intensely flavoured roast vegetables. Especially carrots. Duck fat-roasted carrots will be the death of me.


Anyone who tells you butter is bad should be taken out back and drowned in rice bran oil. Butter is not bad at all. Eating a lot of butter, a lot of the time  is pretty iffy though. Just ask my Grandmother. Oh wait you can’t, she pretty much buttered herself to death. To be fair, it took her a good 80 years.  There was a woman who understood the fine art of protracted decrepitude.

Bacon Fat

There is always a sequel to good bacon. Fat, sweet and smoky to be captured for another day. Washing it down the sink would be unthinkable. Such a waste and such a disservice to an already rather hard done by pig.  Mushrooms fried in bacon fat are the business and you can make neither fried green tomatoes nor Southern Style corn bread without great tides of the stuff. Not if you want me to eat them anyway. It’s pretty fine smeared on piping-hot toast too. Chorizo fat is even better if you can get it. And don’t forget about prosciutto fat, or pancetta fat, lardo (pictured), speck…


Do I really need to elaborate? Let me just say, if the Many Worlds  theory (parallel universes etc) turns out to be true, I want a prompt vortex to the one where cream has swapped places with water. I’d drink it for sustenance, bathe in it, boil potatoes in it… Life would be so sweet.

Sweetened Condensed Milk

A bit left of field I know, but I simply cannot get enough of this stuff. If it’s in the house I will keep eating it until it’s all gone and I feel as sick as a parrot. I don’t cook with it, by the way but I seem to buy it all the time.


My only real alcoholic weakness. I love grappa for its subtle flavours and bone-china fragile bouquet, but I’m consistently floored (once or twice literally) by its monumental alcohol content. I’ve voiced all of my stupidest thoughts and done of all my stupidest deeds in the thrall of grappa. So I try not to keep it in the house. Not very hard though.

Well I’ve ‘fessed-up good and proper now. Your turn. What are your worst food weaknesses? No, I don’t mean ‘naughty’ chocolate bikkies either. I mean very bad things. Things that might be your undoing

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18 thoughts on “Very Bad Things

  1. Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a
    linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome.

  2. The “parson’ nose” (the best part) although one Xmas I was served up (with great ceremony) one from a canadian goose and that was really taking things a little too far.

  3. I only eat butter and cream a couple of times a year and wouldn’t care too much if I never ate chocolate or drank alcohol again. Cheese, however, is my nemesis. Any kind of good cheese (the more types the merrier), but my everyday artery-choker is Mainland Epicure or Sterling. Jeffrey Steingarten once wrote about some research that seemed to show that saturated fat isn’t bad for you in the cheese form. I had the feeling he was clutching at straws, but I’m right there clutching with him.

  4. I like cheese also chocolate

    As for sweetened condensed milk, I have it but it’s diabolical if I open it…I have a historical tale about it. When I was at boarding school, Matron had a little fridge in the back of the kitchen and when I was in the 5th form I was in the dorm around behind said kitchen. Matron had condensed milk which we would all have a little scoop of – but finally she got tired of it all and a padlock appeared!

    So now if I have it, I have to store like she did, and scoop out finger-fulls!

    Whenever I see a recipe that calls for it, I get a tin but then I think it will just disappear into the mixture and what a waste :-)

    I also like a certain type of potato chip that I think is called “Proper Chips” and I can get from the Barrow in the Downtown shopping centre…so I try hard not to go there too much!!

  5. Nestle Caramel……talk about instant temptation. I keep it in a container in the fridge and when I need the hit….spoon, container, NOM NOM NOM. So very bad for anyone but I love it! I always have an extra can in the pantry.

  6. Whittakers Chocolate – any kind as long as it’s not white.

    Vogels with a ****load of soft butter and fried eggs…

    Hot chips.. Especially those nasty thin and salty ones from McDonalds.

  7. Wine is probably my most often death-defying indulgence. I can’t cook Italian food without a glass of red. And I’m Italian (by blood, but not by up bringing unfortunately).

    In terms of animal fats, I render, grate and freeze our suet and duck fat. We grow our own cattle and ducks and it’s a shame to waste anything. I use duck fat for roasting vegetables and dumplings or a pastry top on a beef and ale stew MUST have suet in it.

    I also love clotted cream. Fortunately for my arteries, it’s almost impossible to find the real stuff in New Zealand, otherwise I’d be having cream teas every weekend.

  8. I must be wicked as I like most of these things….. Not so much the duck fat, was drooling in anticipation when first bought the jar but left me a bit disappointed. Cheese yes, hot chips and chippies yes, butter on toast just occasionally, chicken liver mousse or salmon pate from Nosh…. I could go on.

  9. Actually most savoury food. Sadly I am like an alcoholic when it comes to savoury flavours- quiche to potato chips and anything in between. I am fine as long as I don’t have a taste, but one small sample and it’s all over, off down the slippery slope, laughing and munching all the way.

  10. There is Grappa and then there is Grappa with cap lock on. In Italy when one of our party addressed one of the bar staff in fluent Italian, the bottle he had been about to pour was promptly returned and the top shelf was reached for!!

    I have been known to sneak a teaspoon of sweetened condensed milk, all in the name of research, of course.

    Potatoes roasted in duck fat are the most delicious treat.

    Cream? A little goes a long way with me, not for any health reasons, but sometimes nothing else will do.

    I really want to try the Lewis Road Creamery butter.

    Whittakers chocolate is probably one of my greatest weakness and normally I don’t even like chocolate.

    I love a glass of good red wine, I make no excuses. Our wine industry needs my help.

  11. I have a few weaknesses.

    1, Chocolate, any shape or form, but mainly coffe or mint flavoured.

    2, butter, just makes everything taste better

    3, hot chips, a great comfort food for me.

    4,now this is going to sound very gross but I ony have it about twice a year, lamb fat from the roast.. I peel the “skin” off and eat it… I dont drink or eat the fat from the roasing dish.

  12. Heartland potato chips and sauvignon blanc!
    Neither or them are at all good for me but I really like both and Friday night without chippies would be unthinkable. Most nights without wine is unthinkable and when I do I stare at the fridge longingly and then worry at my dependency :).
    Yes I like cheese and chocolate but in moderation they are fine.
    You can keep your animal meat fats – ugh. The image at the top makes me shudder, I cut the fat off everything as can’t bear the feel in my mouth.

  13. Hmmm, this is just a few of my very bad things.

    Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – so so good. The new Whittakers Peanut Butter chocolate is nearly as good but not quite salty enough.

    Burger Rings – I don’t know why but I just love them.

    Cold Meat – especially roast pork, roast lamb, or ham. I will take slices out of the fridge and eat them – probably not so bad.

    Liquorice Allsorts – I try not to buy them, and if I do have a packet, I try not to open it otherwise I keep eating them until I feel quite ill.

    Chocolate – I eat 2-4 pieces every day.

  14. Any kind of preserved meat – salami, chorizo, biltong in particular – are not safe in the house with me. I can (although shouldn’t) get through a salami in a matter of days (ok, sometimes hours). Fortunately for my arteries I have had a couple of disappointing purchases recently which has curtailed my consumption.

    Hot chips – my kryptonite

    Salted liqourice – particularly salmiak rock or school chalk.

    Reece’s peanut butter cups

    Proper American style dill pickles with no sugar – not bad for my health but crippling to my wallet.

  15. Funnily enough – cheese!! I love it all from vintage to sticky brie to stinky blue to standard edam in the 1kg block. I eat some every day……

    I also like butter, especially on toast. Olive oil spreads or margarine are so average….

    I do have patches of being greedy with other things but these are my constants.