The soon-to-be-over year of 2012 has given us savory soups, awesome appetizers, munchable main dishes and even a few scintillating smoothies. But these taste-tempting morsels and sips were sadly sullied by the emergence of some unimaginably horrific eats that Satan himself would not take a poke at with his big, red pitchfork -- one of which Guy Fieri proudly pimps on his way to Flavor Town.
Here is a list of the five worst foods of 2012. And don't blame me; I didn't make these up.
5. Denny's fried cheese melt.
Denny's has produced some hellish-hell-hole dishes, drinks and desserts over the years, including but not limited to its entire Baconalia menu and its current lineup of Hobbit-themed items, but the fried cheese melt is so disgusting that every time someone orders it, a hobbit dies. It is Denny's signature oil-slick, grilled American cheese sammie with greasy, half-fried, rubbery mozzarella sticks crammed into it, served with a side of bathroom-tile fries and the awful marinara that rivals Ragu for its diaper-juice consistency and watery ketchup flavor. I was not at all surprised to see this on the menu at Denny's, though: I was surprised that it didn't make it on to the hobbit menu, since the menu lacks a dish called, "Dead, Hairy Hobbit Parts Being Devoured by Wild Shire Dogs and also fries."
4. Banquet Deep Dish Sausage & Gravy pot pie.
Yes, this is a real, actual food item, available at a grocery store near you. One of my friends on Facebook posted a picture of it, so I tracked one down to try it for myself (self-torture with edibles is kinda my thing). It's pretty much the same as every other Banquet pot pie: salty, plaster-like top with charred edges no matter if you follow the heating instructions or not, a waterlogged bottom crust that dissipates into the surfeit of separated gravy, and approximately one tablespoon of chunks of what is probably sausage. But it was missing a few things -- a slice of melted processed cheese on top, some off-brand ketchup, a wife-beater undershirt, an ICP's greatest hits CD and a 1970s model mobile home in which to eat it.
3. Guy's American Kitchen & Bar's Guy-talian nachos.
Unless you have been in prison without television or internet privileges, you have no doubt heard all about Pete Wells's review of Guy's American Kitchen & Bar -- Guy Fieri's new Times Square restaurant -- in the New York Times. The review was scathing, hilarious and composed almost entirely of questions. The part about Guy's Guy-talian nachos really stuck with me: "How did nachos, one of the hardest dishes in the American canon to mess up, turn out so deeply unlovable? Why augment tortilla chips with fried lasagna noodles that taste like nothing except oil? Why not bury those chips under a properly hot and filling layer of melted cheese and jalapeños instead of dribbling them with thin needles of pepperoni and cold gray clots of ground turkey?"
Between this description and the pictures I've seen of the nachos (they look like Marjory the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock) I am convinced that some questions don't really need definitive answers, and although I've never eaten Fieri's signature nachos, I can easily put them on a list of the worst foods of 2012 -- I mean, I've never been to prison, either, but I'm pretty sure I don't have to go to know how f*cked up it is.
2. STI cupcakes from The Evil Cake Shop.
I had trouble believing that anyone would still bank on gourmet cupcakes in 2012, since the trend is currently circling the drain like a goldfish corpse, but add to that the dastardly, brink-of-insane idea to create cupcakes featuring sugar-replicated models of sexually transmitted infections, and you have cupcakes that are only slightly less disgusting than those VD videos I saw in my high-school health class.
The cupcakes featured realistic decorations portraying such tasty diseases as HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea and genital warts, and cupcake designer Jenni Powell told HuffPo Food, "A lot of diseases don't have visible symptoms, so I wanted to pick ones that would really make a statement on a cupcake!"
You know that old saying about education never being a waste? Thanks to my peeping a wart-infested anus hole made out of frosting, I no longer think this is bible truth.
1. Anything raspberry flavored.
I heard a rumor that artificial raspberry flavoring was made from something that came out of beaver asses. Now, this wasn't necessarily a deal breaker for me, since I'm a huge advocate of food exploration. So I Googled "beaver asses," and while I didn't get anything about raspberry flavoring, I did get some photos of naked ladies in incidental, outdoor settings. So I tried "beaver butts," and strangely enough, got the same photos. Third time's a charm, though, and I ultimately discovered that castoreum is an extract from beaver anal glands that is used in food products, often for raspberry flavoring. And since it is derived from natural sources, it can legally be listed on food and beverage labels as a "natural" flavoring.
Apparently I've been eating and drinking beaver-ass secretions for decades. That thought isn't nearly as horrifying as imagining how this food additive was initially discovered. At some point, somebody somewhere decided that their taste buds and a beaver's ass-innards would make a winning combination, and that using actual raspberries to flavor things wasn't nearly as attractive an option as squeezing beaver buttholes.
Definitely the worst.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.