The Guide To Un-Healthy Eating

Mar 13, 2019 | Cooking Tips, Food and Culture

It is important to eat a healthy well balanced diet. We all know this. But sometimes we don’t want a nice balanced meal. Sometimes, we want decadence. Sometimes, we want to forget about our mortality and indulge our baser instincts. That dear reader, is what we are talking about here today.

So, please set aside the kale. Push the whole grains away. Disregard everything you know about what you should and should not be eating and let’s get dirty.

This is my…

Guide To Un-Healthy Eating

Un-healthy foods, the once in a while treats, are best when balanced by the perfect combination of sweet, salty, acid, fatty, and spicy. The more you can maximize those five elements the tastier your junk food will be.

Let’s take a look at those five elements individually to see how to get the most out of them.


In junk food sweetness generally comes from sugar. This sugar can be in many forms such as honey, maple syrup, molasses, fruit juices, caramel, or straight up sugar. It has a number of purposes in this un-healthy food application.

The first purpose of sugar is obviously sweetness. Humans generally love sweet. It’s like crack to our brains. Having that sweet element goes a long way to waking your brain to the fact that what you are eating is delicious and that you should eat more of it.

Another job the sugar does is work to mellow out heat. If you have something very spicy, a sweet element in the dish, even just some fruit will go a very long way.

One more job that the sugar is doing, is the same that all the other components are doing, adding balance to the dish. Rarely do you want to eat something that is all one flavour or sensation. It bores the palate. It becomes mundane. The more balance of flavours the better.


Salt as an element in junk food, like sugar, has many purposes. There is the obvious purpose of making something salty, like potato chips. But there are other purposes as well.

In junk food, salt can be thought of as a flavour unto itself, but also a flavour enhancer. In all food, salt acts to enhance the flavours around it.

A simple way to see this for yourself is to take a piece of watermelon, or even a piece of apple and sprinkle it with a little bit of good quality salt. Eat it. It will taste sweeter and some how more like itself than it does without salt.


If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you have probably seen me write about building flavour with all these ingredients before. But when it comes to junk food, everything is turned up to 11. There is little to no subtlety. Flavours are bold and in your face.

If you were to read the label of your favourite type of potato chip (other than plain) or Doritos, or even candy, you will notice citric acid as one of the top ingredients. This adds that acidic element to these items.

We can add acid to our un-healthy foods in a variety of ways. These include vinegar, citrus juices, tomatoes, pickles, wine, cultured dairy products like cheese and yogurt, or condiments like ketchup, mustard, or hot sauce. All of these, if used as stand alone ingredients, think ketchup or vinegar on fries, adds a massive pop of flavour.

When the acidic ingredient is fully incorporated into a dish like tomato sauce in chili, it enhances all of the flavours around it. It does this without necessarily giving you that big acidic pop.

There are very few foods that I can think of, especially in the junk food arena that don’t benefit from a bit of acid. When used in small quantities, acidic ingredients perform in a similar manner to salt acting to enhance other flavours. In larger quantities, think hot sauce on wings, it alone packs a massive punch of flavour.

This actually leads perfectly into our next topic…


Fat can be a flavour, but more than that it is a texture and a sensation. The best way to illustrate this is pretty simple. Imagine eating a hot wing, like a very hot wing. What most commonly comes with hot wings? Either blue cheese dressing, or ranch. The reason for this is that the fattiness of the dressing coats the tongue and mellows the heat. That is fat as a sensation.

Another way this sensation can be demonstrated is to think of eating a rib eye steak or even a pork chop. Think of flavour and texture of the fattier bits. Just the mere thought of it has probably already got your mouth watering. Mine is.

The fact that your mouth is likely watering is the point. The fattiness in foods causes your mouth to water. This wakes up your taste buds and makes everything taste better.

A really, really good example of a balance of fatty and salty is potato chips. Three ingredients; potatoes, fat, and salt. The world most popular snack. What about buttered popcorn. Again three ingredients; popcorn, fat and salt. Even a really simple steak; steak, fat, and salt. Amazing, right?


There aren’t many un-healthy foods, or even healthy foods for that matter than can’t benefit from a bit of spice.

Spice, isn’t just a flavour, it is a full body experience. Don’t believe me? Think about it. When you eat something spicy, your skin warms, your pupils dilate, you salivate like crazy. Your nose runs, your eyes water. You start to sweat, your whole body tingles. A lot of spicy food can even give you a sense of euphoria.

There is nothing else like chilies. Nothing. Having this spicy element in your junk or un-healthy food makes it taste better, and brings the whole body into it. What could be better than that?

My favourites/Putting it all together

Chicken Wings

One of my favourite junk foods is chicken wings. The way I like to make them is first make a sauce by cooking equal parts Franks Red Hot Sauce with honey until it is thick.

I deep fry my wings in 350°f oil for 8-10 minutes or until they are cooked through. I toss them in the sauce and then serve them with a mixture of sour cream, mayo, blue cheese, green onions, parsley and garlic. Essentially, a quick blue cheese ranch.

These have the perfect balance of sweet, salty, acid, fatty, and spice. It doesn’t get better than that.


There are not many things better than ribs. I like to brine my ribs in a solution of water, salt, sugar, and flavourings like bay leaf, thyme, clove, cinnamon, and pepper corns. This builds the salty and the sweet right into the meat.

To make the brine I use 2 L of water, 1/4 cup of kosher salt, 1/4 cup of sugar, 6 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 thinly sliced onion,1 bay leaf, 2 cloves crushed garlic, and 12 pepper corns. Bring all of this to a boil and cook until the salt and sugar are fully dissolved. Let the brine cool completely and then strain it and pour the liquid over some ribs and let them sit in it, in the fridge over night.

Once the ribs have come out of the brine I rinse them off, pat them dry, season them with salt and pepper and slow roast them on 300°F for about four hours. Then I sauce them with a sweet, acidic sauce and broil them.



The idea with junk food is to pack as much flavour into as small a package as you can while keeping balance between those five elements.

Like I said, junk food or un-healthy food has the flavours turned up to 11. Eating this kind of stuff everyday will absolutely take time off your life. But, what’s the point in living if you don’t get to indulge once in a while?



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