Ron Rosenbaum

Dijon? Please. The Great Junk Food Challenge

As a conflicted–populist inclined, yet over educated liberal–I’m fascinated by the similar if mirror image conflict I see in conservatives on the deeply important Dijon mustard issue. I’m puzzled by the faux-populist pose of conservatives getting their knickers in a twist of Obama Derangement Syndrome because he mentioned “Dijon mustard.” One of things I respected about conservatives was that they believed that value, taste was not relative and that there were distinctions to be made, hierarchies of taste worth preserving.

All of this seemed to be thrown away in the over hasty embrace of the supposed instinctive wisdom of a certain plumber. This is the kind of thing liberals used to–still–do: endow purportedly ignored and oppressed minorities (here blue collar Americans) with magical powers of instinctual wisdom.

But I’m beginning to believe–and the Dijon “scandal” seems to prove–that that sad spectacle has not resulted in a backlash against ignorance as a prima facie qualification for wisdom.

All of which leads me to a discussion of the relative merits of various junk foods and my discovery, yesterday at Dunkin Donuts, of what may be the single worst piece of junk food it’s ever been my misfortune to consume — indeed the single worst piece of junk food ever crafted. The pastry from hell. Dunkin Donuts’ so-called “Cinnamon stick”.

Basically I’m a devotee of anything cinnamony. I sometimes think the best part of air travel is the chance that at any given airport you’d run into a Cinnabon franchise.

I also think there is something magic that the the combination of cinnamon and coffee does for brain chemistry–an effect heightened into the neurochemical stratosphere by hot milk– and for years have made my healthy breakfast from a Dunkin Donuts cinnamon sugar donut and a Starbucks “misto” (both stores are fortunately–or tragically–located just across the street from me). Except from that dark period–“the lost years” I think of them–when I was able to consume a Dunkin D. pastry that now makes my stomach turn–the sickeningly over sweetened “coffee roll” complete with ledges of mucus colored melted sugar “frosting”. I understand in some stores it comes equipped with an insulin syringe.

But I must admit I couldn’t resist the “special” DD was offering the other morning, heralded by a poster that announced a “warmed up” cinnamon stick accompanied by a picture of what looked like a gaudy guided missile of sugary destruction: a hot dog shaped twist with dark cinnamon seams criss-crossed with drippings of congealed white sugar icing.

I knew it was going to be awful, but it was cinnamon, so I tried it.

First thing I noticed was the acrid smell. It couldn’t have been meant to smell bad,; it was just a by product of being gently “warmed up” in some greasy, poorly cleaned microwave oven I think, one that was used to nuke to charcoal various “bagel”-like products that DD peddles.

But, trying to ignore the burnt aroma, I dipped it in my Starbucks and well, what do you expect? Even Dijon mustard couldn’t have made it worse: the “pastry” like cardboard, the cinnamon icky-sticky, the icing made my teeth hurt in anticipation of the punishment they were in for.

It made me wonder if it was the worst piece of junk food I’ve ever eaten (and I’m not that picky: I like Mickey D’s fried apple pies at times for instance).

It made me think of asking readers what their worst junk food experience was.

(Note to Obama Derangeent Syndrome sufferers: this is not a column about Obama, although you seem to have shrunk your world to your obsession with his Satanic Evil, so that everything‘s about him. It’s almost as if you’re, in a perverse way, in love with him. Try to stay on topic or I’ll just delete).