Friday, October 22, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

We all have them. It took me a while to figure out what a guilty pleasure is, since it was hard for me to understand why you would keep doing something that made you feel guilty, and how in the world would you gain any pleasure from it? Wouldn't the pleasure be eclipsed by the guilt? Then, one day back in my college days, a friend spotted one of my guilty pleasures and innocently pulled it out of my open book bag. As I flushed in embarrassment and struggled for an excuse, I was finally able to figure out the paradox of the guilty pleasure. I couldn't say it wasn't mine, nor that it was a mistake. Yet, it wasn't exactly a classic work of literature either. I had borrowed it and was thoroughly enjoying...well, never mind. But here are a few guilty pleasures that I'm willing to share...

Chances are, if you did not grow up within a few hours of Philadelphia, you have no idea what these are. But for the rest of us, oh, is there a finer commercial baked good that elicits simultaneous memories of childhood and pangs of sweetness on your tongue? These are a rare treat for me. Maybe only two per year are eaten, the result of harried trips to the convenience store, but that's only because they make me feel so guilty. I imagine these may be a guilty pleasure shared by some of my readers. They certainly are for my friends and family who have moved away from the area. When I plan a trip to see family who have relocated far and wide, I know to bring along Tastykakes. My other, more accessible, guilty pleasure along these lines are Reese's Pieces. Again, a rare treat because they're so good they make me feel bad!

Shabby-anything. When I was a little girl, my neighbor friend's light and airy bedroom with painted white furniture and puffy floral bedding was the envy of my little girl eyes. Canopy beds and well-worn but timeless stripes and eyelet were a feminine decorating feast. Oh and did I mention the shaggy rugs so deep and plush you could wander through them like a meadow? Such a contrast to the dark, oppressive wood furnishing that my parents thought sensible and classic, the cold, hard wood floors. Someone save me! Fast forward thirty years and you can guess what still draws my eye. The lovely (and popular) array of light painted wood items, floral drapes, folded-quilts-in-every-corner sensibility that Rachel Ashwell so cleverly marketed. This brings me to my next guilty pleasure: fabric. Especially quilting fabric. This is only a guilty pleasure because I can never seem to use up my stash and new fabric seems to be acquired at an even rate as the old is used up. If i could just once use up all my fabric, it would be a pleasure and I wouldn't have to feel guilty standing in line with a bolt of fabric. Which I try to have a coupon for because my other guilty pleasure is...

Couponing and bargain-hunting. How can you feel guilty about something that saves you money? I find bargain hunting to be so much fun that I can't believe it's guiltless. While this is not a habit that is over the top (I won't get items that we don't use just because they are free) it does become an enjoyable game. My thrift genes run deep, and my desire to make do with less has turned the mundanenes of clipping coupons into a strategic mission as exciting as a spy thriller. Something this fun must be guilty.

The occasional trip to Whole Foods. If you don't live near a Whole Foods, then you don't know what you are missing. For the rest of us, the question of could we ever live without access to a Whole Foods is a dilemma to deal with whenever we consider relocating. For the one or two times out of the year that you require an obscure ingredient, health food item, or organic food option, WF is a reliable source. It's also expensive. Which is why you steer clear of it most of the time.

Finally, reading late into the night. This is an especially guilty pleasure when you need to be up in the morning. But it is incredibly satisfying.

Go ahead. I dare you to share a guilty pleasure! ;-)


  1. Oh, man! That Tastykake definitely looks like something I should stay away from! I've never tasted one, but since one of my guilty pleasures is those chocolatey-caramely-pecany morsels of goodness called Turtles, and because it looks like Tastykakes have that same chocolatey-caramely idea, I'm afraid I'd be a goner if I ever tasted one!

    I totally share your guilty pleasure of staying up all night reading. I'm incurable.

    Fortunately or unfortunately (the jury's still out), I've stopped feeling guilty for all my other pleasures - at least the ones I'm letting myself think of right now.

  2. BAT Mom, I am with you on turtles being a guilty pleasure. Another is the apple tarts from Trader Joes with a dab of vanilla ice cream... it's like homemade apple pie with ice cream.

    Another guilty pleasure is eating out when my house is a constructions site.

    Monica, very clever... you are getting me to admit way too much.

  3. BAT Mom- The particular tastykakes in the picture are chocolate peanut butter "candy cakes" that are obnoxiously good. And who wouldn't enjoy a turtle? I could have done a whole series on guilty food pleasures!

    Plainlady- I'm not alone reading in bed late at night? Or eating Reese's at my desk? ;-)

    Saloma- The next room we are tearing out is the kitchen. I may be joining you in the guilty pleasure of frequent meals out. It's a little exciting!

  4. You and I are so alike it's almost scary. ;-)

    As to the fabric, I salve my conscience QUITE nicely by periodically cleaning out a chunk of my stash for a good cause that I really believe in--Christian Aid Ministries sewing centers. ;-)

  5. Hope Ann- What a GREAT idea! I'm hoping to make it to CAM's open house in a couple weeks.

  6. You are not alone in the fact that you have guilty pleasures....

  7. We did relocate much too far from a Whole Foods. I enjoyed the organic bulk foods, but was soured by the experience when I saw a bib that said, "I Love My Daddies." Ick.

    Staying up late reading is one of mine, for sure. Mounds candy. PB M&M's.

  8. Hmm...Dare I share? How 'bout Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies Ice Cream by Dreyer's Ice Cream; Chocolate; Staying up late to read...The list could go on!

  9. It's hard to top yours ;)
    My "guilty pleasure" is no-bake oatmeal/peanut butter cookies. If I make a batch it better be for someone else, 'cause I WILL eat the whole thing.

    Another is coupons for Joann Fabrics. I worked there for years and believe me... I don't need anything I don't got already!! but a 50% off coupon will bring me right out of the woodwork again and I'll buy something, even if it's a skein of yarn or a spool of thread.

    Let's see, the last time I shopped there was last week and I had several coupons and bought a tube of aida, tapestry needles and embroidery floss. Like I really need any of that! Somewhere there's a bolt of aide... not sure what count, but of course I can't find it right now and right now is when I need it.

    I think I am a "fabri/choco-holic". I could open my own fabric store in my retirement :)


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