It’s the shame that makes it taste so good…

guilty pleasure food

People who love to cook, and Chef’s and professional cooks especially, know that we’re judged by what we eat, or at least my what we ADMIT we eat. 😉

be-honest-is-this-too-much-lettuce-because-bacon-7079897Based on the types of memes that readers share on my Facebook pages, it seems like most folks think I live solely on bacon and brisket, and little else. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a middle-aged chef, who wants to be an OLD chef, I don’t eat bacon nearly as often as I post about it which, in a strange way, seems to make it taste better the few times a month that I indulge.

Brisket, I smoke maybe 5-6 a year, which makes upwards of 30 meals for my family of three.

Another thing that those of us who excessively (or annoyingly) post recipes and photos of our better creations can attest to, it that we don’t get invited over for dinner much.

By the way…our pride is our downfall, as our friends and family tend to think that they can’t cook as good, or at least as fancy, as we do, and are maybe a little intimidated to serve their own “home cooked” favorites to us.

Again, not true…

If you play the classic “What’s your death-row meal” with 10 cooks, 8 or 9 of the responses are going to be a simple, inexpensive, home-cooked dish that our moms or grandmas cooked for us, and not some Thomas Keller 22-course tasting menu, as five-hundred bucks a pop.

Most of us love the same foods you do, and we LOVE to have other folks cook for us.

Likewise, Chef’s especially, often have a laundry list of some of the nastiest, unhealthy, processed comfort foods on their “guilty pleasures” list, even as we preach natural, organic, farm-to-table menus to the masses.

We just don’t talk about it, and we don’t post THOSE pictures. 😉

Top 3 on MY Guilt Pleasure list:

Earns KraftBoxed Mac & Cheese
I grew up on this glowing orange stable of the American pantry.

And not the “good stuff” either, but the store-brand, ten for a buck, boxes of stale macaroni, and powdered “cheez food”. Loved it then, love it now.

Disclaimer: I’ve upgraded Mom’s “water and margarine” version with whole milk, sweet cream butter, and sometimes a handful of extra-sharp cheddar, but it’s still basically the same stuff.

ravygaly2Canned Ravioli and Sauce
No explanation. Didn’t eat it growing up, and only discovered it in college when my kitchen was reduced to a hot plate and tiny microwave (both hidden under my bed, as both were against the rules…screw “the man”).

I still like it straight-up, 2 minutes in the nuke-box, right from the bowl, or stuffed into soft potato rolls.

Some of my fellow-students would eat it cold, straight from the can, but I’m pretty sure Jesus doesn’t want us to do that.

Microwave Bean & Cheese Burritos
photoThese are my go-to “I’ve been writing for 12 hours and I can’t leave my laptop” meal (in fact, it was lunch today).

I always have a stack of them in the low-boy freezer next to my desk. Wrap in paper-towels, nuke two minutes, and slather in Taco Bell Fire Sauce (God help me), and…if I’m feelin’ fancy, a fistful of queso…they’ve kept me going through many a nail-biting deadline.

How about you?

What are YOUR favorite convenience or comfort foods that you relish with a fair spoonful of shame?

What’s your guilty pleasure?

~Chef Perry

The Home Chef: Transforming the American KitchenAnd…in complete contradiction to this post… 😉

We are entering the age of the “Home Chef”, a title that’s available to nearly everyone, regardless of age, or financial standing.

That’s what this book is about…because something amazing has begun to happen in the last two decades, something that has never before happened in the history of cooking…instead of growing wider, the gap between the home cook and the professional chef has actually begun to narrow, and continues to narrow exponentially with each passing year.

The time when these specialized skills were limited to those who could afford the cost and time required for culinary school are quickly passing into history.

The time when the sole requirement to elevate your cooking skills to this level…passion…is emerging.

It’s an amazing time to become a Home Chef…and if you have that passion, I’ll show you how.


Chef Perry P. Perkins


A Funny Thing Happened at the Deli Counter this Morning…


Ahhhh…the struggles of the adventurous eater…

So, I woke up this morning jonesing for headcheese (c’mon…it’s ME…) I know, I know, it’s not everyone’s thing, but I love it. And when I need it, I NEED it!

(NOTE: The more you control your desire to express a negative opinion about one of my favorite foods, here, the less likely you are to end up deeply offended by my response…just, you know, an FYI…) 😉

So anyway, I zipped over the the grocery store where I usually buy it, and walked up to the deli counter, where I was met by some greasy pre-teen who looked like maaaaaybe some of his bingo-balls were still floating around in the tank.

(Seriously, he had a definite “I pick my nose after I put my gloves on” kinda vibe going on.)

My request for my beloved lunch-meat was met with a blank stare – and I mean blank, like you could look in this kid’s eyes and see the back of his head… – I repeated my request, still my typically cherub-like, friendly self.

“Uhhhh…I don’t think we carry that…”



I pointed out the headcheese on the second shelf, and after about 3 days of fumbling with the slicer (I offered to help!) he comes back with my tasty bundle.

“Soooo…uhh…what is this stuff?”

This, friends and neighbors, is where I should have just sucked it up and lied…but, of course, I didn’t…

I told him.

“Dude…(I swear to GOD, he called me “dude”) that’s gross, I wouldn’t eat that…”

(I think we all know what comes next…)

“Of course you wouldn’t…MELVIN, you’re too busy picking tide-pod chunks out of your teeth! How ’bout if I worry about what I’m eating, and you focus on not giving me E. coli, m’kay?”

Our relationship soured a bit after that… 😉

~Chef Perry

Both Books
Pre-Order and Save!