Yesterday, Jason Kerr delivered a heartfelt sonnet to a jar of baconnaise, a combination bacon-and-mayonnaise condiment that he seemed to enjoy but which would almost certainly give me nightmares. Sure, I'll have bacon and mayonnaise together on a turkey sandwich, but there are a lot of other foods in play in a turkey sandwich which make that combination sane. You've got your bread, your lettuce, your turkey and your cheese, which all comes together in one indistinctive flavor party. Baconnaise seems like it would be akin to dipping a piece of bacon in some mayo and just eating it straight. Actually, there's no way they use real bacon in this goddamn travesty, so it would probably be more like chowing down on a bowl of bacon bits 'n' mayo. General Mills, if you come out with a Sergeant Mayopork kids' cereal, I want a cut of the profits.
Anyone can throw some meat and cheese on a waffle and call it a horrorshow, but they sell plenty of mutant hybrid foods pre-combined at your local grocery store. Stuff that's supposed to be sold separately but, for some reason, isn't. Let's have a look at five of the most nightmarish examples.
1. Peanut Butter & Jelly Separately, peanut butter and jelly are not particularly healthy foods, but for some reason when they're together in the same jar, they seem so much worse. Maybe it's the fact that the jelly gets the peanut butter all wet, and the peanut butter gets the jelly all sticky, and the illusion of traditional wholesomeness isn't allowed to exist when you're staring at a jar of multicolored, preservative-laden goop. When you buy them apart, you can get peanut butter and jelly with fewer additives, or even homemade. Plus there's the laziness angle: who can't be bothered to open two jars? Brian Regan has some observations on this.
Level of Nightmarishness: Turns out you were a couple of credits short of graduating high school, and you have to go back. You don't know anybody. The teachers look at you strangely. You're inappropriately old. Lunch is the most awkward thing imaginable, as even the anti-social kids who sit behind the dumpster and smoke don't want you around. And you've got nine months of this crap to look forward to? Hopefully you'll wake up before they try to make you do algebra. Doing algebra in a dream is like dying in the Matrix.
2. Ice Cream Cakes"Okay, now you're just being a dick," you might be thinking. "Hating ice cream cakes is like hating kittens and America." Ah, but I have nothing against the central ingredients. I love ice cream and I love cake. When packaged together, however, the ingredients are always, always sub-par. The ice cream is bland and gritty and the cake is stiff and dry. Sure, every now and then one of your desserteries will be able to throw a decent ice cream cake together, but none will compare to the deliciousness you get if you buy your favorite kind of cake with your favorite kind of ice cream and combine them yourself. Plus, since you don't have to freeze the cake, you don't have to clear a big-ass space out of your freezer. Why sacrifice all those half-eaten Shameless Chef dishes you've frozen just in case the world ends soon? We say hang on to them, and leave the cake out of the freezer.
Level of Nightmarishness: You've got somewhere to be, and you can't get your car to start, so you have to walk. When you try to walk, however, you can't get anywhere. You walk and walk, but you're not moving, and everybody is staring at you and now you're going to be late for whatever the hell it is you're supposed to be getting to. This sucks.
3. Energy Drinks and Malt Liquor: When Sparks first came out, some of our more hipster-y friends threw Sparks parties where you showed up in 80's-style workout gear and drank this horrid concoction all night. We never attended, but we notice they don't throw those parties anymore. No one does, because this shit is awful. It tastes like someone dropped a batch of Olde English in with a batch of off-brand orange soda and decided to sell it on a dare. Drinking Sparks 'til you puke is how you wind up with little patches of bare concrete around the house where your vomit ate away the carpet like the creature's blood in Alien. To be able to stand Sparks, you have to have grown up drinking hobo wine. Only tastebuds tempered in the deepest horror can abide it for more than three sips.
Level of Nightmarishness: You're lost at sea. You don't even have a boat. You're just floating out in open water. In the distance, thunder rumbles and you see something breach, vent and crash back into water. It looked like a whale, but... also a penis. Oh no. You're having another one of those dreams where everything is made of dicks. You feel something grab hold of your leg and as you're pulled into the murky depths, you stare, terrified, into the lone, unblinking eye of your killer: the dreaded Giant Cocktopus.
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4. Hot Dogs and Cheese:Hot dogs, by themselves, are dubious enough. Sure, they're tasty, but in the back of our minds, we know they're made out of parts of the animal too disgusting to be sold in their original forms. That's why we tend to load our hot dogs up with mustard, relish, onions, chili and cheese. But we generally like a real, honest-to-God cheddar or at least some form of American cheese we recognize. The gooey, artificial cheesepaste which infuses some brands of hot dogs and sausages should not exist. It doesn't taste good, the texture is genuinely alarming and we can't prove it, but we're pretty sure it causes Screaming Typhoid Measles. You don't have to try so hard, hot dog. You're ugly, but we accept you.
Level of Nightmarishness: You're in that one weird church you got dragged to when you were little by the family of that friend you quit hanging out with immediately after that weekend. Everyone is standing and singing, but you can't seem to sing. Your childhood friend is pleading with you to sing, but you can't, and one by one, everyone in the congregation begins to notice the absence of your voice. They slowly turn their heads, their cold eyes glinting with cruel malice and terror seizes your heart as you realize: they're all Ernest Borgnine, every one of them, and you never should have intruded upon their worship service.
5. Bacon and Chocolate: People we considered friends, people we trusted, swore up and down that these bacon-infused chocolate bars were excellent and it kind of made sense: after all, when you're eating bacon with your pancakes and some of the syrup gets on the bacon, it still tastes pretty good, right? Well, we tried it. It tasted like corrupted innocence. It pulled my childhood out through my mouth, told it there was no Santa Claus and head-butted it on the bridge of the nose. It was bad is what I'm saying, bad enough to hurt me in a deep and private place, the kind of hurt your brain tends to invent new identities to deal with. Was famous multiple-personality disorder sufferer Sybil forced to eat bacon and chocolate as a child? No one can say for sure, so I can't help but assume she was.
Level of Nightmarishness: You're falling from the sky. It's night-time, during a raging thunderstorm and the lightning has an unnatural reddish tint. Scaly, howling things swoop in and out of the clouds, shrieking their bloodlust, searching for you. Your only hope is to hit the ground before one of them catches you, but as the ground comes into focus in the moonlight, you realize there is no ground, only a giant set of jaws waiting to devour you, slowly digesting you in its belly while somehow keeping you alive for centuries upon centuries. You need to watch less sci-fi before bedtime.