Every eater is an opinionator, which is why Voracious is featuring a new column devoted to the food-based disagreements that might forever divide us if they weren't such great fodder for dinnertime conversations. Tabletop Wrestling is where our contributors will take up the food world's hornet's nests and sacred cows, with each side passionately argued by a writer who cares deeply about the topic. In this installment, Mike Seely and his 12-month-old daughter, Lucinda Swain, debate the merits of Pirate's Booty, a "healthy" brand of cheese puffs.
I hate whites. White chocolate is too vanilla, white wine isn't even qualified to carry red wine's spit bucket, and white flight has been the ruin of once-great Rust Belt cities. But there's no more despicable culinary Caucasian than white cheddar, the base ingredient of Pirate's Booty.
When I was in elementary school, I had a deep aversion to all forms of cheese except for cooked mozzarella on pizza. I wouldn't even eat a damn cheeseburger. My mother thought this phobia to be psychological, so she decided to put her theory to the test by effectively roofying my after-school snack.
I arrived home to find a bowl of popcorn on the kitchen table. I loved popcorn (still do, despite the trauma that was to ensue), and set to stuffing my face. Five seconds after doing so, the popcorn reflexively reversed course, ending up in a more liquified form on the floor. My mom was in hysterics--but also apologetic. She copped to serving me white-cheddar popcorn in order to test the legitimacy of my cheese hatred. At that moment, she believed. Yet while I've gone on to develop a tolerance for many cheeses, including standard orange cheddar, I still gag every time I so much as catch a whiff of white cheddar.
This is why it dismays me that my one-year-old (today!) daughter, Lucinda, has taken a shine to Pirate's Booty, which some New Yorker developed as a "healthy" alternative to cheese puffs. While Pirate's Booty might be more healthy than eating twice-fried pigeon dung, it's hardly an apple. In fact, it's basically the equivalent of eating salted air with a white-cheddar aroma.
Former Brooklynite Hanna Raskin says Pirate's Booty was huge in Williamsburg for awhile, so now I have double paranoia about my daughter growing into an insufferable hipster, although her earnest sense of humor would seem to indicate otherwise. MIKE SEELY, AGE 38
Read 1-year-old Lucinda's response after the jump
Dad, I might go to sleep at 8, but when I hear the microwave go off at 10:30, don't think I don't know it's you in there, firing up a "fourth meal" corn dog. And don't think that mom didn't tell me that when you recently measured the circumference of your bellies, that yours was still far girthier than hers--and she's almost six months pregnant. I'll bet you still top her the day before my sister arrives, Dennis Blunden.
Get your house in order before you try and clean up mine, dad. The day you quit drinking Busch beer with your shirt off is the day I give up Pirate's Booty.
Now, if you want to start giving me real desserts--berries don't count unless they're atop ice cream--maybe we can talk. But until then (or until I can talk), I'll keep munchin' that Booty. LUCINDA SWAIN SEELY, AGE 1