21 Meals of the Day, Ranked

Meals are more multifarious than you might initially think. Here are their rightful positions.


21. Workday breakfast

Do people actually eat this? What are you even supposed to eat? Oatmeal? I can’t figure it out. Sometimes I just eat a sad hard-boiled egg and call it. More often than not, I just wait till lunch. Anything that requires you to wake up earlier for work is worse than Bill Murray’s recent role choices. I’m starting a campaign to make this the “Least Important Meal of Life.”

20. Picking scraps out of a Union Square garbage can

There might be some pizza in there, at least. Can’t say that about workday breakfast.

19. Frozen, microwaved weekday dinner

18. Non-hungover brunch

This is for Easter with the parents when you’re 11. What adult agrees to brunch when he or she hasn’t, the night before, drank enough booze to fill the Seine? Fuck brunch.

17. Hungover brunch

The only way I’m putting up with overpriced bottomless mimosas with shitty sparkling wine and half-assed, half-heated preparations of eggs is if I’m feeling brutal. Saturday or Sunday brunch has made it socially acceptable to get bombed at breakfast and, sometimes, it’s the only thing that can pull you out of your hangover depths. Still, ya know: Fuck brunch.

16. A cleanse

Clearly not eating food for days on end sucks total ass and anyone who says these things “aren’t that hard” is a goddamn liar. Subtract even more points for how hip and expensive juice cleanses can be; add points for not having to make any gastronomic decisions for a while.

15. Fast food

Breakfast, lunch or dinner; winter, spring, summer or fall: whatever. That’s what you’re saying to life when you pick up some McDonald’s or T Bell. “Whatever, corporeal existence, let’s get this shit over with and get ready for an uncomfortable nap. Perchance, the longest nap.” Yep, you say all of that to yourself.

14. Fast casual

I’m getting pretty tired of this designation for Chipotle and its ilk. Still, there are some fresh options for morning or night.

13. Leftovers dinner

No, not eating while watching this incomprehensible show. Talkin’ bout heating up food you prepared before or the contents of a doggie bag from a previous restaurant run. While it’s a bit sad, yes — personally, I can’t stand leftovers — it also doesn’t waste, so daps for that. Side note: The Ohioans of my family call them “must-go’s,” which is almost as amazing as a freshly-prepared meal.

12. Brought-from-home workday lunch

Herein lies a tough call. Your chances of a schwag lunch from your kitchen are manifold: Progresso Light chicken noodle, say, or a bologna sandwich. It’s about effort, here. Perhaps you want some dank soup? Make it and pack ‘er up. Problem is: Who has the energy?

11. Homemade weekday dinner

Another tough one: Like your asshole track coach or some corporate motivational speaker says, “You get out what you put in.” That can be a four-course feast, centered around Lobster Thermidor. But, chances are, it’s baked chicken with some Lawry’s seasoned salt sprinkled on top.

10. Happy hour “nibbles”

Don’t say “nibbles,” man. Ever. Give me a drink and I guess I’ll have some almonds.

9. Stadium meal

Hot dogs are rad.

8. Weekday dinner out

These are legit, but you can’t really get crunk. Or you can and, then, ruin your next day, which will make you, in turn, mad at the weekday dinner out. A buffet makes it a little sadder. “It” being your life.

7. Wedding dinner

Really, the sole function of the wedding dinner is to absorb as much alcohol as is possible. Therefore, wedding dinners should be four courses: pizza, pasta, a Chipotle burrito, and wedding cake. I’ve yet to experience a truly sublime wedding meal — hey, it’s tough to cook for a couple hundred people. Bring on the burrito box.

6. Purchased workday lunch

Lunch during the week is actually pretty tight, especially if you don’t have to eat it at your desk. It’s one of the few times in the workday where you can actually exercise some autonomy. Do I go with the salad and tell everybody about my annoying diet? Or do I crush a double cheeseburger and then struggle to keep my eyes open from the 2 to 4 p.m. drag? The choice is yours, my friend. Live free.

5. Weekend dinner out

There’s a bad guy coming through. Better get out of his way.

4. Snacks

While not technically a meal, snacks are — paradoxically — one of the best meals. A snack is all about instant gratification, a most human desire. Gimme some peanuts and cool ranch Doritos and maybe some salsa or hummus. Never let it stop. Never give up.

3. Outdoor barbecue

BBQs are the illest, from the backyard to the park. Grab some 40s and play some dominoes.

2. Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving dinner is so hype that we should agree, as a nation, to eat it once a month — at least. The fourth Thursday of every month — not just November — shall be filled with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and wine. The fourth Friday of every month shall be filled with pain, regret, and bloating. Also, new rule: No unwanted relatives.

1. Post-midnight drunken gorging

This one takes the, well, cake. Taco Bell: yup. Pizza: Sure, is Papa John’s even considered pizza? Hook it up. Ruffles with Kraft Singles melted all over them and slathered in bean dip? Sounds great; I think I’ll have some right now. The only drawback of Hasselhoffing is that you’re not really experiencing the flavors as nature intended — or even remembering doing it all. Still, what a meal.

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