Eating by the Numbers

A friend and I once tried to define a system for rating foods on a scale of 1 to 10. It was just a silly exercise, but the result turned out to be surprisingly useful. And it works for anything… not just food. It's even been catching on a little, via word of geek...
  1. One
    Pushing the outer limits of edibility. Examples: live mice. Raw spleen. Orange juice equivalent: putrid spoiled orange juice.
  2. Two
    Visceral negative reaction. Elicits vocal expression of disgust. Examples: any food you particularly dislike. Orange juice equivalent: syrup of melted orange lollipops.
  3. Three
    Lousy food you might eat if very hungry and without alternatives. Examples: school cafeteria food. Toast made from freezer-burnt bread. Orange juice equivalent: Tang.
  4. Four
    Flawed foods eaten only mindlessly (includes most "guilty pleasures"). Examples: lousy off-brand pretzels. Yodels. Commercial mac-and-cheese. Orange juice equivalent: off-brand frozen concentrate.
  5. Five
    Utterly neutral. No particular urge to eat…or to stop eating. Examples: chicken rice soup in an average diner. Typical Chinese-American takeout. Orange juice equivalent: Minute Maid.
  6. Six
    Bad versions of good things…or good versions of bad things. Marginally pleasurable. Example: Ore Ida Tater Tots. Orange juice equivalent: Tropicana. Note: fair versions of good things would rate a 7, and fair versions of bad things would rate a 5. Great versions of anything rate highly.
  7. Seven
    Soulless but good. Examples: Competent steak fritz. Premium snack foods. Haagen Dazs. Orange juice equivalent: fresh-squeezed from off-season oranges imported from Uruguay.
  8. Eight
    Elicits vocal expression of pleasure. Appreciated with gusto. Orange juice equivalent: fresh-squeezed from good oranges.
  9. Nine
    Rational thought breaks down. You don't analyze, you just want to keep enjoying, blocking out all distraction. Compulsion to evangelize ("You've got to try this!"). Orange juice equivalent: fresh – squeezed from a carefully selected blend of great, fresh oranges.
  10. Ten
    Absolute certainty that no one at this moment, anywhere on earth, is eating anything more delicious than what you're currently consuming. Total contentment, tinged with the rueful acknowledgment that life can't always be this good. Orange juice equivalent: freshly squeezed from carefully selected blend of great, fresh oranges by the Sainted Arepa Lady (info: