Once, when I was in college, a storm knocked out all the power in our building. With nothing better to do, my roommates and I lit candles, sat around the kitchen table, and began playing F*ck, Marry, Kill in the semi-darkness.
If you’re not familiar with the game, the rules are pretty simple: You pick three people and categorize them, according to which of the title items you’d “do” to each person. It’s kind of mean, but it’s entertaining and we were bored; so we played for a long time. Such a long time, in fact, that we literally ran out of every human person we all knew. Yet still, torrential rain pelted our 4th story window, lightning sliced a path across the darkening sky, and thunder spooked us every few minutes.
We were at a loss. There was definitely no going anywhere in that storm.
“What do we do now?” someone asked, when we realized that our well of shared acquaintances was dry.
“Let’s play with foods,” one of my roommates suggested.
That’s when things got heated. We began to get very, very passionate about choices. There was arguing, yelling, disgust. Feelings were trampled on.
“HOW COULD YOU KILL, PAD SEE YEW?!” we bellowed at one another — having far more compassion for a particularly tasty Thai dish than we could ever muster for the various guys we’d made out with. It was easy to shrug our shoulders and agree that yes, if we had to, we would murder those bros and leave them for the rats. But not so with foods. Foods meant something.
My roommate, Becky, turned to me, a devilish grin on her face.
“It’s Allison’s turn,” she said, pausing dramatically while I awaited my fate. “Pizza, pot stickers, or….General Tso’s chicken.”
The other girls stared at me. One of them may have gasped. It was too much. Those were my three favorite foods in the whole world. Everyone knew that.
“I…” I faltered. “I can’t.”
“You have to. THAT’S the game.”
“Okay. Okay.” Snapshots of my beloved meals passed before my mind’s eye. I’d had such good times with each of them. “I’d marry pizza… And then I’d kill…No, I can’t. You can’t make me kill one of them!”
“Do it,” the girls taunted, and in my memory they were now all wearing hooded capes, the candlelight casting sinister shadows across their faces. One of them may have presented me a bloody, butcher knife — I don’t know for certain. But I’m pretty sure they were circling me while vaguely humming the tune from The Exorcist. “Kill one of them, Allison. It’s time. You must.”
Pot Stickers and General Tso’s Chicken materialized and looked up at me, pleading.
“No!” I screamed. “NOOOOO!”
That’s when I started crying. No, really. The game ended when I started crying because I couldn’t choose between ‘killing’ a chicken dish or pot stickers. That’s how strongly I feel about Chinese takeout; greasy, Americanized, terribly-wonderful Chinese takeout. I’d rather cry than choose between them.
Which made this particular power ranking rough. The spices! The sauces! The MSG! But I powered through (get it? Give this woman a raise!), and now I present to you: The definitive ranking of Chinese takeout.