One great thing about being an adult is getting to make your own choices. With respect to food, and for me almost everything is, this means being able to eat whatever I want. (As long as the Healthy-Choice-Wife-and-Kids aren’t around, although in fairness they don’t stop me. They merely tell me, subtly, how I’m slowly killing myself: “I’m not taking care of you when you fall apart.”, or “Nice choice, doughboy.” I almost feel compelled to make better choices. Almost.). I remember as a child being forced to eat some of the most abhorrent foods because someone in power dictated that they were good for me. I recall sitting alone at the dinner table, an hour after everyone else had finished, because I couldn’t leave until my plate was clean. My mom was on to every trick; spitting into napkins, sneaking into the bathroom, etc. Even her prized poodle, who would eat virtually anything (including my turtle), would often carry my desperate offerings into the living room and drop them at my mother’s feet. The dog liked to eat cat poop; how bad must this food have been?
I’m proud to say that many of these defilers of the oral senses haven’t passed my teeth since those early days, and never will as long as I can feed myself. I have to think, though, that even when I’m a diapered, wrinkled blob bewildered by Alzheimer’s, I’ll still be able to tell edible from vomitous. I feel like I’m a pretty tough guy; if you want information from me that is vital to national security or threatens the safety of my family, do your worst. I’ve already hurt myself in some of the worst ways imaginable. Threaten to force-feed me with certain “foods”, however, and I might sing like Pavarotti in the shower. Since either scenario seems unlikely, however, I begrudgingly offer Ten Gastric Ways of Making Me Talk,in no particular order:
1) Broccoli – Named after some poor Italian peasant who ate a weed out of desperation. Everything about it is disgusting: when eaten raw, those little beady ends have the texture of something dropped in the dirt. When cooked, the house smells like Jabba the Hutt ate some bad Mexican. There simply are NO foods that smell awful and taste good; it’s nature’s way of warning you to stay away. This is one of the more insidious poisons, having passed my guard more than once because people somehow feel the need to try to hide it in all sorts of dishes, like casseroles and even Lasagna. (I love lasagna; adding broccoli is like dropping a couple of turdlets into a nice glass of beer. Why would anyone do that?). Fortunately, I can usually spot it and can definitely taste it in the first bite.
2) Cauliflower –Albino broccoli.
3) Fish – Any and all kinds are most foul. Freshwater or salt, they both taste like…well, fish. No one can tell me they enjoy the smell of fish; it stinks. A marathoner’s jock strap would likely smell better to me. (Never going to know for sure; even if I could run a marathon, I wouldn’t, and I wouldn’t smell my jock or anyone else’s afterward if I did. Pretty sure it’d smell like fish, though). Again, if it smells bad, it’s going to taste bad. I’ve been told that fresh salmon and swordfish are among the tastiest. Well, I tried them both and felt betrayed by those who recommended them. My wife and I went to a seafood restaurant in San Diego for our anniversary (the steak was pretty good), and my wife’s eyes rolled back in her head rapturously after every bite of salmon. She suckered me into trying it, and I spent the next ten minutes apologizing to the lady at the next table for spitting food in her hair. Tuna from a can (fresh sucks), mixed with pickle juice and tons of mayo, is the best I’ve tasted.
4) Brussel Sprouts – …Sorry. I shuddered involuntarily after having typed the name. These little balls (perhaps those of the Belgian version of the Jolly Green Giant) from hell are particularly bad. When my mother cooked Brussel sprouts, the house smelled for hours like the diarrhea ward of a Delhi hospital after an outbreak of dysentery. She would plop three or four of these onto an otherwise flawless plate of mashed potatoes and fried chicken, and their juices would render the whole plate a toxic waste dump.
5)Lobster/Shrimp – Cockroaches of the sea. Everything that sinks to the bottom of the ocean becomes fodder for them. They even look like roaches. The first guy who pulled one of these out of the water and decided to eat it must have been desperate indeed. Soak them with butter, batter-fry them, drown them in cocktail sauce; a roach of any other color is still a roach. Though crustaceans, they taste like fish which, as we’ve established, is disgusting.
6) Liver – This is truly mind-boggling to me as a dietary choice. The liver is the body’s filtering system, involved in the processing of digestive products and neutralizing toxins. By its very nature, therefore, it is a food to be avoided. Have you ever seen a duck in a pond? Throw anything at it you want and the duck will try to eat it. The French are weird.
7) Limburger Cheese – Holy cow, what a stench, like that of sweaty anus. (I’m guessing, having never directly smelled one before. The sweaty anus, I mean).
8) Anchovies – I realize anchovies are a type of fish and therefore belong in #3, but because they are used so often as an ingredient and I’m running out of ideas, I give them their own category. Anchovies on pizza are sacrilege. My mother-in-law, who is the best cook I have ever known, once put anchovy paste in her deviled eggs. I paid the ultimate price for sneaking into her fridge and stealing one at a family get-together. Since that day, I have assigned one of my children the job of the King’s Taster, lest she try to poison me again.
9) Sauerkraut –Leave it to the Germans to make something already as gross as cabbage downright toxic. Literally translated, it means “sour vegetable.” It’s often served with weinerschnitzel, apparently to enhance its wonder by pairing it with something that smells and tastes like it came from between Adolph’s toes.
10) Okra – I have only tried this vegetable once. The taste, which was unpleasant, was exceeded only by the slimy texture, as though someone with the Spanish flu had prepared it. I have avoided trips to Louisiana to see relatives that I love because of it.
I honestly feel that people only began to eat these things because they were on the verge of starvation. These same foods have gained acceptance by the middle and upper classes when it was discovered that they were “healthy” and full of vitamins. But you know what? So is a bottle of Centrum. You might live longer than I will, but my food tastes better, is virtually mercury-free and I don’t have plant parts stuck in my teeth. (I have meat stuck in my teeth). And I’ll take much longer to decompose then you once I’m gone, too. So there.
Ah, I love eating every single one mentioned!
No! It can’t be! Were your tastebuds burned off by a scalding hot dish as a child? Did you lose your sense of smell in the war? We shant be sharing a meal anytime soon. Oh well, it’s the differences that make us all so interesting to each other, no?
You should try eating goat brain; it’s delicious.
Well, I do like pig brain and tripe(Chorizo). I’ll try anything once. Where does one find goat brain in Tucson…
Oh, chorizo is fabulous. Come to Asia, we’ll provide you and your stomach with some goat brain.
If I ever get to go to Asia, I promise I will try it. It needs better marketing, however; it should be called something else. Perhaps it is?
Bheja fry/Bheja masala. Bheja is brain in Hindi. We also use the phrase ‘bheja fry’ when annoyed or mentally saturated.
I’m going to impress everyone by adding that to my vocabulary. “Hey, you: Bheja Dead!”
Lobster, liver, sauerkraut….couldn’t agree more – “Cockroaches of the sea” will be stuck in my mind forever!
Someone once suggested that I had a hypersensitive palate, that some people were scientifically proven to be so predisposed. I don’t know about that, but I do know vile when I taste it; apparently, you do too!
Think red cabbage cooked in the pressure cooker for 45 minutes. Talk about rendering a plateful of food non-edible!
I had repressed it! Yet another part of my tortured childhood revealed to me!
I heartily agree with avoiding every item on this list and for the same reasons. My partner thinks I have a retarded palate. I think you’ve established otherwise with one statement: “There simply are NO foods that smell awful and taste good; it’s nature’s way of warning you to stay away.” Amen.
Thank you! Clearly, you have a heightened palate. I have a food compadre; surely there must be others like us out there!
Albino broccoli, very funny 🙂 My other half is in your court. If I’m cooking either he smells it before he parks the car in the garage.
A kindred spirit; I like him instantly.
Richard, this one is one of your better ones. You forgot to mention the stuffed cabbage. That stuff was really gross. Only thing worse were the Brussel Sprouts. Charly
I didn’t forget; it was repressed!That stuff was gross. I should’ve talked to my siblings before posting. It could’ve been a top twenty list!
Lima beans – they taste like dirt. My kid will never be subjected to them. Even the dog would not eat them.
It seems logical that something that relies on the ground for its sustenance might retain some of its flavor. Maybe that’s why so many plants are disgusting to eat. I don’t like Lima Beans, but I can stomach them; they don’t smell like buttspeak.
I completely agree with you on anything that swims. Yuuuuuuck!
gilled, tentacled, clawed or antennaed: not suitable for consumption.
I laughed out loud at this post — several times. Thank you. I like broccoli and its cousin romanesco, like Brussels sprouts and shellfish, halibut and salmon. I only eat anchovies minced finely and incorporated into Caesar salad dressing. I’m with you on the okra and the liver and have never tasted Limburger (Who would?). I, too, sat for many hours at the dinner table after dinner because I refused to eat peas and avocado. Blecch. But your chosen mix of canned tuna, mayo and pickle juice — that is the worst of anything in this post. Feed it to me and bring on the confessions, except that I will be vomiting so much that I will not be able to talk.
Seriously? Mayo and pickle juice make the inedible edible! I have to say, though, that it doesn’t seem to work with much else. I use them both in my deviled eggs, which are champion. Guess we won’t be eating at each other’s houses anytime soon!
Guess not. Deviled eggs are also on my “Do Not Eat” list.
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Came here through thekalechronicles, and this was the best laugh I’ve had in a long time!
Loved it, even though I am guilty of enjoying 9 out of 10 of your enemies – anchovies are not my kind of food, but i keep trying them just for the fun of it. See? Some people are sick!
Nice to “meet” you…
Nice to meet you, too! Thanks for stopping by. You’re a real trooper; can’t see where “for the fun of it” comes into any talk about anchovies.