Posted by: Kate | July 17, 2008

Discomfort Food

OK, so, we like weird food.  Good for us.

What about the normal foods, that everyone else on the planet seems to break out in instant, free-flowing salivation at the thought of, but leave you thinking, “Meh,” or something even more expletive in nature?

I don’t like raw onion.  In the same way that Wyle E. Coyote didn’t like the Road Runner.  The taste is off-putting to me, and on top of that, I have some sort of strange allergy such that if I have more than a tiny bite, I’ll be tasting it for days; two tiny bites and I’ll be able to smell it in my pores; more than that and my throat closes off and I get wheezy.  It’s smashingly unpleasant, and only reinforces my already marked dislike for the taste.

And those of you out there who blaspheme the simplicity of tuna with minced onion?  Keep it to yourselves, mmmmkay?  We can coexist, but my opinion might very well sag a bit with the knowledge.

I also don’t like raspberry-flavored things, and really don’t much like raspberries either.  I’ll eat them when they’re properly disguised in a jam, but not in a dessert and not in a drink.

I consider myself a fairly adventurous eater, or at least I’m game to try almost anything.  But raw seafood?  Yick.  The only time I’ve deliberately had more than a bite was at a restaurant in Paris when I was 22.  We were on a backpacking trip around Western Europe, and I tried to order the house specialty or a local dish wherever we were.  Mostly, this was a good idea, but at one place in Paris their house specialty was a pizza-pan-sized serving of iced, raw seafood: clams, mussels, oysters, shrimps with the heads still on… I was properly horrified, but being a dutiful and dedicated culinary adventurer I held my breath and downed it as fast as possible.  And rewarded myself with an enormous fudge brownie sundae.

I cannot stomach veal, at all, not even a bite, which was the other major culinary failure of that trip; Vienna prides itself on its veal, and Willem ate two dinners that night because I just couldn’t wrap my brain around it.

I get that the veal, and the raw seafood, are slightly less mainstream items, and therefore my dislike isn’t particularly weird.  But my aversion to the taste of anise or rye – and, by association, most sausage and a true Reuben sandwich – makes people give me that skeptical face.

And, aside from the onions thing, I can’t blame any of it on food allergies.  It’s just a few odd little blips on an otherwise accommodating palate.  I think.


  1. any “fuzzy” fruit (peaches, kiwi, etc)
    most nuts, and especially anything with nuts in them (brownies, cookies, etc)
    diet ANYTHING (insta-migraine)
    raw onion, bell pepper, tomatoes (i eat the world’s most boring salad…lettuce, cukes, carrots. the end, thank you.)

  2. peas
    cottage cheese
    black licorice (though I really love rye bread – it’s all about what’s ON the bread)
    most melons

  3. Gosh. Hmm.


    I’m not a big fan of chick peas.

    I like most stone fruits and most dried fruits but I don’t care for dried apricots much.

    Cottage cheese is sort of meh on its own, but I do like to use it to make spinach manicotti.

    There’s the standard veggies that people don’t tend to like – lima beans, brussel sprouts, but those don’t really seem to count here.

    Oh, I thought of one! Pumpkin pie! I will make it, I love the smell of it, and I love the flavor of pumpkin in other things, but I just cannot get into pumpkin pie. And, similarly, sweet potato pie. Love sweet potatoes, dislike the pie.

  4. Okra grosses me out.
    Slimy, fuzzy, bleugh… (shudder)

  5. The fuzz on peaches is horrifying. I have to peel mine.
    I have a serious gag reflex to gristle and chewy fat on meat, and if I accidentally chew some I am unable to finish the rest of the meat, no matter how good it formerly tasted.
    Lamb, veal, vennison, duck, goose…any gamey animal meat grosses me out. I think I could easily be vegetarian if only I knew how to cook veggies with more creativity.

  6. Will you still like me if I tell you I love raw onion? (Small quantities, of course…)

    I hate ANYTHING having to do with sushi — AND DON’T ANYONE TELL ME I JUST HAVEN’T HAD THE “RIGHT” SUSHI. It’s the rubbery, icky black seaweed stuff that gets me.

    Then it’s on to the flavorings — love the real thing, hate the artificial flavorings — grape, lime, lemon, orange. Cherry is the exception.

    Avocado. Gamey meats (amen, Sara), pumpkin & sweet potato pie (I’m with Lisa all the way on these). Alcohol in my desserts (rum balls – blech, hard sauce, etc.).

    Did you really want to hear all of this?

  7. I forgot about alcohol in desserts – thanks wordnerd!

    LOVE alcohol. LOVE dessert. HATE alcohol in dessert. My mother in-law will consistently swoon for any dessert with alcohol in it, and rave about it up and down and nine ways until Tuesday, and I’ll take one bite and want to carve out my own tongue. Blech.

  8. G, is it only the fuzz part of the fruits that is bothersome, or is it the whole fruit (i.e., after peeling, the ghost of the fuzz remains behind to haunt you)?

    And yeah, alcohol and dessert don’t belong in the same dish. I even like very sweet alcoholic drinks – daiquiris, fruit margaritas – but rum or brandy in a bread pudding sauce? *shudder*

  9. pretty much the whole thing. not a fan of stringy fruits, and those *tend* to be fuzzy while they’re at it. oddly enough, I like gummy peaches…go fig.
    I’m also not a fan of avocado, raw fish (love cooked sushi rolls, but not raw. but I can only have about 5 pieces of sushi before the gag reflex kicks in. no idea why, it’s regardless of how tasty it is!)
    oh, and I almost forgot, bananas. I’ll choke them down when necessary, but they’d better be small, and only barely ripe.

  10. Liver…yuck. My mom used to make liver and onions and then force me to sit at the table until I finished it. I cannot even stand the smell.

  11. Goat cheese. and I’m a wee bit embarrassed about it because I like to think I have a rawther so-fistickated palate and I know that goat cheese is a damn delicacy. But not only can I not appreciate it, I can’t even swallow it.

    Yes, I feel a post coming on… thanks for the inspiration!

  12. My answer to this question is a post in and of itself. It will be up tomorrow, G-d help us all.

  13. Yep any thing offal is off the menu despite the fact that it makes great gravy. Cannot deal with soggy vegies like zucchini, squash or chokos. Hate to see tenticles in my bouillabasse or chowder and simply don’t understand the fuss about caviar . . .the thought of sexually stimulating (milking) fish to gain the roe is a little disturbing! Oh and exotic meats such as crocodile . . .nah!

  14. I love all things meaty and fruity and veggie-y, but there is a proviso. With the exception of tuna, these things must never have inhabited the interior of a can. Frozen, okay sort of, but dammit I want fresh. Fortunately I’ve been cooking over 30 years and am not afraid to gut, skin, slice, dice or puree whatever it is into something palatable. Can’t stand caraway so rye bread is out. Don’t like licorice – red or black, but the red skeeves me out. Really dig most boozes but abhor gin, scotch, Jack Daniels and “weird beers,” although when I visit Scotland I will be having a wee dram out of custom. Maybe I’ll find one I like.

    Of course, I like good sushi (read: really fresh, which you can’t get unless you’re on the coast & it was swimming that morning), but for sushi haters, we have a saying in Texas (don’t we have one for everything though?):
    There ain’t nothin’ wrong with sushi that a little cornmeal, buttermilk and deep fat frying won’t take care of.

  15. liver, ALL fish, brussel sprouts, most pork products, beef brisket pretty much do me in.

  16. Mushrooms, Nori, Lobster/Crab (read: shelled, bottom feeding, sea cockroaches.) Circus Peanuts candy. Liver. I’ll try anything once, but sometimes you have to make the best of not eating anything with partially defatted fatty beef products/tissue in it. Lamb isn’t a food I’d prefer to be in the same building as.

    Somedays. I’d gladly punch someone in the face for their corndog, does that make me a bad person?

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