Last night, I was reading the list of America's 20 most-hated foods. I was shocked to see some of these on here, and it tells me that I am NOT a picky eater! Ha! Here's the list, in ascending order, with some of the comments people gave as to why they hate the food, and a little commentary from me. (I DO understand that if you're a vegetarian or vegan, there are some things on here that you won't like for that reason.)
People stated that they taste like aluminum, or they can't stand the smell. Are you kidding me? Blueberries are only one of the single healthiest foods you can possibly eat, packed with nutrition. I think they're delicious, too, and I can remember picking blueberries with my folks. You have to sample a few as you're picking! I don't get how anyone could not like blueberries. That's just crazy talk.
#19 Maple syrup
One comment was "I ate a 2lb box of maple sugar candies when I was 6. I was violently ill for 3 days." Well, yeah, because you were a GREEDY LITTLE PIG! Now oddly enough, I don't care for maple syrup on my French toast or waffles or anything (on the rare occasions that I eat them). However, I do love to use it in cooking, both for marinades and dressings. I also get the pure stuff from Funk's Grove on Route 66, rather than the fake stuff that is mostly added sugar.
People said that just the smell and taste make them ill.Something I learned: there is evidence of a gene that makes cilantro taste like soap to some people. I never knew that! It doesn't taste like soap to me, so I guess I'm missing that particular gene, but I'll admit that if something calls for cilantro, I usually leave it out. I don't hate it, but it's not one of my favorite herbs.
ACK! Again...insanity! One person wrote, "Fried/sauteed ones are the absolute worst. They leave a person's house smelling like the worst case of B.O. that ever was." Okay, I have to admit that's kind of funny. I LOVE the smell of onions and garlic cooking in the pan, though. You know it's the start of something good! For a while there, onions really upset my stomach, and I couldn't eat them much. I'm happy I outgrew that, because I loves me my onions! (Happily, Ken loves them, too!)
#16 Cooked carrots
Some people mentioned that they like them raw, but can't stand them cooked, that just thinking about eating them made them feel nauseous. I'd say that they aren't doing it right. Boil the carrots, drain them, add a tablespoon of butter and a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup (see #19), and you've got a pan full of Delicious! I'll even eat them without the butter and syrup, though--I love carrots cooked along with a roast beef or chicken, when they get a little caramelization to them. Also, carrots are very good for you, with tons of Vitamin A and fiber!
"Raisins cooked into a dish remind me of roaches." "Cooked raisins look like FAT TICKS!" Okay, those are pretty funny, too. I also don't like raisins in things like main dishes, but I have three words for these people: oatmeal raisin cookie. I rest my case.
"Canned peas are awful! They smell like somebody who hasn't had a bath for a week!"
Blasphemer. You'll get my peas when you pry 'em out of my cold dead fingers. One of my all-time favorite vegetables.
"The oyster on the half shell is like swallowing a fresh phleghmball. [sic]"
I guess I can see how a lot of people don't care for raw oysters. But if you're focusing on the texture rather than the taste, you're missing out on the fruits of the sea! Besides, you don't want to swallow it whole--chew it and enjoy the taste of it. Really fresh oysters will almost melt in your mouth...like buttah.
#12 Pea soup
One commenter put it simply: "Pea soup looks like vomit." I'll concede this one, because when it comes to pea soup, all I can think of is the vomiting scene in "The Exorcist." Since I love peas so much, I would probably enjoy the taste, but I can't get past that image.
#11 Sour cream
"It's like expired chunky milk." "...smells and tastes like it's gone bad white grossness."
Sacrilege! Mexican food isn't complete without a little (or a lot) of sour cream to balance out the spiciness of the guacamole. Mmm. Ken will agree with this one, though--he hates it, too. I grossed the kids out one night when I licked the sour cream spoon when cleaning up after our taco dinner. Ha ha! I don't really care for it on baked potatoes or anything, but it's a must-have for me with Mexican.
"I can't stand to eat Jell-O with the way it wiggles around in my mouth." Sounds like another texture issue. This one surprised me, because Jello seems to be a fairly bland and inoffensive food, but a lot of people did seem to dislike the gelatinous nature of it.
Don't they understand? There's always room for Jello!
This seems to be more of an aroma issue for people. I suppose I can see how that could be the case, if you don't care for any kind of a "fishy" smell. Every so often, I'll make a tuna casserole, and we both like it. I love tuna salad, too. And I'm assuming that they're talking about canned tuna here, because I don't know how anyone could dislike seared ahi tuna. One of my favorite appetizers.
Sheeba has something to say...wait a minute...he says, "Those people are freakin' nuts."
#8 Brussels sprouts
"Brussels sprouts are ugly and taste like farts." Well now, that's just unfair. Brussels sprouts get a bad rap, man. I happen to think they're adorable--they look like little tiny cabbages! And like cabbage, broccoli, etc., they are a cruciferous vegetable and believed to offer many health benefits (like protection against certain types of cancer). I really like them and fix them occasionally. Ken isn't as crazy about them as I am, but he likes them okay. Put a little spray butter on them, and we're good to go!
Comments were that there was both a taste and texture problem here. I'm assuming they are talking about pickled beets, and I'll cop to not caring for them, either. (But I loved eggs pickled in beet juice. Go figure!) I might have to give fresh beets a try, though. I love other root vegetables like carrots and parsnips, and I'm thinking that roasted beets might be pretty tasty. Maybe I'll try that some night when Ken is off on a business trip. (You're welcome, Honey.)
This one is definitely a texture issue. A commenter rightly mentions the "slime" that okra puts out. Again, you're not doing it right! You have to fry it! Coat it in a little flour and fry it in butter. Not exactly healthy, but when it comes to okra, the only way to go, in my book.
Once again, texture. The consistency of the white in a hard-boiled egg was mentioned. Hello? Deviled eggs?! There aren't too many ways that I don't like eggs: over easy is my favorite, scrambled, hard-boiled, egg salad, etc., etc. They also aren't as bad for you as they said several years ago. I love these little orbs of goodness!
With real estate, it's location location location. Apparently, with food, it's texture texture texture. Someone wrote that mushrooms feel "all rubbery and junk," and a friend in high school called them "squeakers." I swear, people just don't know what they're missing out on. Mushrooms sauteed in butter? A spinach salad with bacon and mushrooms? C'mon!
"It's salmonella pudding." Yeah, that's pretty funny, too. But if handled properly, you have very little chance of getting Salmonella from mayo (at least the kind that comes in a jar). If we didn't have mayonnaise, we'd have no tuna salad (see #9), no egg salad (see #5), no deviled eggs (again, #5) and horror of horrors, no POTATO SALAD!
I always like a little bit of mayonnaise on my hamburgers, too.
#2 Lima beans
These beans are the Rodney Dangerfield of the legume world: they don't get no respect. One commenter went so far as to call lima beans EVIL! Poor little maligned lima beans. Beans of all types are extremely healthy for you, loaded with fiber and nutrition. I've never thought that the texture of lima beans was all that different from other beans, but a lot of people really seem to have a problem with them. I love butter beans, too, and those are a type of lima bean. They're great in vegetable soup.
#1 (finally!) Liver
They seem to be talking about beef liver on this one. Someone wrote that it's like a blood clot with fried onions. Ewww! I'll say that I'm not a fan of beef liver. I find liver quite rich, and a large piece of beef liver is just too much for me. My Mom used to make fried chicken livers, though, and I always liked those. Some of the teppanyaki restaurants (places like Benihana) I've been to have served a chicken liver appetizer that was just delicious. So this is a case where, at least for me, less is more.
Reading this list told me a couple of things. First of all, it's no wonder we have an obesity problem in this country. It's amazing to me how many vegetables were on this list! I know that some of you are trying to lose weight, and I applaud you all and hope you continue to have success in your efforts. But there are some very healthy foods on this list, and I think that's a real shame. Like I said, there's very little that I don't like, and I attribute that to my Mom. She made things that many kids would never choke down, but for whatever reason--adventurousness? a love of food?--I never had a problem with trying new things. A few people commented that they hate foods today that their parents forced them to eat as children. I guess that's a lesson to never force anything on a kid...but if they're hungry enough, they'll probably eat it!
Ken's rule with his kids was always "you have to at least try it." I think that's fair, and the kids were always good about trying new things. If they didn't like it, that was fine, but sometimes I think they were surprised to find out that they actually liked whatever it was. As I wrote in my entry about childhood obesity the other day, I think one of the best things we can do is set a good example, whether it's concerning exercise or nutrition. If we eat a lot of junk food, and always have plenty in the house, that's what our kids will eat, too. But if they see US eating salads, vegetables, fruits, etc., and that's what we make available to them, they're much more likely to eat healthier. And while we can't control what they do when we're not around, what they get at restaurants or shops or out of vending machines, maybe they'll have understood the lesson and will be more apt to make healthy choices. No guarantees, but it seems pretty simple to me.
I've read recently that vegetables don't have to be fresh to be healthy. In fact, some vegetables actually have more nutrition canned rather than fresh! (Canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, etc., have more lycopene than fresh.) I love fresh vegetables and love it when they're in season (better yet, when I can grow my own...next year!), but we eat plenty of canned, too, especially in the winter. It's not out-of-reach for anyone to eat healthier and make smart choices. Now let's get out there and eat our Brussels sprouts! Everybody with me? Yeeeeahhhhh!
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