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What foods do you find disgusting?

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The long thread on raisins (see the What's My Craving board) got me thinking. I would venture a guess that most Chowhounds are pretty much omnivorous, adventerous eaters. But there are probably things each of us don't like, to one degree or another

There are a few foods I don't particularly LIKE, but there's only one I really find loathsome: Cream of Mushroom soup. The thought of it makes me almost ill. I'm not sure why, but I suspect I once ate a bowl of it and got sick.

So, what foods do others find odious? Any guesses as to why in particular you do?

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  1. Vinegars of all ilk, mustards, mayonnaise, peas (nature's waste pellets), cucumber (too acidic and bitter). Vinegar is the ammonia of cooking - revolting beyond words. Helped me learn foreign languages ('No vinegar please') during travels.

    30 Replies
    1. re: Allan Evans

      As a child, I ate brains with eggs with granpa, kidneys for breakfast, tongue, etc. Cannot stomach tripe --even to look at. Stepped up the plate a year or so ago and expected my adult 'buds could handle menudo -at the best Mexican rest. in the city. Almost tossed at the first taste. Beyond vile. Oh, and olive/pimento loaf in the deli case--gives me the willies!

      1. re: berkleybabe

        I had to rack my brain for this one. I will eat just about anything. I cannot understand the whole ketchup and egg thing. That's how my husband eat his eggs and I gag every time. I really hate cilantro and watercress makes me sick too. I will eat anything else though including the Greek Easter soup my in-laws prepare for the Greek Easter. It's an avgolemeno type soup that simmers all day with a lamb's head. There is liver, sweetbreads, intestine and anything else you can imagine in it. They even used to put lung in it a long, long time ago. It's pretty intense and I can only eat a bit.

        1. re: jo

          Just occurred to me that rhubarb may fit under this heading. I've always really enjoyed the concept of rhubarb--rosy, springlike, vegetal, fresha fter a long winter. But no matter how it's presented, undiluteed in a pie (gooey and slimey and way too tart), tempered with berries (gooey and slimey and way too tart), it's always awful. I want to like it, but I can't. I've tried, but given up. Even savory dishes --game with rhubarb chutney is alluring, until I remember...ah! rhubarb, bleah. So can a food be disgusting when you want to like it but it "doesn't" let you? Anybody else like rhubarb? Why? Can't get the 'buds around it.

          1. re: berkleybabe
            j
            Janet A. Zimmerman

            Rhubarb is a strange one for me -- I love the flavor, but find the texture of overcooked rhubarb (which, I've found, rhubarb usually is) not very appealing. My dad always used to grow it in his garden, and I can remember eating raw stalks dipped in a little sugar and loving it. Haven't had that in years, though, so who knows if I would still like it.

            1. re: berkleybabe

              One of the reasons I LIKE rhubarb is because it IS tart. I like it stewed & served with/without cream. I like it as a latticed pie. I like it with strawberries in a pie. Maybe it's because I grew up with it? But, then, I like tart desserts: lemon pie/pudding/bars so tart that they make your mouth pucker, ditto for apple pie made with the tartest apples and 1/2 the sugar. I guess that's the reason I don't care for pecan pie--too sweet.

              1. re: berkleybabe

                I also like rhubarb, and generally like sour/tart things more than most people seem to

                1. re: berkleybabe

                  I love the stuff, and every year at this time when I see a big patch in someone's yard I have one of those "d'oh" moments wishing I had planted a couple of crowns...it grows like a weed here in the northwest.

                  Anyway, try this...cut the stalks in half-inch slices, toss with just enough olive oil to coat, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet, and roast at 350 for about 20 minutes....the rhubarb gets tender but still holds its shape....I sprinkle on a little sugar and eat it straight.

                  Jim

                  Link: http://www.realgoodfood.com

                  1. re: Jim Dixon

                    Doest it still *taste* like rhubarb? Feel like rhubarb? Or does it morph into a veggie kind of deal? Otherwise, no way. :)

                    1. re: berkleybabe

                      Yes, it looks, walks, and quacks....it's still rhubarb, but it tastes great (if you like rhubarb).

                  2. re: berkleybabe

                    During the ten years I lived in London, I loved eating my pal's Mum's rhubarb custard. But I like everything sour, rather than too sweet. I think that's probably the key to liking the stuff. If, like myself, you squeeze lemon on just about everything and go nuts over lebne, yogurts, sour cream, avgolomeno soup, etc.--you'd probably like rhubarb. (However, I admit--it is VERY sour.)

                    1. re: Lynn

                      No!!! Rhubarb is a treat! I agree with Janet about eating it out of the garden, I just didn't use the sugar.

                      If you've never had a good rhubarb dessert try making a crisp:

                      use one stalk of rhubarb per basket of strawberries. peel the rhubarb and slice crosswise into 1/8-1/4 inch pieces. Mix with sugar to taste. Add bits of unsalted butter and a little vanilla paste or extract. Let sit for about 10 min. to bring out the juices. You can bake like this for a stew or top with a mix of equal parts brown sugar, flour and butter with some oatmeal added if you'd like. Bake at 400 until the top gets browned and the inside is bubbling and the juices have thickened to a syrup.

                      THIS is the way to eat rhubarb!

                      1. re: Rochelle

                        I made a copy of that recipe, and Jim Dixon's. I love rhubarb. I also like to peel it and eat it like celery with good salt on it. I love sour and salty things and am still looking for the lime flavored chips, to no avail. pat

                        1. re: pat hammond

                          I like plain cranberry juice, in small quantities.
                          Mixed with pomegranite juice it is wonderful, esp. in the summer

                      2. re: Lynn

                        Nope, the hating rhubarb because it's sour theoryg doesn't work. I am a lemon freak with seafood/fish/veggies, love kosher dills, anyting with lime, love real limeade, too. There's some other quality that's offputting that I'll have to re-examine. I think it might be the stringiness, the mushiness (though I love okra). Maybe Pat Hammond's idea of salt with the sour would work. I think of rhubarb as overly sour, gross stewed celery. Making a crisp or pie out of it existentially can't help it...

                        1. re: berkleybabe

                          my grandmother makes the best rhubarb jam in the universe...i never even had grape jam until i was out of college...pb and rhubarb jam forever!!!!

                          i also had a very nice rhubarb crisp in ireland once. it was served warm with creme anglaise.

                          :P

                          1. re: rhiannon

                            Last month when I was in NYC, a friend bought me a sour cream apple pie from the Little Pie Co. I've been craving another taste ever since. So I went to their website, but they were smart enough not to list that particular recipe. HOWEVER, I did find a great sounding rhubarb "pie" recipe. Now I can't wait for rhubarb season. The apple pie will have to wait for my next visit! pat

                            Link: http://www.littlepiecompany.com/publi...

                  3. re: berkleybabe

                    Hahaha! "Cannot stomach tripe." I'm not sure if that was purposeful or not, but one of the best puns I've heard in a while :)

                    1. re: berkleybabe

                      Berkley, Hey, Tripe kept many folks alive before "Big Macs!!" and not the $$ to buy the more mainstream/costlier cuts of animal flesh. I spend part of the year in the Veneto and my first dish is always Tripa alla Veronese. I find most offal if prepared by caring hands is quite tasty and nutritious. Like your pun though!!

                    2. re: Allan Evans

                      Me too!! I will eat mustard on certain things, and I can tolerate the occasional pea. But I've never tasted cucumber - the smell - and could never have a pickle because of the vinegar. I've read a bunch of stuff about super-tasters and believe I must fall into that category; I think you do too.

                      Ammonia - that is exactly what I always compare vinegar to. And I won't, can't eat my burger if any pickle or coleslaw-type item has touched it. I always feel like such a pill, but I feel much better now.

                      1. re: wemberly
                        j
                        Janet A. Zimmerman

                        Actually, the so-called "super-tasters" are expecially sensitive to bitter tastes, not sour tastes.

                        1. re: Janet A. Zimmerman

                          I can't stand anything bitter either, but anyway I understood the designation to apply to a range of tastes, not just one category. Maybe I'm wrong; it sure wouldn't be the first time.

                          1. re: Janet A. Zimmerman

                            Is it true that the more tastebuds you have
                            the more sensitive you are to hot (i.e., chili
                            pepper hot) food? There was a special about
                            hot foods ("Eat the Heat" on The Food Network
                            and they made this claim. Just wondering if it's
                            accurate.

                            1. re: christina z

                              I've heard that it's true--the more taste buds one has, the lower the tolerance for capsaicin (the compound that makes spicy foods hot). I'd love to read a study that demonstrated this, because the guy I live with (and cook for) cannot abide even crushed black peppercorns if they're too abundant!

                              1. re: christina z
                                j
                                Janet A. Zimmerman

                                From what I've read, here's the current information about "supertasters":

                                Researchers have been looking into how the sense of taste varies from person to person for 70 years of so. Early tests used a bitter compound (called PROP) to differentiate "tasters" from "nontasters" -- sensitivity to PROP is genetic, apparently. (I'm probably showing my age here, but I remember the science class wherein the teacher gave us all these little pieces of paper to taste, watching with glee as the tasters made faces. I can also remember tasting a little bitterness, but didn't think it horrible.) Later research, though, showed more variability than just tasters and nontasters. Now, it's generally accepted that there's a third group, "supertasters." In genetic terms, supertasters probably have two dominant PROP-sensitive genes, the tasters have one PROP-sensitive gene and one (recessive) non-sensitive gene, and non-tasterss have two non-sensitive genes. About half the population are tasters, and one quarter each are supertasters and nontasters. About two-thirds of supertasters are female.

                                Supertasters have more fungiform papillae (which contain tastebuds) than tasters or nontasters. In addition to being more sensitive to most bitter flavors, supertasters are also hyper-sensitive to the burn of chiles. Sugar also tastes sweeter to them.

                                1. re: Janet A. Zimmerman
                                  y
                                  yvonne johnson

                                  being more sensitive: what does this mean? say chile, in terms of "sensitivity", does super-taster experience unpleasantness or deliciousness?

                                  can you refer me to peer reviewed papers on this matter? i'm interested, no put down here. i saw a tv show recently, i think alan alda was the host, and part of it was about "supertasters". it didn't make much sense to me.

                                  1. re: yvonne johnson
                                    j
                                    Janet A. Zimmerman

                                    Sorry I wasn't more clear -- I meant that apparently supertasters feel more pain from chiles and other irritants than tasters and nontasters.

                                    Here are a couple of web pages where I got some of my information (I'm not sure how to include more than one link, so only one is linked):

                                    http://www.sfn.org/briefings/taste.html

                                    Link: http://ificinfo.health.org/insight/ex...

                                    1. re: Janet A. Zimmerman
                                      y
                                      yvonne johnson

                                      Thanks Janet, as you were posting as i was surfing. This is fascinating, to me anyway. I did a search thru google and imo these are the best sites and articles. i've mixed academic and media sources.

                                      http://www.nytimes.com/learning/stude...

                                      This clarified for me something. Do you want to be a supertatser? the answer is no. It was just the wording. people want to be super!
                                      "Do all people have the same physical equipment for the sense of taste? ….No. Some people have such sensitive and refined equipment that they are called supertasters by taste researchers and find some *ordinarily pleasurable foods distasteful*."
                                      "supertasters have as many as 1,100 taste buds per square centimeter of tongue, while nontasters have as few as 11 buds per square centimeter."
                                      "tasters are more adaptable and possibly more healthy, because they can eat a wider variety of foods with pleasure"

                                      http://www.cce.cornell.edu/food/expfi...

                                      the above is really good (updated May 2000). "it turns out that each supertaster has his or her own idiosyncratic list of foods they love and foods they can barely tolerate eating." Supertasters are "picky"

                                      http://www.sfn.org/briefings/taste.html
                                      (society for neuroscience
                                      )
                                      http://www.apa.org/monitor/jan98/food...
                                      american psychological association

                                      for those chowhounds who are pregnant,the above is really interesting. re early experiences: taste developed "through breast milk and perhaps even amniotic fluid"

                                      http://www.winespectator.com/Wine/Spe...
                                      wine and supertasters

                                      http://ificinfo.health.org/insight/ex...

                                      end of this page: experiment on yourself and find out if your are a supertastser. Janet lists this one.

                                      http://www.pbs.org/safarchive/4_class...

                                      above is good for teachers working with kids. Could spend some time doing these experiments. Berkleybabe might like this one!

                                      http://www.science.mcmaster.ca/Psycho...

                                      The above is an article by Linda M. Bartoshuk Yale University School of Medicine. She appears to be one of the leading researchers in this field.

                                      1. re: yvonne johnson
                                        j
                                        Janet A. Zimmerman

                                        Thanks for the additional information, Yvonne. I've seen some of these articles before, but not all. I too am fascinated by this stuff, and am, in fact, working on a book that covers some of these topics.

                                        There's also an article in the March issue of Scientific American on exactly how the taste cells work. It's very technical, and doesn't discuss the "supertasting" phenomenon, but I found it interesting. And finally, in the March American Scientist, there's an article concerning the ways in which humans have developed various strategies for avoiding food poisoning -- the two they deal with are the use of spices and, oddly enough, "morning sickness." It's definitely off the topic, but also quite fascinating.

                                        1. re: Janet A. Zimmerman
                                          y
                                          yvonne johnson

                                          Janet, i have some stuff on morning sickness and other related topics that i'm posting on "not about food" board. hope you, and others, will join me there.

                                      2. re: Janet A. Zimmerman

                                        how could they feel more pain? The burn isnt a taste.
                                        You can have bland spicy chiles.

                          2. Not that there's anything disgusting about them, but there are a few things I simply cannot eat.

                            With lima beans, I think it's just that they were always so bland-tasting and mushy whenever I encountered them as a kid, that it seemed pointless to eat them when there was other, better, stuff on my plate.

                            Tongue - that's something else. I actually like the taste. It's just that I can't get past the sight of it in the deli case and the texture, even sliced. It just creeps me out.

                            I absolutely cannot abide beef liver, either. It's not the fact that it's liver, 'cause I love chopped chicken liver and I'm mad about foie gras in any form. It just tastes nasty to me and feels awful in my mouth.

                            Similarly, the texture of sea urchin is a problem for me. I've tried it twice and have come very close to losing it on the spot both times.

                            Considering how much else there is to eat in this world, I don't think I'm missing too much by leaving these few items off my list.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Dena

                              I'm with Samuel Johnson when it comes to cucumber. He wisely advised that it "should be well-sliced, dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out."

                              Oh, and celery. I have big problems with raw celery.

                              1. re: Jon Mitchell

                                I hate celery too. I remember when I lived i Russia and people would eat cucumber at the beach out of hand-like other people would eat an apple. Totally grossed me out. I'm OK with a little bit of cucumber in a salad, but in Russia they love cucumbers like it was a religion....

                                1. re: jenniegirl

                                  I eat cucumbers out of hand as well, but I can hardly stand apples. I like the flavor, fresh or cooked, so juice, cider, pies, sauce are all okay, but the texture of nearly all apples is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

                                  I eat them occasionally, just trying to expand my horizons, but I have had very few I really enjoyed whole. Slices are slightly better, but it still really depends on the apple.

                                  1. re: guate

                                    Well, I'm not a huge fan of apples either, although I do enjoy the whole applefest and apple orchard experience each fall in Wisconsin. One of the people who works with me said that she used to eat raw onions out of the garden like apples. I like JoAnn a lot-she's really sweet, very cute, a great teacher, but that just grossed me out completely.

                                2. re: Jon Mitchell

                                  i love cucumbers as long as they're fresh and sweet and crunchy.

                                  I, too, despise celery - anything related to celery. i hate that people all over the south (maybe other places, too, but this is where i live) put celery seed in slaw, chicken/tuna/egg salad, tartar sauce, etc...it makes me gag. and the stringyness...blech. and DON'T put celery in my bloody mary, i will kill you!

                                  i also hate fennel (mostly fresh fennel, but the seeds are annoying too). it reminds me too much of celery.

                                  1. re: sugarplumbs

                                    I hate celery too. It reminds me too much of those nasty black jelly beans I would get at Easter...

                                    1. re: jenniegirl

                                      really? i wouldn't say that - i kinda like those nasty black jelly beans!

                              2. Alas, nothing! From "variety meats" to raw mollusks--I like 'em all. I still eat everything on my plate.

                                Oh, wait! One thing I can't face on a menu--rabbit. Huggable bunnies are too engrained into my "pet psyche."

                                1. Canned soup. Absolutely every canned soup I've ever tried (as an adult). I'm not above using some kinds as an ingredient, but to eat it in a bowl as soup, can't do it! pat

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: pat hammond

                                    I wouldn't admit it to my co-workers, but....

                                    I like cream of mushroom soup, and I find it comforting to eat it right out of the can on a hard day.

                                  2. Chevre. Funny thing is, I used to eat it, and cook with it, in copious quantities. One day, I was eating in a Philadelphia restaurant when Stephan Pyles was the guest chef. I ordered the chiles rellenos, stuffed with oodles of chevre. It was delicious, but about halfway through it, it suddenly started to nauseate me. I don't know why. Ever since then, even tiny amounts of chevre in a dish, or on a salad, turns me off. Go figure.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Bilmo

                                      I also cannot stand the taste of chevre, or really, any other goat cheese. There was one, handmade by a Korean woman & sold at our farmer's market, which wasn't too bad, but that's only one - and I've tasted tons, being a vegetarian, which in the SF Bay area means half of the veg options contain goat cheese! It's odd, because I actually like sheep cheeses like pecorino and I don't mind goat milk feta, probably because the saltiness covers up the "goaty" flavor - but I hate lamb, mutton, and goat meat. In school I once spilled the grease from a tray of lamb sausages on my boots and pant-legs, and I had to go home and change, since the smell was so nauseating. Goat cheese has become even more of an issue since my new mother-in-law can't eat cow's milk but loves all sorts of goat cheese - it's tough to plan menus for family suppers.