Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Jul 10, 2011 04:57 PM

Foods that unreasonably gross you out...

Yes, a lot of it's cultural (many cultures eat feet and heads, for instance, while I'm sure most Americans would be grossed out by that) but I'm talking about the ones to which you yourself have an unreasonable response - you know you're being irrational, but you just can't help retch a little.

We butterflied a chicken and roasted it for dinner the other night. The oven rack was too high so the top got cooked but the meat closer to the bone was still quite pink, so we popped the undercooked stuff into the fridge to cook it up in a stir-fry the next night. We feed our dog raw food, so I butcher raw chicken on a daily basis, but somehow, ripping away the half-cooked flesh from the bones was SO much more revolting. I almost had to wait for my husband to get home from work to finish the job as it was making me sick to my stomach. Spam is the other one for me. I literally got sick once because a roommate watched a Dateline special on a man who ate nothing but spam for a year - seeing his pancake-shaped breakfast spam and his turkey-shaped Thanksgiving spam sent me racing to the bathroom to retch. Seeing spam advertised at the Burger King's in Hawai'i instantaneously made me lose my appetite on the way to our restaurant.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not judging someone else loving Spam. I have no idea why I have such a visceral reaction. I've never even tried the stuff! But it got me curious as to what other people's instant turn-offs were. Anyone else out there as crazy as I am?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Marzipan (due to traumatic childhood incident - it is the mouthfeel of marzipan, not the flavour - i LIKE almond/almond flavour in everything else).

    The tough bits of Jello. I dont know what causes this (not dissolving the crystals properly?) but as a kid, sometimes Jello would have odd chewy bits in it randomly. I still can't really thinkg directly about that feeling in my mouth without feeling like gagging.

    5 Replies
    1. re: montrealeater

      Hi, montrealeater:

      Beeg +1 on the marzipan. THANK YOU for the remark on distinguishing mouthfeel from flavor, especially. Almonds, almond flavor=great. Marzipan=Run Away!

      I'm also this way with olives. CanNOT eat canned olives whole because of their mouthfeel, but love extra-strong evoo, and chopped olives in and on things. I know this is completely unreasonable, but I need to look away when my wife is snarfing down the take from an olive bar.

      This thread is a good adjunct to "Cowering in Fear" by my friend Kaimukiman.


      1. re: montrealeater

        I can't even think about Jello......shudder

        Seeing the open end of any vein in meat nearly makes me vomit.

        1. re: cleobeach

          Wow cleo! I thought I was the only one! I absolutely can't stand Jello, it's the consistency, it's too unnatural. Any gelatin for that matter makes me gag. Thank God, I'm not the only one. I'm going to take a screenshot of this so I can show it to people when they say "Really??? You don't like JELLO?????" like I'm some kind of pedophile lol.

          1. re: bwinter714

            +2 on the Jello (any gelatin/ jellied/ jello-ish item) and yes on the vein thingy. Actually, anything that gives me the same feeling as when someone touches the inside off my elbow or back of my knee such as veins, chicken wings, offal of any kind, etc.. Instant queasy. :(

            1. re: bwinter714

              My husband hated jello due to it being served too often on Navy ships I suspect. He always called it "nervous pudding".

        2. Canned fruit cocktail. The look, the smell, the thought...just nasty.

          1 Reply
          1. re: meatn3

            +1. and 2. and 3.

            in my food science lab in grad school we had to do a quality control experiment with canned fruit cocktail that included tasting and comparing each component of several brands. fortunately my professor knew that i suffer from fructose malabsorption so i was exempt from the tasting part, but even the odor and appearance was enough to make me gag more than once.

            and another biggie for me - the mere idea of cream of wheat makes me sick because it was pretty much the only thing i could eat after my first oral surgery and i associate it with pain and nausea. of course now that i no longer eat gluten i couldn't have it anyway, but i still shudder when i see it in the cereal aisle at the grocery store.

            but i think the worst is sweetened dried coconut. the stringy texture and the way it squeaks between your teeth and then turns grainy? blurgh.

          2. Mayonnaise. It is not any of the ingredients as oil, eggs, lemon juice etc are perfectly fine in other applications--even together. It is not the texture, because sour cream, yogurt, marshmallow fluff and other white, creamy foods are also perfectly fine.
            But please do not put anything containing mayonnaise near me. As far as I can tell I have had no traumatic experience with it... but after having it a few times I can honestly say it is the only food I regularly encounter that I cannot bear the sight or taste of. Why? No idea.

            12 Replies
            1. re: iluvcookies

              I'm with you on the mayonnaise hate, when it's on its own. I cannot stand plain mayo on a sandwich or otherwise - it makes me retch and gag and just tastes so nasty ad feels awful in my mouth.

              Yet I actually like things like thousand island dressing that contain some mayo, or other sauces/dressings that use it mixed in with other spicy/flavorful ingredients. It's just something about mayo on it's own that I find horribly disgusting and nasty.

              1. re: sockii

                Yep on the mayo. Ugh - I try to avoid sandwiches with them. I'd rather have them dry or with mustard rather than mayo.

                1. re: sockii

                  I'm the same way... plain mayo = gross. a well-flavored aioli = tasty. i know it's weird but that's just how it is

                2. re: iluvcookies

                  Agree! I thought I was the only one! It's slimy...

                  1. re: iluvcookies

                    I hate commercial mayo with the flaming passion of 1000 suns but I can eat a little bit of home-made mayo. It's better if it's aioli or something like that.

                    I've never had a traumatic experience with it but I just really do not like the flavour. I will not eat burgers or sandwiches with it or dips that taste of mayo. Blech. It's the one thing that really turns me off.

                    1. re: petra_reuter

                      I used to work with not one, but two, guys who hated mayonnaise on that level.

                      On a business trip to Germany, neither of them thought to say "no mayo" -- when their burgers arrived (this was at a Hyatt) with a dollop of mayo ON the burger-- I wasn't sure whether to watch in fascination or bolt from the room when not one, but TWO grown men stopped just short of a toddler's icky-icky dance expressing their disgust.

                      I opted for shocked fascination and horror, only because my departure would have meant an even bigger spectacle than they were already putting on. (One of them was the same guy who tried to pay for his McDonald's the prior day with a US greenback, because "McDonald's is an American company")

                      Yeah, it was a looooong trip.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        Very few things in the world are as disgusting to me as warm mayo. I can't imagine eating it on a burger. Yet I have no problem with Russian dressing on a hot corned beef sandwich.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          So gently we bicker
                          over ways that we differ
                          of our hatred or love
                          of so grand an emulsion
                          as the gift of the Mayo.

                          Myself be a lover
                          even a slatherer
                          both of burgers and fries.

                          Born of some whip
                          giving blend to the eggs and the oil
                          becomes silk of the beauty of Mayo.

                          1. re: FoodFuser

                            And of course, if I make my own mayo, I can eat it any way I like.

                          2. re: sunshine842

                            I'm not quite that bad but I was also not raised in a barn like those two apparently were. I have never thrown a fit over my dislike. If something like a burger comes out with mayo I'll usually discard the bun and scrap off as much as possible. Especially at a nicer place - at McDonald's I'm sending that badboy back for a remake.

                            1. re: petra_reuter

                              oh, you're too polite! I can't imagine scraping it off and being ok with eating something that might have miniscule amounts of mayo! I worked as a nanny for a while and hands down the most difficult part (of living with a family, travelling, doing everything for a childe) was making sandwiches with mayo on them. I had to touch a knife that was touching mayo!

                              I have a t-shirt - given to me as a gift - that says "nobody likes mayo." It has a cartoon of a ketchup and mustard jar playing soccer, as mayo stands off to the side all alone.

                          3. re: petra_reuter

                            I like mayo okay, but don't like it on burgers at all. I will dunk the odd french fry in it, if I also have a little A-1 sauce to alternate with.

                        2. Sadly, for me it's mushrooms. It's a fungus... with gills. I have a hard time with that, especially big ones like portobellos. I'll eat mushrooms at a restaurant if they are cut up very small.

                          Oh, and the "skin" that forms on the top of homemade pudding if you don't cover it with plastic wrap. I know some people like it, but it freaks me out.

                          28 Replies
                          1. re: kathleen221

                            Yep, mushrooms are lower than vegetables, most of which I cant stand - it's both a flavor and texture thing!

                            1. re: tracylee

                              Me too! The combination of texture with that earthy (dirty!) flavor just doesn't work for me. I keep trying again periodically to see if I have changed my mind. Not so far!

                              1. re: jlhinwa

                                Mushrooms are on my list but for the texture only, I actually love the taste. My favourite soup is a bunch of different kinds of mushrooms sauteed and then hand blended (key!) with cream and seasonings, it is DELICIOUS.

                                But that texture, firm but soft, something about the way it feels when biting into it, yeuch.

                                1. re: montrealeater

                                  I can relate- I don't like big portabello mushrooms because of their tough texture. Those mushrooms in Tom Yum soup also have a texture I can't handle.
                                  Buttons and creminis I can eat any which way.

                                  1. re: montrealeater

                                    I'm with you. I used to think I hated mushrooms altogether... until I had porcini ravioli in Roma. So GD delicious! I just hate the texture of big pieces of mushrooms. If it's chopped real small, it's fine.

                                    1. re: Firenzilla

                                      you know who else doesn't like cooked mushrooms? raccoons in the back yard. trust me on this.

                                    2. re: montrealeater

                                      i know this is like almost a year old post, but i'm just wondering about that soup you that something you make or have had made at home? do you have a recipe for it?? that sounds absolutely delicious...i've been looking for a really good mushroom soup recipe lately.

                                    3. re: jlhinwa

                                      Ha! Whenever I read a review of something that is said to have an "earthy" flavor, I think, "So it tastes like dirt?"

                                      1. re: kathleen221

                                        Ha! me too. Earthy is not a good thing, to me. Which is why I'm not a big fan of chard because I taste minerals, like soil.

                                        1. re: kathleen221

                                          Bill Maher says beets should be called "dirt jello."

                                        2. re: jlhinwa

                                          Oh THANK GOD! I had visions of being lynched on a foodie site when I finally admitted my aversion to this fungus masquerading as a gourmet vegetable delicacy.

                                          For me, I'm not sure if it has to do with hearing the oft-told story of how my brother had to have his stomach pumped when he ate mushrooms out of the yard, or if that was just the beginning of my disgust....

                                          At a cooking class in Savannah I did try, (and enjoy!) a mixture of finely diced mixed mushrooms (both dried/reconstituted and fresh of different varieties) in a small stuffed tomato, but wouldn't want to clean, much less cook or eat them at home. Yeah. Not gonna happen.

                                          I don't know whether the slimy texture of cooked mushrooms is worse than the smell, or it's the sight of the gills *gags* that keeps me away, but my throat says "Danger, danger!"

                                          My daughter LOVES them, I believe, since she always got them off my plate and out of anything I otherwise wanted to eat! I *saved* them for her! LOL

                                          1. re: Kathrynwitte

                                            I gotta wonder if there is something hard-wired in our skulls that the mushroom aversion is so common. I know how to distinguish between a real and false morel, but am scared to chance it foraging on my own. maybe it's like the natural aversion to snakes (might be poisonous!) kinda makes sense.

                                            1. re: hill food

                                              I LOVE to go morel hunting, and to take led mushroom walks, but... eating them? No, thanks! Strange how I won't touch them, but I point them out to others... who then clamor to be my "hunting buddy"...

                                              1. re: Kathrynwitte

                                                don't get me wrong I absolutely love morels, I just second guess myself and leave it to the pros. if I were in your 'hood I'd love to go out "hunting"

                                              2. re: hill food

                                                I both like mushrooms and have no "natural" aversion to snakes. Which either disproves your theory or proves that I'm unnatural. But I do have enough common sense to be wary when I think I might be encountering one (mushroom or snake) that's poisonous.

                                                1. re: guilty

                                                  just remarking on the number of those that do. I have no overwhelming aversion either, while I've never been poisoned or bitten, my caution factor goes towards the roof when I encounter either.

                                                2. re: hill food

                                                  I think it is really hard to mistake a false morel from a real one. The thing I am most scared of when I go morel hunting is not finding them. I just acquired a little log cabin last year with my sister and two friends of ours (our women's retreat) right in the middle of prime morel country in Michigan. It takes a long time to figure out where they grow....... but oh, how delicious those suckers are. Sauteed in butter with a little fresh tarragon and chive.

                                                  1. re: Willa

                                                    We happened upon some once. We were scared that they were false ones, so we put them in the fridge and didn't get our research done soon enough, because by the time we verified them, they had dried up - awkwardly. We are worse than amateurs in the morel-hunting world.

                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                      Oh those experienced morel hunters are a special kind of sneaky. I'm not very good at all. But there really is not another mushroom that looks like a morel. The false morels don't look much like morels. Then there are the "half frees." Where the cap is separated from the stem. Those are a little harder to distinguish. And even the true morel has a bit of toxin in it.

                                                      1. re: Willa

                                                        I've seen comparative photos, and while the surface, uhh furrowing? is distinctive and the hollow vs. solid stem difference is obvious, I can see how an amateur might stumble onto a liver transplant waiting list.

                                                    2. re: Willa

                                                      mmm I could skip even the tarragon and chive.

                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                        Agreed. I was mushroom hunting with some friends in the Huron National Forest, Michigan. They know exactly how to do it and at the end of the day we had a huge bowl full. Our hostess said that she was going to saute the mushrooms in butter, tarragon and chives. If you saw my post about my onion phobia you will understand why my twin and I looked at each other and blanched when she said that. OMG, no! Don't ruin the morels with chives! But they were brand new spring chives and she didn't use many of them. They didn't taste like onions, thank God. The tarragon was lovely. Ohhhh, if only I could find the morels myself.....

                                            2. re: kathleen221

                                              I was going to post the exact same thing about the porotobellos. I had to de-gill them, and I nearly gagged. My pasta dish with mushrooms came out perfect, except that I was too freaked out to eat it.

                                              1. re: kathleen221

                                                Mushroom texture bothers me too...but I love mushrooms sauteed in a lot of butter. As long as they've expelled most of the water.

                                                1. re: kathleen221

                                                  DS is the same about mushrooms, to the point where I wouldn't even have CANS or JARS of mushrooms in the house. I, on the other hand, ADORE them. One time I found big portebellos on sale at the grocer. Hid them in the back of the frig until he was out of the house and grilled them on the George Foreman (his). I relished them and scrubbed the grill clean and removed the wrappers before he came home. Sadly, that was probably the last time I've eaten them at home.

                                                  1. re: kathleen221

                                                    Oh I adore that skin! I prefer the skin part to the actual pudding underneath, lol. I get how it could bother some people though.

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      THANK YOU! The look, the smell (gah), the texture and the taste! The most disgusting thing I've ever encountered.

                                                      1. re: donelikedinner

                                                        I've never been able to bring myself to try cottage cheese. I think it's like rice pudding: You either love it or hate it. My daughter loves it, and thinks of it as lumpy ice cream.

                                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                                        That's okay- more for me. With a tasty cut-up tomato, some shredded lettuce, and capers. Wow.

                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                          Lots of fresh ground pepper and maybe a little hot sauce and I'd eat the whole container.

                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                            trader joe's canned pineapple chunks are the BEST! and eaten with cottage cheese, ithey taste like a delicious dessert, and totally guilt-free!

                                                            and summer tomatoes with cottage cheese and lawrey's seasoned salt….YUM! in off-season, i'll use the "fresh salsa" pico de gallo (grocery store produce refrigerated case) for that tomato hit!

                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                              Yeah, I had that growing up- loved it. For some odd reason my mom would make enchiladas and put a little side of shredded iceberg lettuce, a spoonful of cottage cheese, and a pineapple ring.

                                                              TJ's pineapple- light or heavy syrup? No bias there, just curious.

                                                              1. re: EWSflash


                                                                the label says ingredients are: pineapple, pineapple juice. from the philippines.

                                                                really the best canned pineapple i've ever eaten -- and in fact rivals much of the really good fresh pineapple that i've had.

                                                                in fact, i'm going to be having that for breakfast, now that i'm reminded of my little pineapple stash!

                                                          2. re: ipsedixit

                                                            I've always hated cottage cheese with a passion. Couldn't understand why anybody eats it. Then I started living in another country than the U.S. and fell in love with the stuff. Turns out it's not cottage cheese that sucks. It's AMERICAN cottage cheese that sucks. Real cottage cheese is made of milk and cream. Read the ingredient list on any American cottage cheese and wonder why people who eat it don't all have two-headed kids.

                                                            1. re: emu48

                                                              mine do, and I always say they're better than just the one.

                                                              ehh we could easily spin this off into a diatribe about agro-business. this is funny, as years ago in a different forum (Salon's Table Talk), a US ex-pat in Italy was wondering what to use in place of American cottage cheese... a country with 3000+ varieties in all textures and this, something you can make yourself, you can't figure out.

                                                              1. re: emu48

                                                                I agree ... most American cottage cheese is gawdawful.
                                                                One exception to that (at least here in the northeast) is the FRIENDSHIP brand. Delicious, and no gums or starches added. I love the stuff.