HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Are there people who eat only cooked food?

Nothing raw, vegetables and fruit included.

Recently on a flight, I was seated next to a person who explained to me that she ate nothing that was not at least partially, if not totally, cooked. Even things like apples or bananas.

And she said it was not a medical issue, just a personal one.

Not one to quibble, I simply thanked her and gladly accepted her offer of her side salad and dish of lox from the in-flight meal.

Anyway, are there really groups of people out there that are totally anti-raw?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. that's really interesting - i've never heard of such a group, will be interested to see what people say.

      1. That might have been my MIL. Raw foods "upset her stomach." She subsists on ice cream, white wine, and canned soup.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tcamp

          Professional athlete your MIL? <grin>

        2. This is what comes of talking to people on planes.

          1. Ken Hom told me that Chinese food is always cooked. Even lettuce gets a quick boil. Can anyone think of a raw Chinese dish? PS Lox is not raw--do cured foods count as cooked?

            4 Replies
            1. re: mwhitmore

              Pickled or marinated cucumbers, radishes, daikon, etc. Seaweed might count as well.

              Lettuce cups for things like "ants up a tree" or "stir-fried squirrels" are not parboiled.

              Chinese people eat raw fruit -- any and all kinds.


              1. re: mwhitmore

                When we were in Shanghai over ten years ago we insisted that our guide eat with us, the restaurant had both Western and Chinese food. The guide was appalled that anyone would even consider eating salad because it was raw. This may well have changed and it seems that the Chinese do eat raw fruits, but it was surprising to us at the time.

                1. re: Sinicle

                  Traditional Chinese food still has little if any raw vegetables, aside from stuff marinated in vinegar and/or salt, but Western style food is relatively easy to get where I live. 7-11 actually sells one of the better garden salads available, and Subway uses raw vegetables in their toppings.

                  Raw fruit is perfectly fine, however.

                  1. re: Sinicle

                    Same experience when I was in Beijing in 1999. I was with a Danish colleague and we got our lunch from a Western deli to bring back to office.

                    One of our Chinese colleagues happened to pop by when we were about to start eating. The Danish colleague, holding a cucumber stick, was conversing with her and everything seemed normal. Then, as he bit his cucumber, the Chinese colleague let out a high-pitched scream which startled both of us nearly out of our seats! She exclaimed, "HOW CAN YOU EAT THAT?! IT'S RAW!!!!"

                    Of course, China - and Beijing - has moved forward quite a bit since.

                2. Historically in the west, especially England, the amount of food that was eaten raw, has been low. That was especially true in the middle ages, but to some degree or other extended into the 19th c.

                  1. Yup. Thee's one group of people who ONLY eat cooked food. They're called "babies"! '-)

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: Caroline1

                        My son's first food was raw avocado. His second food was banana.

                        I also don't consider breast milk as "cooked". Do you consider milk (cows, goats whatever) as cooked?

                      2. I talked to someone a while back who couldn't eat anything raw -- I don't remember the specifics, but yes, it was medically related. I can't remember if it was related to immune issues or digestive issues, but yes, this person had to cook everything.

                        And hated it. Hated feeling like a freak, hated answering questions.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: sunshine842

                          I know who it was now -- a friend of mine's daughter was battling leukemia (now in remission, hurray) -- and while she was undergoing the most-intense rounds of chemo and radiation, she was prohibited from eating anything that hadn't been cooked...it ended up being both immune- and digestive-related, as her stomach was so weak that uncooked food came back anyway, and her immune system was severely compromised by all the treatments.

                          Poor kid had been a fresh-fruit fiend before her diagnosis, so the whole family ended up going all-cooked, both as a show of support, but so that there wasn't stuff in the house that she wanted but couldn't have.

                          My friend went out for a much needed mom's night out in the midst of it, and said she wolfed an enormous salad and never appreciated a bowl of lettuce so much.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            Yes, my dad has recently gone through radiation, only cooked food allowed.
                            I hope your friend's daughter is doing better.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              Many cancer and AIDS patients. I am thinking of a relative with prostate cancer and a friend with AIDS. Both of these fellows generally followed healthy diets with a lot of fresh vegetables (though not necessarily raw). The diets related to their chemo were horrible stodge.

                              I'm happy to say that both of them are still alive and reasonably well.

                          2. Yes, I knew a guy who would not eat ANY fruit or vegetables, and therefore his whole diet was meat and bread (and other carbs, like pasta or rice - therefore, all cooked). He used to go to McDonald's and order cheeseburgers and pick off the pickles. I'm not sure how he managed with the ketchup on the burger.

                            Another friend and I persuaded him to try some raw mushroom once. He gagged and ran to the bathroom.

                            It was a weird aversion. I have no idea how it developed, since as far as I knew, the rest of his family ate relatively normally.

                            I would not be surprised in the slightest to hear that he died of bowel cancer one of these days, because his diet was terrible, and completely devoid of any decent dietary fibre.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: ursy_ten

                              I know several people like that.

                              1. re: ursy_ten

                                Ketchup isn't a fruit or vegetable, it's a food group!

                                1. re: ursy_ten

                                  I've met that guy too. Tried to take him out for breakfast in LA and didn't realize I'd chosen an organic health-conscious place. They had eggs, but they were almost all prepared with vegetables of some sort. He had a bagel and was truly devastated that they didn't serve coke, as that was the only thing he drank. I chose more carefully for the rest of our meals.

                                2. I eat only certain foods raw. No problem with sushi and tartare. But certain raw produce causes an allergic reaction. Doctors haven't figured it out. Maybe an enzyme or pesticide residue. Can't eat raw root vegetables. And sometimes have problems with stone fruit, apples, and lettuce. Out at restaurants I almost always have problems after eating salad. I get asthma and mouth blisters.

                                  Pickling, with salt or vinegar, or even slight heat like a parboil, fixes the problem.

                                  Many raw foods ARE NOT as healthy as those slightly cooked. The cooking is needed to make the nutrients available for digestion.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: JMF

                                    Problems with raw produce are commonly oral allergy syndrome - basically your body confuses the fruit or veggie with another allergen (like ragweed or birch) and it causes a reaction.

                                    I had severe OAS for a while, which eventually morphed into some 'true' fruit allergies. Most people with OAS can eat the foods that bother them when they are cooked - as of now, apples, pears, peaches, plums, cherries, nectarines and apricots are totally out for me, cooked or not. I used to work at a preschool - one of my students acciendentally wiped applesauce on my face and I got to go to the hospital.

                                    I don't eat much raw food at all, for a few reasons. Because of allergies and OAS, my safe raw produce includes berries, bananas (sometimes), pineapple, spinach, onions, and citrus. Besides that I have a digestive condition - my stomach is happier and works better when I eat warm food.

                                    1. re: jw615

                                      I have OAS as well so a lot of raw fruits, vegetables, and nuts are out for me. Mine doesn't sound quite as bad as jw615's though; most things that trigger my OAS I can eat if cooked (raw apples are a no go but applesauce is fine.) There are a few that I can't eat at all, like bananas. Thankfully I am good with lettuce and most standard salad fixings (except carrots) so I can at least enjoy that raw.

                                      1. re: jw615

                                        I have the same condition -- or mine is just slightly different. I can't eat much raw stone fruit -- peaches, plums, cherries, nectarines, Used to be apples and pears too, but I recently had some raw apple and pear and was ok - but that was the first time in a long time. If I cook the fruit then I can eat it fine. I also can't have raw green beans -- although I haven't tested that in 25 years of so.

                                        When I was a teen I was helping my mom cut some peaches which she was going to cook down. I got an itch under my chin and scratched it without washing my hands. My face swelled up something fierce.

                                        1. re: Disneyfreak

                                          Nowadays you can buy hospital-size boxes of latex (or silicon) surgical gloves.

                                          I keep them on hand all the time -- things like colored frosting don't dye my skin, I use them when I'm cutting up jalapenos (not only so I can't rub my eyes three hours later with the oil on my fingers, but keeps my sensitive skin from blistering where it gets burned by the chiles), keeps fingerprints off of my chocolates,e tc., etc., etc.

                                          We even used them last summer when we were making gallons of salsa to can for the winter -- after 30 pounds of tomatoes, your skin starts to get a little sensitive....

                                          I also use them if I have a burn or cut on my hands - keeps thing like chile oil and lemon juice out of the cut, and keeps the yuck factor out of the food.

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            FYI- nitrile gloves are so much better than latex- so are vinyl. They're stronger and less sensitive to the stuff that busts up latex. I don't think I'll ever not have a box of nitrile gloves in the house from now on. The only foods I use them on are hot chiles, but for not trashing your hands while cleaning the house, they're the best. They can also be reused, which is tough with latex.

                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                              but latex (assuming you're not allergic) are so much cheaper and easier to find than nitrile....they're only designed to be used once.

                                              I'm talking surgical-weight gloves -- not the long pink rubber gloves like you use to wash dishes.

                                              It's really important to retain your sense of touch and dexterity -- which you can do with latex.

                                    2. One of my friends had a coworker who had never eaten a salad until he was 22. They made him one at work, and he put it in the microwave.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: adventuresinbaking

                                        good heavens - -what was his background? Had he never heard of a salad?

                                      2. I've occasionally been put on diets that essentially include nothing raw for medical reasons - though the emphasis has always been placed on fruits/vegetables rather than meats.

                                        I don't normally eat loads of fruit except for citrus (and things like tomatoes/avacados that I gather are technically fruit), but the no raw veggies restrictions killed me.

                                        That being said, the reasons for my temporary limitations were always related to "ease of digestion". So I could also see a case of a person just having easier digestion by only eating cooked foods and is just going with it. Also, similar to someone being a vegetarian for a while and then feeling ill after encountering a meat product - I could see the same happening for the cooked food only seatmate.

                                        1. This person has obviously never eaten raw chocolate chip cookie dough.

                                          1. Yes, she says she has bad reactions to uncooked veggies and I have never seen her eat fruit. In fact, she will ask to have something cooked more in the microwave. I am not sure if it is an eccentricity or real digestive issue, it is her business not mine.

                                            1. uncooked vegetables and fruits cause A LOT more food born illness than any other foods or meats. This fact explains why certain illness prone or weakened folks shouldn't eat uncooked foods and stems essentially from poor washing. Listeria outbreaks occurred all over our country last year from cantaloupe contamination of all things, and killed 33 people. When's the last time anyone thought they'd have a raging potentially deadly stomach bug from eating cantaloupe for God's sake? CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks...

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: slowcoooked

                                                Being way too old to get pregnant, and having a sound constitution, I prefer to ingest small amounts of pathogens by way of in order to call my immune system to war against them and make me stronger and more resistant. I wash my produce, except for raspberries. I rinse citrus, because it's spent nearly a year outside.
                                                If I had an immune-compromising illness, I'd have to rethink it, but probably wouldn't do anything differently at first. Check out the studies that have been done regarding people who sterilize everything.

                                                1. re: slowcoooked

                                                  By the way, if I WAS pregnant, I would avoid raw cheeses, and Mexican cheeses in general, due to the possibility of listeriosis or other pathogens. Right now, Mexican cheeses are my cravings, and I enjoy them without worry. They're awesome.

                                                2. Are there people who eat airplane lox?

                                                  Just kidding.

                                                  My husband used to travel to China regularly for his job, and they were told not to eat anything raw there - salad, fruit, etc. due to the water quality. If the food had been washed in unpurified water, they were practically guaranteeing themselves a hospital visit. I wouldn't call it "anti-raw", but

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                    a very valid point for developing nations

                                                  2. Maybe raw food gives her terrible gas.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: redfish62

                                                      Which would be critical on a 6 hour flight.

                                                    2. I only know of one person who had to have all food cooked, and this was after a bone marrow transplant.

                                                      1. I know a few meat and potatoes type people that are so picky they will only eat cooked food.

                                                        One really hates all veggies and I'm pretty sure he's never had eaten fruit that wasn't baked into a pie.

                                                        Those people exist and I think they are missing out.

                                                        I never discriminate against food.
                                                        Disclaimer: Unless it's a cockroaches or spiders, I can't do cockroaches or spiders. I live in Florida. If you live in Florida you know what I mean.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                          as above, there are multiple medical scenarios which dictate cooked food. These folks know they're missing out.

                                                          1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                            I never really thought about it like this but I guess my husband falls into the category of eating all things cooked (sort of). He will eat sushi, lox, tartare and the like, but in the raw fruits and vegetable category, he only eats baby carrots and apples. Ironically, he doesn't like cooked carrots and he hates apple pie. He will also eat broccoli, if cooked, but not raw. That's pretty much it.

                                                            And he would die before he would eat lettuce or a raw mushroom (or a cooked mushroom).

                                                            It is not a medical thing...it goes back to his childhood where his father forced him to eat food that he considered healthy. I suppose he meant well, but boy did that backfire.

                                                            1. re: valerie

                                                              You are right that idea does back fire. My mom always said, try one bite and if you don't like it after you don't have to eat it.

                                                              Every so often that one bite would end up in us loving it. other times it just let my parents know we didn't care for it.

                                                              I noticed my grandma likes all her veggies cooked to mushy. She has mentioned something about her dentures but I'm not sure that is the whole answer.