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"Who-Knows-Why?" dislikes

I pretty much never start such a wide-open thread, but I am curious about how certain others relate to me in this theme.

I bet those of us who consider ourselves very widely interested in foods and flavors--we're the opposite of picky eaters, if you will--still have certain flavors that somehow don't click for us. Of course, cilantro is well known for being repellent to some people because of genetic reasons. So we can maybe take that off the table as "solved."

For me, someone who truly relishes variety in foods, I can only think of two ingredients that just somehow seem wrong to me, unless done in a subtle way: tarragon and hazelnut. I can't even say that they taste bad, exactly, but that they seem "wrong" for me.

Any others out there like that? (I'd like to discourage replies from people who have a long laundry list of things they dislike, because that's getting into another question.)

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  1. Heh. I love both tarragon and filberts.

    I also love bleu cheeses, but I can see why some people are repelled by them. They do have an unusual flavor. And maybe there's the rub. Things that taste truly distinctive are more apt to trigger negative gut reactions than foods/ingredients that have a certain verisimilitude to other foods/ingredients.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Perilagu Khan

      I am one of those with an aversion to blue cheese! I don't have the most sophisticated or learned cheese palate anyway, but I am so turned off by the smell alone. I have so far tried cambozola, a goats milk blue, and a roasted pecan blue cheese dip from Trader Joe's-- all of them supposedly on the milder end of thr spectrum, and all of them made me gag. All the others I've encountered, I haven't even been able to bring myself to try.

      1. re: ohmyyum

        How do you feel about olives, say oil-cured ones?

        1. re: sr44

          I have just gotten to the point where I can eat greek olives. I love all sorts of green olives. Black olives in a can, groovy. Maybe in the last year or 2 I have eaten greek olives. But the wrinkled oil cured ones. Yuck.

            1. re: Perilagu Khan

              And what's your position on blue cheese?

              ETA--I see your position below. A friend of mine dislikes both blue cheese and olives, and I think there's a flavor connection. I always help by eating both.

              1. re: sr44

                It does seem there's quite a few folks who loathe them both. Strange, as there's no obvious connection between the two items.

                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                  The only connection I can see between blue cheese and olives is that both can have a slightly bitter aftertaste. I've never met an olive I disliked, probably because their salt content covers the bitter flavors, but there are many blue cheeses I can't stand and the ones in this category taste intensely bitter to me. The ones I like--Stilton, Bleu de Bresse, Gorgonzola dolce--are creamy enough to offset the bitter bite.

      2. re: Perilagu Khan

        Here's one I haven't seen here.

        HORSERADISH ! I love heat. Not the problem. But there is something in the flavor that I dislike intensely. I have tried valiantly to like it. I have. On prime rib, etc. There was a Chinese restaurant that served a dish called pork and seeds. The accompanying hot mustard/hoeseradish was eaten with great gusto and grins and much brow wiping by my folks. It was like a rite of passage to dip the slice of tenderloin in the sauce, dredge in the toasted sesame seeds and then make painful sounds, pound the table, produce facial flushes and perspiration then repeat.

        I wanted that so much.

        *sigh*

          1. re: ItalianNana

            Hate hate hate horseradish, wasabi, mustard, bell peppers. Love spicy foods (I spend a lot of time in SE Asia), weird foods (fried crickets, cobra, sea snails), though organs kind of gross me out. Who knows how these things work.

        1. I cannot truly appreciate dry-aged beef. It seems to "sting" my tongue, and it smells wrong to me.

          1 Reply
          1. re: letsindulge

            Interesting, the only thing that has stung my tongue was frozen bacon that hd gone bad.

          2. For me, it's avocado. I've tried to like it, and it just doesn't work. I find it more or less tasteless, and I really dislike the texture. I used to think I was crazy since everyone else LOVED it, then I found out my mother and at least one cousin have the same reaction. I'll put up with it as a modest component of a composed dish, but generally avoid it. There are a handful of other foods I do not like (like will not eat for a million dollars), but avocado is the only one that I seem to perceive/experience differently that other people

            27 Replies
            1. re: mpjmph

              I can understand that. The only way I like avocado is in guac.

              Okra is another. As long as it's fried very crispy, great. But otherwise, no way in hell.

              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                My grocery store only recently (within the past year) started to carry fresh, raw, okra so I began to munch on it raw as a snack. Now I go through absurd amounts when they have a good looking selection. I asked a family member to get me some and they asked how many lbs (with much emphasis) I wanted them to get!

                I can totally understand people not liking it though. I'm a little less enthusiastic about cooked okra but I have less experience with those preparations of it (I need to get myself a good okra cook).

                1. re: Tovflu

                  Pickled okra is great, too. Completely different than cooked.

                  1. re: AmyH

                    I love okra...and pickled is the best!

                    1. re: The Professor

                      Pickled was my gateway to the world of okra!

                      1. re: AmyH

                        Same here. And then fried. Got to boiled with stewed tomatoes and had to put the brakes on. Wrong mouth feel. But i adore them pickled and fried.

                        1. re: suzigirl

                          I couldn't believe I was the one to introduce my 70 YO aunt to okra, fried or pickled, 2 years ago. her father was a grocer for many years and they ate all sorts of produce, but that one had missed them somehow.

                          I like okra, corn and tomatoes stewed, but it has to have a healthy shot of hot sauce, or yes it's just a foul pot of goo.

                          1. re: hill food

                            Foul pot of goo... now i can properly describe stewed okra. If I find it at my farmers market when it is in season I may try it again stewed but more tomato and less goo.

                            1. re: suzigirl

                              think of the radially sliced okra as just a thickener but don't over-stew it, leave some texture and definitely add fresh corn and hot sauce. and bay leaves. and (does it even need to be said?) garlic.

                              1. re: hill food

                                It doesn't need to be said but that's okay. About the corn though, is it cut from the cob or do you cut the cob in managable sized pieces?

                                1. re: suzigirl

                                  I strip the cob, but to each their own. I suppose frozen would be OK in that context.

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    Okay. Thanks. I will give it another go 'round. I try things again every few years to see if it has changed.

                                    1. re: suzigirl

                                      I meant to add: the corn gives the uhh, 'inherent texture' of the okra and tomatoes a nice crunch/counterpoint.

                                2. re: hill food

                                  Yes, the key is not to overcook it so it doesn't become gooey.

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    Or trim and quarter vertically, then fry quickly in a little olive oil. Much less slimy.

                                    Do not slice in the food processor.

                                  2. re: suzigirl

                                    Okra is the oyster of the vegetable world. I believe Livy said this.

                                    1. re: suzigirl

                                      'Fry' the okra first. ~ Slice, and fry in a hot pan just coated with oil. ~ Keep it moving by shaking, flipping or stirring. When the 'strings' mostly go away then incorporate it into your well seasoned Okra and Tomatoes.

                        2. re: Perilagu Khan

                          I love okra, but I grew up eating it. Fried is the best, but I'm not put off by the texture at all. During the winter I frequently make stewed okra with 1 pound of frozen okra and a can of diced tomatoes (plus salt and pepper). It's like summer in a bowl...

                          Tovflu - I've never tried raw okra, but will once the fresh stuff shows up at the farmers' market. I'm intrigued...

                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                            I was fortunate enough to grow up with Indian food, therefore I love okra. I have never had it in a recipe where it was slimy, and didn't know it had that reputation until I traveled to the US. Yes, it goes through a slimy phase when cooking, but when it is done sauteeing, it becomes dry.

                            In the US, I have been introduced to the joys of pickled okra (hot recipe), fried okra, and also raw - just last year. Raw was surprisingly good, when just picked and still warm from the sun and the garden.

                            When so many people say they hate okra because it's gooey, I just know it's because they have been the victims of bad recipes.

                            1. re: Rasam

                              I make an Indian version of fried okra. I slice it into small pieces, saute until thoroughly cooked and then sprinkle with turmeric, cayenne and a bit of garam masala. Very nice.

                          2. re: mpjmph

                            I am right there with you, mpjmph. I strongly dislike avacado, despite many attempts to like it. The texture is a problem for me but more than that, the flavor. I don't like the texture of raw bananas but love banana flavor and will eat banana bread, etc.

                            1. re: jlhinwa

                              I agree with the bananas. I love the taste but in the last few years I can't get past the texture. Love it in things though.

                              1. re: jlhinwa

                                While I eat a banana daily, and I love bananas in bread and pancakes, I can't stand the taste of banana in any other context, esp. when creamed in pies, custards and smoothies.

                                1. re: jlhinwa

                                  I hate -- no, loathe -- the texture, taste and smell of banana, plain and in any preparation.
                                  Always have. No idea why. It's the only food I feel so negatively about.

                                2. re: mpjmph

                                  No avocado for me, I just don't get it...smooth, tasteless mush in my mouth. However, I vacillate between liking and hating guacamole. I think it must depend on prep whether I like it or not - sometimes I load up expecting to like it as I did on a previous encounter only to find that I hate it. I repeat this over and over and sometimes it's great and others it's not...bipolar guacamole fan if you will.

                                3. My nemesis is thyme. When used with a gentle hand, it is fine. I use it in some of my cooking- off the top of my head, in my chicken pot pie and beef stew- but I only use a pinch in a big ol' pot of something. I find the taste to be overwhelming at times. I find my thyme aversion strange because I adore so many herbs and use them with reckless abandon at times. I love strong tasting things in general (stinky cheeses, briney olives, raw garlic) but I just find thyme to be offensive.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: mels

                                    How different we are! Thyme is my favorite herb.

                                    1. re: mels

                                      I love thyme, but I do have a friend who really, profoundly dislikes it, in that visceral way that makes me wonder and made me start this thread.

                                      1. re: mels

                                        I also only care for tihyme in small amounts. To heavy and it is just to earthy.

                                        1. re: mels

                                          I dislike thyme also. I just skip it when it says to add it to a recipe. I grew in to cumin, and cilantro, but I cant abide with thyme. It really does over power in a bad soapy way.

                                          1. re: BarbaraC28

                                            I don't hate it, but I think most recipes seem to call for too much of it. I have to halve it (or more) or I get overwhelmed by it.

                                        2. For me it is saffron. And like you, I cannot say it tastes bad, just "wrong."

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                            Perilagu Khan's "how different we are!" applies here, too: saffron is one of my favorites.

                                            I'm with the OP on hazelnut, but I'd also add rosemary. I grow it for its flowers and fragrance, but both the taste and mouthfeel--no matter how well chopped--is also "just wrong" to me.

                                            Then there's shellfish, but there we're moving towards dislikes, rather than "wrongness."