I’ve told you about things I LIKE to eat, but I think it’s time to talk about what I DON’T like. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I’m sure someone will bring the thing I don’t like, but on a day to day basis, I eat what I like and eschew everything else.
“Eschew” means to reject. No pun intended. But seriously folks. . . .
Yes, though it seems I will eat anything, there are some things I won’t–or will do so just to be polite but never enjoying it. (Exception: soy, because I’m allergic, more later.) I admit to being a bit heavy on the salt sometimes, but at the table after I’ve tried a bite. Lately I think most anything needs a bit more salt, but that’s probably just me.
Make no mistake, there are some things in this world that I do not like to eat, so here we go.
Candied Sweet Potatoes. At Thanksgiving, one thing I won’t eat is anything that combines sweet potatoes and brown sugar, marshmallow and/or pineapple. “Candied,” they call it. I call it something else less polite. Yes, it’s a “southern tradition,” but you know what? I, too, grew up in the south, and we never had that abomination. Absolutely disgusting. You can have mine.
You want good sweet potatoes? Roast them like you would white ones until they’re soft, cut them open while hot, put real butter and salt in the flesh and mix. Want something fancier? Here you go. And use regular or smoked paprika, if you don’t want it hot (and I don’t.)
- Canned sweet potatoes. Equally dreadful stuff. Save it for the fallout shelter.
Liver. What can I say? It tastes awful no matter what you do to it. Know what a liver is for? The defense rests.
Kidney. See Liver, above.
Eggplant. My mother used to do all kinds of things to eggplant to make them taste like food. They don’t. I once made an eggplant lasagna. What a waste of cheese. Eggplant Parmesan is slightly passable, because there is enough other stuff on it to kill the taste of the eggplant. Keep that slimy, fish-gut-like Baba Ganoush on YOUR side of the table please; I’ll have the hummus.
Chayote squash/mirlitons. In Texas and the west, they’re called chayote squash or Mexican pears. (Like Mexico has its own pear as France does, right?) In New Orleans, you will find them called “mirlitons” (locals pronounce it “melitons”) growing in backyards. Nobody knows how they got there, they just grow on the fence. My parents were the recipients of endless paper grocery bags of those hard green things “because they had four kids.” (In other words, nobody else wanted them either.) I always thought they would eventually ripen and turn another color, like say, tomatoes. Nope. They are also tasteless and useless, unless you’re trying to break a window. Try as one might, one cannot make them taste like manna from heaven. No, I never tried to, because I hate them.
My grandmother once made stuffed mirlitons, cutting them in halves like avocados and making a meat/rice stuffing that used the flesh taken out of the shells. I ate them because the meat/rice part of the stuffing was really good. Otherwise, it was that waste-of-space green thing that grows in the backyards of relatives. We were required to eat them no matter what. But I bet my parents haven’t seen one in years. . . .
Beets. My parents LOVED these icky, red-bleeding root vegetables out of a can. YUCK. About ten years ago I made a chopped salad for a Thanksgiving week get-together and it involved roasting red beets. This was from Martha Stewart Living, no less, so I did everything to spec. Everybody told me how delicious the salad was. Then I took a bite of it. First words out of my mouth were, “Oh, God, this is awful!” Boy did I get some funny looks that day. But it’s because I really don’t like beets, and I never will.
- I recently went to a very nice dinner buffet, and the salad was gorgeous. I picked up what I thought was mango. Nope–yellow beets. AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!
Soy. Let me say up front that I discovered in recent years that I am allergic to soy. But when I moved to Houston, I found stuff in the regular grocery store that you could only find in far-flung tiny health food stores in New Orleans (back when the Internet was just getting started as a shopping medium.) I found soy milk and dried soy beans with recipes right on the package! I started having soy milk daily and vegan soybean chili for lunch.
Any Texan will tell you that you do NOT put beans in chili under any circumstances.
I have tried soy-derived fake dairy and tofu-based meat-alike products as well, in order to eat “low calorie” and “healthy.” Know what? I kept eating that stuff thinking it was good for me. It wasn’t. And the veggie crowd keeps telling me it so healthy! NOT.
Beans, beans, good for your heart. . . and I’ll leave it at that. You do NOT want to be standing behind me in line, OK? It’s that bad. That’s how I eventually realized that I’m allergic to soy (which is why you shouldn’t stand too close if I’ve eaten it) and it’s what made me increasingly hypothyroid as well. Don’t insist that I eat soy, because I will not. Ditto for soy milk; almond milk is so much better.
Potted Meat. The salty stuff with the pate-like consistency does not hide the fact that this is a product similar to Spam. Unless there is an emergency, such as a tornado, hurricane, or other disaster, I’m leaving this stuff alone.
Spam. See Potted Meat, above.
Tuna. Having been a cat parent for nearly 20 years, I have inhaled my share of cat food aromas. I grew up eating tuna fish salad, but at some point as an adult, I became intolerant of tuna. I have bought it on occasion for my elderly cat to try to get him to eat; he has since passed on, but even he wouldn’t eat it.
I believe all tuna sold in the United States should be clearly marked as CAT FOOD. Sorry, but that’s what it tastes like, no matter how much mayonnaise and other stuff you glop into it. Segway into. . . .
Sushi and other Japanese foods. I’ve been around Japanese people for 26 years, and I love ’em. But I did *not* take to the cuisine the way others have. I once met a friend in New Orleans for lunch on a visit, and we ended up at a Japanese restaurant. She told me what to order, and I kept sticking it with the chopsticks to make sure it was dead. I believe any raw fish bait should be on a hook at the end of a fishing line, not decorated with rice and called an “entree.”
- Green Tea. Go mow the lawn and brew the grass clippings in hot water. Same thing.
Cabernet Sauvignon. I like wine, but I don’t drink it too often. I just don’t. I have a wine bar that’s loaded. But much as I’ve tried, I don’t like this stuff. For red, I like Merlot or Shiraz or Red Truck’s red table wine. In white, I’ll take a Reisling, Chardonnay, maybe a white Zinfadel (which is actually pink, for some reason.) But Cabernet Sauvignon tastes like Balsamic vinegar drunk straight from the bottle. Would you do that? Me either.
Pinot Grigio. Tastes like the grape juice went bad. Mold optional.
Persimmons. Thankfully, these beautifully deceptive fruits are not available all the time; not that I’ve seen, anyway. I’ve had them just once, at a Buddhist activity where they were served after the meeting was over on New Year’s Day. UGH. I had to be nice to the Japanese ladies, I didn’t want to be rude. But no more of these things for me. It was so bad it seared away the memory.
Cream of Mushroom/Chicken/whatever soup. Don’t get me wrong, I like soup. Especially a good home-made soup. Canned soup isn’t bad under certain circumstances, like you’re way too sick to cook. But at some point in the mid-20th Century, it became a commonplace thing to add a can of cream of something to a dish to make it do something else. I am not one of those people who believes a can of cream of something will improve a dish. And I do NOT want it in my pantry. Which leads me to. . . .
Casseroles. My mother used to boil some shell pasta, put some gravy in it, throw some cheese on top, bake it for an hour and call it a “casserole.” I was never sure exactly what that word meant, especially when I left home to marry and cook on my own. However, other interpretations include the aforementioned tuna (a/k/a “cat food”), beef, chicken, liver, and a thousand other various ingredients.
I have a rule: I do not cook, bake or create anything called “casserole.” I don’t care how good it looks, I don’t *do* casserole.
- Green bean casserole. A big deal at the holidays, I have yet to find a good recipe for this that is not similar in texture to sherbet mixed into punch. I’m not in a hurry, either.
Jello. Ah, the edible rubber of youth. Included in every church social and holiday dinner I can remember. (Now the bane of hospital and nursing home food as well.) Shaped in Bundt pans and things called “Jello molds,” with canned fruit cocktail thrown in the bottom, its ubiquitous texture and potent artificial color now nauseates me. You can have it, and those desserts made with Cool Whip mixed with Jello. I’ll make my own fresh gelatine desserts from scratch. (Here’s a real tasty one.)
Cool Whip/Reddiwip. OK, these are two entirely different products, but they are intended as dessert toppings. Why does dessert HAVE to have a topping? If it does, why must it be loaded with petrochemicals? Cool Whip is “non-dairy,” but it’s not “healthy” by any means. If you’re going to have some delicious ripe strawberries, why not just put some whipped motor oil on top? It’s nearly the same thing–hydrogenated vegetable oil.
You pay $3.50 for some beautiful ripe Texas-grown strawberries, or worse, gorgeous, red raspberries, and you put *that* stuff on top? Shame on you.
Reddiwip is cream in a can, but. . .how natural is it? It does have real cream, as well as sugar and corn syrup, “natural and artificial flavors,” plus a propellant to “whip” it and get it out of there. Is it that much trouble to whip your own REAL cream fresh, whenever you want some? They sell it in little bitty containers, folks. Get out your hand mixer or whisk and get moving.
Margarine. For the same reasons as I don’t want Cool Whip and Reddiwip, I don’t mess with margarine. I grew up on Parkay Margarine, and later, we had Diet Parkay. When I married, I bought the same thing. Then one day I was introduced to real butter and never looked back. Always unsalted butter, since salt can ruin your cake frosting.
Jello-style canned cranberry sauce. Having made the most incredible cranberry sauce ever for a few years now, I do not see any justification for buying this. It’s sold all year around, but. . .why? Here’s a quick, easy cranberry sauce that will knock your socks off, using minimal tools and time. First time I made it, folks were licking the hot pan clean. For a crowd, better make at least a double batch. It’s sweet, then it whacks you upside your head. It’s THAT good.
Sherbet in punch. A few years ago I found a really good punch recipe that everyone at work liked, and was simple to do at the office. Eventually, I became known for this punch and where I ordered the cakes for retirement and other parties. One day a very nice lady said to me, “For a baby shower, you could put a quart of sherbet in it.”
Much as I admire this lady, that was one awful suggestion! I’ve had that before–thick, viscous and cloyingly sweet. If you’re going to have punch, have punch. If you’re going to have sherbet, have it. Don’t mix the two, that’s disgusting.
Boiled cabbage. Stinks up you and the house. DAYS before either smell goes away. Fresh raw coleslaw is better. Make your own.
French’s fried onions in a can. Eeeeewwww!!! Don’t even want to KNOW what’s in those. Perfect for the top of the green bean casserole that I won’t mess with.
Yogurt. I gave up most dairy a few years ago. I confess, I used to eat the little fruity yogurt cups. When I started looking at the calorie counts, sugar grams, and additives, I decided ice cream was a better option–especially when I found that some ice creams have HALF the sugar of the allegedly “healthy” yogurt. Besides, wouldn’t YOU rather eat ice cream?
If the yogurt goes bad, how will we know? Fruit, lots of sugar and other additives are there to kill the taste of the yogurt. Eat ice cream, for Pete’s sake!
Well, that’s enough for tonight. More as I think of it, but this is a pretty good start. Actually, I think it’s most of the stuff I don’t like. There’s a lot of stuff I do like, it’s just that this is a good list of stuff I don’t.
Next post will be all about roasting your Thanksgiving turkey so that you will be giving thanks to ME for telling you how to do it. If you are intimidated by the idea of the turkey, I will help you get over that and happily await any opportunity to have a turkey.
And as always, you’re welcome to comment, just be nice, please. What don’t you like to eat?