some foods I don’t like


When I started writing this post about the foods I don’t like, I thought it was kind of funny. I’m a total foodie (sorry, but I like that term), so in theory I’ll eat anything, no matter how weird it is. But most of these aren’t “weird” foods — there are a whole bunch of totally un-weird things I just can’t bring myself to eat. Then today Shauna sent me a link to this Tyson advertisement, and it really bothered me. Are we just supposed to give up and feed our kids chicken nuggets for dinner every night? The package claims the ingredients are all natural. Okay, but have you checked the nutrition information on Tyson’s site? Their chicken strips are 42% fat, the tenders are 54% fat, the fun-shaped nuggets are 57% fat, and the Southern-style nuggets are a staggering 70% fat. I don’t know about you, but I think we can do better. Times have changed. I grew up on boil-in-the-bag veggies, so it was no surprise I didn’t want to eat my spinach. But I have a daughter of my own, and I like to think one of the reasons she always ate just about anything was because I took the time to cook for her and show her I cared. Yes, work gets in the way sometimes. Unless you’re rich enough to be able to afford a full-time maid, there will be plenty of nights when you have to order take-out, or even rush something frozen to the table. But feeding our kids crispy, bread-encased brown food every day is teaching them a lesson that it doesn’t matter where food comes from, or we don’t have to worry about what we’re putting into our bodies. I think we can do better.

Now at the risk of contradicting everything I just said, here’s the list of things I won’t eat. Even if I’ve been teased about this list before, I know I’m a good eater. Still, after I was done typing this list, I had to laugh at myself a little bit.

1. String Beans. I mentioned this dislike to someone just today, and they looked at me like I had three heads. This dates back to boil-in-the-bag veggies. I love spinach now, but I’m scarred for life when it comes to string beans. I pretty much hate any kind of green bean, even those snow peas that you see in a lot of stir-fries. Seriously, I can’t even smell string beans without feeling sick. Yes, you can feel bad for me now.


2. Cucumbers. I know this makes no sense, but cucumbers really freak me out. I’ll have pickled ones, like you get at some Korean restaurants — that’s different. (And of course I like regular pickles too.) But If we’re dining out together and there is some sliced cucumber in our salads, you can have mine.

3. Pears. What?! Okay yes, I’d eat some yummy pear pie thingy, but don’t come near me with a grainy, mealy fresh pear unless you want to give me nightmares.

4. Potatoes. Seriously. Yes, I love French fries and mashed potatoes, but I didn’t start liking mashed until I was a grown-up and learned how to make them right. But if there is a baked potato anywhere near me, I’m probably going to get really grossed out. Except maybe this at place in New Orleans.

5. Cantaloupe. Okay, 25 people probably just decided they’ll never read my blog again, but it’s true. I can’t stand the stuff. Honeydew Melon goes on the list too. I do love watermelon though. Phew.

bubble tea

6. Bubble Tea. Yes, I have a couple of favorite bubble tea spots in Chinatown that I’ve written about before, but I only order mine sans bubbles. Seriously, you can choke on those with the huge straws. Do not want.

7. Gummy Anything. I know this isn’t real food, but it goes on the list. I guess I’m not disgusted by gummy bears, but please don’t offer me any, ever. That goes double for Swedish fish.

8. Apricots, Prunes, and Plums. Okay, these are different fruits, but I see them as the same scary thing. Peaches are awesome. I love peaches. Anything else like that freaks me out. Figs are debatable.

9. Radishes and Bell Peppers. Yes, I know these veggies are not related, but they seem to show up raw in a lot of salads. Ewwwwww. I have been known to roast red peppers and sometimes use those marinated jarred ones in my cooking though.


10. I saved the best for last because it drives foodies crazy — Beets. I can’t stand the taste, and I can’t stand the smell. I’ve been served them in fancy restaurants and by amazing home cooks, so don’t tell me the “oh wait Justin, you haven’t tried my amazing beets yet” story. There is no hope. This isn’t some little kid thing that I’ll eventually get over. I run from beets.


BONUS: Drumroll please… I don’t like Coffee. Sure, take me to a really great coffee shop like Stumptown in Portland and as Sara Kate will confirm, I’ll try something out of curiosity. And I’ve been known to drink a mocha-thingy every now and then, but that’s almost dessert. Heck, I’ve even had espresso after dinner at some great restaurants. But plain-old regular coffee like from a deli, diner, coffee shop, etc., scares me. I can’t even stand the smell. In fact, if you just had a big coffee for breakfast, please don’t stand so close to me because it does some scary things to your breath.

81 thoughts on “some foods I don’t like

  1. Potatoes, wow. I thought everyone liked potatoes. I’m not shocked about the beets. A lot of people think they taste like dirt (that’s what I think of escargot), so I tell them to try golden beets. I think they’re a little less earthy. But if they’re not your thing, they’re not your thing. I’m like that with scallops (another foodie fave). I try them any time they’re put in front of me, but I just can’t bring myself to like them.

    1. i used to be way worse about potatoes… i’ve gotten better. way better. and i’ve tried the golden beets. same story. i have to admit i love scallops, like really love them.

  2. A kindred spirit – pears, cucumbers and coffee! I would need to add watermelon to my list. Cucumber and watermelon are a byproduct of a summer eating too much and the resulting tummy upset that ensued. Just the smell is enough for me. (Oreos fall under this category too.) Pears just taste weird, like there just a bit off and that texture doesn’t help either. Coffee I think is a cultural thing. My family is Scottish. The teapot was always on and my parents didn’t drink coffee unless they were out for a fancy dinner. Just never acquired a taste for it. I feel comfort in knowing I’m not alone. Cheers!

    1. i’ve definitely had that experience when you eat too much of something. someday i’ll blog about that… my peanut story. and you’re probably right. my parents never drank coffee. they did drink tea constantly though, but i don’t at all. i like tea, but it just never occurs to me to make it, except when i’m sick.

  3. This is a great post! Your expressive writing made me laugh a lot – I easily picture the cringe on your face as you “ewwww” about peppers and the honesty in your fear of choking on those bubble tea bubble thingies is something I can identify with. Thanks for sharing!


  4. I am so surprised at your list! I definitely agree with you on some though (like beets, radishes, and peppers). But I LOVE everything else – especially the fruits, COFFEE (oh my God!), and gummies.

    It made me laugh, because your list includes some very common foods. Yet, you eat a lot of unique foods (things that would be on MY don’t-like-list). I know you’re a big fan of cilantro. I can’t touch the stuff.

    To each his own! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Boy oh boy. I hear myself singing ‘these are a few of my favourite things’. I’m with you for pears, potatoes and bubble tea, but I love everything else on your list ๐Ÿ˜›

  6. Goodness, that’s quite a list. Is it problematic with cookbook testing?

    I grew up on aggressively healthy foodโ€”all vegetables, no salt (but very lovingly prepared:-). Because of this I’ve had to get over my initial dislike/hatred of a good number of vegetables. Beets were on that list, so was chard and kale. For years I thought beets tasted like dirt and blood, but over the past five years of food blogging I’ve gotten over all the vegetable issues. Now I only hate liver and (many) fish.

    But I totally hear you on the coffee thing. I like coffee flavored things (ice cream), but otherwise, awful. And that breathโ€”ick. You’re so right.

    1. whoa, i’m so excited you even visited my blog, let alone took the time to comment. i guess i don’t know how i feel about liver. it’s not exactly something i come across often in life. but fish, wow, i love all fish. now i’m laughing about the coffee breath.

  7. I’m with you on the bell peppers. Cooked, or raw, they’re just not that appealing. If you don’t drink coffee, then are you a tea person? Also, if you ever find stray bubbles in your bubble tea, they make for good amo shot out of the straw. Just be careful.. they stick and stain. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. i mentioned above that i don’t dislike tea, but i only drink it when i’m sick. and i happen to be sick right now, so i’m probably going to be drinking a lot of tea. but normally, i very rarely drink hot beverages. weird, right? i’ll try to remember about the bubbles as ammo.

  8. Ugh, I can not stand Tyson chicken. It’s so gross. My son saw the commercial though and said, “yummy!”Uh, no. Never happening kid. Mama’s gotta be extremely desperate!

    Your food hates are hilarious. I used to hate everything, but I learned to love so much. Like you, I learned how to prepare them right myself and went on to being nearly obsessed with it. Great post!

    I hated beets as a kid, yet I’ve been craving them like crazy lately. Super weird. I haven’t eaten any since I was about 9 years old, so I am looking forward to trying them….or maybe not!

    1. i totally agree with you on the idea of learning to love foods. i despised spinach when i was a kid, and now i like it in all forms. but some things i’m convinced never change. that’s funny about you and beets. i come across them all the time for some reason, but i can smell them a mile away and then i run.

  9. I love this post – for your honesty, and for the oddities in food dislikes that I share. I went through my entire childhood and early adulthood hating potatoes too, so I know well the monstrous look you get when you say you don’t like them. But I wouldn’t eat them fried or mashed, either. As an adult, I love potatoes roasted with oil & herbs and slightly crisp, but still will not tolerate mashed or baked. No thanks. Coffee – I am right there with you – love the aroma, but I don’t drink the stuff.

    1. wow, thanks. so many nice comments here. i’m mostly talking about a regular baked potato, the big ones. that’s what i still can’t stand. but i’ve learned to appreciate potatoes in so many other forms, especially those gorgeous, tiny fingerlings. i do like the aroma of coffee sometimes, but you won’t catch me eating coffee ice cream.

  10. One of my roommates in college didn’t like potatoes either! Pretty much all preparations of potatoes though.. something about the texture. Your list is quite funny. I’m not a fan of bell peppers, raw or roasted, but everything else on your list I’m known to devour. Thanks for sharing!

    1. really, raw peppers freak me out. but i’ve cooked with them a lot, and that’s fine. so it’s funny to me to hear about people who don’t like them roasted. but i shouldn’t talk because my list is bizarre.

  11. I am not crazy about cucumbers either… unless they are in something. A German friend made me fried cucumbers in butter with onions on mashed potatoes and I was in love. As for the rest… I am impressed that you offered up the list… a great start to controversy and sooo many comments!

  12. wow that nutritional information about tyson’s is pretty stunning, in a horrendous way. here’s to hoping that i’ll be able to raise a kid who, just like yours, eats about anything, and not just processed food. i am also totally blown away by your list–who knew? i’ll eat string beans but am not a fan–most of the ones i get are completely flavorless. and i’m not big on sauteed bell peppers–they seem sad to me.

  13. I agree with you on the whole “natural” tyson’s chicken thing. It’s important to teach the future generation where food comes from!!

    I know that the point of the post is not to challenge your list. I mean, you can continue to not like what you don’t like, but have you ever had Korean pears? They’re full of sugary sweetness like watermelon, with no hint of tartness whatsoever. If you happen to come across one, please try it- they’re in season right now. =)

    1. no, i don’t think i’ve had Korean pears, which is weird because i’ve had an insane amount of Korean food in the past several years. i’ll look out for that, but i wonder where i can find them?

  14. justin you are too funny. and yes, you will get an overwhelming response to this. and you know i think we should start a trend on food blogs where people confess their loves and hates of various foods. it’s so interesting yes?
    and those chicken nuggets are nasty.

  15. Justin, I also HATE HATE HATE beets! I can’t stand them. It’s like eating a spoonfull of dirt. I can’t even pick them out of a dish and eat what’s left behind because the flavor of the beets will stick to anything that they touch. Sometimes, when I see a post on beets show up in my google reader, I’ll think about unsubscribing to that blog.

    I also don’t really care for cucumbers. I mean I’ll eat them because they’re good for me… but a lot of times I think they taste like wet dishrag.

  16. A note on ‘learning’ to like food. It’s possible, but you’ve got to a have a willpower of steel! I used to absolutely HATE lamb, perhaps because it was too game-y and something I never ate growing up. I conditioned myself to like it by slowly incorporating it in my diet, and now I actually crave it. However, if you can’t get over the smell of something, it’s a bit tough. I’m working on liking salmon at the moment. Though some friends have asked, whats the point of forcing yourself to like something!?

    1. i kind of understand what you mean, but i’m not really convinced it’s possible. eh, who knows? i sort of agree with your friends though, as long as you’re not eating pizza everyday for dinner, it’s okay to have some dislikes.

  17. I feel you. I won’t eat the “foodie” obsessions of eggs or sushi and it gets me the most insane looks. It’s the same incredulous reaction as when I say I’ve never seen “Braveheart”. Oh, well. You hate on whatever you want. Stay strong, brother!

  18. Love this post! I am right there with you on the beets. No matter how many times I try them I just don’t like them. They sure look pretty, but that’s as far as it goes ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cucumbers though? LOVE those, sorry!

    Happy Thursday ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. wow! what a fascinating list! I’m not a huge fan of radishes! I also can’t stand the taste of honeydew melon! But I pretty much eat everything on this list. I can’t do: MAYO, veal & capers.

  20. this post had me chuckling… yes you would assume as a foodie you would be jammin’ on all foods! you seem to dislike a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables… haha…

    i think the only thing i don’t like the flavour of is black licorice. even though i try to like it to understand why people enjoy it. oooh and last night i had my first fresh passionfruit and the inside was like ALIEN EGGS. mucousy in texture with crunchy black seeds… i like passionfruit flavoured things but fresh passionfruit was gnarly!!

    anyhow, great post justin. ^__^

      1. That’s good because black licorice has high levels of potassium and other stuff in it, and if you eat too much and get too high a potassium level (not just from licorice), you can go into cardiac arrest. Potassium is actually what they use in lethal injections…

  21. This post is hilarious, and makes me feel a lot better about some of my hang-ups! I like to consider myself a foodie as well (I’m also partial to the term), but I too cannot stand bell peppers. Even the roasted ones are too much. My other no-no’s: cilantro, ginger, and raw onion or anything that tastes of raw onion. For me it’s all about these things completely overpowering other flavors…okay, that and they just taste awful to me. Thank you for sharing your list–it’s comforting to know I’m not the only foodie with with a few exceptions. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. interesting — i really like cilantro, and i’m a bit of a ginger freak too. but now that you mention it, raw onion is a tough one. it’s one of those ingredients i really have to cook to like. but then i love onions. i don’t really understand the idea of putting sliced onion on a sandwich or burger though. thanks for visiting.

    1. hmm, it never seems to be much of an issue except with things like salads, because then i have to pick out the cucumbers. and of course i don’t order anything with beets in it. but i have definitely gotten Asian stir-fry dishes and been unpleasantly surprised to find beans or snow peas. that’s a tough one to avoid.

  22. tapioca pudding, rice pudding…..anything w little bumps like that. bugs i used to call them when i was little.

    since i havent eaten meat fish or poultry for decades, i’ll try any vegetable or fruit (durian?? not sure) or cheese. got to keep the door open at least a bit!

    is it possible you had a bad cuke at some pt? bitter ones are so bad they’re painful!

    1. unlike a lot of these foods which i always avoid, i often try to bend my rules about cucumbers. i don’t know why, but every time i get a salad, it’s got cukes. and they appear in a lot of Asian-style sandwiches like banh mi. so i don’t think it’s one incident. they just don’t seem tasty to me. not even refreshing. they just seem weird.

  23. It’s funny because people assume that I love everything too – not so. I hate all melons, pears especially, bananas are disgusting (except in banana bread, of course). I did recently get over my hatred of cucumbers, but only if I eat them in certain ways (cuz I’m picky like that). A few summers ago I learned to like nectarines and last summer I decided that peaches weren’t too bad either (but the fuzz on the front teeth when I bite into one – eww). Anyway, I’m glad that someone else is as picky as I am (though I LOVE beets and I can’t start my day without 2 cups of coffee). Phew!

    1. i’m feeling some relief after reading this, though i love bananas. uh-oh, i hate nectarines! maybe i’ll add that to my next list. it seems odd that i do like peaches, but i always have, fresh or even the scary canned or jarred kind. i suppose not liking coffee is a good thing now, because i don’t need the caffeine. most people i know in real life think i’m crazy though.

  24. This post is awesome. Because it’s TOTALLY the anti-foodie list of foods from a purported foodie! Beets, cucumbers, bell peppers, radishes, string beans, apricots, plums, pears… If someone were to come up with a list of “don’t like foods” to horrify Alice Waters, it would be this list!

    I love it.

    So a few thing. I love pretty much everything on your list, including gummy stuff. Which kinda cracks me up. Let me ask you this. Do you like cooked cucumbers? Growing up my household we used to have them cooked all the time (they are a bit reminiscent of summer squash like zucchini) but I’m think more white people don’t have them cooked. I wonder if you would like them more that way.

    Personally, I don’t have anything against cucumber, I just think it’s a watery vegetable that doesn’t add much personality to anything it’s put in. It’s not actually that much more robust a flavor when cooked, but I was just curious if you’ve had them.

    On the other hand, I rarely like European pears, though I like them cooked in desserts. I do love Asian Pears though. They are crunchy and slightly sweet, with a crisp texture not unlike jicama or water chestnut but more juicy and less starchy. My partner AJ doesn’t really care for European pears, but he does love the Asian ones. The Korean ones that Esther mentioned are just a varietal of the Asian Pears. They tend to be bigger, but I sometimes find the bigger they are, the less flavor they have. You can usually find Asian pears at farmers markets and some upscale grocery stores but they are in season mid-summer to late fall/early winter (July-ish to November-ish). We go apple picking in Sept/October and we get them at the organic farm we go to. They carry about five or six varietals.

    That said, if you are eating a grainy or mealy pear (European or Asian) it’s a bad one – usually stored improperly and under ripe. A good European pear (and there are many varietals with different flavors and textures) should be picked underripe and stored for a period of time to ripen from hard and grainy to soft and silken, almost slippery sweet.

    And what do you not like about plums? There are many varietals. I’m actually more a fan of pluots which are a 75% plum 25% apricot crossbreed. They are sweet, juicy and have a huge amount of flavor. Most apricots are pretty one dimensional in flavor, until you cook them, where their flavors explode. Fresh they are pretty dull. I never discovered that, until last summer when, on a whim, I bought six white apricots (tradenamed angelcots) and baked them into a pie with a plum and some berries and a strong dose of vanilla. It was phenomenal.

    I can’t help you with the beets though. You either love them or hate them. Have you tried the greens from the beets though? Cooked they are like spicy spinach. Amazing.

    1. holy cow, what a comment.

      no, i’ve never had cooked cucumbers, and i have to say that sounds awful to me. but i guess i’d try it once. i do love all pickles though, well maybe not sweet ones.

      about pears, i guess i’ll trust you and esther and look for the Asian ones or more specifically the Korean ones. god knows i love anything Korean… maybe a little too much. i have to assume that i can get these in Chinatown because they sell everything there. i think farmers markets on the west coast are really different than the ones here. i doubt they’ll have these Asian pears in NYC.

      i can’t think of anything i DO like about plums. i’m pretty sure someone got me to try a pluot, but i don’t remember what i thought about them. i’m not a big fan of fruity desserts, but i do find i’ll eat almost any fruit that way. that probably includes apricots. i’ve never heard of angelcots.

      and yes, good question, i do like beet greens. but i love all greens like collards, kale, chard, spinach, dandelion greens, beet greens, you name it. and i love broccoli, broccoli rabe, and anything like that. i could cook with and eat most greens every day.

  25. You realize everything you don’t like is on my top 10, except for melon. My girls loves it but I could do without it, including watermelon. And coffee? I’m with you on diners, etc., but love it so much I drink decaf just so I can constantly indulge. I’m so fanatical about a good cup, I actually pack a travel French press mug for business trips and bring pre-measured bags of coffee beans. Yes, imagine the flight attendants when I ask for just a cup of hot water.

    Obviously this means we’ll be meeting for afternoon tea instead.

    1. you mean your top-10 list for things you love? is that even possible? once in a while i smell good coffee and think how nice that is, but mostly it doesn’t do anything for me. i pass by coffee shops and am baffled by people, like all people.

  26. Okay, so my hubby won’t eat beets either. But potatoes and string beans–really! Even my grandson who won’t eat ANYTHING that ever grew in the earth will eat these. And potatoes are so bland and harmless–what’s not to like with them? I want a post on what you will eat!

    1. seriously, just thinking about string beans makes me feel sick. it’s that bad. i actually don’t find potatoes to be bland at all. i think baked potatoes have a really strong and off-putting taste. how weird is that. i will definitely do a post about what i will eat.

  27. Totally with you on the cantaloupe/honeydew thing – for me, I think it’s a smell/texture combination that causes the problem. Too highly perfumed for my liking. I persist in trying them both again every year just to make sure, but so far, no luck. Like you though, I *love* watermelon though.

    Goat’s cheese is another big one for me. No matter how it’s prepared, I just can’t get away from the fact it tastes like sucking on a goat’s ear*, with a side helping of eau de barnyard.
    Other than those two, and lychees/nuts/sesame which I am severely allergic too, there’s not much else I won’t eat. So I guess I’m not doing too badly, on the food aversions front.
    Love the blog, keep up the good work ๐Ÿ™‚
    (*Not that I’ve ever done that. Just so that’s clear.)

    1. right, too perfumed. i definitely feel that way about cantaloupe. i try them pretty often too, like in fruit salads that someone has made. my feelings never changed. that’s interesting about goat’s cheese, which i do happen to love. thanks so much about my blog.

  28. Oh My!! I think I found someone pickier than I!! Ok, I’m totally with you on the gummie thing… can’t stand ’em. But I’ve “grown into” most of the others. I do like beets now, but they have to be pickled, the beans are fine and I love the fruits! Still don’t do green peppers, but forced myself to eat the red ones as they were healthy, now I like them. In addition, I recently started eating tomatoes! Didn’t eat them for the first 40 years of my life, but then I was introduced to the heirloom and I’m hooked. I even ate one by itself last season and I was OK!!
    Can’t do Sushi or egg nog though… can’t hang with the textures.
    I enjoyed your post!

    1. i’m not sure if i’ve ever tried pickled beets, so i’ll have to keep an eye out for them. and i understand about tomatoes. if you give me a salad with a big chunk of tomato in it, i’m putting it to the side. but i cook with tomatoes so often, i’m surprised i haven’t turned into a tomato yet. sushi… i love sushi. but i totally hate egg nog. i actually find it to be disgusting, not just a little thing i don’t care for, but really bad.

    1. Ha! I know it seems a little weird, but I don’t come across these foods all that often. Or if I eat a stir-fry and it has a couple of string beans, I just push them aside. Same for salads with cucumbers. It doesn’t even seem like a weird list to me until I talk with someone else about it, which is why I wrote the post.

  29. I love all the foods you don’t like haha. But I didn’t always love all of them. Before I met my boyfriend, I hated cucumbers and bell peppers but now I love them (at first I was hesitant but after a few times, I was sucked in!) I will however, probably never like pickles.

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