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.
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.