The Ten Dishes I Hate About Food

Self-explanatory. You hear me talk often about foods I like, love, and admire for various reasons. But just like anyone, I do have my pet peeves, my bad list, heck, just the foods I can't stand. I try to be accepting and thus the list is short and random. Nevertheless, today I'll highlight a few of the worst offenders in my Bottom Ten Dishes or Foods.

10. Parsley: This is a very popular herb, but I find the flavor a little soapy and dominant rather than complementary, as herbs should be. I've gotten better with parsley over the years though, as it's almost impossible to avoid.

9. Cooked carrots: I'm not a particularly huge fan of carrot flavor, but when the flavor is concentrated and the texture mushy, it is nearly unbearable to even smell, let alone taste. With sweet glazes, they get even worse, but in good soups, the carrot's awful taste is usually much more masked and tolerable.

8. Potato Salad: This is a case where I find the component ingredient just okay and consider this the most awful employment of the ingredient. Taking usually-undercooked potatoes and dumping a bunch of mayonnaise, mustard and seasonings on it just does not taste good, smell good, look good or have good texture. It's just too raw-tasting to me. No one eats boiled potato sandwiches, but they might as well with the way people go crazy about potato salad. I've been called many foul names for admitting my distaste for this comfort classic.

7. Sloppy Joe's: Speaking of comfort classics, here's something I have never liked. Sweet meat is horrendous. If someone managed to serve me a sloppy Joe that was not over-sugared and over-ketchupped, then I might actually enjoy it. Well-seasoned beef on a bun is called a burger. Just like with tater salad, my distaste for this dish has led to much agog and aghast from Joe-lovers, but this is a culinary compromise I'm never willing to see the other side of.

6. Beets: Just cannot stand them, be they pickled, roasted or raw. I have no clue why, but it's almost like a gag reflex when I see them, smell them or taste them. Enough said.

5. Peanut sauces: One of the main reasons I don't like Thai cuisine all that much is my aversion to peanut sauces and coconut sauces. In fact, I don't much care for sweet-savory applications at all (see: Joe, Sloppy), but I think peanut sauces must be the worst, as soupy, syrupy peanut butter sauce is the last thing I want dousing a good piece of meat or some veggies and rice.

4. Sweet gherkins: I am the self-proclaimed pickle snob. Therefore I need standards. Sweet pickles, most notably sweet gherkins, are the worst-tasting form of pickle I have ever encountered. They don't meet the standards of even the most insidious, jarred, sour dill pickle. There's no comparison and the word pickle should not even be used to describe the former. “Gherkin” has that despicable “k” sound we all love to describe the worst of things – like “icky,” for example.

3. Raw mackerel: I am a major fan of sashimi and nigiri; I eat it several times a week. But I have never tasted anything worse than my experiences with raw mackerel. First of all, it tastes like bad fish: extremely fishy. That's how it's supposed to taste, but I hate it. Second, they often leave a bit of the silvery, raw skin on the mackerel, and it is absolutely disgusting. Give me salmon, tuna, whitefish, yellowtail, but I will never accept a plate of sushi that has mackerel on it, let alone mackerel with skin.

2. Frozen peas and nearly everything containing peas except a good pureed pea soup: I do not like frozen peas. Never have. Never will. That simple. They're mushy, they're grainy and they dominate otherwise good flavors with their pungency. Fresh peas, while rare, are pretty enjoyable but not great. I don’t know what it is about their frozen and more popular cousins, but they aren’t welcome in my house.

1. Celery: As with carrots and peas, celery is fine in many soups (as I can't taste the culprit). But celery is about as useless of a food as I can think of to eat in its raw form. The stringy texture is bad enough, but that murky, pestering flavor is what gets me. If I see celery in any dish or on any plate or platter, it automatically gives me the jeebies. That there must surely be a sign of one of the absolute worst offenders to my personal palette.

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