Foods I do not understand

January 19, 2016

strange-foodsI am not exactly an adventurous eater. I like basic food prepared well. I do not always enjoy the output of chefs who think combining odd flavors makes for a good (and expensive) dish. As the late, great pastry chef, Gina DePalma once said, “People are just too jacked up on food and cooking. Just make yourself some nice pork chops for dinner and calm the hell down.”

She was right.  I don’t want to be surprised with taste or texture. No. Give me a beautiful piece of meat or fish with good seasoning, perfectly cooked and I am a happy girl.

I have in mind the very best dish I ever ever had, in Maui last August at Mama’s Fish House. Four kinds of Hawaiian fish in a curry sauce so exquisitely nuanced that I couldn’t duplicate it if I tried for years. Served atop a bed of coconut rice. Is lunch worth $48? That one was.  So I had it again last week.

And no strange foods for me. No candied grasshoppers or blowfish or tuna eyeball. Yes, all “delicacies.” To some. Just not to me.

My enjoyment of food comes from a combination of taste and texture, with the addition of color and appearance. One without the other just doesn’t work for me.

The hitch in jicama

Talking about strange foods, I do not understand jicama. I just don’t. It has absolutely no taste at all. It has the requisite crunch, but seriously. There. is. no. taste.  Where did the idea that we should eat this root come from? Desperately starving tribes?

Nutritional yeast is beastly

Nutritional yeast on a salad. I can not even imagine it. It sounds awful. I get that it is supposed to taste like strong cheese, but that doesn’t make it any more appealing. Especially when I read that it is an acquired taste. Put that on the list of things I see no reason to ingest. Ever.

Squid ink stinks

Ok, not literally. But still. Why would anyone eat squid ink pasta anyplace but in their own home?  You can Google photos of people eating squid ink pasta, I can’t even bear to post one here. Their mouths are black. Frankly, there’s not much that tastes so good I would allow myself to have black mouth, tongue and lips. Period. I am reminded of a restaurant dinner in Venice with a friend who ordered the pasta. So wrong.  Eat it in the shower just before you visit your dental hygienist. And make sure I am not in the room.

My brain is fried. Just not battered and plated.

The popularity of fried brain sandwich, battered and on a bun in Missouri is a puzzlement. Of course, mad cow disease is a factor, but even if it weren’t, this sounds absolutely disgusting. And yet, in some parts of our United States it is considered a delicacy.  The thought of it makes my stomach delicate. Just saying. I tried to post a photo of this but really, it made me ill.

Let’s kill kale.

Kale. Yes, yes. I know it is our new wonder veggie. It does just about everything but drive your car for you, or so I’ve read. But I can’t stand it. It’s bitter and I can’t even fathom enjoying it in a salad unless it is drenched in dressing. But not even then. No. For me, kale is best consumed in a fruit smoothie, its taste covered up completely by plenty of apple, banana and citrus.  Kale is a scam, I tell you, it’s a scam!

These foodstuffs give me “food confusion.”

Which leads me to other confusions

I get social media confusion, too. Like when people who are asking for suggestions say they are “crowdsourcing.”  What ever happened to “Looking for suggestions?”  Hey, I live in Silicon Valley and crowdsourcing still always sounds like kids trying to use big words. Like when people use the word utilize instead of use. Seriously? Utilize is a far more nuanced word than use with far different implications.  (Yes, yes. I know I have used the word nuanced twice in this post. Get over it. There isn’t a better word.)

We should all stop crowdsourcing and simply ask for ideas or solicit input, that’s what I think.

And then there’s my constant question about why some bloggers still use Captcha when there are other more reader-friendly anti-spam methods. And I’m not saying that because I sometimes don’t get the simple arithmetic tests right. No, that’s not it at all.

So, there you go. I’m confused.

Do you get confused, too?  What confuses YOU? I’d love to hear about it in the Comments, below.


35 comments on “Foods I do not understand
  1. I can’t quite fall in love with kale either! It’s the trendiness of certain foods that actually drives me away rather than nudge me to try—I guess that’s me being the rebellious kid…or maybe it’s the wise crone?

  2. A woman after my own heart! If it’s spelled funny or pronounced funny or is just plain yucky I will give it a miss thank you very much! I’ll take that pork chop though 🙂

  3. Sheryl says:

    Love this post! I agree with everything except Kale. I do love it. I like its texture and its bitterness. So there. And those Captchas…I usually end up squinting or keeping my fingers crossed that I read it right…

  4. A.J. Sefton says:

    Well, I’m a maverick on this post – LOVE kale, curly kale in loads of butter! I don’t eat any kind of meat and detest fish so I will try any new fancy dish that doesn’t contain flesh.

    The confusing aspect – it’s all just the latest trendspeak and rather pointless as you say.

    Interesting post 🙂


  5. I still find it hard to fathom that while many people in the world (near and far) struggle to find grains of rice to eat and drops of water to drink, those of us who have plenty of both have turned food consumption into a hobby.

  6. Laurie Oien says:

    You’re right to be confused about these things! Never understood jicama either. I’m not a huge kale fan, however, I just tried creamed kale with onions and mushrooms the other night and it wasn’t bad. The cream cut the bitterness. Personally, I don’t get the Sushi love. I like a California roll, but that’s as far as I’ll venture. Bon appetit!

  7. On Sunday, I was talking to a chef about a vegetable I recently purchased that currently resides in my fridge, trying to hope I might still use it.
    It is the Daikon radish.
    I bought it to use in a kimchi that I swear, as God is my witness, I’m going to make.
    The chef told me, “The Daikon radish is great. It’s as if a carrot and a radish had a baby.”
    I am potentially no longer confused, and will attempt my kimchi.

  8. Any type of bean (lima, black, kidney, refried, fava…) makes me gag, literally. I don’t get the love affair with beans.

    Kale? Love.

  9. Meena Menon says:

    I guess am more adventurous when it comes to trying new food an rarely say no. Infact the novelty of it makes it more enticing to me

  10. I can’t stand jicama or kale. The others I’ve never tried, but they don’t look so good, either.

  11. Laurel Regan says:

    Durian confuses me. Disgusting stuff!

  12. WendysHat says:

    CAPTCHA is the devil! I agree that food can go way overboard. I tend to like simple and fresh flavors.

  13. At home we cook plainly but sometimes I like to mix it up when we go out. I do agree with all you said except kale. It is bitter on its own but I love Trader Joe’s kale dip and kale chips. Okay, there’s added fat and salt (not much) that makes it more palatable!

  14. I love to cook but I am picky, like you. As for captcha…Enough already! If I have to jump through hoops to comment on your blog I most likely won’t. I think some bloggers like to use these things to make them look important like, ‘I’m so big and important I need to have all these defenses against spammers.’ It’s silly. IMHO

  15. andrea says:

    i’ve tasted nutritional yeast – and find that I can’t eat it for other reasons. And as for kale, I think i had it maybe twice and wasn’t crazy about it

  16. Love kale. Love nutritional yeast (I use it on air-popped popcorn). Like jicama (I have a recipe for jicama-green apple slaw that’s quite tasty). Among the trendy food I can’t get on board with is goat cheese. While I love feta (Trader Joe’s fat-free feta is great), regular goat cheese tastes like poop to me (or should I say, what I imagine poop tastes like). And I agree that Captcha is a pain in the ass.

  17. Ha ha! I never understood jicama either. I kind of like the name but really? And I have no idea how kale became the new “it” food. Ew.

  18. Jean Neuhart says:

    I love food, and am usually open to trying something new. However, I have my limits. Fried brain and squid ink? Not gonna happen. I’m a wedding planner, and often help my couples with their menu choices. My #1 tip – choose food that is recognizable and familiar. It can be prepared a little fancier than you’d usually do, but don’t make your guests play “what’s on my plate.”

  19. Lisa Romeo says:

    Brains, no. But I do like kale, and I learned to like jicama when I lived in southern California in the early 1980s and it was all the rage. You’re right, it doesn’t taste like much on its own, but in a salad — great crunch, dripping with dressing!

    I actually don’t get yogurt. The smell makes me gag, and I just can’t make myself swallow it — not any flavor, nor any variety. Everyone in my house knows to eat it in another room! However, I can use it as an ingredient when it “disappears” into a recipe. Weird.

  20. Carolann says:

    Oh I’m right there with you on this one. My daughter eats nutritional yeast and I have to tolerate her making kale chip and cooking with quinoa – it all makes me nuts some of the dishes she makes. I like simple too…but I do love spices! I agree about the captchas 1000% – they are maddening for sure.

  21. Elizabeth O. says:

    Sometimes people eat this because they have gotten used to having it, that or it’s part of their culture or maybe even their tradition. It’s just that we have different origins and once it’s part of a certain culture, you can’t simply take it out. It’s hard to understand for others but for those that are part of that culture, it’s a norm.

  22. MyTeenGuide says:

    There are certain foods that we really don’t like or understand why they are eaten. I agree with Elizabeth O., eating this is a norm for other cultures.

  23. KatyRose says:

    LOL Love this post. Personally, I really like kale when it is mixed with other things in a salad. But I am totally with you on jicama. I just don’t understand it and even the crunch is kinda weird. – Katy

  24. I never understood jicama and never tried others but these not look so good!

  25. PatU says:

    You’ve made me think about what I consume.

    Even though I consider myself a decent cook, I don’t prepare anything too “out there.” As part of my love affair, I make a lot of things based on Italian cuisine, but one of the most repulsive things I’ve ever eaten was in Italy: Ricci, or Sea Urchin. While in Sicily, many years ago, we were encouraged to go to a little place where a man stood in front, with rubber gloves and a sharp knife and would serve you a plate alfresco. It took hours for the horrid taste to leave my mouth, even after rigorous brushing!

    I hate anchovies, therefore fish sauce and any of those trendy dishes with an egg on top just turn my stomach.

    I “get” jicama after living in Mexico for nearly 4 years. In the street you can find it being sold, squirted with lime juice and sprinkled with chile, a vehicle for the other flavors. It’s like a giant water chestnut. Every now and again, I’ll put some julienned Jicama atop a salad for a little crunch. Drop it in some ice water for a few minutes before serving.

    Raw kale, not so much, but I don’t mind it hoped in a soup.

  26. I’ve never heard of jicama. I like my yeast in warm, crusty bread, accompanied by cheese and a glass of wine. The only time I’ll tolerate a food turning my mouth black is if it is licorice. Even though I’m sure I could benefit from more brains, I’ll never eat them. And I think the taste and consistency of kale is similar to what I imagine tree bark would be. I’ve never heard of captcha and someone asked me to ‘ping’ them back the other day. When I asked if he meant email or text, I could practically see the eye roll in his response, when he said, sure, that would be fine! Thanks for this entertaining post!

  27. andrea says:

    i don’t eaven like eating kale. If someone could come up wiht a way of making it tolerable for me…

  28. Hey Carol! Thanks for saying what so many of us want to say! Of course as far as Jicama is concerned, it is just a vehicle for yummy dip. ~Kathy

  29. Tara says:

    I have never heard of a brain sandwich and never plan to try one! I am not a big fan of kale either. I have had nutritional yeast, though not on a salad. I did like the taste.

  30. Silly Mummy says:

    I think I mostly feel the same about foods. I don’t mind kale, but had never heard of nutritional yeast before & think I preferred it that way! Would not want to eat insects or brains! I’m not much of a bland food person – I like strong flavours & spices, but sensible ones that actually work!

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