Yuck list | chicago foodie girl


Yuck list

I am a (self-professed) foodie. In theory, that means I should be open to trying just about anything, right? Well, yes, that's true... in theory. There are just some foods I cannot stand. Some of the foods on my yuck list are carryovers from childhood, while others came into play during adulthood. While I'm not 100% against trying these foods,* I am pretty set in my hatred... although as Tom Colicchio famously showed us on Top Chef All-Stars (when Tiffany Derry made okra that he actually liked), there may still hope (or not).

*excluding raisins, red onions, or licorice - my hatred is too deep and their flavors are just too pungent

It's bitter, obnoxiously loud, and shows up in the weirdest places. Seriously, who thought it would be a good idea to add celery to chicken noodle soup? That's the perfect way to ruin an otherwise comforting bowl of yumminess! The same goes for celery and peanut butter - well, that's just a waste of peanut butter! It's a filler food that really isn't meant for human consumption... unless you're part rabbit (and that would just be weird & illegal). Why would anyone in their right mind want to gnaw on a stringy stalk that tastes like dirty, soapy hairspray? Celery is the devil's vegetable!

Over the years, I've encountered many others who hate raisins - almost every one of those people has said it has something to do with the texture. For me, that's not a factor, as I love Craisins, which are essentially the same as raisins (only they're delicious!). I've tried raisins hundreds of times, both purposely and accidentally; each one of those times has only solidified my hatred. Raisins have been on my yuck list for as long as I can remember. My mother used to make the most fabulous oatmeal raisin cookies ever - well, guess who used to pick out all of the offending raisins so that she could eat the most fabulous oatmeal cookies ever? :-) As an adult, I've learned to just refuse the deliciousness of things like carrot cake and oatmeal cookies if they have raisins (because even when you pick them out, the raisin essence is never completely gone). Despite Mario's insistence that it's impossible to hate raisins if you love grapes, I maintain that they are just plain gross. Raisins are a sour, sad, and humiliated perversion of the sweet, innocent grape.

Baked/mashed potatoes
This is kind of a weird one, as I like potatoes in other forms (chips, fries) and I do enjoy a nice roasted baby red potato (with olive oil & rosemary). However, I find both the texture and the taste of baked/mashed (white) potatoes to be completely unacceptable. As I'm sure you can imagine, most people in these parts are shocked to learn that I hate the beloved staple of the Midwestern table - some even seem to take my transgression personally and make it their mission to convert me. These potato pushers always have some magical super-fabulous way to fix them; they guarantee that I will love mashed potatoes once I try them their way. As a result, I've tried both every which way... with milk, butter, cheddar cheese, goat cheese, Gorgonzola, bacon, ketchup, Sriracha, garlic, sour cream, truffle oil, gravy (which I also hate)... the list goes on and on. And you what? I still hate them. According to my mother, my hatred for mashed potatoes started early, as she tried to feed them to me when I was two and I spit them back at her. Apparently, this happened every single time she attempted to bring me to the side of the wretched mashed potato. Obviously, I had enough sense to resist the dark side at a very young age.

They stink, give you the stingy eye, and taste like crap; however, there's an abundance of crazy people who insist on putting them in absolutely everything. Yellow, white, sweet, and red... I hate them all. They're pungent, astringent, and overpower everything else in the dish. Red onions are the absolute worse - they spread their nasty onion-ness to everything around and make me feel stabby. Green onions are tolerable in small quantities, but really, if they all suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth, I wouldn't shed a single tear.

Black Licorice
I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of the taste of tar + Nyquil. Yes, I've had both the American version and the so-called real version. They're both disgusting. I don't care that it's supposedly good for you - it's foul and wrong. I'm not entirely sure people who enjoy black licorice are entirely human.

I've never been officially tested for this (I've only done the unofficial tongue test), but I swear I have the broccoli gene (PTC sensitivity). I don't have any tortured stories that involve being forced as a child to sit at the dinner table until I ate all of my broccoli - in fact, broccoli didn't even enter my life until I was in college (where I willingly tried it & have tried it many times since then). We didn't have broccoli in my household, nor did my grandparents. Was it because everyone in my family hated broccoli? Did I inherit the broccoli gene from my mother? All I know is that it both smells and tastes horrible. The smell is akin to a boy's locker room after a big game that was played on the hottest/most humid day of the year. The taste... well, I've never actually tried either of these things, but I like to think it's somewhere between a sweaty jock strap and a gangrened foot. Mario likes to joke that there's something seriously wrong with me, as he LOVES broccoli (it's one of his favorite foods). Broccoli = poison.

Beets & Okra
I haven't placed either on my yuck list quite yet, but they're definitely both toeing the line. Okra is slimy and beets are just weird. I'm not writing them off yet though because I think it has a lot to do with the preparation. I did have a delightful beet bread at Girl & The Goat last year, so I know it's possible to make beets taste good. Okra? I can't say anything good about it yet, but I'm willing to try it again... if you know of anywhere I can get a non-slimy/delicious okra dish, please pass along that info!

What's on your yuck list? Please tell me I'm not the only raisin and broccoli hater hanging out here! 



  1. What an interesting list. I try to avoid hating anything, though I have to say I also don't like raisins in cookies, and I generally prefer not to eat raw onions or raw garlic. I'll do it, though, if the rest of the dish is convincing. I used not to like brussels sprouts, but now I love them. One thing I'm really not keen on is mayonnaise. But again, I'll eat it if the dish is really good otherwise. And I don't like canned black olives (calamata etc. is fine). That's really about it. The only thing I really wouldn't be willing to try is that Filipino chick embryo in shell thing. That's just... wrong...

  2. I've been working on my hate list lately and can now eat tinned or frozen sweetcorn bits in pretty much anything. I'll buy cabbage in the supermarket only if they are grown in Scotland (I live in England), and I'll only eat raw broccoli unless drenched in garlic (cooked).
    Totally with you on raw onion or garlic.
    I just can't do cauliflower. I tried making it with mac and cheese, substituting half the mac for the cauliflower and buying nice cheese but it was just so wrong!

  3. Freaking baked potatoes from my school's cafeteria. Seriously, the good news is that I've chosen to go hungry rather than eat the slop that's put out in that kitchen from hell. Their baked potatoes steam in foil until the innards are gray and paste-like. No amount of government margarine or shredded cheese can get me past the hell that is a school baked potato.

    When I make 'em it's after I've rubbed each one with olive oil and then rolled the shiny goodness in sea salt before throwing them in the oven SANS FREAKING FOIL! NO MORE FOIL, DAMMIT!

    I cannot eat chicken that's been diced unless I've diced it. I will not eat okra. Sue me. I don't care.
    I won't swallow eggplant unless it's been fried or has been mushed into baba ganoush. Wonder Bread is a no no.

  4. OMG. Mayo. No. I cannot smell, touch, or taste it on its own. I have been known to stomach it if it's mixed with something so I don't taste the sticky hell that is mayo.

    Also, tuna fish. I can only eat it if I've prepared it myself. When I see people ordering it in delis or asking some fool behind the counter to sling a few scoops on some bread, I literally gag. This comes from having eaten a tuna sandwich when I was in 3rd grade and then throwing it up outside of my bus when we were boarding it to go home.

    I'm 41 now. You do the math and figure out how much therapy I need.

  5. I am absolutely struck silent by your description of... ONIONS???? THE BEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN????

    I won't even try beets. My food yucks are kind of juvenile--because I know what things are. I don't like calamari. Or oysters. I also only like one type of hot dog so chili dogs and such are typically out of the question.

    And who thought rutabagas were a good idea???

  6. I have been always been a "picky eater", with a pretty extensive hate list. But I have gotten much better at trying new things. Really. I am looking forward to reading about your adventures in eating.

    You feel about onions, the way I feel about peppers - all peppers. Restaurants put peppers in almost everything these days. And I want them to just STOP IT!

  7. I am sooooo with you on black licorice!! Loving your new blog!!! Cheers to you!

  8. @Sidebandit: I LOVE garlic (raw or cooked), but onions are just too pungent & gross... although I suppose garlic is just as strong. Canned black olives are iffy -- they tend to not to have much flavor & will often leave a metallic aftertaste.

    @KJHaxton: Cauliflower is strange... I wouldn't say that I hate it like broccoli, but it's definitely something that I have no interest in eating. I'm okay with it if it's mashed into food or a part of a veggie medley, but it's fairly blah on its own.

    @Mouthy Girl: I'm still on the fence about okra. I've never had a dish that I've liked, but then again, this is the Midwest & it's not exactly a specialty in these parts. It's always mushy and slimy. I have to admit that I love mayo... I didn't try it until I was in college (we were a Miracle Whip family) & I was amazed by its awesomeness. :-)

    @elle: Onions are evil, nasty little weeds!! Rutabagas are odd -- I've actually never eaten them on their own (just as part of a mix). I can't say that I'm interested in them, but I'm not completely opposed.

    @Barbara: I was the same way for years, but once I moved to Wisconsin my college roommate introduced me to a whole new world of food and preparation methods -- of course, being in Chicago has just opened up so much more.

    @Kelli: Black licorice is so, so evil. I just don't get it.

  9. Grapes. And olives.

    Because they look like eyes.

    I kid you not.

  10. I nominate octopus, which I think has the appeal of gnawing on a dog's chew toy. (I was giving a tentacle the fish eye just this past lunchtime; I went for a roll with tempura salmon, yum yum.) I also hated Brussels sprouts until I got 'em fresh from the Madison farmer's market. Otherwise they can be like eating a BB with the skunkiness of (some) cauliflower.

    I could live in a world without raisins, too. But I am surprised about your views on onions, since they, or relatives such as shallots, are used in so much cooking -- anything using a chicken/beef/fish/vegetable stock, for instance. Are you talking about raw?

  11. Many of your "do not likes" are on my list too. Celery (unless smothered win cheese whiz), black licorice (or anything with similar flavour). I'm also not a fan of beets, but I just used them to make red velvet cupcakes and it worked really well and didn't taste like beets.

    What else...prominent seaweed flavours,...mushy peas (the puke coloured ones)...coffee (never liked the stuff).

  12. @Tom: Raw onions... evil, disgusting, kill me now. Cooked onions? Sigh. I still kinda hate them. It's weird because I like the run off flavor -- I like onion powder & I love French onion soup (well, the broth). If there are just a few onions in a dish & they're cooked down to mush, I'm usually okay, but otherwise, they're just too strong & leave an unpleasant taste. Octopus is definitely odd. I wouldn't say I dislike it, but it's not something I ever crave or intentionally order.

  13. @Psychgrad: I really thought that I didn't like beets until I had that awesome beet bread last year. I thinks beets are definitely one of those things I don't like own their own, but are fine as a part of something else. I don't like coffe either, but I like coffee favored foods -- they usually don't have the bitterness of coffe.

  14. My top yuck list item is lamb. I can't stand the smell of it when it's cooking. And that baby animal thing, too, but mostly the smell. It's nauseating to me, I don't care how much rosemary and garlic you bathe it in.


  15. I love your new blog!!
    My yuck list: bananas, raisins (really, any dried fruit), milk.

  16. @ChicagoEats23: I've only recently started eating lamb... I'm still iffy about it. The restaurant dishes I've had were all quite tasty, but I don't think I could actually cook it.

    @Kendra: Yay, another raisin hater! :-)

  17. Mashed potatoes and onions are my two favorite foods. Clearly we can not be friends.

  18. @B's Mom: HA! You and everyone else in the Midwest!

  19. I can't stand celery either. it tastes like the smell of dirt.

    pickled okra are tasty (and usually still crunchy, though the inner slime remains). the only slime-free okra I've had was southern fried (small pieces lightly coated in cornmeal).

  20. @S: Yes! I really don't get the appeal of celery - it has that weird dirty/soapy taste. I get the same thing from broccoli though (only stronger!).

  21. Broccoli: it all depends on where it's from. I used to hate it but this market near us has great broccoli. I mix it with mac and cheese. Celery is only good with hot sauce. I don't care for grapes, but I'll eat raisins. I deal with spinach in small doses. I do NOT like fish. It smells. It's weird. And yogurt. That whole greek yogurt craze? I am not on board.

  22. Oh I didn't notice the black licorice on there. So true.

  23. Celery: It is gross. I usually skip it in recipes because it doesn't add flavor and the recipe will call for 1 rib (what am I supposed to do with the rest?)

    Raisins: Andy had that stupid raisins shirt.

    I cannot agree about onions or beets though. Love them.

  24. @Sarah: Hmmm, I have mixed feelings about yogurt. I'm totally with you on the Greek yogurt craze - it's so bitter & has a weird consistency! However, I do like mostly like regular yogurt, but I'm really picky about the flavors. I tend to prefer ones with fruit chunks or granola - plain yogurt is blah.

    @Jessica: I don't understand why so many recipes call for celery! It totally does not add anything good - it's just one of those filler foods (like water chestnuts) that people like to throw into random dishes.

  25. Check out 23andme.com - I got the testing done, and one of the things they include is whether or not you have the bitter tasting gene. I'm heterozygous. :) Which means I have one bitter tasting allele, and one non-tasting.

    I'm not a raisin fan, either - but, do like the raisins from the indian grocery store. They're golden raisins... and are sweeter and plumper than your typical red-box raisins. They're great in rice pudding, with some cardamom!

    As for me, hot dogs and bagged white bread are two foods on the "no" list. Blech. I haven't had either in a long, long time. I can choke down the white bread if it's toasted... but, just barely!

  26. Oh, and you need to get yourself a beet and goat cheese salad, stat. Seriously!!!! nom, nom!

  27. @Kristy: I did the testing through that site a month ago - I'm just waiting for my results. I'll finally have confirmation that it's not all in my head! ;-)

    Hot dogs are FOUL! I did like them at one time in my life, but after I spent five-ish years as a vegetarian, I was skeeved out just by the idea of a hot dog.

  28. @ Starr Nordgren
    I just saw your comment about coffee above"

    "but I like coffee favored foods -- they usually don't have the bitterness of coffe."

    ...and I thought that you ought to know that if you don't like bitter coffee you ought to check out coffee grown and roasted from South America..its sweeter and not at all bitter unlike the stuff from Africa. Difference? It's a different type. I loathe coffee from Africa...bleurrgh....yuck. I won't drink it..gimme the stuff originating from South America. Otherwise I'll eat onions (lurve them, raisins, mayonnaise especially if its homemade..(I'll live dangerously and deal with raw egg yolks), beets especially when roasted in the oven with bay, garlic, bay and drizzled with copious amounts of olive oil. ..I'll eat anything including blood pudding, haggis, octopus, alligator etc..except for raw cabbage, coleslaw, tuna pasta salad, cold bean salad and licorice, cauliflower,or aniseed. I will eat saurkraut. ...yum!

  29. @anthea: Thanks for the tip! I'll definitely have to check out some South American coffee - it's definitely the bitterness that keeps me from liking coffee.

    Licorice is EVIL!!!


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