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The Nause-AA: Round of Thirty-Ew, Flight Puke
August 27, 2012


Since I came to no real consensus in Suffering Succotash about the most hated food -- though an awful lot of people talked about tomatoes -- we're going to make this determination ourselves with our highly scientific polling system.

Head on over to Tomato Nation to register your displeasure: remember vote with your gag reflex, vote for the most disgusting choice, vote to vomit!

Today's write-ups for The Nause-AA brought to you by yours truly.

1 raisins vs. 9 eggplant I love eggplant. Fried, grilled, marinara-ed, baba ganoush-ed, and ESPECIALLY kashk-e-bademjan'd. However, I do know that those sensitive to the nightshade family can get itchy mouths from eggplant (as well as from potatoes that have gone green from solanine build up) and later in life they might even get intestinal issues. I've heard many tales of people having aversions to foods they haven't even tasted yet that have later resulted in a food allergy. It's completely fascinating how the body tries to protect us from foods before we've even eaten them. But enough science!

I can't describe my raisin hate any better than I did in this guest blog post at the Bloody Munchkin: "...while I've never forgotten about Ants on a Log, until a fellow raisin hater likened their presence in rice pudding to bugs, I never truly thought of raisins as insectile before. Unfortunately, now I can't stop thinking of them as fat black flies crouching in my food. You know the kind of flies I mean, right? They're the ones that buzz louder than an electric razor, and summer heat makes these flies drowsy, so when they bump, sun-drunk, into windows, they make a loud juicy sound. Like someone launched a particularly large and wet spitball against the glass" and "When I first read Langston Hughes' "A Dream Deferred," in my mind it was always a raisin that festered like a sore, ran, and then dried up (all crustifed) in the sun." Raisins need to keep on keeping on in this race.

5 fake cherry flavoring vs. 4 squash I guess cherry flavoring doesn't really bug me that much. I sort of love cherry-flavored Hall's and Luden's. Plus, I used to dump all the Wild Cherry Lifesavers from the Lifesaver Christmas storybook in my mouth at once and crunch them all until I burned my entire mouth with wild cherry flavoring. ...I may have just killed Bunting. Squash, however, is still a nemesis of sorts. I've come around to SOME varieties in recent days. Like, the Bunrabs gave me a killer spaqhetti squash recipe that I happily make in bulk whenever the spag is in season. Butternut, however, can bite me since it requires a cleaver to hack it open AND is the one that turns my hands orange and makes my skin peel off like first stage leprosy. Summer, patty pan, acorn, and (urp) banana squash can all smeg off as well. Squash for the hate.

11 beets vs. 3 okra Oh, beets. We have a complicated relationship. I roast them, I cover them in mustard-y, garlick-y, lemon-y vinaigrette in a salad that also includes blue cheese, and I can drown out most of their sweetness. I prefer golden or the pretty candy-striped Chioggia beets. The earthy quality of beets that some hate as "muddy," but which I actually like, comes from a compound called geosmin that beets absorb from the ground. Geosmin is also part of petrichor, that wonderfully musty scent we smell after a dry spell is ended by a good dousing of rain. Highly sensitive tasters will also taste geosmin in carp and catfish. As you all know, I do love me some sauteed okra. Sadly, my love is not strong enough here, so I think okra will slither through to the next round.

7 prunes vs. 2 turnips/rutabagas Like most vegetables I have grown to love, turnips are best savored in a tiny form, sliced in half, coated in olive oil, scattered with big sea salt flakes, and roasted until they go slightly golden around the edges. All you do is finish with a little minced rosemary before serving, and I am just so happy. I know turnips have a bite to them, but I like that bite. It melds well with the fat in the olive oil. Honestly, I don't think I've ever eaten a rutabaga, but I do like their Old World name. Prunes, on the other hand, are just giant raisins. However, since they are also formerly-known-as-plums, prunes are a fruit. Which means they will sweet talk their way out of this round and turnips/rutabagas will keep hate alive.

1 zucchini vs. 8 Brussels sprouts (I seriously can't believe that Brussels sprouts are here and green peppers aren't, people!) Okay, my go-to recipe for Brussels sprouts: shred them in a Cuisinart using the 4mm slicing disk. Warm 1-2 TB olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute shredded sprouts until bits turn brown and add 2-3 minced garlic cloves off the heat. Throw in some toasted walnuts and salt and pepper to taste. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes as desired. Tuck in.

Zucchini One: cut into long flat strips and grill brown and crispy on a charcoal grill. Dribble olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Zucchini Two: use a veggie peeler to strip zucchini into long, thin ribbons. Heap in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together juice of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons olive oil, pinch of salt, ground black pepper. Dump vinaigrette over zucchini ribbons, add shavings of Parm-reg. Leave for 10-15 minutes to let the lemon juice "cure" the zucchini.

I love Brussels sprouts more than I tolerate zucchini, so I'm willing zukes on through here.

5 string beans vs. 13 succotash Man, this is brother against brother! It's a Civil War of food hate. Driving my opinion here is that succotash is mildly more interesting than string beans and that Brett made me an awesome succotash rendition when Contigo hosted the Suffering Succotash release party. However, I have to admit that he left out the extruded carrot cubes, peas, and Lima beans but included farro and beautiful Little Gem lettuces AND dressed it all with a killer vinaigrette, so you know, it wasn't exactly the frozen bag of tastelessness I gagged up on. (Brett's a genius. If you're ever in San Francisco, eat at Contigo. Every night.) Yes, string beans are boring, bland, and have the word "string" in them, so they're moving on to the next round.

11 peas vs. 3 chard I'm pretty meh on both of these. As discussed in the previous round, only Evvia makes peas that I love, and I will flick them out of my fried rice. (Or feed them to my son. Toddlers are helpful like that.) However, chard is pretty okay when sauteed with garlic and hot sausage and stirred into pasta. Still, chard is one of those greens that raises a lot of gorges, so I think it will move forward to the Sweet Sicksteen.

7 asparagus vs. 15 Lima beans I do not know how we ranked Lima beans so low. Just as tasteless and bland as string beans and seeming to defy all efforts to beat flavor into their stupid little green pellet bodies, I can't stand them. Asparagus, however, can be grilled with balsamic vinegar and come out tasting all right. Certainly not flavorless. Still, though, I think asparag-ass is weird and stringy enough for people to vote it on through.

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Stephanie Vander Weide Lucianovic