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The Nause-AA: The Sweet Sick-steen
September 4, 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!

8 veal vs. 12 licorice/anise What is getting really gross for me at this stage is reading the match-ups and unintentionally imagining the two paired together in some sort of cooked way. Like, veal scaloppine sauteed in licorice sauce or something along those HOARFING lines. I can do veal. In fact, nothing goes better with a bottle of Gignodas than ground veal in a carefully made pasta sauce. On the anise side, I like fennel raw or roasted licorice, however, can suck it hard and die from lead poisoning.

3 organ meats/offal vs. 7 cottage cheese Here's another great dish to imagine: grilled cow heart nestled in a white and lumpy nest of weeping cottage cheese! Organ meats contain detritus the body is trying to get rid of, so putting that detritus BACK in your body is just wrong and gross and no! Cottage cheese, when not providing a bed for a slab of pre-skinned ox tongue, I can handle and I think you can, too. Organ meats are offal and will go on to the next round.

9 creamed vegetables vs. 4 clams At culinary school, they tried to make me like Lima beans by creaming them. It was not a good idea. Nor is ANY creaming of vegetables. Why? Because cream is a dairy product and dairy products can curdle when heated improperly, so what you are really eating is curdled creamed corn, curdled creamed green-bean casserole, and curdled creamed carrots. Curdled dairy products get chunky and sour and what else is chunky, sour, and cream-esque? Vomit. Vomit and vegetables. Clams should drop off here because creamed vegs are far more vomitous.

3 raw oysters vs. 2 mayo-based salads I promised some de-mayo'd recipes if you all made sure this gag-inducing entrant made it to another round, and you came through! Here you go:

The awesome, addictive Cumin Cabbage Slaw from my friend Marisa (who is also the author of the gorgeous Food in Jars canning book). It's freakishly easy to make, and I love it alone, as a crunchy bed for crab cakes, or stuffed into tacos instead of lettuce.

Another great way to have mayo-free coleslaw is to order the Cambodian salad from Saffron in San Diego. It's beyond awesome.

Finally, here's my favorite mayo-free roasted potato salad. One change: add the garlic to the potatoes AFTER they come out of the oven and let the residual heat cook the garlic. It won't burn or be bitter that way.

Raw oysters are just giant boogers. They'll move forward.

-- Keckler

9 eggplant vs. 5 fake cherry flavoring I'm having the same problem Keckler is at this point re: pairing the opponents in a single dish. My mind is going to an "eggplant with fake cherry flavoring" place that is highly disgusting -- and indicative of the weirdness of this matchup. It is shocking to me that eggplant edged raisins in the last round, and I don't quite know what to make of the resulting face-off between a food whose objectionability seems to lie in its challenging prep/sometimes slimy texture, and a flavor that's both nostalgically beloved (Luden's) and resented for ruining otherwise-delicious candy journeys (Starburst). Add to that the fact that neither entrant won by a wide margin in its previous round, and it's a tough call. Fake cherry lasted longer than I'd thought, and I'll vote for it again, but I think its road ends here.

3 okra vs. 7 prunes Okra is the more revolting, I would say, and it's becoming harder to avoid it; it's showing up more and more on whiffy locavore menus. On the one hand, anything to break the iron grip of the sunchoke on the pretentious presentations of Park Slope, but on the other hand, okra. ["Sunchokes are bland masses of mealy mash. Okra is green popcorn. I'm sure there are people out there who eat them recreationally, but if I see you eating prunes I will always assume you're doing it because you are trying to relieve your constipation." -- Keckler] Prunes may make it somewhat close, but okra squolshes through to the final 8.

8 Brussels sprouts vs. 13 succotash Man, y'all reeeeeally hate succotash. I don't think I had the same succo you guys did as a kid; my mom's version was just corn and Lima beans, with a shit-ton of butter and black pepper. If it had contained the minefields of cubed carrot and squeaky string bean some of you have described, I wouldn't have cared for it much either…but I wouldn't have hated it. ["And PEAS – don't forget the mealy, bland peas!" -- Keckler] What I do hate is the fact that speckly, gooshy, nasty zucchini took an elbow to the neck by the delightful mini-cabbages we know as Brussels sprouts. Shut up, zucchini, seriously.

…Okay, the prediction. I'm going to go with succotash. One, I'll be voting for it myself, as I like it slightly less; two, it won by a wider margin than its opponent and seems to be having a Cinderella tourney so far.

3 chard vs. 15 Lima beans Another strange one. Kale got kale'd off in the first round, but the more digestible and less frequently pilloried chard stayed alive? ["My argument is that kale – while seemingly ubiquitous these days – is easier to avoid than chard, which has been mainstream much longer. Because of this, people feel that chard is shoved down their throats in side dishes, etc. Also, bad chard can be tannic and make your mouth squeak." -- Keckler] People hate Lima beans, which I would call boring at worst, enough to haul them into a third-round match-up? I chalk this one up to the vagaries of the draw, and/or voters not finding certain high seeds as despicable as we do, but it's still a trifle bizarre. In any event, while I hope Limas don't end up facing succotash in the next round in some weird cannibalistic twin-cest dogfight (…you're welcome for that image; tip your waitresses), I do think they win again, thanks to many more people remembering them unfondly from childhood.

-- Bunting

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Stephanie Vander Weide Lucianovic