Clearly I like to eat. And I will try JUST ABOUT anything once. I say "just about" because right off the bat I MUST exclude anything organ related, anything unborn, or anything I might buy Raid to ward off.
Before I begin the Top Ten Gross Food List, there are some potentially offensive foods that deserve an honorable mention:
>Grape Nuts: "a cross between gerbil food and gravel".
>Brussel Sprouts: Kevin describes them as "vomit disguised as a tiny little lettuce heads".
>Souse (head cheese),which I'm told is pig brain jelly. This is Dad's #1 gross food. Since I've never eaten it, and don't intend to EVER eat it, I'll trust him on that one.
>Mushrooms: they rank really high on a lot of people's lists, and I guess I can see why, but I LOVE THEM. Except the ones that used to grow behind our toilet in that humid one-bedroom apartment we lived in for 6 months in Georgia.
>Sushi: While it ranks as my favorite food EVER, I've heard my beloved sushi referred to as "amorphous mounds of raw flesh." Clearly this person has never eaten sushi with ME.
>Fonduta: As I sit here writing this blog, Olive Garden is advertising its new "Fonduta". I'm sure it's delicious, but I refuse to order anything that sounds like something in a baby's diaper.
Top Ten Gross Foods
So, I broke the "Raid Rule" once with my dad at a local seafood restaurant. He ordered the escargot. I have to "try it", he said. When it arrived, it took me a while to work up the nerve. Finally I stabbed one with the tiny little baby fork and mentally prepared to take a bite. "No," Dad said, "pop it all at once." The whole thing? I pulled the fork away from my mouth, looked at it again and, realizing there was no way I was ever going to WANT to eat this, I popped it in. My face turned inward at the nastiness and I began to chew. And chew. And chew. I double-checked in front of me to make sure I hadn't accidentally eaten a rubber placemat. Then I began to think about WHAT it was I was eating. I mean, visually imagining the slugs that sometimes get into the catfood bowl on the back porch in the summertime and leave slime trails on the concrete. At that point it was either swallow or gag. Dave Barry's description is right on the money for what I consider Gross Food Number One: Escargot is French for "fat crawling bag of phlegm."
Gross Food Number Two: Greens. Cooked spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, etc. Tastes like you mowed the yard, scooped up the clippings, and boiled them in a big pot of oily water. My daughter, on the other hand, sometimes buys frozen spinach, zaps it in the microwave and eats it with a fork. Then again, she snacks on frozen corn, still frozen, with a spoon.
Gross Food Number Three: Sauerkraut. Shredded, soured cabbage, which is even more offensive to the olfactory sense than the taste buds. Need I say more?
Gross Foods Number Four, Five and Six: I list these together because they all three look like the same red gelatinous muck.
>Beets. When my kids were babies, I made their baby food. Organic veggies and grains, cooked at home, mashed by hand, and tasted by me before I fed it to them. I bought the beets, cooked the beets, mashed the beets, tasted the beets, threw up the beets, then dumped the beets in the trash.
>Canned Cranberry Jelly. Looks like beets. Wiggles like rubber. Everybody puts it on the table at Thanksgiving, but nobody ever really eats it. And for good reason.
>Tomato Aspic. Basically, ketchup jello. Tomatoes, the black sheep of all fruit, are liquified and turned into a wiggly bundt cake. Again, looks like beets. Wiggles like rubber. Nas.Ty.
Gross Food Number Seven: Sardines. Little tiny herring, canned in mustardy disgustingness, heads, tails, fins, bones and little tiny eyeballs. Every now and again, my dad would scroll back the little tin lid and stink up the entire neighborhood. Mmm, mmm, gag. At this point, I would also list anchovies, but frankly, I've never had the desire to even try. I've read that "they're very salty and hairy, and make me feel as though I'm chewing on somebody's sweaty eyebrow." Well, sign me up for the hairy fish of the month club. Yum.
Gross Food Number Eight: Chocolate Buttermilk. This was an accidental and unfortunate discovery in the fifth grade, when, after searching the house unsuccessfully for anything nutritionally deficient, I defaulted to Quik as a last resort. Four heaping teaspoons of powdered chocolate in a 12-ounce glass of cold milk, stirred not shaken, and gulped. Well, gulp. That's when I discovered the yellow carton was buttermilk, not 2%. The brown-colored water they bottle and sell as YooHoo is almost as unpleasant.
Gross Food Number Nine: Cheese "Foods". Cheese Whiz, American cheese squares, the powdered junk that comes with boxed macaroni & cheese, anything served at a ballpark with nachos or soft pretzels, and mostly, Velveeta. Velveeta's label refers to it as Pasteurized Processed Cheese Product containing MILKFAT, WHEY, PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, ALGINATE, SODIUM CITRATE, APOCAROTENAL, ANNATTO, ENZYMES, and CHEESE CULTURE.
Number ten is a rare food indeed. It is highly seasonal. And, while considered a delicacy by some, it is surprisingly affordable. It comes in a vast array of colors. It is apparently best served by rolling it in a crunchy sugar coating, while its cousin is most often roasted to a golden brown before eating.
Gross Food Number Ten: Peeps.