Well I just finished a great belly dance recital this Sunday but since I don’t have pictures ready to share yet I’ll hold off on raving about that (aside from saying here that it was awesome!). What I wanted to touch on was the intriguing topic of Hated Foods. I came across a list of 10 supposedly* “Most unloved foods“.
While I found myself nodding along with a few of the choices of foods that are not appealing, at least to me, I also found it curious that the text dissecting each of these items mentioned over and over that they really were good and should just be given a chance! After all, gourmands love them! People far more in the know than YOU dear reader have tasted liver, brussels sprouts, lima beans, hard-boiled eggs and LOVED them so obviously if you don’t like them you just Haven’t Had Them Right. And they have so many nutrients/they’re good for you! Or something to that effect. Perhaps the wording in that fluffy blog piece isn’t quite so harsh as that but I think the tone did dig this up for me; this idea that if you don’t like eating something (particularly if, heaven forbid, it happens to be a socially accepted “Good Food” like a vegetable); then inevitably you will encounter groups of people in a huff for your “choice” of not liking what is, to them, obviously a delicious delicacy.
Now I’m not knocking the idea of trying foods you’re ambivalent about if someone spouts off a favorite recipe, if you feel like doing that. Heck even if you happen to hate brussels sprouts and someone raves about how they are fabulous cooked in loads of butter and spices or something and you’re intrigued enough to try those bitter little bastards yet again; have at it. But I don’t think ANYONE should ever feel obligated to humoring the zealous food likes of other people in order to somehow prove that you are, indeed, capable of knowing what your own personal taste buds do not find appealing. Because you know what? Your tastes are unique, individual, suited to you and you alone. Sure, many of us may overlap on things we enjoy eating but there is no universally enjoyed food in the world. Not everyone loves chocolate (my brother can’t stand it). Pizza isn’t a god-send to every palate. Romaine lettuce with a smattering of black olives, crumbled feta and Italian dressing isn’t a mouth-wateringly delicious venture across the globe. Not even gourmands all agree on what makes the absolutely BEST dish. Not everyone will like, love or even hate the same exact ranges of foods. We are all different and that is what makes cooking (for me at least) such a fun challenge! This is, of course, the same thing that makes feeding a family potentially the same (though less fun) challenge.
My rambling point though is that food is not a universal experience. Personal fooding preferences, cultured through years or decades of food experiences, will never prove to be exactly the same between any two individuals. I may have decided that I really do NOT like Brussels sprouts. I know my own body. I’ve tasted the little blighters. And if you have that PERFECT RECIPE for making them fantabulous to your own palate then great for you! Enjoy them! I don’t care to try them again and you shouldn’t feel it as some sort of personal slight that I don’t wish to try. I simply know my own likes and dislikes and you know, sometimes you know when to walk away from a food you don’t like. You are allowed to do that. Walk away. Turn aside the offers to prepare for you the Wonderous Version of your hated foods. Decline that thousandth offer to listen to someone extol the virtues of that hated food and just WHY you should love those Brussels sprouts or that dark chocolate. Yes, even if it is considered to be Really Nutritious and Good For You. Because it is YOUR BODY. YOUR LIFE. You choose. Even on something that should be so simple and yet gets policed so heartily by those around us who Just Want the Best for Us. But you have the right to hate certain foods. Really, you do.
It is a privilege, to be sure, to have the luxury of doing something with the knowledge of your food likes/dislikes though and I fully acknowledge it. It is no good to sit here saying “Yeah, go ahead and hate on those lima beans” if indeed those are the item you’re able to get in bulk in any given week during the grocery week and have to spend your meals choking down those saw-dusty little buggers just to get in some greenery. I’ve spent many a year growing up and doing just that. But this issue of access and ability to express your dislike for any particular foods by choosing not to buy/eat them is perhaps a topic for another post. Feel free to poke at it in comments though where I also ask you to feel free to share those foods you personally simply can’t STAND. Me? I will be a happy April if I never again have to experience: Brussels sprouts, lima beans, sweet and sour chicken, foie gras. But I LOVE getting my taste buds wrapped around that above mentioned crispy romaine salad, pizza with a thin crispy crust and extra cheese, hard boiled eggs, and dark chocolate.
*The testing methods for coming up with these 10 are not listed anywhere.