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Things You Just Don't Like


thistle
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At what point do you give up trying to appreciate ingredients that you've just never developed a taste for? I will try almost anything, but there are certain things that I can't wrap my head around- beets, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, liver. Maybe I haven't found the right way to cook these things, & I keep looking at recipes, wanting to like them, but I cannot leap this hurdle. Guess I should feel blessed that there are many other things to eat....

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I could have written your exact post nearly verbatim except I like beets fine and chicken liver, too. The only food (that I encounter frequently) I'd have to add to the list is hazelnuts. I count myself lucky I can truly like almost any food put in front of me if it's prepared well, so I don't fret too much about the few I find distasteful.

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Same here, I can avoid them, lots of other stuff I like, but I keep wondering if there's something wrong w/ me, WHY DOES EVERYONE LOVE BEETS? (excuse the shouting)-is it something that's in my DNA? (probably not, my mom loves beets, too).

I did see a recipe on 'Come Dine w/ Me' today that almost sounded palatable- the beets were shredded (red & gold beets) w/ apples, & dressed w/ a vinaigrette, & I think they added walnuts.

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I think that one reason folks often don't like certain things is due to their mother's having cooked them so badly.  Liver is a particular example.  It must be undercooked, with a bit of pink left in the center.  It is terrible if overcooked.  Many mothers overcook things thinking that is the "safe" thing to do, and when they do this with liver they create liver haters.  Cabbage and its cousins are similar (mushy brussels sprouts anyone?)  Beets can be badly cooked.

I myself refused to eat steak until after I went to college.  Later I discovered why-- my mother, may she rest in peace, cooked steak to shoe leather.

OTOH, cilantro is clearly a genetic thing.  If you have the "soap" gene you'll just never be able to enjoy cilantro.

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I am a recovering very picky eater but I have failed to learn to enjoy: cilantro, olives, mushrooms and any member of the brassica family. I have tried very hard to like many them, but it just isn't happening. (I did not try to like cilantro because it is evil.)

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Oaky wines, hoppy beers, peaty Scotches: I just cannot develop a palate for them, although peaty Scotches probably have the best chance.

The important thing, I've learned, is not to make such things a character judgment - who cares if someone prefers fruit-driven or mineral-driven wines? Neither preference makes them a bad person.

Just don't ever question the fact that Brooks Robinson is a God - that's the only thing that matters.

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I used to despise beets, but a few years ago I had some that were well prepared, and now I like them. I like almost anything if it is fresh and/or well prepared. Not a fan of menudo, though. I had a barbecued pig snout at a party once. No amount of barbecue sauce could make that enjoyable. I also dislike big, oaky chardonnays and white chocolate. 

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Shrimp, crab, lobster...pretty much all shellfish except for scallops. Grew up somewhat kosher and now most tasting menus are ruined for me. I try bits from other people's dishes, every so often, but nope. Green peppers, okra, all things licorice-flavored, gelatinous/knobby/super fatty meat, and potatoes aren't meant to be sweet. I also discovered that I liked a lot more things once I moved away from mom's home cooking ;-)

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Okra, I can tolerate it in gumbo but otherwise, no.  Other than that, not much food-wise that I will not eat.  

If we include beverages, beer and I don't get along.  At this point, I've determined it's a lost cause as I can sip a beer and recognize the initial flavors and even like them and then the finish tastes like beer, and that kills it for me, every single time.

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I have developed a tolerance for anise flavors, mainly in cocktails, but licorice, no. I have fennel so rarely, I can't speak to that. Tarragon also puts me off, which is another anise-y flavor. My big bugaboo is coconut--especially sweetened flaked coconut--except for coconut milk.

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Ripe papaya.  I like green papaya in SE Asian salads just fine. But there is something about ripe papaya that does not work for me.  The texture is mushy, the taste unappealing.  I used to think I disliked Brussels Sprouts.  But an encounter a few years ago with them at a restaurant and a "don't be an idiot who refuses to try them because you hated them when you were 10" attitude changed that.  I like them if they aren't cooked into stinky soft oblivion.  I cannot abide the aroma of cooked cabbage but like pickled versions.   Gin and Vodka both remind me of rubbing alcohol.

johnb and I had mirror image mothers.  In my case, I knew there were plenty of references to kids not liking cooked liver, but I did not understand why until I went to college.  My mother used calves liver, soaked in milk, cooked to pink in the center and smothered in caramelized onions.  It was delicious.

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I am actually really picky, at least in terms of a number of very common ingredients in "standard American" dishes. Since I like a lot of dishes that are often considered adventurous, like offal and Asian desserts/pastries with odd textures, this tends to surprise my friends.

Things that ruin whatever they touch or are just inedible:
mustard as a condiment, bell pepper, eggplant, olives, banana, pb&j, beer

Things I do not like at all but can eat to be polite:
most sweet fruits: apples, pears, blueberries, oranges, peaches, plums, nectarines, raisins, most tropical fruits (except coconut, rambutan, durian, lemon/limes, grapefruits, and pineapple)
carrots, asparagus, beets, brussels sprouts, arugula, cucumbers
salad dressings (except thousand island on rueben and plain vinegar & oil), jam/jelly/preserves, lavendar

steak, pork chops, hamburgers, salmon, tuna, any fish that tastes fishy
wine

The bell pepper and fruit avoidance cause me the most issues. While the bell peppers can usually be pushed aside if they are in large pieces, fruit is often the star ingredient. I think the problem is that I find sweet fruits to be cloying and floral, while I like sour fruits just fine.

I have been trying to work on wine with basically no luck, but have had partial success with tolerating cucumbers, brussels sprouts, and salads (vinegar dressing only though).

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I'm not a fan of okra. I'm not adventurous when it comes to fish, so no mussels, clams, oysters, eel, uni for me. I'm good with tuna and salmon, even in sushi form though and crab in the form of crabcakes. I've never cared for the taste of peaches either. No offal for me.

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I like this topic. It came up very recently on our way to NYC to eat at Per Se. One of my friends seemed horrified that I might actually request they substitute something in place of the lamb dish on the tasting menu. I don't see why not. I've given lamb many many many chances. I can eat a petite rack of lamb if it's cooked to the right temp and has a nice crust (I've even made and served it), but to me, that's like eating beef tenderloin. I can eat it because it doesn't taste so much of lamb. Why bother given how expensive it is? I can also eat other cuts that have been braised or slow cooked in some other way so that the "lambiness" has been cooked out of it, but again why bother. The bottom line is that lamb has a flavor - one I describe as gamey, but is not quite the same as a gamey piece of beef that I just don't enjoy. By the way, I tasted a bite of the lamb dish. The lamb flavor was mild and the meat was cooked perfectly and so tender. Had I not requested the substitution I could have eaten it and it would have been okay, but what they replaced it with, the calotte de beauf was one of the best dishes of the night so I'm so glad I did.

Other things I just cannot get on board with despite many many attempts - olives, anything with a strong organ taste and especially straight up liver (I enjoy milder pates and dishes that have organ that is well balanced with other ingredients especially if they're from smaller animals, chk or rabbit for instance), salmon and like Cheesepowder those things that taste strongly of the sea - oysters, sea urchin. I do like oysters cooked, and can do the really non-briny Rappahannocks. Anise - ick. I can tolerate a bit of it, tarragon is usually okay, fennel when it's not overbearing, but anything with a strong licorice taste, including some wines, no thanks.

In some cases I've given up, in others I keep trying because I don't think I've exhuasted my options. :P My motivation for continuing to try in those cases is so I'm not limited when I go out to dinner or am a guest in someone's home.

For those who dislike beets, I suggest trying them raw. They don't taste quite as earthy that way. I have a dish that I really like that sounds similar to what thistle described. It's shredded beets & carrots (I use the shredding disc on my food processor) along with raisins and pistachios and a vinaigrette of some sort. If anyone is interested, I can try to dig up specifics or the recipe if I can find it.

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Sheesh!  Not to cast aspersions on anyone, but there certainly are a lot of people here who miss out on some great tastes, flavors, and textures.  I guess I'm the exception to the rule, as I stated earlier the only thing I don't particularly care for (but still eat anyway) is sea cucumber.  Licorice?  Yep.  Anise?  Yep, oysters?  OMG yes.  Offal? Uh-huh!  Fugu?  Betcha.  Squid? in sushi, sashimi, and any other way you care to make it. I grew up with a mother who liked to cook and would try anything two or three times (just in case she got it wrong the first or second time).  To quote Firesign Theater, "You people are so superstitious."

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For me, the "will not eat" list (peanuts, due to allergy, and any blue/exceptionally stinky cheese, due to I don't like eating things that taste like feet smell) is smaller than the "prefer not to eat" list.  I wouldn't be sad if I never again ate olives, raisins, licorice, cottage cheese, or veal, but I don't make a big production about substituting or eliminating them when it is difficult to do so.  I will say, I got really mad at my Michelin-starred chefly brother-in-law this year at Thanksgiving - his stuffing is always one of my favorite parts of the meal, but this year he decided to add raisins FOR NO GOOD REASON (well, none that I could discern, anyway).  He basically said, "I bet you'll still eat it," and I did, but I also made sure to show him the pile of the nasty little dried fruit bits that I picked out of it.  :-)

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If we include beverages, beer and I don't get along.  At this point, I've determined it's a lost cause as I can sip a beer and recognize the initial flavors and even like them and then the finish tastes like beer, and that kills it for me, every single time. 

I'm the same way about beer. I tried for years to like it, but I just don't. I'm not sure what it is I don't like, but I've never enjoyed any beer I've tried. I wish I liked it because I feel like there's so much to explore. Friends used to say, "I know you don't really like beer, but you should try this one. I think you'll like it." I used to agree to a sip, but now I ask, "Does it taste like beer?" and if my friend says yes I don't even bother.

OK, OK, I did recently try a sip of my husband's Duchesse De Bourgogne, which didn't taste terrible, although I'm not sure I'd want to drink a whole bottle.

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There's always the great cilantro divide. I can't stand it and don't expect I'll ever enjoy it. I'm also not much of a fan of raw onion.

There is science on this one though.

I second/third/nth beef liver.  I like a bit of livery flavor in pate but simply can't eat straight beef liver.

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In the grand scheme of things I like a lot more things than I dislike, but there are things I just don't like: Dill pickles (I like a lot of different items pickled, but I hate dill pickles or thick sliced bread and butter pickles); I am not a huge fan of whiskey, scotch or beer, but there are ones I enjoy and will drink.  For any interesting bits of animals, I have found it all depends on preparation whether I like them or not, with the exception of bear, I haven't had any preparation of bear I like and I ate ground hog so long ago I can't really remember it. I hate cilantro to the point where I question why others even think it is an edible plant, but I think I have a genetic predilection to cilantro.  I don't always love Anise flavors, but again depends on preparation- I love a good fennel salad for instance, I don't really like licorice in the black chewy rope form.  I do like the little assortments of anise flavored seeds and bits you get after eating a meal in some Middle Eastern places though.

There are lots of things I dislike based on how they were prepared.  And there are things that I don't mind, but they really don't like me in general.

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I suppose I'm fortunate, since I have don't have any food allergies, and I really don't have any extreme food aversions. That said, there are a few types of food and drink I don't really care for. Similar to ktmoomau, I enjoy fennel, and some anise flavored foods and beverages, but I won't eat rope licorice. I won't avoid eggplant, but I can't recall a time I actually cooked with it. On second thought, although I love them fresh or frozen, I can't stand the sight, smell, or taste of canned peas.

As far as drinks go, I like nearly everything. (Yes, that can be a problem, lol). Not a huge fan of kolsch beer, since the style tastes "soapy" to me.

My family has plenty of dislikes, including beans, fish, lamb, ham (pork and bacon are fine), cooked fruit (sigh), and even Indian food. Not all of them have the same dislikes, of course...

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As far as drinks go, I like nearly everything. (Yes, that can be a problem, lol). Not a huge fan of kolsch beer, since the style tastes "soapy" to me.

I can see exactly what you're saying here - every time I order a Kölsch, I remember why I never order it. (*) There's just something missing, and it does have a slightly "soapy" characteristic - not aggressive like cilantro, but more of an undertone; that said, it's rare when I see an actual German version.

(*) Yes, that was an homage to Yogi.

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I can see exactly what you're saying here - every time I order a Kölsch, I remember why I never order it. (*) There's just something missing, and it does have a slightly "soapy" characteristic - not aggressive like cilantro, but more of an undertone; that said, it's rare when I see an actual German version.

(*) Yes, that was an homage to Yogi.

I was lucky enough to be in Cologne when I first tried Kolsch, but I didn't care for even the best version. (No umlaut skills, I'm afraid). Now the bratwurst...

Now let's discuss peaty single malts and hoppy beers. :)

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I maintain that my issue with cilantro is that I can appreciate it if it is used sparingly, but our society has embraced the herb so much over the last two decades that I began to encounter dishes that were prepared with a heavy hand on the cilantro, and that turns me off because it overrides all the other flavors.

For those who don't like beets, I have made a beet rosti dish that you may like. I'm sure it's available on line.

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On second thought, although I love them fresh or frozen, I can't stand the sight, smell, or taste of canned peas. 

Some things can well, and some don't.  Peas are definitely in the don't category, along with green beans among other things.  Also, since peas and many other vegetables lose their qualities quickly after being picked, frozen is not only better than canned but often better than "fresh", unless you can find them just picked (IQF that is, ie sold in plastic bags not frozen bricks).  Seems to me I saw something once where Harold McGee made that point.

Corn OTOH cans very well.

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Cilantro tastes like soap to me. I can handle dill in sparing amounts but not when it's piled on. Same with black pepper (I love spicy food so that's not the issue). I'm used to Parmiggiano Reggiano so domestic Parmesan tastes like crap to me. Store bought gnocchi is by and large worthless but I love the handmade stuff. Barbecue sauce -- dry rubs only on my barbecue, please. Those burgers piled with so many extraneous toppings that you can no longer taste the beef. Chicago "pizza."

The big one, though: Alcohol in any form. Not once have I had an alcoholic beverage that I didn't want to spit out.

Okay so most of my dislikes come down to regional or style preferences. :P

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I like raisins in my Thanksgiving stuffing. Said no one ever.

My SIL makes a very nice, traditional corn casserole for T'giving & this year, my MIL wanted 'get creative' & add sundried tomatoes & raisins or green beans & bamboo shoots (I am searching for a barf emoji). I didn't bother to find out what she went with, just steered clear of the corn casserole.

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Non-poultry liver and internal organs (other than heart and sweetbreads) are a definite no-go zone for me.  I've tried various preps over the years and all of them are spit-out gross.  Medium rare liver might be the worst, blerghhhhh!

"Sweet" peppers also nasty, tasting like bilious vomit in vegetable form.  I can tolerate a moderate amount of fresh hot peppers and enthusiastically consumes prepared hot pepper condiments.  Somehow the heat covers up the gag inducing flavors.  I can also happily eat foods spiced with a small amount of aji dulce, which is basically a minimally spicy habanero.

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I just want to say thank you for this thread. Sometimes I feel like a bad food lover because there are foods I am not interested in trying harder to like.

As penance to the universe (and my parents) for my picky ways, I have a "new food club" activity once a month in my preschool class.

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