Okay, I know you’ve got one—what’s your weirdest food quirk? Like something you can’t eat or won’t eat for some freaky reason?
I have several, and last week I found out that a long-time friend whom I respect and admire greatly shares one of my food quirks, which made me feel strangely validated and understood! Our little secret–We cannot eat meat on the bone!
No gnawing on a chicken leg for me! Totally disgusting, and I just can’t do it. I am all about the boneless, skinless breast, and even then if one of those awful little veins pops or protrudes from the meat, I am D-O-N-E eating.
I love the nice, white slices of turkey on Thanksgiving, but please don’t ever ask me to help or watch while you’re carving the meat away from the big ole carcass. Blech.
Going to the Magic Kingdom and watching people walking around gnashing their teeth on a huge turkey leg is barbaric! And to see a huge leg of beef sticking up in the air on a carving board at a restaurant or catered event grosses me out completely.
Once we went to a dinner show where they served Cornish hens. Oh My Lord. It looked like a dead baby chicken laid out on its back in the middle of my plate. I panicked for a moment, but luckily I am married to a bonafide Knight in Shining Armor, so that wonderful man quickly took the plate, turned his back to me, and picked off the best meat and gave it back to me. (I never asked where he hid the bones, but I’m pretty sure they were on a bread and butter plate under the table.)
I’m actual pretty freaky about meat all the way around, which probably explains why I lean more and more toward pescatarian the older I get. Quite often I cannot eat meat if I have handled it raw and watched (and smelled) it cooking. The smell is a big thing. If meat has a certain pungent smell or taste that is really, well, MEATY, I can’t eat it. Especially pork. Sometimes it has what I call a “pigginess”. And I can’t eat “piggy” meat.
I hated fish when I was younger, but as I get older, I find more and more ways that fish is prepared that I really like. However, if it smells “fishy” or tastes “fishy”, I lose my appetite. (I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do tuna in a can.) So when I start to eat a fish dish, I am very careful and tentative at first, waiting apprehensively for any hint of overbearing fish odor or taste.
I’m also freaky about eggs. I don’t particularly care for the taste of eggs. So I’ll eat eggs that are scrambled in cheese or wrapped around plenty of omelet ingredients, but if I can TASTE the actual eggs involved, I’m out. My poor Knight makes French toast for breakfast, but if there’s too much egg on the bread, he has to eat my slices because I’m done once I taste the egg.
Milk has to be consumed before the date on the jug. Not a day after. And if milk “crusties” have dried up around the rim or outside of the jug, count me out. No “crusties” in my milk. And the milk has to be really, really cold. Lukewarm or room temperature milk reminds me too much of drinking fresh cow’s milk that got brought in the house straight from the animal’s belly when I was a kid. Gag.
Sometimes it’s something that I actually like the taste of, but I can’t get past a mental quirk. For instance, I tried frog legs once, and they’re right–it tastes like chicken! But no matter how much I liked the taste of it, with every bite my mind was picturing a frog and seeing a humongous frog jumping through the air, legs extended all muscular and chewy and yep! Right there, I was done.
It can even be a food I really like. I love shrimp! Shrimp po’boys, shrimp creole, shrimp alfredo, fried shrimp, broiled shrimp, garlic shrimp, coconut shrimp, shrimp etoufee (sorry–was channeling Bubba for a moment). But sometimes the act of peeling the shell of the shrimp and deveining it reminds me that I am basically eating a bug, and suddenly it’s much less appetizing. And if you bring me the big king prawns with the eyeballs still on their little antennae, it’s all-she-wrote and I’m through with dinner.
Sometimes our food quirks are more rituals or habits. Many people, including Dr. Smooth, do not allow their foods to mix or touch on the plate. And I tend to taste everything on the plate, but then eat my least favorite item first, saving my favorite to savor last.
My Knight does not sprinkle the salt directly on his food but instead sprinkles it in and around the general vicinity of his hand (mostly on the table) and then tosses a portion of what made it in his hand in the general direction of his food, almost like he’s casting a spell or incantation with it.
What about portions? If you have milk left over after the cereal, do you pour more cereal to make it even out? If you run out of bread and there’s pasta left, do you have to just leave it on the plate? Or are you like My Knight who has to carefully ration out his fries so that every bite of burger has an adequate fry-count to accompany it?
Textures anyone? I have friends who can’t do pudding or yogurt because it’s too slimy. Some say no coconut because it’s too grainy or they forego grits and oatmeal– too lumpy. People who like raw vegetables may hate the changes veggies undergo when cooked. Limp spinach? Droopy asparagus? Some say no.
I generally love mushrooms in all shapes, sizes, and forms. But a truffle dish in Italy with ‘shrooms the consistency of thick snot almost signed me off these mellow fellows for life. I love coconut, but tried coconut water and couldn’t stomach the “chunks” in it.
I’m very thankful to have plenty to eat and beyond that plenty of choices, really I am. I am extremely thankful to live in a country where my daily meal plan doesn’t consist of bugs or intestines or monkey brains. But I do have my quirks. And I know I am not alone…..so come on. Cough it up—what’s your food quirk? (Speaking of which, does anyone feel a little nauseous when someone vigorously coughs at the table while you’re trying to eat?) Spill the beans, folks. What freaks you out and ruins your appetite?