‘Okra is the most foul thing ever grown’
September 19, 2019 5:00 AM   Subscribe

 
I found this delightful and surprising in equal measure. I naively think of chefs being quite omnivorous, so the depth of hatred on display was quite piquant. Some choices, especially those related to prep, were completely understandable.

I strongly agree with the frustrations of crayfish, asoefatida, and fresh tumeric which is full on. However, I was kind of taken aback by okra, octopus, and especially fennel - it's great!

I think we can all agree that globe artichokes are nothing more than a culinary prank. A very complicated and fussy way of cooking and eating a pile of wank.
posted by smoke at 5:05 AM on September 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


Artichokes, like escargot, are merely an excuse to eat garlic butter.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:12 AM on September 19, 2019 [45 favorites]


Okra is the most foul thing ever grown. When fusion food became a thing in London, chefs started using every ingredient on the planet and, if you don’t know what you’re doing with okra, it goes really slimy....

Or if you DO know what you are doing with it - a lot of West African cuisine uses okra, and its ability to thicken sauce to something slimy and sticky is part of why; when you're dipping millet paste into a sauce, you want it to stick both to the paste and to itself or you're just eating the millet. It's fine if you don't personally like that texture, but saying categorically that it could only be a mistake to prepare it that way is inherently euro/americo-centric.
posted by solotoro at 5:15 AM on September 19, 2019 [59 favorites]


It doesn’t help that every time you buy [asafoetida], it’s a little different, more or less pungent, so there’s no way to test it other than throwing it in and seeing what happens.

Couldn't you, say, cook a test batch of exactly two cups of rice with exactly ⅛ tsp of asafoetida (or whatever) whenever you get a new jar, and gauge its strength that way? If the rice turns out bitter, then use a little less in the actual dish.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:19 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Fun article, thanks! Of course any list-based article is going to raise hackles somewhere. I'm cool with the stance most of the chefs take which is basically: "Not a big fan, but if you like it, good on you!" or "This ingredient is more hassle than it's worth".

It's the declarative statements such as "All okra is horrible", that are annoying. Largely because I can think of multiple examples that directly contradict this statement.

We have a local Indian restaurant that makes this amazing vegetarian dish Shahi Bindi Bhuna which is fresh okra roasted with onions, ginger and garlic. It probably includes fennel, asafoetida and turmeric as well and I will often order it over anything else and I'm not even vegetarian.
posted by jeremias at 5:22 AM on September 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


Okra doesn't turn slimy if it cooked with oil rather than water. It doesn't have to be deep fried either. Breaded with cornmeal or dipped in curry spices and sauteed it is delicious, with a flavor somewhat like green beans only better. The only reason I don't grow them anymore is that they are pretty low yield up north.

And fennel with fish sounds great only you could use the herb, the dried leaves, and not have the problem of stringy bulbs.

It's reasonable to express a difference in taste but some of these sound like bad cooking.
posted by Botanizer at 5:23 AM on September 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


"The only time it’s near-edible is when you deep-fry the hell out of it. But anything works deep-fried; what’s the point?"

This is a surprisingly obtuse thing for a chef to say. I've successfully roasted, grilled, stewed, and pickled okra with great results. Also, if you can't differentiate the flavor of deep fried okra from other deep fried foods, there's something seriously wrong with either your skills or your palette.
posted by lyam at 5:37 AM on September 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


I'm surprised by the comment about fennel being overpowering. It's a bit like onion in that cooking tends to make it milder and less flavourful, ime. I agree than with whitefish, sure, it will strongly flavour that, but whitefish, for the most part is nearly tasteless (and is often mostly about butter). Don't blame fennel for that! It's a bit fibrous sure, but less so than, say celery, one of the most widely used things in french cooking.

We like it as part of a roasted veg pan, grilled on its own or raw in a crudites plate.
posted by bonehead at 5:38 AM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


I struggle with octopus, particularly cold. I don’t find its gelatinous quality pleasant.

What the hell kind of octopus are they eating in England?
posted by escabeche at 5:42 AM on September 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


Gumbo is delicious. Okra is part of why gumbo is delicious, but the best part of that is how the okra just disappears into gumbo and I don't have to think about it. Because otherwise , nope.

Also, fried okra is the worst. It's possible that I feel this way having grown up on bad elementary school cafeteria fried okra, but there you are.

Truly, the only thing worse than fried okra are surprise raisins (ie, raisins in dishes you don't expect there to be raisins in). I am aware that these attitudes are immature. I'm okay with that. I'm otherwise wholly omnivorous and cool with whatever.
posted by thivaia at 5:48 AM on September 19, 2019 [13 favorites]


A lot of people have one class of food they cannot be bothered with. It's liquorice and aniseedy flavours (which is why they don't like fennel) or bitter cabbagey greens for some people. For others it's a texture - glutinous/slimy things like okra or melokhia put me right off, no matter what they taste like. No method of cooking is going to change this. Many years ago, I bought some okra out of curiosity, and asked my (American) flat-mate how to cook it. He gave me what was probably a perfectly good recipe, but he finished by saying that it was very important not to overcook it as it "would turn into snot". This put me off so much that I threw it out. I have eaten okra since but, yes, it's the texture.
posted by Fuchsoid at 5:50 AM on September 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


"cacky brown"?? Do they mean khaki?
posted by slogger at 5:54 AM on September 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


No, they mean "shit brown"
posted by briank at 6:01 AM on September 19, 2019 [16 favorites]


Okra is one of the few vegetables that produces in the hottest part of the year. Also, it is yummy.
posted by Bee'sWing at 6:13 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Well, I mean, someone put smoked salmon on the list, so this is a very eccentric list obviously.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:17 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Most of these are fine for me. Okra isn't my favourite thing in the world, but it's fine. Artichokes are my favourite pizza topping by far.

I have never had octopus that I've found to be gelatinous in texture. WTF indeed are they doing to it?

I do have foods I'm not at all fine with (fish and most seafood, canteloupe), but not many made this list.
posted by Fish Sauce at 6:26 AM on September 19, 2019


smoke: I think we can all agree that globe artichokes are nothing more than a culinary prank.

Hahaha, no of course we can't. This is MetaFilter and I love globe artichokes. The thick, juicy part of the leaf that you've just plucked off has a flavour that's like nothing else; dip it in a classic vinaigrette, scrape it off the rest of the leaf with your upper front teeth, and enjoy. Mmm, now I want artichokes...
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:30 AM on September 19, 2019 [14 favorites]


"The only time it’s near-edible is when you deep-fry the hell out of it. But anything works deep-fried; what’s the point?"

Ummm...
Dear Mr. Cox _Guardian Editors_:

Attached is a letter _listicle_ that we received on November 19, 1974 _September 19, 2019_. I feel that you should be aware that some asshole _Guy Fieri_ is signing your name to stupid letters _interviews_.

Very truly yours,

CLEVELAND STADIUM CORP __Readers Who Aren't Afraid Of Unfamiliar Food__.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:42 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


I don't like lox. I think they're going to revoke my Jew card (or at least my Ashkenazi card), but I've never liked the way it feels in my mouth. I also won't eat desiccated coconut.

The okra guy produced a textbook example of how not to answer this question. There are lots of ways to answer it that don't make you sound like a culturally-insensitive fuck-weasel, and he didn't hit on any of them. I primarily associate okra with African, African-diasporic, and Indian cuisines. If your starting point for okra is "when fusion food became a thing in London," I'm thinking that maybe the problem is just that you're a culturally insular shit-head who needs to venture out of the confines of London fine dining to figure out how to use ingredients. Having said that, "bad elementary school cafeteria fried okra" is a phrase that strikes horror in my very heart.

I thought that coriander (ie cilantro) was an interesting answer. I totally understand why a restaurant wouldn't want to use an ingredient that tastes like soap to a certain proportion of the population, but is it really any messier than anything else?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:50 AM on September 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


Cilantro really is very messy, though I'd never consciously thought about it until reading this! I feel like it must be somehow stickier than most other herbs, because I'm constantly finding pieces plastered to the side of a knife or a bowl, and it's surprisingly difficult to get off once it has dried.
posted by dusty potato at 6:54 AM on September 19, 2019 [11 favorites]


Why would you ruin delicious garlic butter by sullying it with the flesh of crustaceans is my question.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:55 AM on September 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


Right, Too-Ticky? I grew up thinking of globe artichokes as poor man's lobsters: the sweet coating of butter, the special relaxation of normal dinner rules; the certain amount of allowable gnawing, the slight expense justifying a celebration, the slight danger of the pointed inner leaves...

I also think that clipping the outer leaves is something of a waste, and I like the fibrous stem best of all, so ymmv.
posted by sciatrix at 7:02 AM on September 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


I have never eaten "slimy" okra. I have occasionally eaten very delicious okra, though!
posted by Foosnark at 7:03 AM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


It's funny, we just had okra the other day, and my daughter asked why we don't get them more. The answer is that they don't have them at the supermarket and I have to go to the Indian grocer to get them, which I don't often bother to do. But we all like them. So the next thing she asked was why do some people not like them? When I replied it is a consistency thing, she said that the consistency was exactly what she liked about them. But then I don't think she's ever had a slimy okra. Ours are crisp and cooked at the same time in a delicious way, or cooked out completely in meet stews, so the slime becomes a thickener. I make them so rarely that I have to look it up every time I do, and I guess the recipes I use are good. I learnt to eat okra in Greece, and I'm still looking for that recipe for a delicious veal-based stew with okra I once had there, if anyone knows it.

The one that made my day was the coconut one. He could have been me, so accurately did he describe my feelings. Come to think of it, thinking of coconut makes me feel more sympathetic towards people who lie about having an allergy when they don't like stuff. I'll remember that going forward.

About smoked salmon: unfortunately, we (as in all of humanity) rarely get good smoked salmon these days. When I was a teen, I would eat lunch at my grandparent's house every Saturday. During the morning, my grandmother would go to a specialist store and buy three thick slices of smoked Baltic salmon. It was pale pink, and not very salty or strong-smelling at all. We'd eat our slice on a piece of sourdough bread with caraway seeds, with a lot of cold butter. This was how lox was meant to be, from the region where it was invented. And nothing like what you can buy today. I keep looking for something similar wherever I go, but it is gone. What you mostly get now is like the aquatic version of a sad factory farmed hog in a pack of processed pulled pork.
posted by mumimor at 7:07 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Artichoke bushes are pretty impressive, my brother had one in his back yard in Phoenix and it grew to the size of a VW Beetle. They're all that silvery green color too.
posted by Bee'sWing at 7:09 AM on September 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


I grew up on boiled okra, and to me the slime has always been part of the appeal...I can't think of any other solid food that is so eager to be slurped? But no one in my life agrees with me, so now we only have it fried, but fortunately it's good that way too. I do miss the goopiness though.
posted by mittens at 7:09 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


sciatrix: I grew up thinking of globe artichokes as poor man's lobsters: the sweet coating of butter

I've always appreciated them as something vegetarian and at the same time inherently festive*. I've never had them with butter though. Always vinaigrette. Artichokes were my birthday food of choice for years.
I've had lobster once... I can't really recall the flavour and texture. It's 40 years ago.

*My mother appreciated them for the same reason, because I went vegetarian at the age of 12 and she sometimes found it hard to think of good options for nice meals, especially on special occasions. Artichokes to the rescue!
posted by Too-Ticky at 7:09 AM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


I've mostly eaten fried okra, but I've never really noticed the slime when I've had it other ways. I'm also perpetually angry that of all the Southern food I can get in my (southern-adjacent) area outside the South, fried okra is still hard to find. I made some with fresh okra back in August and it was perfect.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:10 AM on September 19, 2019


More smoked salmon for me
posted by rather be jorting at 7:14 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


A lot of correct answers in this piece.
posted by veggieboy at 7:15 AM on September 19, 2019


May I suggest fermenting the okra first?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:23 AM on September 19, 2019


As a former (and future?) cook, oh, hell yeah, there are things that are utterly terrible. There are a ton of reasons, and yeah, some of them have to do with the actual feel of the thing. Sliced raw mango is utterly repulsive. It’s like massaging a pile of slugs.

On the other hand, there are things that are terrible just because of use and spoilage. Avocado is terrible because it just doesn’t keep, and other things are awful just because of the cleaning you have to do because you’ve used it.

And yeah, there are things that are terrible, yet for some reason customers like them, and you have to use them, because it’s work. And you become inured to it, thought never really enjoy it. Because kitchen work is work.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:27 AM on September 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


The issue I'm sensing is a certain dislike from chefs who have specialized in a certain cuisine, for the sudden (from their perspective) customer demand for new ingredients that, frankly, don't really belong in the cuisine they cook. But they try to bring them in anyway, because they think that's what the market demands, and do "fusion" food, and it's probably pretty frustrating as a culinary exercise.

Okra is something that I associate with the American South and not really part of my œuvre, but I have a lot of respect for the recipes and culinary traditions that use it well. It's never going to be my first choice as a vegetable... although it does make a pretty good gluten-free thickener for sauces and stews, as an alternative to flour-based roux or cornstarch. I think you just have to take advantage of its gelatinousness rather than try to fight it. Or at least that's the only success I've ever had. But again, not really something I grew up working with so I'm okay with it mostly just being something I get at restaurants run by people who did.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:32 AM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


saying categorically that it could only be a mistake to prepare it that way is inherently euro/americo-centric.

I mean, dude says that he first experienced okra in "fusion food". And like, he apparently opened up an award-winning restaurant in London in 2011.

So he's worked in food and hospitality in London for at least EIGHT YEARS, and in all that time, he apparently hasn't eaten at, or had a single friend willing to take him to, any of the many, many, many excellent places IN LONDON serving West African OR Caribbean OR certain types of Indian or Chinese food.

It's a straight-up tell that he only goes to restaurants run by white people like him, who are too incompetent to figure out how to use an ingredient incorporated into the historical cuisines of at least three continents.
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:38 AM on September 19, 2019 [16 favorites]


Readers Who Aren't Afraid Of Unfamiliar Food

So there are 15 foods listed. By my count two are "I hate it" (okra and octopus), two are "it has very limited use" (pepper(!) and fennel), and one person complains about foraged food. The other ten comments are about things being annoying to prep or touchy to work with. Most listicles would go for the lazy rants but this one doesn't.

Of course we focus on the okra rant, which is why lazy clickbaity rants work I guess. Hell, we don't even have time to truly trash the anti-octopus chef or come to terms with the pepper person.
posted by mark k at 7:39 AM on September 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


I've always appreciated them as something vegetarian and at the same time inherently festive*. I've never had them with butter though. Always vinaigrette. Artichokes were my birthday food of choice for years.

For me it's aioli (or at least a garlic mayo that my mom invented). I loved artichokes dearly from childhood on and was always incensed as a child that I had to share an artichoke with my mother (they were expensive and she has a tiny appetite that couldn't handle a whole one) while my father got one all his own.

Now I want one.
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:41 AM on September 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


As a vegetarian from the South I am perfectly willing to stab that dingus for insulting my okra.
posted by haileris23 at 7:42 AM on September 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


Oh, and I also learned to love pickled okra as a child, because my dad had jars around. I have few issues with okra texture because I'm used to it being somewhat crunchy with seeds that pleasantly pop, which happens when it's pickled.
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:42 AM on September 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


My mother was from Texas. My father was also from Texas, somewhere around Beaumont so my mother learned to cook a Louisiana influenced cuisine for him. All of which leads me to say that Jason Atherton has no clue about okra and I wonder how he could be a professional chef..
posted by rdr at 7:51 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Foraged food
I hate this new-fangled foraging hype. There’s a reason meadowsweet isn’t a popular ingredient and that’s because it’s not nice – kind of floral, herbal and soapy. No one sits at home going: “You know what I fancy? Some meadowsweet parfait.” No one cares if you were roaming fields at 5am picking it. The only thing anyone should be foraging is wild mushrooms. The rest? Go to a farmer.


My husband is friends with enough crust punks that every now and then he tries to get me on board with urban foraging and I just do not see the point. We have a beautiful, bountiful garden (that he does not participate in caring for at all), why in god's green fuck would I want to eat lambs quarters and garlic mustard? They. do. not. taste. good.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:52 AM on September 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


It's a straight-up tell that he only goes to restaurants run by white people like him, who are too incompetent to know how to use an ingredient incorporated into the historical cuisines of at least three continents.
It's not just those three continents, okra is enjoyed in the Eastern Mediterranean too. It's Little England at work again, in the most unexpected places.
posted by mumimor at 7:53 AM on September 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


I can't believe something as delicious as okra made the list but the abomination that is papaya didn't.
posted by FakeFreyja at 7:55 AM on September 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


. . . three thick slices of smoked Baltic salmon. It was pale pink, and not very salty or strong-smelling at all. . . This was how lox was meant to be

My uncle in Seattle used to send us smoked salmon for Christmas, and I loved it. My dad has also smoked salmon that he caught, and it was very good. For me, the key is that it's dry-ish and flaky. You get the kind that is soft and squishy and I CANNOT eat it. (Possibly that goes with the fact that my almost-mother-in-law once referred to it as "very labial food," and I'm sorry, I can't even.)
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:56 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Smoked salmon was the first smoked anything I ever had, and now I think the only thing worse than fish is smoked fish.
posted by Fish Sauce at 8:07 AM on September 19, 2019


I didn't really like okra that much until my wife grew some in her garden. Freshly picked and steamed okra is absolutely delicious. If you ever get access to some right off the plant, I recommend giving it a try. It's crunchy and flavorful.
posted by Quonab at 8:13 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Okra is a labor of love that is full of so many contradictions.

1) Fairly easy to grow on tall and strong stalks that can often tower above other garden inhabitants.
2) Sensitive to picking time, i.e. if you let the pods stay on the stalk too long they get very, VERY tough and inedible before going to seed and basically ending their usefulness aside, well, for seed.
3) Prodigious output if kept picked. You will have plenty of okra off just a few plants. Plan to share with the community.
4) Picking it in the South only takes one time to learn to suffer through the heat and don thick long sleeve shirt, pants, gloves, and potentially a face shielding hat of some sort as the tiny prickly hairs are terrible to deal with. Also take a knife and make sure it's sharp as you're not just 'picking', you're harvesting.
5) Cooking it can work out so, so well or so, so poorly. Mistakes lead to burnt crouton shaped cubes or slimey glop or gumbo that is just a bit too thick for what you were intending. Done right and you have delicate, well cooked dishes that are the pinnacle of my childhood.

Okra. It contains multitudes.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:13 AM on September 19, 2019 [17 favorites]


How do you complain about cilantro/ coriander when you have a restaurant called "Club Mexicana"?
posted by raccoon409 at 8:18 AM on September 19, 2019 [13 favorites]


My cousin is on the faculty of Delta State University in Mississippi, where the unofficial mascot is the Fighting Okra.

It is delightful.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:21 AM on September 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


Okra tastes really good but I hate the way it stings the roof of your mouth and gums. Why make a delicious food if it's just going to hurt the hell out of the mouth.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:23 AM on September 19, 2019


Foraged food
I hate this new-fangled foraging hype. There’s a reason meadowsweet isn’t a popular ingredient and that’s because it’s not nice – kind of floral, herbal and soapy. No one sits at home going: “You know what I fancy? Some meadowsweet parfait.” No one cares if you were roaming fields at 5am picking it. The only thing anyone should be foraging is wild mushrooms. The rest? Go to a farmer.


In my city home, I live opposite a cemetery, and in there, they deliberately grow herbs in the plots that are not used, like a huge sage bush taking up the whole space of an old grave. It's totally fine to pick those herbs. They don't make a lot of publicity about it, because crowds would be too much, but if you ask a gardener, they will say go for it. It's told that there are mushrooms too, but I haven't looked. At the campus I work on, there are field mushrooms. I just discovered the other day, but didn't have a container to bring them home in, so I let them be. Anyway I'm thinking that the students who live on campus and often have very limited means should know. I often see them picking blackberries from the brambles there. Mushrooms are an even better find.
posted by mumimor at 8:27 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Okra tastes really good but I hate the way it stings the roof of your mouth and gums. Why make a delicious food if it's just going to hurt the hell out of the mouth.

Okra doesn't normally do that. You're probably allergic to okra. Or making a joke about being allergic to okra?

a lot of West African cuisine uses okra, and its ability to thicken sauce to something slimy and sticky is part of why;

Slimy okra sauce with porridge is a classic and delicious, and if you don't like slimy okra - that's fine, but it's probably because you didn't grow up with it. It's not objectively bad, just like spicy food isn't objectively bad, or cheese isn't objectively bad, etc etc.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:32 AM on September 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


Hahaha, no of course we can't. This is MetaFilter and I love globe artichokes. The thick, juicy part of the leaf that you've just plucked off has a flavour that's like nothing else; dip it in a classic vinaigrette, scrape it off the rest of the leaf with your upper front teeth, and enjoy. Mmm, now I want artichokes...

I have a gap between my two front teeth. It was never a big enough gap for me to endure braces as a correction, but it is juuuust big enough that I hate eating artichoke leaves. Also, I despise the way it makes anything you eat afterward taste like Spenda. I will, however, cheerfully eat a jar of marinated artichokes. For some reason, the sweetening/cynarin effect is way less pronounced after being jarred.

Yeah, the cilantro inclusion was weird. It's really not a messier herb than parsley or dill or oregano...and I don't have a ton of sympathy for cilantro-haters who go to eat at Mexican restaurants without ordering pretty specifically. (If I hate tomato sauce and I visit a pizzeria, I'm sure they can serve me something I'd like, but it's contingent on me to request it.)
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:32 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


I happen to have some okra at home right now. I think I'll roast it for dinner tonight along with some mushrooms and tomatoes.
posted by slogger at 8:38 AM on September 19, 2019


> I also won't eat desiccated coconut

More for me! Fresh coconut flesh, however, tastes like vomit.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:39 AM on September 19, 2019


(If I hate tomato sauce and I visit a pizzeria, I'm sure they can serve me something I'd like, but it's contingent on me to request it.)

I used to work at a pretty low-rent Italian-American chain restaurant (sub-Olive Garden) and soooo many people would come in and stipulate that they don't want anything with "too many spices" or with garlic. I'm sorry but this restaurant's specialty is Sysco Truck + Garlic And Italian Seasoning, I have no idea how to help you here.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:41 AM on September 19, 2019 [11 favorites]


Oh wow, I missed that the cilantro person runs a Mexican restaurant. Yes, that's perplexing.

I totally understand disliking an ingredient because it's fiddly to work with, and I totally understand having a personal aversion to something. (I have a personal aversion to fresh tomatoes, as well as a couple of other perfectly cromulent foods, so I understand personal aversions.) I also understand being annoyed by a food trend. But "this food is categorically bad" is a weird take for a chef.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:42 AM on September 19, 2019


There’s an Indian restaurant in Chicago that sells the most fabulous flash-fried okra appetizer. Sliced very thinly, vertically, and then somehow very quickly fried and then dusted with spices...so good.

I can’t get fresh okra up here, but — surprisingly — I can get bags of frozen okra (like you thought it was frozen peas or something). Not as good, but I can make a pretty good yogurt-okra salad.
posted by leahwrenn at 8:45 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


>Okra doesn't normally do that. You're probably allergic to okra. Or making a joke about being allergic to okra?

Well, when you say it like that, it makes a lot of sense. One of my little sisters had some food allergies and she would get all covered in hives and puffy and stuff, so I think that was my baseline for food allergy, but apparently it might just hurt the hell out of your mouth for a little bit. Well at least if I'm allergic, I can still eat it and not die, but it's still kind of embarrassing.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:46 AM on September 19, 2019


I don't know who needs to see this today, but it's okay to not like okra.
posted by wreckingball at 8:47 AM on September 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


However, I do disagree inasmuch as the "most foul thing ever grown" is objectively celery.
posted by wreckingball at 8:50 AM on September 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


the abomination that is papaya didn't.

I used to hate papaya with an intensity that I had for no other food -- my mom used to make a Chinese soup out of it, and would have to listen to her teenage daughters who happily ate deep-fried chicken feet and soy sauce giblets and all the colored bits inside a cracked blue crab, complain about how it tasted like poop and how she'd, once again, made poop soup.

And then I had it in Jamaica, two hours out of the field and purchased off the back a truck. It was incredible -- perfectly ripe, meltingly soft and sweet, tender and juicy, ever so slightly floral in a way that made you appreciate the sweetness. It was absolutely incredible, and one of the greatest pieces of fruit I've ever eaten. It's been almost a decade, and I still think about it.

(We stayed at the Blue House B&B, which is not on the ocean, but makes up and then some by not being a soulless giant resort with terrible food. In fact, it has some of the best food I've ever eaten on vacation.)
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:50 AM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Celery is weird for me. I really like a little bit of it: thinly sliced in salad or cole slaw, and if I don't toss a bunch in the pot when when making chicken stock then the end result is not as satisfying. But if the celery is sliced too large then bleh.
posted by ghost phoneme at 9:01 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Celery is one of those things that is utterly pointless on its own and utterly transformative in combination with a huge range of foods. It's sort of ridiculous, as Nigella Lawson once pointed out, that you can't just buy a single stick of celery for a stew, and end up with a great wilted bunch hanging around.

It is good with a cheeseboard and some walnuts and stuff though.
posted by howfar at 9:17 AM on September 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


Celery is one of those things that is utterly pointless on its own and utterly transformative in combination with a huge range of foods. It's sort of ridiculous, as Nigella Lawson once pointed out, that you can't just buy a single stick of celery for a stew, and end up with a great wilted bunch hanging around.

Well this is where you have to let your meals feed off one another. In my opinion, a celeriac is easier to deal with, and works just as well. You use a quarter for whatever you are doing, and then you can make a slaw, or a cream or both from the rest. But when I buy celery, I just cook things using celery till it's gone. It's not like there are no variations. My mother loved eating the sticks with cream cheese. I don't, maybe it was an -80's thing?
Will you or your family tire of eating celery for a week? Not necessarily. Mine never notices. I asked them specifically about eating chicken for four days, and they said the dishes were so different that they never thought about chicken as a common denominator.
posted by mumimor at 9:37 AM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Man I love me some fresh cold papaya. My parents got me started on it early - cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, then use a spoon to scoop out the delicious fruit flesh. 很好吃!
posted by rather be jorting at 9:37 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


I actually hate the taste of celery, which celery-likers tell me it doesn't have? Its shape and texture are appealing enough—I can imagine why one might include it in a dish, structurally—but it tastes to me like what I think drain cleaner would taste like, whether it's raw or cooked. I live in a western Canadian food desert, so I'll allow that I might never have had "good celery," but how much effort am I really expected to put into liking some cellulose-and-water peanut butter conduit? Anything based on a mirepoix is a celery dish to me. I've learned to tolerate it, but it's a Bad Vegetable AFAIC.
posted by wreckingball at 9:42 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


mark k, I don't think I will ever come to terms with the person who cannot be having cracked black pepper on anything besides steak or eggs but wants the Graun to know she is totally fine with peppercorns in Jewish chicken soup and Filipino food as a whole.
posted by rather be jorting at 9:52 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Well this is where you have to let your meals feed off one another.

Yes, but my point is that it would be nicer if I didn't have to.
posted by howfar at 9:54 AM on September 19, 2019


I have grudgingly come to accept, in my old age, that there may be some value in celery as an aromatic base ingredient in a soup or stew, but only after one has mercilessly boiled every last vestige of flavor or texture out of it. Raw or lightly cooked celery belongs absolutely nowhere.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:05 AM on September 19, 2019


I actually hate the taste of celery, which celery-likers tell me it doesn't have?

I love the flavor of celery but would describe it as fairly intense, on par with (say) cilantro. I've also heard people say celery has "no flavor", which seriously confuses me. But anyway, I never have the leftover celery problem because I will happily eat raw stalks.

Okra tastes really good but I hate the way it stings the roof of your mouth and gums. Why make a delicious food if it's just going to hurt the hell out of the mouth.

This is how I would describe walnuts (yes, I probably have a mild allergy). It took me a while to figure out the etiology since I was putting walnuts on pizza and thinking I'd burned the roof of my mouth. Nope, it was the walnuts. I still eat them all the time because walnuts are delicious. If you're thinking "... walnuts on pizza???", try 'em with goat cheese and bell peppers.

As for okra: someone above says it doesn't get slimy when cooked in oil. I think this is half-right; the key with okra is to cook it without agitating it much, so the moisture evaporates instead of being released into the pan. Deep-frying accomplishes this because the okra cooks so fast. But you can also achieve this in a skillet with or without oil as long as you don't stir for the first few minutes. Same trick works for browning mushrooms without flooding the pan with their juices. I always choose the smallest okra pods at the market if I want to make something non-slimy, so that I don't have to cut them (apart from lopping off the tops).

And as for turmeric: I've often wondered if there is any way to prepare the fresh roots without getting yellow fingers and stains on the cutting board, because I love the stuff (the smell is so divine). But if the head chef of the Curry Leaf Café doesn't know a way, I guess I have my answer.
posted by aws17576 at 10:07 AM on September 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


It was absolutely incredible, and one of the greatest pieces of fruit I've ever eaten.

Man I love me some fresh cold papaya. My parents got me started on it early - cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, then use a spoon to scoop out the delicious fruit flesh. 很好吃!

I wonder if there is some genetic thing going on, like cilantro tasting like soap to some folks. Every papaya that has crossed my path smells and tastes like literal vomit. Sometimes the smell also has notes of spoiled fish. I have smelled and tasted the famous durian and found it completely inoffensive in comparison.

I do not understand how this could be appealing to human beings, and biological predisposition seems like the only reasonable explanation.
posted by FakeFreyja at 10:19 AM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


NOW LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO
https://imgur.com/a/99fopyn
MetaFilter, it's all your fault.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:22 AM on September 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


I wouldn't consider myself a celery-liker (too fibrous for me) but I genuinely don't taste much of anything whenever I crunch into a raw piece of it? Mainly celery tastes sort of neutrally, vaguely vegetal to me. As I generally don't buy it myself, I will keep an eye out for opportunities to try more celery and see if I can find some intensely flavored stalks out there to sample.
posted by rather be jorting at 10:24 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


FakeFreyja: Every papaya that has crossed my path smells and tastes like literal vomit. Sometimes the smell also has notes of spoiled fish.

Huh! To me its smells and tastes vaguely sweet. Not bad, but also not particularly interesting. Not a taste I would go out of my way to experience, but I'd also not actively avoid it. I just don't care for it. Maybe I've never had one that was properly ripe? But I've eaten them in countries where they grow and for most fruits, that's the golden standard.

Now durian, that's a fruit that I like.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:26 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


I think more people would love artichoke if it wasn't for lazy chefs like Liz Cottam who apparently don't have taste buds and think pre-prepared artichoke hearts taste the same as freshly made.
posted by Grither at 10:39 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Also, the crayfish guy should try shelling mantis shrimp. Yeouch!
posted by Grither at 10:40 AM on September 19, 2019


> I wonder if there is some genetic thing going on, like cilantro tasting like soap to some folks.

Quite possibly! To me, papaya has a light sweetness to it. I have yet to ever taste anything that reminds me of vomit, sorry for your genes that it's made you feel so strongly negative about papaya that you can't conceive of human beings enjoying it
posted by rather be jorting at 10:41 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Also, if you can't differentiate the flavor of deep fried okra from other deep fried foods, there's something seriously wrong with either your skills or your palette.

Or your fry oil.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:42 AM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Papaya has always tasted vague to me, like it's supposed to be sweeter but just isn't, or it isn't quite ripe, and maybe the next one will be good. But it never is.
posted by PussKillian at 10:44 AM on September 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


jorting and other people who think celery has no taste: if you can find it, try fresh young thin celery. It's in season right now in many parts of the US, so farmers markets might have it [those of you in Chicago, the stand on the SE corner of the Daley Plaza farmers market still had it today and will probably have it next week as well]. The stuff is so pungent that our car smelled vaguely of celery for literal years after we bought a bunch one time on a road trip through PA, and the canvas bag I used at the market last week still has a scent of celery despite the fact that the celery was in plastic. The stalks in supermarkets are just fibrous water with a memory of celery.

(I also think papayas smell like vomit, fwiw.)
posted by Westringia F. at 10:45 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


A celery soda can be quite refreshing.

I know where people are coming from when they say it “has no flavor” but I think that has more to do with the factory-farmed stuff you get at the store. My sister gave me some home-grown celery once, and it was a much darker green, had a more pronounced flavor. I remember commenting at the time that I’d never had “good” celery before and it was quite a revelation.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 10:49 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


they don't have [okra] at the supermarket and I have to go to the Indian grocer to get them

My supermarket carries cut okra pieces in the frozen-vegetables section. They seem to work fine for gumbo, at least.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:50 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ok, last one: Clearly Tommy Banks has never had a good fresh ripe coconut in his life. The flesh is indeed softly juicy!

Though I am in 100% in agreement about the dried crap. A friend in college absolutely loved the President's Choice Brand chocolate chip cookies (I believe it's the same as Nice! brand in the US), so I tried one. Told him I didn't like them because of the coconut. He thought I was crazy til he read the ingredients and saw it listed there. Those tiny little gritty pieces of crap are everywhere! Ugh.
posted by Grither at 10:54 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


How did caviar not make this list?

I have such vivid memories of the single bite I had when I was ~20 yrs old. To this day it remains the worst thing I have ever tasted.
posted by she's not there at 10:54 AM on September 19, 2019


Celery... soda?

Huh!

I'm sometimes by various (SF) farmer markets on the weekends and will see whether the whiff of celery makes its way over to me as I putter around.
posted by rather be jorting at 10:54 AM on September 19, 2019


Genuinely curious, has anyone ever thought apples (or other more typically Western-associated fruits) taste like vomit? Or is it just the fruits from more tropical regions that get this kind of vivid association?
posted by rather be jorting at 10:56 AM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: Coming to terms with the pepper person
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:56 AM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Celery has a herbal bitterness that stands up to heat well. It's a great complement to fats and works well with many carbs (like sugar in soda). It's essential to the flavour of chicken stock/soup, for example.

BTW, Here's how you make celery soda.
posted by bonehead at 10:57 AM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Those tiny little gritty pieces of crap

Like gently-steamed fingernail parings doused in mid-nineties body spray.
posted by wreckingball at 10:59 AM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


I think any fruit, including papayas, apples, even watermelon, can develop a kind of pukey flavor if they get overripe and a bit fermentation starts to kick in. For me, it's mangoes that always seem to have a rotten-y flavor, although it's highly likely I've never had a 'good' one.
posted by arcolz at 11:01 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Genuinely curious, has anyone ever thought apples (or other more typically Western-associated fruits) taste like vomit? Or is it just the fruits from more tropical regions that get this kind of vivid association?

No on apples and also no on every other fruit from tropical regions. Just papaya, and I assure you there is no latent racism in the association as you are implying. Sometimes people just don't like things that taste like vomit.
posted by FakeFreyja at 11:02 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


I know it's a lot to ask, but can we talk about our likes and dislikes while trying not to yuck other people's yum?
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:06 AM on September 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


rather be jorting, if you can't find good celery at the farmer's markets, there's a Chinese celery that, even when factory farmed, still has a fair amount of bite. I see it in Chinese and Vietnamese grocery stores -- it looks like extra tall, extra skinny, slightly paler American celery.

It usually needs a good wash, because sandy dirt gets stuck at the base, but my mother makes a great, just-us-family-eating-dinner-together stir-fry that's nothing but celery and maybe the meat from favorite dishes is basically that stir-fried with some boneless chicken and carrots and a touch of soy sauce. Celery is 90% of the flavor profile.
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:07 AM on September 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


Oh my god, my comment is a disaster, but it's what I get for trying to leave a comment using one hand, while eating Cheetos with the other hand (which, for the record, are on my mother's shortlist for Foulest Thing Ever, because she hates the smell of processed cheese).
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:14 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Oh, and I also learned to love pickled okra as a child, because my dad had jars around. I have few issues with okra texture because I'm used to it being somewhat crunchy with seeds that pleasantly pop, which happens when it's pickled.

Pickled okra is so damn good that I think it's an insult to okra that "pickles" just refer to pickled cucumbers.
posted by invitapriore at 11:15 AM on September 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


Over 90 comments, and this southerner is a bit astounded that with all this talk of okra, no one's mentioned that if you don't like it slimy, just cook it with something acidic. Tomatoes are the traditional method. Voila, issue solved.

If you're not vegetarian, here's my mother's southern okra stew: Chopped fresh okra, stewed tomatoes, crumbled bacon, and a white onion diced and browned in the bacon grease. Toss them all into a pot ( one of the the old school cornflower printed white Corningware casserole dishes for maximum family tradition), stew up a bit and salt to taste, then serve. Wet, yes because of all those tomatoes, but not remotely slimy.

(It is delicious, BTW).
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 11:15 AM on September 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


Celery is one of those things that is utterly pointless on its own and utterly transformative in combination with a huge range of foods.

I was kind of a celery skeptic for a while and tried omitting it from a mirepoix once and its absence was very noticeable and made for a definite downgrade. I've come around on it in all sorts of contexts since.
posted by invitapriore at 11:19 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


garlic makes me extremely unwell but tbh it's all worth it to watch people flip the absolute fuck out when i innocently say "i don't really like garlic very much, sorry".
posted by poffin boffin at 11:19 AM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


also actual rotting meat smells less offensive to me than broccoli, bye.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:20 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


I love cruciferous veggies and eat an unhealthy amount of all of them, but yes every single one smells like a straight-up fart.
posted by FakeFreyja at 11:22 AM on September 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


the "most foul thing ever grown" is objectively celery.

Really? To me at least, it seems like a pretty innocuous thing to get worked up about. Sauteed it adds a nice subtle flavor to food, but raw it doesn't amount to anything more than crunch water...
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:44 AM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


I'm amazed we made it this far without talking about stuffed artichokes which are of course the correct and proper way to eat an artichoke.
posted by bookwo3107 at 11:45 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Genuinely curious, has anyone ever thought apples (or other more typically Western-associated fruits) taste like vomit?

Peaches are my hands down favorite fruit but damn if a bad one doesn’t taste like puke. See also: cantaloupe
posted by thivaia at 11:45 AM on September 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


I was neutral on okra, I wasn't a huge fan but I didn't dislike it and I'd sometimes order fried okra when it was available.

Then I worked one summer harvesting the stuff and I've never been able to stomach it since. It was so godawful sticky with all those hairs and I smelled like okra for weeks. If you like okra don't get a job harvesting it.
posted by sotonohito at 11:48 AM on September 19, 2019


Oh yes. Cruciferous veggies are pretty much my favorite food. I one time had a meal consisting of pretty much nothing but cabbage in various phases: kapusta (braised cabbage and sauerkraut) and slaw (combination cabbage and broccoli) on the side.

But nothing makes me clear out my fridge faster than broccoli (stir fried, roasted, steamed, raw, doesn't matter) that's not in an air tight container. Same with brussel sprouts that are just a smidge too old. Into garbage can and then immediately taken outside.
posted by ghost phoneme at 11:50 AM on September 19, 2019


listen if you can even have it in your home, deliberately and by choice, then you do not truly Understand
posted by poffin boffin at 11:55 AM on September 19, 2019


garlic makes me extremely unwell but tbh it's all worth it to watch people flip the absolute fuck out when i innocently say "i don't really like garlic very much, sorry".

also actual rotting meat smells less offensive to me than broccoli, bye.


We can either never eat together or always eat together, Sprat Family style. If I could only eat these foods plus bread for the rest of my life, I'd be okay.
posted by dame at 12:01 PM on September 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


Harvesting anything will make you hate it. I did research involving carrots this year and dealing with thousands of any food item puts me off them. That went double when I worked in a plant pathology lab that studied harvest rot so there were mouldering samples that you have to count and measure and classify for months. *shudder*
posted by momus_window at 12:02 PM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


I also think oatmeal raisin cookies are better than chocolate chip and am baffled by the pepper person. Bell peppers and onions that haven't been cooked down are right out though. These have been My Opinions.
posted by dame at 12:03 PM on September 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


Genuinely curious, has anyone ever thought apples (or other more typically Western-associated fruits) taste like vomit?

Peaches are my hands down favorite fruit but damn if a bad one doesn’t taste like puke. See also: cantaloupe


YES. We had a bad peach in our fruit bowl last week and the vomity pong was right there.
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:08 PM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


the worst of all food crimes is on food blogs when you see a regular chocolate cake with a single spoonful of mashed avocado added and it's proudly showcased as a "healthy" cake.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:09 PM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Oh yes. Or something is full of dates and honey and labeled as 'sugar free'.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:11 PM on September 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


No added sugar! Well except for all the sugar we added.

Or when there is a recipe for chocolate cake using an unusual ingredient that's supposed to make it healthy. Avocado chocolate cake, tomato soup chocolate cake, cauliflower chocolate cake, bean chocolate cake, etc.

Well yeah chocolate is one of the most overpowering tastes out there. You could make a chocolate cake with most food items and it would come out pretty much the same. It's still cake, just cake with something extra in it.
posted by FakeFreyja at 12:14 PM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


> Just papaya, and I assure you there is no latent racism in the association as you are implying. Sometimes people just don't like things that taste like vomit.

This Is Just To Say

I have read
the comments
that were in
the thread

and which
you were probably
not associating
with any latent racism

Forgive me,
I thought they were vindictive
so insistent
and so cold

---

But seriously, I don't think you're racist or being accidentally racist for thinking papaya tastes bad. I did, however, find it oddly tone-deaf that you kept repeating that papayas taste like vomit and also made a point of stating that you do not understand how the fruit is appealing to human beings (after other human beings have already mentioned being able to enjoy said fruit). Such hyperbolic ire reminded me of other people's reactions to durians and the mess of other associations related to such commentary. While pursuing that train of thought, it then occurred to me that I couldn't recall seeing anyone stating such a viscerally negative reaction to, say, apples, and thus I felt compelled to make my responding comment.

Having now read arcolz and thivaia's comments up above (and, on preview, dlugoczaj), which courteously took the time to note that sometimes specific instances of fruit can get vomit-y tasting but that isn't typical of said fruits as a whole, my own ill temper has now been soothed, and I'm cool with agreeing to disagree on the inherent characteristics of (just) papayas from now on.
posted by rather be jorting at 12:18 PM on September 19, 2019 [11 favorites]


I always see these beautiful bell peppers in commercials and in recipes, and they're so pretty and I loathe the taste of them. I can't even pick them out because their acrid taste seems to stick to everything in the dish even if they just brushed past each other. Every time a recipe is lauded for being colorful, it always means "heavy on the bell peppers" and I shudder inside.
posted by PussKillian at 12:19 PM on September 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


wenestvedt, I feel like I'm missing something. Why are you referencing Guy Fieri here?

Growing up in the South, I strongly disliked okra from a very early age and avoided it thereafter. I don't know if I just had a bad experience and wrote it off, but I happened to try some a few years ago and liked it fine...but I still have an instant negative emotional response to it.

(It's worth noting that I don't have a great relationship to food in general. I have a nearly non-existent sense of smell, with the concomitant loss of ability to taste much. Strongly sweet/sour/salty gets through, not much else, and texture is important--I've eaten so much junk over my life and just really cannot appreciate "good" food.)
posted by Four Ds at 12:21 PM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Harvesting anything will make you hate it.

I think any kind of overexposure to something that you don't love (and even then there's probably a limit) will do this.

The strongest negative reactions I've had to food are cooked carrots and pine nuts. Cooked carrots because growing up we had it too often. And the pine nuts were the result of a trip to Syria and they wound up being in everything we ate. It was nice, at first, but by the time I got back home I couldn't even think about eating them for a few years.

I can have some cooked carrots now. But the stuff out of a steamer back still make me gag.
posted by ghost phoneme at 12:22 PM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


I know being skeptical of British food is an overdone trope, but this listicle isn't exactly working against it. This is basically a list of chefs whose restaurants you should avoid, except for the few who were really just complaining about having to do nitpicky or quasi-dangerous things at kitchen scale (turmeric, garlic capers, crayfish).
posted by axiom at 12:25 PM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


My sister can't stand bell pepper. She claims she can tell if something just had a pepper waved over it while it was cooking.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:30 PM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Oh man - artichokes! We planted an Italian variety - Violetta - that is spike-less, and way more tender when young, so much so that you can eat nearly the whole dang thing. And yes, it's just a vehicle for your favorite dip (butter, garlic/butter, mayo, etc), until you get to the heart. The heart of the Violetta includes the stem and is so delicious, with nutty overtones, it's making my mouth water just thinking about it.
posted by dbmcd at 12:32 PM on September 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


Count me in as another that tastes papaya as vomit. I've gone out of my way to test this by asking friends and family to taste it before me. My mom has picked out, carved up, and vetted the flavor, only for me to have a completely different taste in my mouth compared to her. I've given up on it and chalk it up to some chemical compound I'm sensitive to as it ripens.

The only other fruit I've eaten that tastes like vomit is cantaloupe.

Now green papaya? It doesn't taste like vomit to me at all. I can eat papaya salads all day!
posted by vivzan at 12:51 PM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Oh yes, bell peppers. I hate them so much I forgot they even existed. Although, once I had them in a pasta dish at a very fancy restaurant, where the peppers, onions, celery, garlic and bacon where all cut into little 0.5 cm squares and sautéed. It was delicious, and I make that now and then and also use bell peppers for flavor in some other dishes rarely. Which reminds me that I asked a friend from a very coriander/cilantro-loving country what people do when they have that gene thing, and she said, they get used to it. Like I've almost gotten used to bell peppers. I still hate it when they are used as a garnish and ruin the whole dish or sandwich or whatever with their horrible stench.

It's funny, I'd actually thought of writing an ask about papaya, because at our local waste-not store, you can get a huge restaurant-scale can of papaya for the equivalent of 4 dollars. I don't think it tastes like vomit at all, but I am also not an enthusiast, so I was looking for interesting recipes. Now I'll just let it go.
posted by mumimor at 1:09 PM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


I've eaten at Baratxuri and the food was awesome. If their chef has better taste than me about when and how black pepper should be used as a seasoning, or not, that's fine with me. I'm completely willing to let her make food that is superior to anything I can make.
And I'm certainly not going to avoid any of the other restaurants either.
posted by vincebowdren at 1:12 PM on September 19, 2019


Bacon fixes many sins.

I have the cilantro gene. Stuff that's been chopped up and mixed in whatever for a while has much less soapiness to it (to me at least). So I kept exposing myself to it with cilantro rice. Now I can have it in fresh salsa unless I've literally made it that second. Granted, when I make salsa I still use way less than my cilantro loving husband would prefer, but at least I'm indifferent to it now. I never felt cilantro had a stench, just that it wasn't a food taste/smell, so that probably makes it easier to get used to than than the bell pepper dislike.
posted by ghost phoneme at 1:24 PM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


The ingredient on my personal NOPE list is lamb. I like to eat it if someone else prepares it - lamb gyros are delicious, I went to Iceland and had Icelandic lamb stew multiple times, loved it, then decided to make it myself at home.

The stew turned out great, but browning lamb meat in the pot smelled terrible* and the grease and smell just hung in the air in my house for hours, and it kind of ruined the experience. So now I only order lamb at restaurants.

*apparently this may be due to the US having lax regulations on what can be labeled "lamb," so it's often closer to "adult sheep," which is much gamier.
posted by castlebravo at 1:56 PM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


I've never associated cantaloupe with vomit per se, but its flavor and smell is just not for me; it's not gut-wrenchingly bad but I just don't like it at all. I make sure to re-try a piece every couple years just to be sure.
But what I hate most about cantaloupe is how its scent and flavor permeates all it touches. Fruit salad? YUM! Oh wait, there's cantaloupe in it. Now all the strawberries will taste of cantaloupe. I've returned packaged cut fruit at the grocery store because I can taste that the produce worker obviously cut these right after cutting up cantaloupe and didn't totally clean the knife.
Honeydew is also on notice for being too similar.
posted by onehalfjunco at 2:24 PM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


This has been an enlightening thread for me. Of course I know some people don't like some foods, but I had no idea how emphatically some people hate certain things that I've always thought were relatively harmless - fruit tasting like vomit is a new one to me!

Metafilter: I hate it so much I forgot it even existed
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:29 PM on September 19, 2019


The article is hilarious, letting professionals be crabby food opinionated humans is great! I get asked "whats your favorite dish /wine!" while the asker waits, breathlessly, to tell me how wrong I am. Lets me know who I'm dealing with.
We just don't believe that our sense of taste (which is smell + taste) can be completely personal and unique to each of us. In this thread, so many people are utterly confounded that something they like is hated, or vice versa. We know people wear glasses, have different physical abilities, can hear the slightest noise or not, so apply it to taste*. I've tried to have the philosophy that if I don't like some ingredient/dish, it's because I've never had it prepared properly. I am completely happy to spend the rest of my life finding the perfect okra and papaya recipe if you'd like to fund me?

*NOT talking about allergies, I've got the throat closing up/labored breathing from some very specific items, that's a whole different thang.
posted by twentyfeetof tacos at 2:48 PM on September 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


For reasons I can't explain, I've learned to appreciate broccoli, but cauliflower is a hard pass and brussels sprouts activate my involuntary gag reflex no matter how deliciously they are prepared/disguised. Yes, even roasted with bacon/duckfat/garlic. (As anecdata, I love cilantro, papaya & mango make my lips feel weird, have no opinions on okra, and generally dislike peppers and brown liquors and red wines as they all taste like burning to me.)
posted by ApathyGirl at 3:51 PM on September 19, 2019


There are no bad ingredients, only bad cooks.*

*ok, that cheese with the live maggots in it is kinda gross.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:27 PM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


I've never had them with butter though. Always vinaigrette. Artichokes were my birthday food of choice for years.

Whoa. We’re Bizarro and Superman, artichokes were *my* birthday food of choice as a child but always with lemon butter, never with vinaigrette. Served with a fresh, crusty baguette right out of the oven (which you could also dip into the lemon butter.)

Put a big empty bowl in the middle of the table, and get to a peeling and eatin. When the inner leaves start to get prickly it’s time to get a small paring knife and cut out the choke. Then take the heart (and if it’s a good one, the stem) and cut it up into pieces right over the bowl of lemon-butter and enjoy.
posted by jeremias at 4:29 PM on September 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Genuinely curious, has anyone ever thought apples (or other more typically Western-associated fruits) taste like vomit?

Not fruits in my case, but I do think butter and parmesan cheese (neither of which I consider exotic, and both of which I like!*) have a vomity note -- which it turns out is because they share a chemical component with actual vomit. I don't know if papaya does too, but I'm putting that out there to point out that these associations aren't necessarily pure products of acculturation.

* To say I like butter is a bit of an understatement. It's in most of my cooking. However, I found my limits when I tried baking a big batch of shortbread at home and oh god that smell
posted by aws17576 at 4:30 PM on September 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


I’m not Jewish, but I love lox, smoked salmon, and raw salmon (e.g. sushi). In fact, when a now-ex of mine introduced me to sushi, the thought that got me over the hump was, “Well, I like lox, and this is barely different.” Why?? I don’t know. I have texture issues with so many common foods, I’m not even much of a fish person. If someone made me a broiled salmon, I wouldn’t be enthusiastic. But I’d eat lox every day if I could afford it.

I totally understand what they’re talking about with the smoked salmon smell, though. It’s pungent and boy, does it linger. It’s like microwaved-fish smell intensified by a couple orders of magnitude.
posted by Autumnheart at 4:30 PM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Harvesting anything will make you hate it.

momus_window, yes! When I worked on storage diseases of onion, I thought I'd never eat an onion again because rotten onions smell so bad. But nothing compares to rotten cantaloupes in the field; they smell like corpses, and since the fruit look like skulls, it's like working in the fields of Hell. I eat onions now, but I still can't eat a cantaloupe.

As for artichokes, let me share my mother's dip: two parts mayonnaise, 1 part white vinegar, 1 part lemon juice, with fresh black pepper grated over it.

Celery: I always looked at celery as a bit player in the soup of life, but then I went to a Taiwanese restaurant that served me chicken stir-fried with celery. Like, 90% celery, 10% chicken. It was a revelation. I've duplicated it at home. You need good celery, though.

Papaya: We have a guy who comes from Florida once a year to work for us, and he comes up with different cultivars of tree-ripened papayas, and it's wonderful to eat properly ripened fruit and taste the differences among the cultivars.

Okra: At work we were once part of a program to grow food for food pantries, and we grew all sorts of vegetables including okra, which is delightful because of its high yield. The food pantry was worried that no one would eat the okra because they wouldn't be familiar with it, so they asked me to give a talk on how to cook with okra. I was really looking forward to it, but unfortunately, our garden plots were on a military base, and a rumor started that the base was contaminated with Agent Orange and that we intended to poison all the homeless people. I think we could have could have defended ourselves, but it was so discouraging that we just gave up and ate the produce ourselves, but I can't make a nice gumbo or fried okra without wishing I could share the good news of okra with everyone.
posted by acrasis at 4:57 PM on September 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


My parents love okra. My siblings and I cannot stand the texture / consistency. Mama tries to sneak into things - how can slimy stuff be disguised in anything?!? - desperately hoping we'll eat it. She takes it so personally as she wraps it up as a cultural food thing. We're such a disappointment to her.
posted by lemon_icing at 6:10 PM on September 19, 2019


Most of my okra experiences have been bad, slimy ones. I'll eat it deep fried if I must, and if it's in a soup/stew and the sliminess is really diluted/drowned out I can live with it, but the thing is, I live in Japan. Slimy food is just fine here, yamaimo and okra and natto, there's a whole market for slimy, so chefs really don't have much reason to prepare the okra in a way that makes it non-slimy, because for the people who like okra, the sliminess is half the point.

The list of foods I dislike is very, very short, I'll eat practically anything, but if asked I usually say I don't like okra (even though I'm fine with it when it's prepared in a non-slimy way) because I'd rather not get into the details and I assume the worst of the okra that will be presented to me.

On the other hand, smoked salmon!? I love smoked salmon, all kinds, especially the soft kind (like lox) and would happily eat far more of it than is probably reasonable. I don't care if it makes my hands smell funny, it is, in my opinion, one of the absolute best things I have ever put in my mouth and I will endure many things in the name of putting it in my mouth again.
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 6:34 PM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Isn’t there a thing where Hershey’s chocolate smells or tastes like vomit to people?
posted by PussKillian at 7:51 PM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Mostly only if you’ve had better...
posted by Burhanistan at 8:12 PM on September 19, 2019


Can somebody please explain papaya to me? Eaten as a fruit, it’s a bland beige boringfruit with an unlovely texture. And yet, Thai green papaya salad is freakin incredible. Totally different taste, totally different texture. Is green papaya just unripe papaya? Or a different fruit entirely?
posted by panama joe at 10:02 PM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


yep! green papayas are baby papayas
posted by rather be jorting at 10:11 PM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


Via Cook's Illustrated:
Immature green papaya has crisp white flesh with very little flavor. It is prized mostly for its crunch and used primarily as a base for salads, most notably in the Thai classic som tam, where it serves as a bland backdrop for the powerful flavors of chile, lime, garlic, and fish sauce. Tasters characterized green papaya as “clean-tasting” and “like cucumber or jícama”; in fact, jícama and seeded cucumber make good substitutes if green papaya is unavailable.

The firm white flesh of green papaya comes from the same fruit as orange papaya—it just hasn't ripened.
posted by rather be jorting at 10:14 PM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


I took a look at the Guardian piece again and saw that it has over 2000 comments at the moment and I am entertained by how that conveys similar energies to "Several people are typing..." in a group chat
posted by rather be jorting at 10:30 PM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Isn’t there a thing where Hershey’s chocolate smells or tastes like vomit to people?

Butyric acid.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:52 AM on September 20, 2019


Huh. So, reading the list, some of these chefs just need to go to Louisiana/Texas (and as rdr mentions, Beaumont would be great to get the feel of creole/cajun/Texas steak and Texas seafood cooking).

Okra? Is tasty raw, sauteed, fried (and does not taste like any other fried item), in gumbo, and pickled. One can disagree but a chef should either say, "I don't know how to cook it." or "I just don't like it and don't want to learn how to cook it." versus "it's the most foul thing ever grown."

Crawfish is annoying to prep? People pay good money to de-shell the critters all the time. I love crawfish meat and will buy craw tails all the time, but won't do the work myself, just as I don't like to shell crab. Many people do not care at all. I know someone who works 40 hours a week shelling shrimp, filling them with jack cheese and wrapping them in bacon. She is one of the happiest people I know, and she literally out shelled shrimp vs an industrial shrimp peeler.

Turbot? That looks just like flounder. That's a two minute fillet job with little experience.

Cilantro is one of those things I completely understand not wanting to work with, as there is a significant amount of people who taste soap instead of the wonderful flavor of cilantro that I taste. Spouse loves it. I love it. Dad loves it. Mom almost retches. Whenever I go to their place and help cook, I don't even think to look for the cilantro. I am okay with working with a smaller sandbox and often find that makes for better cooking.

If it's a prep issue, I understand. But chefs saying the find something slimy/gross is... a weird way to talk about food, when that is your profession.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 8:55 AM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Bell peppers are pretty much the only absolute NOPE for me. They agitate my insides in a fairly dramatic way, and for some reason people insist on using them "for a little bit of color" even if you let them know you need to avoid them. It's just the bells too- I happily eat all chilis, green, red, fresh, dried- with no consequences.

Fresh picked celery from the backyard is an amazing treat: crisp, green, minerally salty and delicious. It's yet another food that has been ruined by modern agriculture.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:38 AM on September 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


About the turbot, I have never seen this snot she talks of. It's not like I cook turbot often, but it isn't never, either. Has anyone here seen it? Has it got something to do with freshness or lack of?
posted by mumimor at 9:47 AM on September 20, 2019


Everything you eat smells like farts or vice versa.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:41 PM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


The disliked ingredients of a bunch of British chefs is basically the least useful list that could be compiled. Coconut?
posted by snofoam at 2:44 PM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Can somebody please explain papaya to me?

Ripe papaya is bright orange, sweet, rich and delicious. Like salmon, the flavor can’t even be described by referencing other foods.
posted by snofoam at 2:48 PM on September 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


[Papaya] Eaten as a fruit, it’s a bland beige boring fruit with an unlovely texture.

Many tropical fruits are terrible when imported to temperate latitudes. They have to be picked so green that they're not even barely the same fruit at the destination. Pawpaw fresh off the tree in Jamaica is amazing, one of the best fruits I've ever had. On Toronto, from the Superstore, papaya is cardboard. I never buy it; it's too disappointing.
posted by bonehead at 2:51 PM on September 20, 2019 [7 favorites]


I’ve eaten papaya in the tropics and still found it disappointing, which is a pity because it always appeared at breakfast and looked beautiful. But no, it was always the mango that was my true friend.
posted by PussKillian at 7:52 PM on September 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Oooooh, I get to be the first to say, CUCUMBERS. I absolutely loathe them. People say, "But they don't taste like anything!" WHY DO YOU HAVE NO TASTE BUDS? Their horrible sharp flavor triggers my gag reflex like WHOA. This is a problem because I adore salads, and sometimes all you can get are premade salads with chopped cucumbers in there like little landmines of awfulness ready to trigger my gag reflex in social settings, yay. Also my kids love cucumbers so they're often stinking up my fridge.

(I do like cucumber pickles, although I haven't been able to eat them since my first pregnancy without getting sick.)

I like bell peppers, unless they're green, in which case GTFO. I don't know why you would pick a perfectly delicious pepper before it's ripe and eat that acrid nonsense. In long-simmering cajun food they're fine, but people who put like six of them in a chili that cooks for less than an hour? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:51 PM on September 21, 2019


"Pawpaw fresh off the tree in Jamaica is amazing, one of the best fruits I've ever had. On Toronto, from the Superstore, papaya is cardboard. I never buy it; it's too disappointing."

Papaya or pawpaw? You ought to be able to grow pawpaw in Toronto. (Although it definitely does not ship.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:53 PM on September 21, 2019


In Jamaica, papaya is usually called pawpaw. It's not at all the same thing as the pawpaw fruit in the US, which is largely unknown outside of the US. It does grow in southern Ontario, apparently, but I've never seen any for sale or ever tasted one.
posted by bonehead at 12:31 PM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


"In Jamaica, papaya is usually called pawpaw."

I did not know that! (And looking it up, apparently our pawpaw comes from your pawpaw, because settlers saw the North American pawpaw and needed a word for it, and said "kinda looks like those pawpaws in the Carribbean, we'll call it that.")

"It does grow in southern Ontario, apparently, but I've never seen any for sale or ever tasted one."

Yeah, even getting to a farmer's market is a bit of a struggle for pawpaws, though sometimes you find them. (They're definitely too fragile for commercial sale, which discourages farmers from putting in crops, even if they primarily sell via farmers' markets.) They're kind-of weedy trees and they historically grew on marginal land -- they like their feet pretty wet, so a low, swampy area too wet for traditional crops just left to itself would eventually turn into a pawpaw patch. They like heavy shade their first few years and then full sun thereafter (and in a patch of just themselves the old trees die to make way for the young ones). They grow along creeks and wooded riverside ridges and places like that. With land in North America so heavily managed these days, you don't have a lot of that kind of marginal land, and when you do it belongs to someone so you can't go picking their pawpaws. Anyway, they grow through zone 5 -- even in zone 4 if you have a sufficiently protected microclimate -- so you could definitely grow some in Toronto if you wanted to! It's the only member of Annonaceae to grow in temperate climates. And before humans arrived, it was a favored food of mastodons and giant ground sloths (and them pooping it around is how it got all over the place). They were around in the Cretaceous and probably popular with dinosaurs (they survived the K-T impact by being so darn weedy and then spread out again via the poop).

They're also pollinated by flies that feed on decaying flesh, instead of bees, so they have these fascinating dark purple flowers that smell like corpses. (I mean, not strongly, it's not going to ruin your patio-sitting, but if you get up in there you can smell it.)

Anyway you should definitely grow some, they're fascinating plants and the fruit is in fact very delicious, eat it with a spoon right out of the fruit (I like to chill it in the fridge). And while the fruit doesn't keep, you can freeze the pulp and use it in pancakes and banana-bread-type recipes and icecream and other things and it's very delicious that way too. And whenever you feed it to people, they've never had it before so you get to introduce them to it, AND you get to tell them about the dinosaurs and the giant ground sloths and the pooping and the corpse-scented flowers.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:32 AM on September 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


Royal Dinner - Spices and Delights of Louisiana (YT)
Chef Michel Roth deals with the okra and more
posted by mumimor at 10:24 AM on September 27, 2019


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