All of us have foods we don't want to touch. It's not that we're picky eaters; it's just that Brussels sprouts and broccoli are gross, no matter how badly the first lady wants us to enjoy them.
But what really makes us picky eaters is foods we won't touch simply because they sound gross. That's why marketers are able to laugh at us from their penthouses with gold-plated toilets -- they can sell us anything. With the right name.
#4. Chilean Sea Bass Used to Be Patagonian Toothfish
For some reason, this adorable little swimmer, despite being undeniably delicious, just didn't move a lot of units. Because a fish is really only as delicious as the number of people who buy it, a change was obviously in order. Lee Lantz was the man to make that change happen. Disillusioned with his paltry toothfish sales, he just up and changed the name of the hideous-looking seabeast to Chilean sea bass, which, for all intents and purposes, it absolutely is not.
Dead-eyed stink-brick might have been more accurate.
Originally, the newly renamed fish was sold solely to make what had to be the most scrumptious fish sticks ever, so it wasn't the best marketing strategy. But then the Four Seasons in New York added Chilean sea bass to their menu, and a culinary sensation was born.
#3. Dried Plums Used to Be Prunes
Prunes have a very bad reputation. Let's not mince words: They're associated with helping old people move their bowels. That's not a sexy distinction.
Nothing says "erotic" like regularly punishing your toilet.
To get around this, the California Prune Board, who you might remember as the band that frequently opened for the California Raisins in the '80s, decided to change the name of their product to what it really is ... dried plums. Great news! The FDA was all for it!
Swept up in the excitement of possibly breaking the chains that bind their product to elderly constipation, the prune board took it a step further and decided to change their name to the California Dried Plum Board.
California Dried Plums
"Pee in the pool like a champion: eat prunes!"
When that move was given the green light as well, the board got cocky. In one of the most audacious requests in the history of food, they asked the FDA, presumably with a straight face, if they could change the name of prune juice to dried plum juice. The FDA literally had to spend your tax dollars to issue an official response to the request, in which they informed Big Prune that "dried juice" would be a contradiction in terms.
#2. Canola Oil Used to Be Rapeseed Oil
Shockingly, this name change wasn't the result of the public's reluctance to cook with rape, although we have no doubt that the name still would have crippled product sales. So it's a good thing that a shockingly knowledgeable public somehow knew, without the aid of the Internet even, that rapeseed oil contains erucic acid, which, as you know, sounds like something scary as shit that you shouldn't put in your food.
"The rapeseed is coming in well, but our pedophile bushes are struggling."
What people didn't know was that the stuff they were selling was actually a contaminant-free hybrid of rapeseed oil. So, they renamed it canola oil and kept the switcheroo so quiet that it took a series of chain letters to expose the secret.
This was a sneaky success, but seriously, who's going to buy rapeseed oil anyway? They had no choice.
Nobody's ever been canola'd in a frathouse bathroom.
#1. Sea Urchin Used to Be Whore's Eggs
The Japanese, eaters of all sorts of disgusting things, had been eating whore's eggs for a really long time. As if you needed further proof that the USA leads the way in being a bunch of prudes, allow us to be the first to tell you that folks here in the States have been eating "whore's eggs" for a long time also. The only difference is, because we have some kind of irrational fear of whores, we call them uni here, and that's a stupid name, because what they really are is sea urchins.
Easily the third least whorish creature of the ocean floor.
Uni is a delicacy here now. In fact, it's so popular that you should get off your computer right now and take up diving. Urchin divers make $2,500 a week. That's almost as much as a good whore makes.