6 Picky Eating Habits You Can Fix (And Not Just With Bacon)
Throughout my life, I have always been a bit of a picky eater. I can't explain how it happened, and frankly I think some of you should be explaining to me how the fuck you keep eating tomatoes.
I suppose the fact that my parents were both murdered by a tomato in an alley after taking me
to the theater may have had something to do with it.
I have gotten better with age, however, and in the years since I've left short pants, I've added a number of foods to my digestive repertoire. For anyone who happens to be in the same boat, below I present a list of some of the most hateful foods in the world, and suggestions on how to choke them down.
Brussels sprouts are essentially baby cabbages, and although that might make them sound cute and fun, in reality it just means that all that awful cabbage taste is getting crammed into a smaller container. Brussels sprouts are concentrated awfulness, and I'm not alone in thinking so. They arouse an unusual amount of hatred in many people, apparently stemming from a particularly traumatizing Thanksgiving dinner that we all went through growing up.
"You know the rules, son. No pie until you take a turn."
The reason almost every kid has the same story is because Brussels sprouts taste quite a bit more bitter than other vegetables, and as bitterness is one of those fundamental tastes that kids don't like, almost everyone's first contact with Brussels sprouts is an unpleasant one. It's not until our taste buds (and souls) die a little bit that they become palatable.
How You Should Eat It:
Because bitterness becomes more palatable with age, try Brussels sprouts out again if it's been a decade or two since you last threw them back in your grandmother's face, because you might find you like them now.
If not, feel free to trot on over to Grandma's grave and spit them out.
If they still taste like hot garbage, you can step things up a bit and roast the bejeezus out of them. By letting the Maillard reaction smooth off the rough edges of their flavor, you can make them way tastier. Throw in some nuts and bacon, cover the whole mess in gravy, and you should be laughing.
Spinach is another one that seems to have a bad reputation stemming from people being forced to eat it during childhood. It's one of those vegetables that's just lousy with nutrition, so you can sort of see why parents would do this, and like all vegetables, it doesn't come in Fruit Roll-Up form, so you can see why kids hate it.
Kale Roll-Ups got absolutely nowhere on the market.
Also, according to Popeye cartoons, spinach used to be put in cans for some reason, which couldn't have helped anyone's opinion of it. Canning any food is a good way to make it several times grosser, and to do it to a leafy vegetable might be some kind of food crime.
"Yeah, that's good, but what if we could make it slimier. Like a thousand times slimier?"
How You Should Eat It:
Now that we no longer live in the past, when food was delivered by fucking horseback or something, we can back away from the canned spinach and eat the fresh stuff, at which point it's not particularly different from any other lettuce-like leaf. Without a word of a lie, almost all of my favorite salads as an adult use spinach in some way, probably because spinach salads always seem to include nuts, fruit, cheese, meat, and no other vegetables at all.
This is basically my kind of salad.
Although all right-thinking people love a burrito, the exact ingredients that should go in one is a matter of personal preference, and every good burrito joint will be filled with customers who have made their own individual choices about what goes in a burrito, and yet are still somehow all living together harmoniously.
Burritos are deep, man.
This state of content breaks down completely when the matter of cilantro comes up. Cilantro, also known as coriander for those of you from non-burrito countries, provides for many people a fresh or citrusy scent and taste, while others find that its taste is irredeemably "soapy" or "awful, just awful."
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY BURRITO YOU TREACHEROUS LEAF?
How You Should Eat It:
There's some evidence that the reason some people like cilantro and some people don't is genetic. Which is interesting, although I can't help but be a little suspicious of what the funding request for that research looked like.
Did someone actually give these people $8 million to eat burritos for seven years?
On the other hand, there are cases of people seemingly able to get over their cilantro aversion, mainly by eating lots of other foods. None of them have to contain cilantro, but eventually, after experiencing enough cilantro-like scents and flavors, the taster's mind begins associating cilantro with food and not soap. That sounds like an awful lot of work to begin eating an herb that is, at best, OK. But if you think you're missing out on something, go for it.
Or just use the room you save on cilantro for more meat.
Tofu is the most heavily mocked and, to be fair, the most mock-worthy ingredient in the pantheon of vegetarian cuisine. Which is a little harsh on it, much of that mockery coming as a result of its unique role as a meat "substitute." That sounds like a cruel joke, at least until you taste it, at which point it tastes like a cruel joke.
You want to replace beef with -- let me get this straight -- pressed soy curds? What plane of existence do you hail from, demon?
For anyone who eats meat regularly, this is just a ludicrous idea. Although the taste of tofu itself is fairly bland, and it can be easily seasoned, tofu has perhaps the least meat-like texture possible. A sock full of garbage would have a better texture and mouth-feel.
As would acid, two tons of gravel fired out of a cannon, a thousand angry cats, and the sun.
How You Should Eat It:
Fried to hell.
Ahh yeah. Eating health food up in this bitch tonight.
Because texture is the killer problem with tofu, anything that changes the texture of it is the way to go, and nothing does that like frying. I've probably only had a handful of tofu dishes in my life that were in any way enjoyable, and in all of those, the tofu was fried until the moon changed phase. After that, it was a simple matter of applying all the salt in the world and a light dipping sauce, and voila! Edible tofu.
Although wrapping a slice of bacon around it couldn't hurt either.
Celery isn't hated so much as it's disdained, rightfully shunned for its impossible, baffling texture. Composed of water, hair, and not much else, celery is famously said to contain fewer calories than are burned by chewing it, like that's some kind of selling feature.
Just shoddy product design. I hope someone lost their job over this.
The few people who have been brave enough to try chewing a piece of celery report that it has a taste that is a bit salty, herby, and overwhelmingly ropelike. No one has survived long enough to observe if it has an aftertaste.
How You Should Eat It:
Ignore all the traditional uses of celery, as well as farcical snacks such as "ants on a log." Concealing a poison-stick beneath peanut butter and raisins (the celery of the fruit world) is irredeemably cruel. Also, don't think you can defeat celery's nature by cooking it, which somehow makes it worse, giving it a no less ropey, but now much more flaccid appearance, which is exactly as appealing as it sounds.
You just don't see "flaccid" show up in advertising copy very often.
No, the only way people have ever enjoyed celery has been by employing its stick-like attributes to their fullest extent and literally using it as a stick. Whether in a Bloody Mary, or, for you civilized folks, a Caesar, celery is at best a swizzle stick.
And even in the field of swizzling, there are superior alternatives.
Mushrooms are a staple of many different cuisines and show up in some of the finest dishes in the world. Prized for their complex, earthy flavors, they also unfortunately have the texture of really firm boogers, which is something that those fancy restaurants kind of gloss over.
"Yes, sir, tonight they are exceedingly firm and boogery feeling. I note that they also pair well with the '09 Sauvignon."
Of all the foods on this list, mushrooms are my most hated enemy. It's no exaggeration at all to say that they make me gag a little every time one of them sneaks past my defenses. My body knows they're poison and is willing to turn inside out to keep them out of it.
Look at them, sitting there smugly, just waiting for another chance at murder.
Still, though, unlike some of the other entries on this list, mushrooms aren't a niche food, easily avoided. They show up everywhere, so clearly someone out there is finding them palatable, right?
How You Should Eat Them:
Wrong. Fuck mushrooms. They are slimy and gross and will always be slimy and gross. They are responsible for every unexplained death in human history and want nothing more than to murder you and everyone you love. Anyone who claims to enjoy the taste of mushrooms is a Deceiver, bound by the Fungal Lords in an unholy pact, and you would be irresponsible if you didn't immediately pin them down, strip them bare, and reveal their hideous true form to the world.