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jhlurie

Foods that are Divisive Because of their Taste/Aftertaste

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Okay... fairly deep into the Toast-N-Serve Magic Bag topic, when discussing Canola Oil, several people commented about how they always perceived Canola as tasting like Fish.

Now I don't. Canola Oil seems relatively tastesless to me.

It reminded me of the old "Cilantro tastes like Soap" debate. Once again, I've never perceived Cilantro that way, but we all know somebody who thinks this, even if we don't.

We've discussed the Cilantro/Soap thing to death on various threads, but I'm curious... what other foods have this kind of division? Where a definable group of people all share a perception of a taste (usually an aftertaste from what I can tell--although I will change the topic title if someone can prove otherwise or come up with a more descriptive title), and another definable group thinks that the first group is totally nuts.

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Tuna. The canned variety literally turns my stomach and I can barely choke down the fresh stuff. Yet, I love almost all other fish including eel!

Cilantro is also a no-no. I can't abide the smell of it let alone the taste.

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goats cheese. to me, instead of being wonderfully earthy, it is like licking an old goat. I regularly try to overcome this, as I really would like to be able to eat it, but every time - feeeccccccch.

still, it's a valuable opportunity to avoid calories.

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One of the more unusual after-effects is the slight anesthetic hit from Sichuan peppercorns. Not only do they leave you with a hint of camphor and a tingling mouth, but also they seem to interact with almost anything else you eat or drink. To say the least, they are not a wine-friendly ingredient.

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For some reason, large green onions taste like garbage to me. I love green onions and probably add them to too many things because I love them so much - but the big ones just taste like garbage to me. I can't explain it.

I've noticed the cilantro-soap thing, but somehow I still really like cilantro.

I've eaten goat cheese many times and always loved it. My grandmother makes a Red Pepper Goat Cheese lasagna that's just wonderful, but my mom has always hated it. She says it tastes like licking a goat. I could never understand it. But last month I bought some caramel made from goat milk and I tasted that flavor she must be talking about. It was awful. The funny thing is, my kids loved it. Now I'm nervous to eat goat cheese again because maybe my taste buds are now attuned to it.

I don't understand the thrill of sichuan peppercorns. I don't enjoy that numb, tingling sensation at all. It doesn't make my top ten list of foods I loathe, but I avoid it.

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It's an interesting issue, and not as simple as liking or disliking something for indescribable reasons (a lot of people don't like cilantro, but don't perceive it as tasting soapy).

It could be a measurable genetic thing, like the "asparagus effect" on some people's urine. On the other hand, it could be a psychological contrarianism; Canola oil, after all, is a "designer" oil, albeit through breeding and not through GM techniques, and to some people there's something "fishy" (so to speak) about designer foods.

It's also possible some people got hold of some poorly processed Canola oil (we've always used the "Superb" label from Costco).

BTW the "several" people who reported the fishy taste in the other thread was TWO, by my count.

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BTW the "several" people who reported the fishy taste in the other thread was TWO, by my count.

i see. but i bet there are others.

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inspired by this, I thought I'd give it another go - the goat cheese thing - just been out for Friday lunch (yay! pub lunch Friday!) to The Atlas, very nice gastropub in Earl's Court, one of my colleagues had bruschetta with roasted vegetables, plum tomatoes + thyme, goat cheese and rocket pesto. I sneaked a crumb, literally a crumb, of cheese, and - nope - goat-o-rama. felt like that scene in Big where Tom Hanks takes his first taste of caviar and ends up wiping it off his tongue with a napkin. so - goats cheese 17, Fi zero. Again. Good luck, Ladybug!

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maybe i've lucked out in that i've never been intimate enough with a goat to associate a certain smell to goat cheese. (not that i particularly like the cheese)

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goats cheese.  to me, instead of being wonderfully earthy, it is like licking an old goat.

Having never licked a goat (old or otherwise), I'll take your word for it. :laugh:

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BTW the "several" people who reported the fishy taste in the other thread was TWO, by my count.

i see. but i bet there are others.

Yes, and after it was mentioned it did occur to me that it wasn't the first time I'd heard the comment, although usuually it's just that some people say it tastes "bad" and others think it's fairly neutral tasting.

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jon, in the future, please choose your words more carefully.

At least I'm not talking about licking goats.

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One of the more unusual after-effects is the slight anesthetic hit from Sichuan peppercorns. Not only do they leave you with a hint of camphor and a tingling mouth, but also they seem to interact with almost anything else you eat or drink. To say the least, they are not a wine-friendly ingredient.

At first I thought this response was a bit off topic, Fatus, because the original idea behind the thread was to highlight things which taste "different" to different groups. But the more I think on it, the better an example Sichuan peppercorns actually are. Sure, pretty much everyone gets the battery-acid numbing sensation, but people REACT to that sensation in either of two distinct ways and sometimes the thought HAS gone through my mind "are they eating the same thing I am, 'cause I love it and they hate it?"

Technically its probably not even a "taste" issue in this one case.

fresco, interesting catch with the sinapine reduction. Do you also think its possible that some people are more "sensitive" to sinapine than others?

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It's possible. It may also vary from processor to processor. I'd forgotten how recently canola was introduced as an oil for human consumption--think it was late 1980s or early 1990s.

For what it's worth, someone (maybe more than one) producer in Alberta is producing an artisanal, cold pressed canola oil made from organically grown seed. I tried it about a year ago and it was pretty good, though astonishingly expensive compared with the mass produced stuff.

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something i was thinking about too - rape (rapeseed oil/canola oil) is part of the brassica (sp?) family - along with brussel sprouts and other cruciferous veggies. it might be a person to person variation in sensitivity to it.

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You may be onto something, although there is a lot of variation in reaction to the different brassicas. For instance, I can't stand brussels sprouts while my wife thinks they are splendid. I'd have rapini a couple of times a week, but she thinks it's the devil.

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Good catch, fresco. I have often wondered about some folks detecting a fishy taste. I never have. I would not be surprised at variability of BOTH individual sensitivity to sinapine as well as content in the oil. At least now we know that there is a real compound with a name associated with fishiness.

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Dark Chocolate falls into this category, I think. I love the stuff, though I don't usually like bitter tastes. My husband, however, who will drink the darkest, most robust coffee, can't abide by dark chocolate.

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To me, dark chocolate doesn't even taste like chocolate. It tastes like a combination of mint/coffee with a slight nutty aftertaste.

Cherries taste like cough syrup.

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To me, dark chocolate doesn't even taste like chocolate

This may be a case of terminology rather than taste. I expect cocoa to be bitter, and I tend to think of chocolate first and foremost as a form of cocoa and not as a sweet confection.

Although I like Milk Chocolate, I can always tell that its sugar and milk powder and cocoa butter I'm mainly tasting and not just cocoa. Whereas I don't have that problem with Dark Chocolate. :raz:

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something i was thinking about too - rape (rapeseed oil/canola oil) is part of the brassica (sp?) family - along with brussel sprouts and other cruciferous veggies. it might be a person to person variation in sensitivity to it.

This is very interesting. I DESPISE cruciferousvegetables. On the other hand, I have never thought they tasted like fish.

When I was cooking in provincetown in... '90, I think it was, my boss tried out canola. Newly cleaned fryers, new oil, fried some chicken. I thought I somehow made a mistake and threw in fish. Same thing with onion chunks. He didn't order it again.

I have new canola in the kitchen now, and won't use it unless desparate. Ewww.

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Elyse, think canola oil was barely introduced in 1990 and may have improved since then. But if you find it loathesome, why would you use it even out of desperation?

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