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Nasty Ingredients


Fat Guy
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We were discussing Craft restaurant on the New York board and someone mentioned a dish with Pernod in it and another fellow said he hates Pernod, at which point I made the argument that there are plenty of nasty substances that nonetheless taste great when used sparingly as ingredients, such as Southeast Asian fish sauce. Any others?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Shrimp paste comes immediately to mind.  It smells like fish sauce times twelve.  My wife won't let me keep the stuff in the house, and I can't blame her.  I love what it does to curry pastes, marinades, and so on.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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Not actually ingredient, but nasty food for me is Natto, fermented soybeans.It is sticky and with pungent odor, which I hate. But I am not exception among Japanese. Majority of those living in Kansai district, where Oosaka and Kyoto are

located, do not treat it as food.

My former turtor, who is from Boston, liked it. His claim was Natto smells like blue cheese. I didn't agree with him, though.

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things that I don't like a lot of, but don't mind a touch of:

marsala

dill

sherry

fish sauce

olives

mushrooms (cooked). I could eat tons raw.

I've always liked

vinegar and mustard and cilantro

but I have relatives who've hated them

I do not like sherry, but I do like pickled herring. I don't know why I put them together, but they have have similar mouth-puckering effects. Yet I hate sherry and love vinegar.

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What's this about Pernod being nasty stuff?

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I love Pernod, especially after a big dinner.  On the rocks with water and a twist....yummm...

There are pleant of Sushi preperations that just turn me off....but I just can't eat Foie Gras, I hate the mouth feel, the taste, ugh....I know I know, but it just is not my thing!! :)

Now that I think about it...all sorts of Liver does that to me, beef, chicken, whatever, I REALLY hate liver! LOL

http:/www.etuinc.com

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That's weird that you should say that about dill, Andy, because I feel the same way.  I hate dill more than any other flavor.  There are certain ingredients I'm tolerant but not actively fond of, but the slightest bit of dill makes me actively gag.

I believe I remember reading somewhere that Jean-Georges doesn't like dill either.  He didn't denounce it in the same way I just did, but it was about the first time I've ever heard a well-known chef admit he didn't like something unless he was making a point about McDonald's or similar.

It seems so innocuous, and I like all of the other major herbs just fine.  I've tried to get over my aversion, so far to no avail.  Does dill contain some compound found nowhere else or something?

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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Chacun à son goût. I'll take my Pernod with water, about four or five parts water to one of Pernod and an ice cube or two. I'll take it in the afternoon, or before dinner.  As for Preet's cocktail, allow me to paraphrase Fat Guy and make the argument that there are plenty of nasty substances that nonetheless taste great as long as they are not combined together. However, if you can find a bartender willing to make one, I'll buy it for you. I suppose the one condition would be that you not face me as you taste it. ;)

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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More on dill

Jeffrey Steingarten, in his “The man who ate everything” places dill on his phobia list. From McGee’s “On food and cooking”: dill has been used since BC, is in the carrot family (along with anise, caraway, fennel, and 2,996 other species) and has strong scented oils. I wonder if the feathery texture has something to do with reason for dislike too?

I used to dislike dill, but over the last couple of years I’ve started to like it. And I can't say I worked at this. I like Route 11 dill chips and dill on salmon. I can't convert my husband though. He loathes the stuff.

http://www.gardenguides.com/herbs/dill.htm

above link says deer don’t like dill either!

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It's frighten to say this, but I don't eat Tomato raw. It's perfectly OK when it is cooked with heat. With herb like garlic is more preferred. As well as Natto, I cannot stand fresh Tomato smell.

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I thought Steingarten had eliminated all phobias except bugs. Bon, the only food I couldn't bring myself to eat when I was in Japan, was a plate of fried crickets at breakfast. As my wife noted, perhaps late inthe afternoon with drinks - maybe, but not as an eye opener. I'll tade my bugs for your tomato. Here in the U.S., a tomato is considered so luscious and appealing that it's a word used to describe an attractive woman.  

You guys are all weird. I've accepted friends' religious and sexual preferences, but these food phobias are harder. I guess I'll have to overcome my intolerance to food phobes. Be careful if you ever get an invitation to dinner though. I'm taking notes.  ;)

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I doubt jean-george (he's sort of a one name person now, like cher) dislikes dill.  He uses it extensively in his cookbooks: i specifically remember dill stuffed shrimp with baked lemons.

I was off dill forever but i just had some cold cucumber soup which remineded me it can be quite nice.

cilantro seems to be another of these controversial herbs.  I like it it small quanities (though went through maybe a five year period of severe aversion), but i know people will refuse to eat at the best restaurent in town (this is in ohio) just because they can't bring themselves to say, "no cilantro please."

I actually hate eggs.  The smell of a fried egg makes me nausious.  I won't eat anything with more than fifty percent egg (like a custard) but i love baked goods.  i'm wierd i know.

chinese black vineger is nasty but essential in sweet and sour dishes.  

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Quote: from BON on 12:39 pm on Aug. 30, 2001

It's frighten to say this, but I don't eat Tomato raw. It's perfectly OK when it is cooked with heat. With herb like garlic is more preferred. As well as Natto, I cannot stand fresh Tomato smell.

again, it's nice to see that i'm not the only freak.  i can have 1 slice on a hamburger, but don't get that nasty thing near my salad or anywhere else for that matter.  cooked, i love tomatoes with a passion.  but that raw tomato is just so,...,raw.

i've read that cilantro has a chemical compound that yes, actually produces a reaction in *some* people's mouths that makes it taste of soap.  and of course, lots of people think it tastes like soap and don't like.  although i think it tastes like soap, i love it.  must have been all of those bars that i got in the mouth as a young lad.

i'll throw in another vote for shrimp paste and fish sauce as well.  couldn't live without 'em, but they do stank.

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Love dill. Hate cilantro.  I have eaten soap that tastes better! I go to the Perona Farm game dinner and have had squirrel, bear, raccoon etc but the one item that I was not able to eat was the woodcock. You hold the bill and suck out the brain.

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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Bon:  "but I don't eat Tomato raw. It's perfectly OK when it is cooked with heat."

You and my other half (sorry, going on about my husband’s weird approach to salad and vegs a lot today. He should speak for himself. He has registered!) would get along. He cannot abide raw tom. Reasons why:

1. Texture of the seeds he finds horrid.

2. When in sandwiches toms make the bread soggy

3. There's not much taste to raw toms and what there is is unpleasant. There's a good reason why Italian tomatoes are cooked and put in cans, he says. However, he likes salsa made with just the tom flesh (no seeds). Go figure.

Me…I happen to like raw toms. If they are good!

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Paraphrase of a conversation earlier tonight:

Them: "Hey, have you looked at egullet.com lately? Some

people are really trashing dill."

Me: "Dill? There are people who don't like dill? One of the

very few things I can cook for myself that I absolutely love

is this tomato dill soup, and the secret is to double or

even triple the amount of dill called for by the recipe.

How can anyone not love dill?"

Them: "Well, it's like cilantro that way. Some people hate

cilantro even more than these people hate dill."

Me: "Yeah, crazy people.  Cilantro is *great*!  I get

double cilantro on burritos if they offer it, and it's the

key ingredient in some of my favorite Indian and Thai

dishes as well."

Them: "Well, dill and cilantro are related.  Parsley's in

the same family."

Me: "Mmmm, parsley.  Just made some risotto a few days ago

where I found myself adding more and more parsley till it

was almost more parsley than rice."

Them: "And then of course in the same family as parsley,

dill and cilantro are carrots."

Me: "Carrots?  Ewww."

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I am one of those people to whom cilantro tastes like soap. It took me years to grow to like it in small amounts. A little flag would go up in my brain, saying, "Spit it out!" During that period of time, an new "Mexican" cuisine rose (and fell) which was characterized chiefly by massive doses of cilantro and salt.

I love dill when it's done properly, which means it needs to be the focus of a dish, making it easier for you dill-haters to avoid too. It doesn't belong in herb blends, especially when they don't let you know in advance.

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Funny, I recently had a conversation about dill with my room mate, who is a French Culinary School-trained Chinese-Italian cook at Tabla. We both agreed that while dill can be tasty, it has very, very limited uses. I used to really dislike it, but I've grown to appreciate it, particularly on gravlax. I have a friend who uses in all her composed salads--she has other redeeming qualities.

As for repulsive ingredients, how about dried shrimp? Oh, oh, and here's a really good example: assafoetida. It's an herb (spice?) used in southern India. Smells like sulphur, but does heavenly things to vegetables when you add it to hot oil first.

Lobster mushrooms are pretty repulsive, when you know what they are--parasitized russula fungus: a type of mushroom, specific species often unknown, that has been covered in red mold. They taste delicious.

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