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Nasty Ingredients


Fat Guy
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I don't like the smell of cumin, but it's a must in my chili. I like how the flavor and smell mellows out after cooking.

Also I recently tried baking some chicken with cumin and lime - my husband went CRAZY for it. As I was sprinkling the cumin on the chicken it just smelled yucky. But the chicken was delicious!

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This thread's been active for FOUR years and no one has mentioned splintery, slimy pungent fishy ANCHOVIES???  :wacko: 

I love anchovies. Whenever I cook with them, I eat a couple straight from the jar..

I hate raw mushrooms. But cooked, in any possible way, they are one of my favorite foods.

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That's our dear Chufi---finding truffles in the mud. I still cannot imagine putting one of the cactusy little garum-marinated strips into food. But then I'm an okra, grits and hominy afficianada with distinctly plebeian taste.

And I put a bit of powdered sugar into chicken salad.

So now, strip off my epaulettes and rip loose my insignia---I'm definitely going to be drummed from the corps.

And chocolate mints are an abomination, Girl Scouts and charity notwithstanding.

Is confession really THAT good for the soul? If so, I'm cleansed and shriven for the New Year.

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I see I am not alone regarding what I have to say, so let me put this in the form of a comment and questions seeking advice.

I ABSOLUTELY adore anchovies :wub::wub::wub: too. I even have a great story which (briefly) concerns a bunch of grad students in various fields of Asian Studies out in the middle of nowhere at the end of a productive but demanding trip who had reached the point where they could agree on absolutely nothing EXCEPT the kind of pizza they wanted to order that night: anchovy! They were a bunch of individualistic eccentrics whose parties always had the best food.

I also love pho and various other things I have eaten in restaurants that include fish sauce.

BUT, I recently purchased a bottle of my own after much consultation with about eight different men behind the fish counter in an Asian food market. Ended up with a brand name I recognized, Three Crabs.

The stuff is called nuoc mam nhi. Is the "nhi" significant? Did I buy the wrong type of fish sauce for general use, or.....?

The reason I ask is because I used it only once on the recipe for pseudo-Thai noodles in Ruth Reichl's G & S book.

Ughhhhh!!!!

The recipe was fine, but I found the large amount of fish sauce in something that is cooked with relative speed to be the reason I hated the dish and had to throw it out.

FYI: the label continues Viet Hu'o'ong in big letters (the company, though the product was made in Thailand). Below that: HIEU BA CON CUA.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Cilantro, aka "DEATH HERB," is one of the most horrible, vile things I cannot stand to eat or smell to this day.  Yet, I have to have small amounts of it in salsa and some Vietnamese sauces because without it, the overall flavors just don't round & balance out properly.

But I'm holding my breath the whole time I'm chopping, cleaning & then washing anything that has touched it. RAWR!

Aah Cilantro. Everytime I hear someone say how much they just "love" it, I frankly want to smack the shit outta them. Sorry, that's a bit of a strong reaction, but not by much.

Cilantro, at least for me, tastes like soapy dirt, like what people ate when they were desperate, when there was absolutely nothing--and I mean nothing--else around to eat. Not stones, insects, human flesh, weeds, fetid water........... nothing!

However, the only cuisine IMHO that knows how to use cilantro where it actually makes sense and compliments the food are Mexicans. Yes, yes, I know it's used throughout the world in other cuisines, but I think Mexicans understand how to use it best: it's a strongly flavored herb, so they use it (fresh) with other strongly flavored things like garlic, onions, in-season highly flavored tomatoes, peppers and so on (especially in pico de gallo); if cooked, it's cooked with the food, in sane amounts, and mellows. Not how a lot of chefs/cooks use it in American cuisine which is to throw it in by the fistfulls (Bobby Flay: "Now take 3 or 4 cups of cilantro........"). Ugh.

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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I have very few food items that I absolutely abhor but uni, magosa, and water beetles are three that come to mind immediately. Before all you uni fan say anything yes I have tried and it yes it was in a very good sushi restaurant. I can't stand it ... not only does it have a funky taste I can't stand the texture at all. It's the only thing that I almost spit out in the middle of a restaurant and the only sushi I refuse to eat. Magosa is this asian vegetable thats just nasty. I believe it commonly used in southern Thai cooking. Our cook always stir-fried it with something or other, after the first time I refused to eat that dish. The water beetle is commonly used in the northeast part of Thailand in somtam (papaya salad) and unbelievabley disgusting. I'm sorry bug guts really do NOT add a good flavor to anything.

But offal, blood, fish eyeballs(fried), shrimp paste, fish sauce... yum!

My favorite way to use shrimp paste is nam prik plaa tu. First time I ever smelled our cook making it from scratch I almost threw up my lunch. You think it'a bad when you buy a container. *shudder* Just think about that smell 100 times worse as it wafts through the air and seems to permeate everything. I told her there was no way in **ll I would eat that. Course then she made nam prik plaa tuu and that was really good. After that I just made sure I was never home an a day she was going to make the paste.

Edited because things don't make sense when you leave words out!

Edited by OnigiriFB (log)
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The worst thing I've ever eaten was a cultural dish in the Philippines. It is eaten in the dark, because it is so gruesome: some kind of fairly large poultry egg that has been fertilized and is well on its way toward birth. The way it is eaten is to cut off a portion of the top of the shell (the egg is standing on its wide end) and use a spoon to eat the goop and the mostly formed chick. I couldn't do it - almost threw up. It is a delicacy and I don't think my hosts appreciated my disgust.

Regarding fish sauce - I love Asian foods that are made with it, but ever since I was pregnant with my daughter, and made a Thai dinner for friends, I can't stand the smell of it. I was sick for days afterwards every time I even thought of the sauce.

Eileen Talanian

HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com

HomemadeGourmetMarshmallows.com

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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I see I am not alone regarding what I have to say, so let me put this in the form of a comment and questions seeking advice.

I ABSOLUTELY adore anchovies :wub:  :wub:  :wub: too.  I even have a great story which (briefly) concerns a bunch of grad students in various fields of Asian Studies out in the middle of nowhere at the end of a productive but demanding trip who had reached the point where they could agree on absolutely nothing EXCEPT the kind of pizza they wanted to order that night: anchovy!  They were a bunch of individualistic eccentrics whose parties always had the best food.

I also love pho and various other things I have eaten in restaurants that include fish sauce.

BUT, I recently purchased a bottle of my own after much consultation with about eight different men behind the fish counter in an Asian food market.  Ended up with a brand name I recognized, Three Crabs. 

The stuff is called nuoc mam nhi.  Is the "nhi" significant?  Did I buy the wrong type of fish sauce for general use, or.....?

The reason I ask is because I used it only once on the recipe for pseudo-Thai noodles in Ruth Reichl's G & S book.

Ughhhhh!!!!

The recipe was fine, but I found the large amount of fish sauce in something that is cooked with relative speed to be the reason I hated the dish and had to throw it out.

FYI: the label continues Viet Hu'o'ong in big letters (the company, though the product was made in Thailand).  Below that: HIEU BA CON CUA.

Pontormo, Did the recipe just ask for fish sauce or specifically "nuoc mam"? A cookbook I own called "Vietnam; Street Café" by Annabel Jackson distinguishes between that and "nam pla" which is not as strong.

Zuke

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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I doubt I'm capable of converting all you anti-fish sauce people, but after reading this thread I was inspired to add to my blog an illustrated description of how fish sauce is made. You may still not like it, but at least you'll know what it is and how it's made!

Austin

Edited by Austin (log)
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I find that "Pernod" when used in the original "Oysters Rockefeller" recipe is one of the essential tastes to this often neglected but excellent Oyster dishes.

Fine Ground Mustard Powder has been used to enhance many stocks or flavors quietly for many years without any attribution, but still adds something special when used properly to dozens of combinations.

For a taste that makes me shudder few can match that of the 4000 + year old Chinese alcohol beverage served in it's original 130 proof alcohol state the " fermented sorghum based, "Maotai Jiu" that became well know after being served to Richard Nixon at a Banquet in China.

The best name for this drink was after a tasting by the original "Charlie's Angels" trying 50 + different Brandies at "Lisboa Restaurant" in Honolulu where Cheryl Ladd best described and all agreed it tasted like: "TOE CHEESE".

The name has stuck in my mind since then, especially since being offered a more modern version in a lower alcohol proof, that I only dared smell to receive the same impression.

There are other medicinal alcohol treats such as "Sulze" , "Fernet Bianca" or "Essence of Chartreuse" that are strange but "Maotai Jui" is the winner.

I'm glad this tread has been revised and lets keep the posting interesting, fun and informative.

Irwin

I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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Zuke Mama: The recipe did not call for the "pla" but for "mam" which I have. I was wondering if I had purchased something just a little bit different given the third word/syllable in the name of the sauce on the label.

I had wondered how "pla" differs from "mam" so thanks for the info. Austin's extremely interesting blog entry leads me to wonder if there is more to distinctions since his essay suggests that all fish sauce is "pla" before it is altered slightly and bottled, whether with the addition of a sweetner or diluted.

And Austin, first, thanks to the link. Since this thread began with the observation that there are nasty ingredients that nonetheless prove tasty when incorporated into dishes, let me repeat that there are MANY things containing fish sauce that I absolutely love to eat. There's no need for conversion. It's the fish sauce itself--and its overpowering presence in one recipe that I made--that I can't abide. I was asking if it was the particular kind of fish sauce I bought that was to blame for the one bad experience.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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I'll admit this to you all. It's not very sophisticated of me, but I do not care much for saffron. :hands over red face: Used to make risotto milanese with ossobuco and was fine with it. I adore paella. But, I would be quite content to steer clear of it for a long long time.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Again, I think fish sauce smells very strong, but actually the taste is more salty than fishy. I also think that many people unfamiliar with Thai cooking follow recipes very closely when cooking Thai food for the first time. This may lead people to add too much fish sauce! Ideally, it should be added to taste, just like salt in Western food. Perhaps add half of what a recipe suggests, then add more until it tastes good.

Re. the difference between nam plaa and nuoc mam, of course nuouc mam is Vietnamese and nam plaa is Thai. Other than this, I think nuouc mam tends to be a bit darker in color, and apparently there are some extra "high grade" nuoc mam, but I think that's where it ends... Fish sauce is such an extremely salty, strong taste that I think very few people can differentiate between varieties of high-quality fish sauce. I would though recommend that you try to buy the best quality "Grade A" fish sauce, as it is a very pure product that contains the highest level of protein, and no colorings, preservatives etc.

Austin

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I could probably make a meal of braised intestines stuffed with dill, cilantro, dried shrimp and anchovies served with a fish sauce dressing but... no blood. Never blood. Sure, when I was an all-black wearin,' clove smokin,' disdainful teenager the thought of being a vampire rocked my world but times have changed. The smell of this liquid-of-life brings to mind the scents of battlefields and sacrificial alters. And while the actual sight of blood has little effect on me (red is one of my favorite colors, after all) it's that copper-penny-taste-of-death that brings on a case of the vapors.

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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Well, as a slight departure (or back to the original question), vanilla extract (or any extract) tastes awful, but adds a great perfume. I couldn't have eggnog without it.

Eau de vie burns your tongue and tears your throat out, but a few drops of framboise over vanilla ice cream works wonders.

However, eyeballs of any kind get to me, even when I don't look at them first. Fish eyes. Yuck.

And isn't a lobster just a giant aquatic cockroach?

Edited by k43 (log)
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An odour not unlike bottled fart.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

Now I want to search this out just to smell it. Does that make me sick? I'll eat almost anything, but caraway, in my opinion, ruins everything it touches. I used to hate cilantro, but I love it now - unfortunately, I now live in a place where it's almost impossible to find!

My mother hates cumin. She says it reminds her of sweaty heads and dirty hats.

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Now I want to search this out just to smell it. Does that make me sick?

Of course it does. :biggrin: But for many of us, I think that's why we're here. ;)

Personally, I thought asafoetida smelled a bit like armpit.

Fish sauce stinks, but so nice mixed with lime and chili and grated green papaya.... But it's one of those things like durian. The overriding smell of durian seems to me to be that of rotting onion. But combine it with all the other flavors and it's inexplicably good.

BTW the link to fish sauce was fascinating. Now I want to try making my own! Kind of a long process though...

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

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Last time I tried eating a tablespoon of nutmeg, I started hallucinating and seeing penguins.[...]

Some people wouldn't think that was a bad thing. :laugh:

I take it you weren't in Antarctica at the time?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Now I want to search this out just to smell it. Does that make me sick?

Of course it does. :biggrin: But for many of us, I think that's why we're here. ;)

Personally, I thought asafoetida smelled a bit like armpit.

I LOVE the smell of asafoetida!!!! I add it in dishes that don't call for it simply for the chance to open up the bottle.

As for nutmeg, I can do without it in bechamel. Too easy to overdo. Ick with vegetables or lasagna. Wonderful in cookies.

Cloves? A pinch can sometimes be too much. Tiger Spice tea is loved by many, but not me. Dandy stuck in oranges left to dry. Fine stuck into onions to flavor broths. Great in hot cider when it's dark, cold and snowing.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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  • 3 weeks later...

I must be a freak omnivore - I have yet to experience an ingredient that didn't have at least some identifiable merit. As far as I am concerned, dill and cilantro are gifts to be cherished.

Context is everything!

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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