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Volume III
October 18, 2013

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

11 Foods People Love or Hate

By Alice Osborne

On a research-based site I just discovered,, I found this interesting information about foods people either love or hate. Take a look at the list and comments from those surveyed. Following is my own or one- or two-sentence opinion. And I'm wondering what your take is on these foods?

1. White Chocolate: The "chocolate" part trips people up. It's really just a sweet confection (no cocoa involved). Moving on from terminology, when good, it's creamy and vanilla-y, but like "normal" chocolate, when bad, it's just waxy calories.

Maybe I've never had good white chocolate, because to me, it's just bland waxy calories.

2. Cilantro: Soapy, rotten, or just plain vile are popular complaints from cilantro haters. Did you know Julia Child hated the leafy herb? But behavioral neuroscientists would argue that America's food darling had no control. It's all about genetics. Studies have linked liking cilantro to being able to detect the "pleasing" chemicals in the leaf.

I love it; there's no rotten smell/soapy taste to me. In fact, when dining at Café Rio I ask them to pile it on.

3. Eggplant: For some, it's an old purple sponge and for others it's soft-firm texture is what makes a veggie sandwich or an Italian pasta dish. It was half and half for those surveyed. Some said raw is never good, but fried, grilled, or roasted (always doused with gobs of olive oil), eggplant is OK. The other half said it made them nauseous any old way it is served.

I have to tell the truth: I've never tasted eggplant in my life. I'm open, though.

4. Coconut: The smell in shampoo and sunblock is one thing. But the sawdust-like shreds of real coconut can mean chewing and chewing forever until you eventually swallow the darn lump. Sprinkled on pies, cakes, and chicken, coconut either adds a mild tropical zing, or a vile, never-ending chewing party. That's when it comes out that a lot of coconut haters don't even know about young fresh coconut which is as soft as a Hawaiian baby's bottom.

I LOVE coconut—dried and shredded, coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut cream, coconut flavoring, coconut anything. And fresh coconut is simply spectacular!

5. Tomato: This one really comes down to texture. Slimy and gritty is never good for the tomato world. The cooked, soft version brings in a few fans. Others are only in it for the vine-picked version during their peak season in August (cut to romantic images of Italian country sides). Others can only bare them on pizza or completely masked inside ketchup.

HUH? How can there be any debate over tomatoes? They're awesome.

6. Sardines: Cat food or human food? A small whiff can make you seasick or have you loading them on pizza and Caesar salads. Whether fresh or in flat metal cans, the salty little fish has some so obsessed, they'll eat the bones. Eating roasted sardines with bread crumbs, garlic, and mint is good.

Here's more truth: I've never tasted these either. (I need to get out more, I guess.) But how about YOU, yea or nay on sardines?

7. Black licorice: Even the red licorice-tolerant may draw the line here. Black licorice gum, jelly beans, tea, Good n' Plentys, and Jägermeister should be removed from human history. Along with any herb, like anise or fennel, that resembles the flavor. Out. Lovers say it's an acquired taste, but little kids have it straight here: not a real candy.

No sir! Black licorice (and anise and fennel) are the best of man's creation or discovery. I can eat my weight in black licorice. When dating my husband, Rich, we talked about our favorite candy and when we discovered we both agreed on black licorice, that cemented the deal!

8. Stinky cheeses: If this smell came from something else (a shoe or dog), folks might take issue, but knowing it's from a dairy gob, growing moldy in a controlled environment, people seem fine with the pungent aroma. But many folks said when they sniff Gorgonzola or Roquefort, they're convinced that feet or laundry were actually involved.

I like some cheese—Cheddars, Swiss, Provolone, mozzarella, Parmesan, Havarti, and cream. There are over 650 varieties of cheese, so I realize my repertoire is narrow. But the true stinky cheeses? Nah, I pass.

9. Mayo: Whether Hellmann's or even Miracle Whip, does the creamy off-white slime strip the taste off food or magically make anything better? Haters have been told to try it homemade, but for many, this won't make a tuna or egg salad look any less scary.

I like real mayo; Best Foods (Hellmann's back East) is my store-bought preference. I've made my own and it's really good too. I found this recipe on and it's my favorite (see recipe at the end of this article).

10. Bell Pepper: To some, all those colorful strips are a mouthful of crisp freshness. To others, they're the backseat driver of vegetables. On a pizza or in pasta, they're supposed to be one of many veggie passengers, but no. The bell pepper's always got to be the loud guy telling your taste buds where to go -- and green, he's the loudest. Green is actually unripened, picked from the vine before its more sweet (and edible) brethren.

I think they add a great flavor to salads and certain soups. They have too much recipe possibility and health value to nix. So I vote for 'em.

11. Beets: Lots of people surveyed said beet smell is a toss-up between "ick" and "gross" and they felt beet taste is like a metallic vitamin, that it's just not meant to be. But there were lots more who said they loved beets—especially pickled.

I'll mix freshly made beet and carrot juice together and wow—what a flavor combo. But to just eat beets? Nope, can't do it. They make me gag.

Egg-Free Olive Oil Mayo

Good tasting and healthy—why not? Who says mayo needs mystery ingredients? This recipe yields approximately 3/4 cup.

Choose your favorite, best tasting extra virgin olive oil for this recipe. It really makes a difference. You can use your favorite clean tasting vinegar for the acid, or use fresh lemon juice. And if mustard is not a problem for you, add a half teaspoon or so of prepared mustard, to taste.

Yield: 3/4 cup

Serving size: 2
Calories per serving: 481

1-2 tablespoon , chilled organic raw sesame tahini, as needed
2-3 tablespoons apple, clean tasting cider vinegar, or lemon juice
3-6 tablespoons rice milk, cold plain hemp, almond or
1-2 teaspoon raw honey or agave to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
dab mustard optional

This recipe is a flexible template. Start with the lesser amounts and add a little more if you need to adjust thickness or taste.
In a small mixing bowl (or food processor) place 1 tablespoon of the raw tahini, 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice, 3 tablespoons non-dairy milk, sea salt, paprika, xanthan gum and mustard, if using; beat/process to combine (I used a good hand mixer).
While the mixer or processor is running, start pouring the olive oil into the bowl in a thin, steady stream. After you have added all the oil, do a quick taste test to see if it needs more salt, acid or sweetness. Continue to beat or process until the mixture gets creamy and starts to thicken.
Here's the tricky part- you want it to emulsify and thicken, but if you beat it too long, it can fall apart. When in doubt, stop the beating and check it. It will not be as thick and gelatinous as commercial mayo- more like a thick, creamy salad dressing.
If you have trouble getting it to thicken try drizzling in more vinegar or lemon juice. Or more mustard. That usually brings it around rather quickly.
Chilling it also thickens it, one reason (besides flavor) I use a good extra virgin olive oil in my mayo. Extra virgin olive oil is a heart-healthy mono-saturated fat that becomes semi solid in the fridge. So make your mayo ahead of time, cover and chill it for best consistency. Use within two days for best taste.

Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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Alice Osborne
Weekly Newsletter Contributer since 2006

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