The Most Polarizing Foods in Existence or Just the Ones Weirdos Like

It’s like the Huffington Post just peered into the deep, dark recesses of the Crasstalk mind and determined that wars are won and fought over cilantro. No, seriously, have you ever had a cilantro debate? Bloodshed. Tears. Apoplexy. These are all things that surely occur once you engage in battle over that little, soapy, poo tasting dirge of a herb that is named cilantro or as some of us like to refer to it, nasty thing that assaults our taste buds whenever we eat guacamole or pico de gallo. Feh. Here then are a few others that have been deemed the 10 Most Polarizing Foods. Do you agree?

Cilantro — blech. There’s a New York Times article out there called Cilantro Haters, It’s Not Your Fault. Haha! WHAT? That’s hilarious. The mouth-film of hate inducing, stomach churning deign of evil, Cilantro, has a whole legion of haters? That’s spectacular and not surprising. The writer calls it cilantrophobia and boasts Julia Child as a disciple. The article discusses the genetic predisposition to hating cilantro, the chemical makeup that indeed takes properties from the aldehydes that are also found in soaps and lotions and the bug family of insects. Durr, yikes. Which leads us to this little comical gem, “The Oxford Companion to Food notes that the word “coriander” is said to derive from the Greek word for bedbug, that cilantro aroma “has been compared with the smell of bug-infested bedclothes” and that “Europeans often have difficulty in overcoming their initial aversion to this smell.” So, yes, the argument is now dead. Cilantro is to be despised, even if it riles up the aversion of the aristocratic and supercilious nose of the European, which is kind of awesome. Regardless it is a sucky, awful herb. Julia Child — THEREBY THE WORLD — thinks so. BUGS!

Celery — Cooked down and indistinguishable is probably best. We can deal with celery when it’s in a soup or a stew and it’s reasonably soft and holds the flavor or juices of whatever else it’s cooked in. The other exception is probably in a salad sandwich, yes, mostly we can deal with the watery crunch therein too. Chicken salad. Macaroni salad. AOK! However, on its own, as a stand alone thing? Yeah, no. Well, not unless you’d like to exercise the dentin in your teeth, because you will be chewing a celery stalk for the next 16 hours, and when you add the fact that you’ve purchased a whole head of celery that let’s face it, you will never actually eat, because just what on Earth would propel you to eat an entire head of celery if not some crazed challenge down at Coney Island? It is a useless, filler vegetable, unless you want to slather it with ranch dressing and pile it high next to a plate of hot wings, and that’s just like attaching fat to your aorta and who wants that? Heart attacks do. Celery loses.

Licorice — When was the last time anyone got up in arms over licorice, 1942? Anyway, apparently, licorice battles are afoot my good men! Seriously, I can’t imagine at a restaurant you’d have to ask, “Excuse me, is there licorice in this?” Well, not unless the restaurant was at Willy Wonka’s new place down in the Bowery. Regardless, this whole licorice thing has a bunch of lovers and haters, and some get real upset if anise or fennel are added to dishes since they’re similar in taste. Again, that’s different than the actual candy which should never be cause for debate unless you’re talking about it and salt water taffy down in Atlantic City the year Nucky Thompson was Treasurer. (THAT’S A LICORICE FACE-HUGGER! GOOD GOD!)

Green Pepper — The boring cousin of every better pepper. There’s nothing wholly wrong with green pepper, with the exception that it lacks real zeal in taste. It’s just kind of rooty and pedestrian, but for some, still overpowering. It’s not highly sought after, and it is in no way one of the stand out peppers like something called a shishito pepper, which has the best and worst name of all peppers or anything, anywhere, ever. Dan Barber, New York Chef, says, “First, I don’t like the flavor,” he said. “And I’ve learned more about them. They’re an immature pepper. You’re eating a vegetable before it’s supposed to be picked.” We assume this is a bad thing, you know, the eating of a prepubescent pepper. Yes, let’s wait until the pepper has a mortgage and student loans first.

Marzipan — You don’t just decorate cakes with this? I’ve always been under the impression that marzipan is something you’re given by someone who doesn’t really like you. Why else would anyone give you this stuff made from almond paste and sugar, and not just give you chocolate, a more universally accepted sweet treat? Because they’re crazy that’s what. Giving someone marzipan is like saying, “Here, I was at this 7-Eleven and I forgot I needed to bring you a housewarming gift. Somebody will get you wine, right? Yeah, right. Hmmm, so, okay, it was either this marzipan, or a car chamois! Marzipan it is. Happy new house, Co-Worker!”

Mayonnaise — A little dab’ll do ya! Mayo is one of those things that in perfect moderation can make something really spectacular, BUT in excess, it’s likely to trigger your gag reflex. I think most of us have had the experience of eating something just to scrape the mayo off, because it. was. just. too. damn. much. Is it the eggs? The oil? No one knows, but you do know when you’ve reached your eggy, oily, max threshold and something great has made the turn to disgusting, caustic, and mouth-cloyingly horrible. However, that’s when we’re just talking run-of-the-mill mayo. We’re not even talking about Miracle Whip. WHAT? Berf. While most of us can probably get by on Hellman’s at the right amount, Miracle Whip can ruin relationships.

Blue Cheese — Most everyone has a story about blue cheese ending badly. Some say they loved it at a certain time in their lives, and now can’t stand it. Others have reported some sort of overdose as in they “overdid the blue cheese” and was “sick as a dog, barf, puke, cheese…yuck” later. And still others may say, “It smells too much like ass-feet.” Well, it kind of does smell like ass-feet. That aside, a shift has happened socially. I’ve noticed that the new thing is to order “blue cheese crumbles.” Yes, crumbles are chic. Blue Cheese dressing means you’re some sort of troglodyte who doesn’t understand the finer elements of just a “hint” of blue cheese. To slather your entire salad in the stuff means you vote Republican or something.

Marmite and Vegemite — Love it or Hate it — no in-between. Many an Australian or Englander rather enjoy this yeasty, beer-brewed spread. It’s supposed to be spread thinly on toast or a biscuit with butter and enjoyed. Well, okay, mate, we get it. However, here in the states many of us find it revolting. To us it’s a sticky, dark brown paste that’s extremely salty. Maybe like a brown sardine solution? or the remnants of a pork brine spread on bread? Yes, well, perhaps not the most appetizing thing we Americans have ever tasted, but then, many of us grew up on Spam and Spray Cheese, so who’s really the judge here? Oh, don’t act like you’ve never spray cheesed your mouth and then stuffed it with a few Ritz crackers. I’ll have to revoke your American citizenship.

Coconut — Coconut shavings are the most despised topping ever. We can abide by most anything on our desserts. Chocolate sauce — good. Caramel sauce — great. Fruit toppings, cookie pieces, whipped cream — all of that is sensational. Coconut shavings? Needle skip. Um, no. Many of us would pass on a fantastic treat if it had all the good stuff, cookies and chocolate included — and then you ruined it with some kind of coconut scourge. Telling someone you have cake, watch them get excited, and then lower the boom that it’s covered in a complete disgusting symphony of coconut shavings makes one an asshole. Yes. It’s like putting paint flakes, or hell, celery on something! It’s tedious and disconcerting, which makes our tongues recoil, and our throats seize a little. Yet, on the pro side of things, many are flocking to coconut water as a healthy alternative. However, this still does not stop us from doing a mental “yuck” when we see the coconut chunks floating in the water like little gross drywall pellets.

Liver — So what! We don’t like lima beans either! Liver has often been relegated to the “disgusto organ meat everyone loves to hate.” Those of us who’ve experienced badly prepared liver can tell you of its bitter taste. Childhood was a liver killer. Any mom who made liver and onions, or liver and lima beans, or liver and, well, anything was instantly inducted into the Meanest Mom in the World Book without preamble. There was just no way to make liver a good thing, unless you actually liked liver, and that made you Rodney Millhouse, that kid who brought liver and onion sandwiches to school in the fourth grade, who basically committed social suicide and became a fourth grade pariah not even fit for a leper colony. Fast Forward thirty years, now you’re at some swanky party eating liver pate, or some other liver parts thing, and you’re remarking to a fellow douche how fantastic the pate is. Fourth grade you would probably punch today you in the balls.

So these are the top ten most polarizing foods. I’m sure they missed a couple like:

  • Pears — the texture!
  • Okra — it’s hairy!

What others did they miss, or are they right on point with these above? Also, let’s keep it clean in the comments i.e. no death blows when it comes to debating cilantro (hated, awful, disgusting) cilantro.

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