In case you have been living in a cave with no MTV, VH1 or teenagers, I will share with you the fact that “skeevy” is not a desirable adjective. Although it is often used to describe unwholesome persons, transactions or locations, I will be using it today in the context of food. The foods listed below, for whatever reason, give me the creeps. This is not food snobbery, as many of them are actually fairly healthy; I just hate them and avoid them at all costs because their very presence has the same effect on me as fingernails rubbing on corduroy.
It isn’t just a question of not liking them, either; I dislike linguine with clam sauce, escargot, and venison, and would rather not have any, thanks, but I can eat them to be polite. I can also sit across the table from you while you eat them, if I must. These foods really just creep me out, and while I have eaten each of them at least once in my life, I also spend inordinate amounts of time calculating how to avoid eating them again.
If you enjoy any or all of them (and you undoubtedly do), please don’t take offense. I celebrate and honor your higher evolution as an eater. I, personally, will be steering clear.
- Quinoa. This is very, very good for me and its tastes good. The problem? When it cooks, these tiny little ring thingies start to separate from the main part of the grain and it looks to me like something is hatching. Like sea monkeys. Once “hatched,” the rings do not go away; they stay in the bowl and are very hard to disguise with any sort of topping. Unless I both cook and eat it blindfolded, there will be no more quinoa in my life.
- Rolled, Processed, Slimy Lunch Meat. This most often appears in the form of turkey in my life, since I don’t eat lunch meat unless it is turkey (or corned beef that comes from a real kosher deli and is blessed by a rabbi in my presence). I think it is pieces of turkey that are chopped up and reformed into a breast-oid shape with some sort of gelatinous glue that causes it to be sticky, shiny and quite different from actual slices of turkey.
- Okra. I don’t care what you do with it; its slimy and bitter and vile. You can bread it and fry it, you can stew it in gumbo, but its still there, and I can see it. It is one of the things that makes me eternally glad that I was raised in the North.
- Tongue. Anybody’s. My grandfather once gave me a sandwich that appeared to be corned beef on rye with mustard, and after I had eaten a good third of it, he told me (with the gleeful grin of the outwitter) that it was actually tongue. In the end, by vomiting on his living room carpet, I won that particular battle of wits and viscera. I know its illogical, and that if it tasted acceptable when I thought it was corned beef that it should have made no earthly difference when I discovered that it was actually the tongue of some hapless cow, but it did. Unfortunately, I have a similarly poor relationship with most offal, although I will eat chopped liver if its made by a relative.
- Tiny Whole Fish. Regardless of their nationality, I do not enjoy them. My father is an eater of sardines and kippered herrings, both of which he enjoys in their entirety. He has told me that the heads are flavorful and crunchy; I have told him that the same can probably be said for any number of things I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. Once, after tutoring a very nice Korean graduate student in English for a semester, I was presented with a beautiful spread of authentic food from her homeland, including tiny whole fish who regarded me balefully as I politely ate them with as much rice as I could possibly get in my mouth at one time. Proof that no good deed shall go unpunished.
- Pork Rinds. Do people who eat these not understand what they are?! They are pig flesh peeled from a pig, chopped into little pieces, deep fried and heavily salted. They taste like salty styrofoam, which is to say, not very delicious. Instead of a football, or a shoe, these repulsive little strips of skin become snack food. I find that disturbing.
In the interest of science, I would love to know what your skeevy foods are. Besides, it will make me feel less immature.