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Skeevy Foods: A Highly Subjective Rant

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

17 responses »

  1. oh i am right there with you on #s4 and 5! i find any kind of offal skeevy. i don’t care how you slice it, fry it or what kind of cream sauce it’s served with, i find it repulsive to the max! mushrooms are another thing i just cannot abide–i don’t know why, but ‘shrooms literally make my skin crawl!

  2. Caviar – it pops when you bite it. ICK! Also, raw anything. Yes, sushi is cool, and steak tartare is so haute couture, but…it’s raw! Like that survival guy who just picks up a fish and takes a bite out of its side. This is not to say I’ve not eaten (and even enjoyed) both, but I did so knowing they were 100% skeevy. Finally, 100% factory-made butter-flavor products – I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter? YES I CAN. And also? Skeevy!

  3. Wahh. I love, love , love #4. We even got Mel to eat it by calling it “most excellent beef.” To this day, our entire family fights over how many pieces you get. Sadly, I can hardly ever find it at the store anymore. But Okra? Yeeeeugh.

  4. I’m going to save this post so that whenever my idiot friends (who have boring palates, “Indian food! No, too spicy.”) tell me that I’m a picky eater, I can point to this and say see, “This is exactly what I’ve been saying all along and there is someone out there who agrees with me on all points.”

    @Kathy…the raw thing…my daughter (she’s 4) loves sushi. Since she was a baby, it’s the only thing we can constantly get her to eat. She cries for sushi, she says, “Mama if I’m good at the store, can we go get sushi?” But alas…I can not get her to eat cooked fish. She thinks it’s slightly worse than dog poo.

  5. ok – i’m with you on slimey lunch meat but any REAL unprocessed food prepared well and i am so there… i love it all.

  6. jayedee, I used to be “against” mushrooms, but in the past several years I have come to adore them. U think I had to have something better than those little, rubber pizza mushrooms in
    order to appreciate them. Although I have changed my m ind on that one, I totally understand

    Kathy, I do, actually like sushi, and I’m okay with caviar, but not a big fan of tartare. ICBINB is an abomination and I would rather have nothing. Same with Butter Buds. I agree with you that the pressure to like certain things in order to be sophisticated is
    HUGE; often I wish I could be more like my husband who is just completely unashamed of the fact that certain things really don’t taste good to him. All four of your foods figure prominently on his list.

    greentuna, I really do think its great if other people like these – my mom’s family loved tongue, which explains the “fun trick.” I think a lot of it is literally in my head, and its a question of whether its worth it to overcome my mental problem with certain foods if I don’t really have to eat them. I have, at least, tried them.

    Fabooj, thanks for pointing out that having a few skeevy foods does not make on an unadventurous eater. I eat (and like) foods of all manner of ethnicity, I eat sushi, I eat all kinds of seafood, and I will eat foods in “interesting” combinations. Shoot, I know people who don’t like onions or garlic, and I’m not sure exactly what they eat because I would starve to death….

    claudia, you have a much more mature palate than I do – seriously. (You do NOT eat pork rinds, though. Tell me you don’t). Maybe its because you grew up in a real city, or because you are more willing to try things, but I am hoping that when I grow up I’ll me more like you. Besides, I would eat tongue with tiny fish and okra if you made it into an interesting meal and had me over for dinner. 🙂

  7. In my pre vegetarian days one of my favorite things to eat was “tacos de lengua” – which is Spanish for tongue tacos. It totally grossed my husband out but what can I say, when you grow up eating something you develop a certain taste for it.

  8. Ari – I didn’t know you were a vegetarian! I certainly don’t think there’s anything wrong with eating the things I dislike; I actuallyk ind of wish I liked most of them (save the pork rinds and the processed turkey). I know I’m missing something, I just can’t make the leap yet. Tongue Tacos sound pretty intriguing – I was just listening to someone talk about eating eyeball tacos in SoCal.

  9. Even if I were still eating meat I don’t think I’d try eyeball tacos! Tongue tacos have this buttery, soft texture that goes really well with some raw onions and a fresh corn tortilla… but cow eyeballs? Is it just me or is imagining them popping in your mouth totally freaky?

    I’m all for cultural diversity but I have to draw the line somewhere. Besides, when I was 10 my uncle made me eat fish eyeball soup so I have had the whole “eyeball” experience, albeit little eyeballs.

    Can you believe I’m writing comments like this instead of finishing my Talmud paper? Shame on me. Bad Ari! Bad!

  10. Ari, you make a good case for the tongue, (I might eat anything given to me in a fresh corn tortilla with raw onions) but I want no eyeballs of any size. Ever. As for your current behavior, I’m sure you can find a justification in the Talmud for teaching others about eyeballs and tongues (sounds so Old Testament) instead of reading passively. I had to try.

  11. What a great post. Well, I may as well embarrass myself totally and tell you my “tongue story.” (But first, may I say, I will never look at quinoa–one of my most beloved foods–in quite the same way again. The effect of reading your description was much like that after the first time I saw Psycho).

    Okay, so, when I was about 15, I was at a Sweet Sixteen party and the boy I had a mad crush on happened to be there. This was a huge buffet dinner, and my friends and I were at “his” table–and HE WAS SITTING RIGHT BESIDE ME!! So we all went off to the buffet and he came back with tongue on his plate. Ugh! At the sight of my puckered face, he asked, “I guess you don’t like it, eh?” To which I spontaneously replied, to my everlasting shame, “Yuck! The thought of someone else’s tongue in MY MOUTH just makes me want to puke!!”

    Needless to say, he never asked me out.

  12. Pingback: A Sweet Alternative « Diet, Dessert and Dogs

  13. Ricki, don’t give up your quinoa – I love the way it tastes, I just can’t look at it. As for your story, I had to excuse myself and go to the bathroom because i was laughing so hard. Not at you, of course…with you. 🙂

  14. I’m glad I found you (holidailies, in case you’re curious) because I can tell I’m going to enjoy what you have to offer. Five out of your six are skeevy to me too, so I’m going to have to think on this one and get back to you…

  15. Hi Dolores! I’m curious to know which five…but if we agree on five out of six, I think you should hang around here. I hope you’ll like it.

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