For every year that my palate matures, two more bad experiences come to my plate. Though most of us would not claim to be picky eaters, we have to admit we've all suffered some form of culinary trauma. Like any sour encounter of my life, my best is not to forgive but to forget. But until I reach the ripe old age where my taste buds and sense of smell start to diminish, these five foods (and drinks) will remain on my black list.
Seafood may be hard enough for me to stomach, but consider me quarantined from the sushi bar. Like anything in the raw, this fishy favorite (of others) packs a punch that leaves me gasping for air . . . outside. I handled my first bite of sushi the way some people process traumatic news: tears, vomit, and locking myself in the bathroom until any resemblance of what put me there is gone.
Call me crazy, but when I French kiss, I prefer the other tongue be alive (and, ideally, human). The literal dead tongue in the mouth is a million times more scarring then the figurative one of junior high spin-the-bottle. In another life, I believed you could put nearly anything in a taco and I'd take it without question. That was before I discovered the chewy chunks of severed taste buds nestled in my corn tortilla. Simply put, there is no love lost between me and lengua.
Tonic Water and Espresso
Recently, another Chow Bella writer and I sampled the caffeinated experiment that is espresso with tonic water. Though she thought the beverage "rounds out nicely," she acknowledged that "not everyone will like this drink." Consider me part of the not everyone. You can also consider me the person who deemed that it tasted like "coffee with a taser" because I was and it did. Like electroshock therapy for the senses, I quickly forgot why I had ever thought it a good idea to sample this sinister beverage.
Onion rings and I started off as mild-mannered acquaintances. If onion rings appeared at the table, I would be polite and sample one or two from the communal plate. Then came the day when our relationship metastasized into something much more committal -- a list -- and therefore a thorough search, for the best rings in the Valley. When you've eaten multiple plates of the same dish in relatively quick succession, it's almost impossible not to feel, well, fried. Fair to say I've eaten enough battered rings to last me a lifetime.
My mango juice woe stems not so much from a tale of culinary adventure as it does college stupidity. Lesson learned: Naked brand mango juice smooth is not a proper chaser for Smirnoff. When you find yourself stuck between a vodka on the rocks and a hard place, don't try to cut your losses with just any form of tropical fruit juice. And if you ever drink enough alcohol to assault your liver and vandalize your stomach, just know that whatever juice you chose as an accomplice will forever be considered guilty by association.
What about you? Tell us in the comments section what you won't eat or drink -- and why.
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