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Writer's Block: Eat Your Vegetables

The fall harvest is showing up in markets now, including many of the green vegetables children find so disgusting and yet are forced to eat. What is the most disgusting thing you’ve eaten, either by choice or against your will?


A memorably badly prepared Welsh Rarebit. Decades after the event, which stands out in my mind as torture in a state of semi-starvation, Kitten explained to me what probably happened to the Welsh Rarebit -- that the cheese got burnt. The Worcestershire sauce was probably giving me some sensitivity reactions along with it -- I had some sensitivity to hot stuff even as a kid, just grimly had to put up with its symptoms because they weren't believed unless vomiting and fever were involved. Vomiting stopped being proof of being sick because some things that made me vomit were obviously healthy foods like mayonnaise thus I was just a bad kid and a picky eater.

Come to think of it, mayonnaise and tartar sauce and salad dressings compete with that badly prepared Welsh Rarebit, especially when introduced by surprise into foods that looked and smelled good, like hamburgers. To me the mayo and salad dressings taste like vomiting in reverse. Kitten has speculated that I had an ulcer as a kid and that had something to do with my reaction to anything vinegary sour. I had a sensitive stomach.

Thus my experience of foods other people eat, enjoy and like without any ill effects is not the same as theirs. I doubt it even tastes the same. I know that with pepper now, I am not at all aware of what it tastes like to people who can eat it because the pain is part of the flavor to me, it's bitter stinging burning pain.

Edit: I forgot some other memorably nasty foods. Liver and onions, especially the first time when the aroma of fried onions had my mouth watering and all I knew about liver was that it was a meat, and I liked meat fried with onions. But it came out full of *cough* toxins and it was tough as shoe leather and bitter as gall, a horrible surprise. I loathe liver to this day. I like frying it up for cats though since they disagree.

Or the grade school lunch that had massive trays of what looked like cheeseburgers, but instead of a meat patty there was a molded patty of beans. Just your regular brownish horrible tasting beans that would make me sick and give me gas.

Milk. White milk. Yes. That grosses me out and I was forced to drink it a lot as a kid. With two results -- always got sick to my stomach afterward (which may have conditioned an aversion to the taste) and always put me right to sleep afterward, which meant that on top of being wiped out for gym having to drink that or get punished at lunch meant not being able to keep my eyes open in class in the afternoon either. They did not believe anyone had lactose sensitivities back then. I can remember getting sick after ice cream and chocolate milk too, but those treats were so rare and sweets so looked forward to after never being allowed them that I wouldn't complain about that or even connect it with what I liked.

Except that given a choice of any kind of sweet treats I'd go for the ice cream last and eat just the toppings if I could, a weird habit. One that proved to be far more pleasant as a grownup than being suddenly exhausted but then unable to sleep on a nauseated stomach followed by miserable gas cramps. But nowhere near as bad as the daily ones I had as a kid when I couldn't refuse anything that caused it and usually got multiple foods I couldn't eat all at the same time. One reason I got so accused of faking and malingering was how long I'd spend in the bathroom either unable to stop going or needing to and unable to.

I still wonder why at least the school nurse wasn't able to put two and two together on any of these physical things, when they affect me to this day and even affect me on things I like. Symptoms after ice cream should have been a dead giveaway, that's not just a kid who doesn't want his milk. Baskin Robbins made a Mandarin Chocolate Sherbet that was absolutely wonderful, it tasted fantastic and was rich and chocolaty with a tang of very sweet orangyness to it... and being sherbet did not give me one symptom. I could've eaten a gallon of that stuff.

Things that tasted good but looked gross were just fun, and I did things like make blue cakes, or blood colored spaghetti with food coloring in the water, or black -- it was just a kick to do things like that and come up with unappetizing presentation. More for me and a good harmless prank. I'm sure somewhere out there a chocolatier has gotten prankish with cowpats and vomit and so on merrily mixing caramels and white chocolate and milk and dark to get the visual effects of something you'd never want to eat on something that is absolutely great. It could be fun doing faux Veg-All in candy as a prank. It could be particularly hilarious to make something like that and serve it to the kiddies at Halloween, when they're expecting treats and for them to do the tricks. I wonder if I could get the makers of candy corn to do this idea and package it for next year, it'd be hilarious to have those available. Yucky Vegetables Candy...
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