As an (half) Italian, I love food. There’s nothing more satisfying than cheesy pizza, saucy pasta or chicken karaage (Japanese fried chicken) with just the right amount of kewpie mayonnaise ie. enough to drown it.
However, there are just some foods that I cannot fathom why anyone eats or even grows them.
Of course, I understand there are certain foods that are simply an acquired taste. Olives are a common one – even though I used to hate it as a young child, I’m quite fond of them today – and they’re healthy too. Avocado is another recent discovery of mine (yes, I’m making groundbreaking discoveries everyday). Unfortunately, some foods simply have no excuse – and no amount of time can save them.
Onion, the source of all evil
Onions have layers. The outer layer fills your eyes and nose with a terrifying scent. When you peel it back, you have 7 more layers of unrelenting torture that forces your eyes to bawl and your nose to dribble like an infant. The taste? Don’t even go there.
Let’s take salad for example. Some bright spark creates a masterpiece with lettuce, tomato, onion, a little feta and perhaps some avocado. What do you taste? ONIONS. Cancel your dinner party, the salad has been contaminated!
How about a burger? You order a delicious beef burger, described as topped with exotic cheese, beetroot, tomato and mayonnaise. In excited anticipation, you eagerly take a bite. Crunch! You think.. what could that be? Oh that’s right, it’s raw ONION! The burger looks up at you and says: “and it’s all you’re going to be tasting with every bite”. It’s a travesty, a complete culinary disaster.
Safe disposal method: cook it until it crunches no more – the taste and smell will disappear, blending in harmlessly with most pasta sauces. Test it first and don’t be hasty, there’s enough John McClanes in the world.
Extra (extreme) Spicy Dishes
Spicy is a relative term. I’m happy to admit that I have a low tolerance for spicy foods and I know that there are great health benefits (okay, I thought it could be bad for you). However, I’m baffled by anyone that can eat whole chilies or jumps straight to the “extreme hot” section of the menu. If I so much as look at one of those items, I can’t help but melt away into a puddle for what seems like an eternity. A raging hot throat, tongue and lips – all in the name of a dish I have taken a single bite from. No thanks! Give me a butter chicken please.
Safe disposal method: just pour milk or yoghurt into spicy dishes. This solves everything.
Capsicum, treachery in disguise
This sneaky, camouflaging atrocity has been working its way into my favourite dishes for decades. It’s probably the annoying cousin to onions. The worst case is on pizza – where it hides, like a ninja, amongst the sauce or cheese (depending on the colour of the species). In such an emergency situation, I’ve had to search and destroy every piece on the pizza before I can take a safe bite. I assure you, the pizza is stone cold before I’m finished (thanks, capsicum) – a testament to how conniving a clever capsicum can be. Of course, there’s always a piece of two that manages to escape detection. The taste envelops my tongue like the most sour grape imaginable, the colour drains from my wincing face, and the entire pizza becomes a casualty of war.
It’s also known to patiently lie in wait within salads, much like the onion.
Safe disposal method: explode it, preferably in a desert nuclear facility; there’s no saving anyone from this madness.
And because I want to assure everyone that I’m not too crazy, here’s a quick list of the most important favourites in no particular order:
Milk, Promite, sashimi, pork ramen, apples, grapes, pasta, pizza, arancinis, smoked salmon, hash browns (potato dishes in general), milk, chocolate milk, nachos, burritos, burgers of most descriptions, calamari, salmon and lastly.. milk.