Things I Don’t Get

I’m about to lose some credibility as a foodie/gourmet/gastronome/whatevertermiscurrentlyinvogue, but I have a confession to make: There are a small number of foods that I really don’t love or fully appreciate.  Foods that some people think are the best in the world, but to me, they’re just OK.  This came to me last night when I had two gorgeous green tomatoes that just came off the vine.  I sliced them thickly, soaked them in buttermilk with some green Tabasco, then dredged in cornmeal with salt and pepper.  I fried them quickly in a skillet until a rich golden brown.  I dug in and, just like every single fried green tomato I’ve previously eaten, they were fine.  Just fine.  Nothing all that special to me, and certainly nothing close to an “Oh my god, this is so good” moment.

I don’t get fried green tomatoes.  And before you tell me, “Oh, you haven’t had mine” or “You need to try so-and-so’s,” let me remind you that I’ve had fried green tomatoes dozens of times from dozens of places.  I always allowed to get myself excited by the hype, and I tried to convince myself that they were fantastic.  But they were just OK.  Nothing all that special, but certainly a good way to get rid of the end-of-season green tomatoes (although making soup out of them is a far better thing to do).

And then I realized that there are other food items that I enjoy just fine, but they’re nowhere nearly as exciting as what others proclaim.

Exhibit B: Soft shell crab.  I first have to admit that I am a soft shell crab neophyte.  I’ve had it before, but I hadn’t even eaten an entire soft shell crab until about a month ago.  It was cooked by Ashley Christensen, whom you all know as my favorite chef in the area.  And I enjoyed it.  But as I was eating it, I was also thinking, “Boy, I would love to have some blue crab or dungeness. ”  I understand that  soft shell crabs are different, in flavor, texture and how they’re cooked, and they’re more sought after because they’re available for only a limited time.  But to me, they’re not so good to cause me to groan in a food-gasm.

Exhibit C:  Fiddlehead ferns.  They have a fine flavor, but again, I suspect these are so desirable because they’re available only for a limited amount of time and they are a harbinger of spring.

Now there are some transient foods that I do get, and how.  Morels are at the top of the list.  As are truffles.  I really like ramps.  And the first of the season’s asparagus.  The height of the summer peach season sees me looking like a fool, with peach juices constantly dripping down my chin.

I obviously haven’t thought long enough to come up with other foods I don’t get, but I’m sure there are plenty.  I just don’t like calf liver, but that’s another story altogether.  What don’t you get?


25 Responses to Things I Don’t Get

  1. Alan says:

    Risotto. It’s alright, and I’ll occasionally make it and enjoy it, but I clearly don’t get the same level of satisfaction that other people (such as yourself) do.

  2. dmccall says:

    Liver is inexplicable. Why would someone want to eat the filter of an animal when there are so many good parts?

  3. Lisa -- says:

    Salmon. I have tried it dozens of times and it’s one of things I think I should like as grown-up and a foodie. But I just don’t like it.

    What I just don’t get is caviar. Blech. I think Tom Hanks had it just about right in “Big”.

  4. Varmint says:

    Liver I get, and even like, when it’s from a duck, but not from a cow. Really good salmon is fantastic, but much of the farm-raised stuff we get is not worth it. And caviar is another one of those “love it or hate it” foods.

    The thing about the foods I don’t get is that their flavors are not all that strong. They’re very subtle, and that’s probably why I don’t get them.

    Caviar? It’s very strong-flavored, so I can completely understand why some people love it and others don’t. I love cilantro, my wife hates it, and I can understand both positions.

  5. eric says:

    okra. its a texture thing.

  6. Yams. I’ve tried them a variety of ways, but still they’re just “OK” to me.

  7. Don’t Get: Truffles, fiddleheads, soft-shell crabs, Brussels sprouts, Rhubarb, rutabaga, kohlrabi,

    Don’t get and Don’t want: Cow liver, not so much. Okra cooked slimy. Sea Urchin (Uni) — a thing that is both rubberier and slimier than anything else. Possum (I know how to cook it, but wish I didn’t.) Cooked spinach (raw spinach is ok). Spanish mackerel.
    Congealed salad (why would anyone eat jello with nuts and cranberries and lettuce and gods know what in it)

    Love: Cilantro, good caviar, chicken liver pate, duck liver, and I’m crazy about liver pudding (pig). Raw oysters. Terrapin stew.

    I’m laughing at myself and at this thread. This is a hoot, and a fun way to recognize our own foibles. When I was a kid, my father wouldn’t come in the room when my mother was cooking liver pudding for me for breakfast, and I didn’t want to be anywhere near the kitchen when they were cooking beef liver & onions for dinner. How strange we all are!

  8. Durhamfoodie says:

    OK, foods that just make me go Hmmmmmm or WoooooooooooooooW!

    Fiddleheads: Ok, only had them a handful of times and always soaked in butter and seasoning, i think there is a reason for this. They are bitter, and not that flavourful.

    Liver: I love liver. Liver and onions, liver pate, liver anything. Maybe because it was something my mum made often growing up?

    Sea Urchin: Had it once, it was ok. The wow factor was in how the chef carefully and delicately pulled it out of the shell, placed the shell in an egg cup like looking thing and beautifully placed the urchin on top and presented it to me with such care.

    Congealed Salad: Hasn’t ever given me the “wow”, however I have, in the past year or two quite enjoyed the fruity, nutty, spicy blobby mold. My next test project in the kitchen is in fact going to be head cheese made with pork trotters and hocks……We’ll see how that goes!

    Brussel Sprouts: There ain’t nuttin you can do to make me like em, Gross!

    Fried Green Tomatoes: YUM!

    Soft Shell Crab: Ok, but I would love to experiment with them in my own kitchen.

    Cream of Wheat: Alsways a staple on the camp breakfast table and always the one thing I turned my nose up to. Something about the consistency reminds me of vomit.

    Raw Tuna: I love Sushi, and for the longest time one of my favorites was tuna, now I can’t stand it, don’t really even like to look at it. I have no explanation for this.

    Cilantro: Could just about put this on everything. In fact I made bbq spareribs last night and just before eating them sprinkled a handful of chopped cilantro over them.

    Oyster: Raw or grilled, NEVER steamed! I love them from all over, Olympians, Kuchi, etc…..just give em to me!!

    Turkey: You know, turkey really just doesn’t do it for me. It’s not that I don’t like it’s just not something I usually make, even at Thanksgiving. I generally leave that to someone else. Me? I’d much rather play with a Ham and come up with some new inventive glaze. Turkey is just Ok!

    FoodGardenKitchen, yes this is great fun and I am laughing at myself too.

    Great Post Dean!

  9. ehubbell says:

    Well, 2 folks already pulled out 2 of my top choices – Risotto and uni. I’ll try anything once, and some things 2x. I am out of tries on these. Also no fan of daikon.

    As for fgts, I had a burger from the OnlyBurger last week with them on it, and they did a perfect job accenting the burger. Appetizer as condiment.

    I think the best use for green tomatoes (or to send yourself shopping for tomatillos and avocados) is a batch of Ninfa’s green sauce. I suppose loving a blended sauce of easily obtained ingredients probably doesn’t establish foodie cred either.

  10. Go Erin Go says:

    Meatball subs. I don’t get them. Soggy bread, ick!

  11. Michael says:

    Agreed on the fried green tom. Don’t get it at all. I love a fresh BLT, but I have nothing for FGT. I have nothing for escargot. The bread and butter sauce is great, but really a snail? Caviar? Why? It does NOT taste good. and it cost an arm and leg?

    As for tuna, soft shell crabs, and morels…..I do love them. Anyway, anytime.

    Great post! Happy 4th!

  12. blewgo says:

    I loved salmon until 10 or 15 years ago. I guess that’s when farming of it began. Tilapia is a fish that I’ve never liked.

  13. PTuorto says:

    Agree on the Fried Green Toms. They always seem to be oily, even if they’re fried perfectly. Soft Shells are one of my favorites so I gotta disagree there, just something about eating a whole blue crab without having to deal with the shells.

  14. The Gourmez says:

    One of mine that I just don’t get is gourmet mac and cheese–mainly ones with lobster or crab. Now, I love mac and cheese, and I love shellfish, but they aren’t naturally complimentary flavors to me. Basically, I pay a good deal extra for mac and cheese to have the cheese overwhelm the delicate flavor of the shellfish. I don’t get it. And I have yet to be wowed by truffle oil anything.

  15. chefcolin1 says:

    How about green tomato jams or chutneys, and pickles? It’s about the only way I’ll eat a green tomato. And agreed FGT are not that good.

  16. dink says:

    Ok, here goes nothing ,, I’m sure most will want to have me drawn and quartered for such sacrilege, but bare with me. I don’t like STRIPS OF BACON. I personally love the flavor of bacon and I love using it as much as possible in many different forms, but I hate a strip of bacon at breakfast or at any time for that matter. Sure this may have the purest looking for pitchforks and torches, but before you chase me down remember I love the flavor of bacon just not a strip of bacon. I just hope I’m not alone in this matter, don’t feel ashamed to speak out against the strip!

  17. jeremy says:

    hey. we “pickle” our green tomatoes before we bread them for about 10 minutes, then we freeze them. not only because we do them en masse and need an efficient way to hold them, but the freezing also does a similar thing as cryoblanching. the brine solution forms ice crystals which helps to slightly break down the fruit by permeating the cell membranes as well as imparting some more flavor.. yes i said fruit. i won’t say it, but somebody who runs this blog should maybe possibly think about thinking about getting some fried greens from me.. said blogger could even take them home to pan fry in the comfort of home.. GO!

  18. Isaac says:

    Fried green tomatoes: The ONLY good plate of them I’ve ever had was at North Hills Mall at…which was first, Savannah or South? Whichever was first was the one that made some killer fgt.
    I don’t think I’ve ever ate a bad soft shell crab, but the best I’ve ever had was in New Orleans at Jazz Fest. Nothing fancy, just a trailer at the fairgrounds, but they stuffed a foot long sub roll full with ss crabs and covered it in the best sauce. I think it was $4.

  19. jeremy says:

    see? those were mine..

  20. Varmint says:

    OK, OK! Said blogger will be sure to get by the Busy Bee soon. For a burger and some FGTs.

  21. burgeoningfoodie says:

    Dink – what about slab bacon that you slice (I got the impression you were talking about presliced bacon or store bought).

    Things I don’t get in my limited eating experience
    Creme Brulee as a dessert at almost every Triangle restaurant (where is the imagination)
    People who dislike both PBnJ and Pizza (I can understand one or the other)…
    While I like the occasional fried seafood, restaurants that only do fried seafood make me cock my head a little.
    Cupcake craze.. I don’t dislike cupcakes
    Ceriality (really you can’t pay for your own box of cereal?) I understand it’s a fun concept but seems like a waste of space to me.
    I agree with the Mac n Cheese but also why is it listed as a vegetable? I’m just curious about that and don’t charge me $7 for it.
    Dill Pickles (Having had various types I don’t get why they are the only ones ever available unless you’re Neal’s or Ted’s Montana Grill).
    Truffles and Truffle Oil
    Why no one knows what Watergate Salad is (in my circles)?
    Jello Molds
    Pork Belly .. it’s essentially bacon
    People who won’t try seemingly harmless foods (not spicy foods or insects) to make sure they don’t like it.

    Okay that was a small bit.

  22. burgeoningfoodie says:

    I think the novelty for soft shell crab is that you can eat the whole crab instead of having to fight to get tiny scraps of meat out of the shell or having it mangled in some of the awful crab cakes and deviled crab in this area.

  23. Varmint says:

    Just curious about the disdain of being charged $7 for macaroni and cheese. If they use really great cheese and cream, and the food cost for that dish is $2.50, isn’t $7 a reasonable price? I don’t know which mac and cheese you’re talking about, but the top stuff that uses great ingredients (and a lot of cheese) is well worth the price.

    And as far as listing it as a vegetable, they do it for deviled eggs, too.

  24. burgeoningfoodie says:

    I don’t know I guess it’s the idea that to me some comfort foods shouldn’t be expensive. Maybe I should investigate the more of the business side of the restaurant world.

  25. el Gato Fritz says:

    Dino, I think the softshell crab thing is that, unlike fried green tomatoes (which I agree are “OK good”, like fried okra in my book), maybe you haven’t really had them “done good” — which to me is simple: dunked in melted garlic-y butter, grilled on charcoal, and eaten between a toasted english muffin.

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