Monday, May 7, 2018

Around the Kitchen Table

We're always talking about the foods we love. But what about the ones we don't like? To quote Sara Lee, "Everybody doesn't like something." Have you passed that trait on to your protagonist? Or does she have a different dislike?

KRISTA: When I was a kid, my mother loathed beans. And since she did the cooking, she simply never cooked beans. My father, who wasn't fond of prepared food that came in cans (I know, kind of snooty, huh?) loved Campbell's Pork and Beans. And so did I. We begged my mom for them. Seriously—begged! What could have been easier? Once in a rare while she heated them for us. We gobbled them up. These days, my mom recognizes how healthy they are and will eat a few beans if I prepare them. I'm still a big fan of beans. But I draw the line at Cream of Wheat. No way!

Apparently, I must have the genetic variation that makes cilantro taste vile. I cannot eat it. If there's even a hint of it, I'm totally grossed out. I haven't passed that on to any characters yet, but maybe I should!


LESLIE: Cream of Wheat is my mother's favorite breakfast, even at 92! I'm indifferent to it, as I always was to the local variation, Cream of the West. But, Food Quirk Confession time: maybe this is a leftover from my vegetarian days, but I cannot eat food on the bone. Ribs, fried chicken, T-bone steaks---please, take mine. I knew I'd chosen Mr. Right well when we were invited to our friends Julie and Joe's home for dinner. Julie had ordered in from a local caterer, and when she set the plate with a lovely roasted quail in front of me, well, I quailed. Without a word, my hunny reached over, cut the meat off the bone, and put the carcass on his plate so I wouldn't have to stare at it. So you understand why, when I ordered langoustine in Paris, my husband whispered "Do you know what they are?" Off with their heads! (Both bird and fancy French crayfish were yummy, by the way.)


SHEILA:  If you'd asked me when I was a kid, it would have been a very long list. I've grown up just a bit, and now I gag only at beets, sweet potatoes and almost any form of liver. On the other hand, I've found I love octopus (and quail!). I like Irish Oatmeal but not the mooshy Quaker variety (it's the texture that bothers me, not the flavor). Oddly, most of my characters don't think about food much. Maura Donovan eats to keep herself alive, but barely notices what she's eating. Other characters, like Nell Pratt and Meg now-Chapin, are so busy they don't have time to plan meals (but they're happy to be taken out to restaurants--and so am I!)


DARYL: Oh, Sheila, you and I are on the same boat. I can't stand beets (of any kind) - my mother adored the canned kind. Not me. They stained things - even the lettuce.  Ugh! And sweet potatoes? I'm not a fan (though I will eat a sweet potato fry or two). I do make killer sweet potatoes for the holidays for my kids. They love them, so I'm doing something right. As for liver...after I graduated college and moved to Los Angeles, I worked in a restaurant to make ends meet. One day the boss was in need of a "chef" for the early-bird dinner. One couple wanted liver. I was so good at making it, they came in every night for a month and ordered it. Gag! Keep me away. And then there are a bunch of foods that simply don't like me: gluten, bell peppers, nightshade plants...  Have I given these dislikes to my protagonists? No.  I mostly talk about what they love: cheese, chocolate, and guacamole.  All things I love.  Anyone for a bacon and guacamole grilled cheese?

LUCY BURDETTE: I love, love, love beets, especially the ones straight from our garden, as fresh is much superior. I also love sweet potatoes, and they are so good for you! And beans too Krista, that's a funny story about your mom! I despise liver and sweetbreads, and I don't like lamb. The first meal I ever cooked for John I made a rack of lamb (with help from my pal, Jane) because John loved it. Never have made it again--poor guy got a bum steer there:).

But I can't think that I've made my protagonist suffer with this food--mostly she eats what I like so we can both enjoy it!


DENISE SWANSON: Skye and I have similar tastes. So much so that when I started drinking more coffee than tea, so did she. There aren't a lot of foods I don't like. Probably the main thing is that I'm not found of ground beef in any dish (I substitute ground hamburger). And while I don't recall specifically having any of my sleuth's dislike ground  beef, you can bet that in my new culinary series, Dani will never ever cook with it.

CLEO COYLE: We're on board with the coffee, Denise! As for foods we don't like (what a great topic). We'll start by saying there aren't many foods we won't at least try. I once sampled an internationally infamous fruit that tasted (to me) like a smelly foot. No, I will not be eating that again, and neither will our amateur sleuth, coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi.
Dark chocolate syrup from our new culinary mystery:
Shot in the Dark. I could eat this with a spoon.
Marc--not so much!

My husband (and partner in culinary crime writing) is also very open to trying new foods. The one item I cannot get Marc to eat, however, is dark chocolate. Milk chocolate, for sure, practically every day! And I am a fan of the dark side, but (unfortunately) dark chocolate promotes migraines in my better half. Clare, however, has no problem with dark, milk, white. Heck, any kind of chocolate, especially when paired with her beloved coffee, will make her day.


PEG:  Cleo, was the fruit a durian? I tasted that in Malaysia.  As for foods I dislike, I absolutely WILL NOT eat hot cereal.  Cream of wheat, oatmeal, farina, grits yuck!  It's the texture that bothers me, not the taste. So far I haven't had any polenta I like either because of the texture. Like Daryl, I'm not a huge fan of sweet potatoes but I do like them baked with plenty of salt and pepper. Oh, and flan or anything that jiggles and anything mushy like bread pudding (although I like it if it's crusty.) As for my characters, they eat what I tell them! LOL.  But I don't think I've made any of them dislike a specific food.  Some of them even eat oatmeal!


LINDAMy problem is dull veggies. At the top of the list is cauliflower. So bland, so unappealing. But if you dress it up (aka hid it) in a cheese sauce or a Panko coating and then pop it in the oven, I have been known to eat, even enjoy it. The other one on my bland list is the common green bean. Not French beans. But just plain beans. I don't know why. I do think I'm in the minority here. But once again, dress it up to the gills and I'll happily eat it. Weighing in on the beet discussion, I love them, especially golden beets. Also on the plus side, I'm willing to try almost anythings. Once!


How about you? 

What food or foods do you dislike?

Join our discussion in the comments to enter our giveaway! Once lucky person will win:

A DEADLY ECLAIR by Daryl Wood Gerber




  1. I have a problem with certain mushrooms. If they're firm, I'm okay. But certain ones have a texture that just gross me out. Really, anything with a somewhat slimy texture turns me off, more so than any specific tastes.

  2. I hate lima beans. My husband likes them. He is out of luck. We both refuse to eat liver. He hates pickled beets. I don’t. I like buttermilk. He won’t drink it. I hate root beer. He likes it. Those are our main dislikes. Oh. Mustard greens and turnip greens. Nasty!

  3. I hate most organ meats - except for heart and tongue. Definitely hate liver. No oysters for me - the very thought makes me shudder. No lima beans. No white chocolate. Other than that, I am not too awful picky. Love beans, love beets - pickled or otherwise - Love sweet potatoes. I am okay with Cream of Wheat, but prefer Cream of Rice. Oatmeal is okay. Love greens - but they have to be cooked properly. As for the buttermilk, my grandpa used to crumble up cornbread and put buttermilk over it and eat it. Might as well eat wet sand as far as I am concerned.

  4. Oddly, I like to think of myself as someone who is not a picky eater, but the sad reality is that I could probably write an entire book about my culinary dislikes. And that's not even counting my food allergies/sensitivities (red meat allergy, dairy and soy sensitivities, and now even glucose intolerance). Even my pickiness is picky - I don't care for fresh blueberries but will eat them in muffins, I like chocolate candies and some chocolate desserts (chocolate chip cookies, brownies) but not others (pudding/mousse, cake, ice cream) unless they are white chocolate (!), I despise regular cucumbers but do not mind eating English cucumbers, I love cheese but can't stand goat cheese - I could go on and on!

    I did grow up in a family of finicky eaters, so maybe compared to my siblings I am the least picky. Just don't try to get me to eat watermelon, mangoes, snow peas, green bell peppers (although any other color is fine), clams, smoked salmon, ... honestly, it's starting to look like I don't really like anything!

  5. Beans and seafood are sure to make me gag. I can’t stand them.

  6. Such a fun topic! There are few foods I absolutely detest, make me gag, and won't eat: raw tomatoes, any olives, raw fish/seafood, and black licorice. And there are others I can eat, but prefer not to: carrots, beets, raw onions, sweet potatoes, celery. And I'm very particular about chocolate. I prefer plain, high-quality chocolate, not stuff like m&ms, chocolate ice cream & cake, and most candy bars.

    However, I do love some things that gross my family out. I love all greens, sardines & anchovies, corned beef hash, and the organs that come in a turkey. And I love hot cereals!