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Home » Culture and Criticism

The Nause-AA: Round of 64, Flight Barf

Submitted by on August 15, 2012 – 9:24 AM100 Comments

Today's write-ups by Keckler. To vote, scroll down; to see the bracket, click here. We'll leave these open a few days, so tell a friend (or queasy enemy).

Remember: This time, you're voting for the food or taste you like the least. Against, not for, Survivor-style.

1 cilantro vs. 16 garlic
I get the cilantro hate, but I don't have the hate. I have the dislike. I dislike abundant piles of it. I brush its wilted mass off my pad thai, but it won't ruin a dish for me. I'm okay with it in reasonable amounts in my guac, in my raita, and even in this amazing pea dish from a local Greek restaurant. However, you won't see me sipping a cilantro-infused cocktail (they exist. In San Francisco.) ever. Garlic, however, I adore beyond belief and would add it to almost anything. Cilantro is far more famous for being hated than for being loved, so it's clearly beating garlic's lily-white ass.

1 cilantro vs. 16 garlic

  • cilantro (89%, 770 Votes)
  • garlic (11%, 92 Votes)

Total Voters: 862

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8 veal vs. 9 coleslaw
Ew and EW! Okay, so the veal thing with me is less about ethics (I know! I know! Stone me later!) and more about not thinking it's any great shakes in the taste department. I've had it as a pureed soup (don't ask; I found pureed veal between my shoulder blades after making that) and as osso bucco, and I still don't get the hype. Coleslaw is just flat-out nasty. I really like cabbage but not when it's all bound up in some gloppy mayo sauce that's just a bowl of botulism waiting to happen. ["In my family, it's made with not one but TWO other top-seeded barf bombs: blue cheese, and raisins. …I need to lie down." -- SDB] I think that there are a lot of 'slaw haters, but there are also rabid 'slaw lovers. Additionally, I think there are way more vegetarians and ethical persons who will vote against veal for their various reasons (and who are waiting to stone me now), so veal will get out of the pen. This time. (Okay, you guys can stone me now.)

8 veal vs. 9 coleslaw

  • veal (57%, 526 Votes)
  • coleslaw (43%, 403 Votes)

Total Voters: 929

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5 scallops vs. 12 licorice/anise
I do love me some perfectly cooked scallops, all crispy golden on the outside and juicy, firm meat on the inside. Even Dr. Mathra, who is allergic to them in a gastrointestinal, rather than anaphylactic, way, loves them and has a bite every now and then to see if he's over his allergy. But licorice?! BARF. Still, scallops are seafood, and there are more fish flouters out there than licorice-a-phobes, so scallops swim on.

5 scallops vs. 12 licorice/anise

  • licorice/anise (68%, 619 Votes)
  • scallops (32%, 294 Votes)

Total Voters: 913

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4 mussels vs. 13 coconut
I know Glark calls coconut "the devil's pubes," which is an awesome description even if never fails to bring to mind that Sex and the City episode when Samantha found a grey hair Down There, but I love coconut to distraction. Mussels, well, mussels I used to love until I food-poisoned myself with one and now am off them for life. I think enough people love coconut and hate seafood as a group — especially bottom-feeders, like mussels, which are the scrubbing bubbles of the ocean's toilet — that mussels will muscle through to the next round.

4 mussels vs. 13 coconut

  • mussels (72%, 647 Votes)
  • coconut (28%, 249 Votes)

Total Voters: 896

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6 lobster vs. 11 bologna/olive loaf et al.
We had to have bologna even if I STRENOUSLY disagree with its inclusion, because it's one of the very few foods Dr. Mathra hates so much, I can't even say the word "bologna" without him clapping his hands over his ears and yelling, "STOPITSTOPITGROSS!" I've never had olive loaf, but I do know how Bunting feels about it and also how I feel about any food except meat and bread being appended with "loaf." (Midwestern sandwich loaf, anyone? HURL.) (Also, "loaf" kind of sounds like the sound you make when throwing up. LOAF! LOOOAAAF! ["Also also: 'pinching a loaf.'" -- SDB]) All that aside, as many people hate lobster for being in the fish category and also for basically being an insect — a delicious, wondrous, butter-loving sea insect, but an insect all the same — lobster will pincer out bologna/olive loaf.

6 lobster vs. 11 bologna/olive loaf et al.

  • bologna, olive loaf, et al. (84%, 776 Votes)
  • lobster (16%, 149 Votes)

Total Voters: 925

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3 organ meats vs. 14 tofu
All in this category are repulsive: tofu for trying to be like meat, and organ meats for being too much like meat. Also, I feel about organ meats the way others do about bottom-feeders: they are the body's garbage can and sewer system. All bad stuff goes in there. I'll take my meat as God intended: chops, ribs, steaks, legs, and breasts. Not livers, hearts, kidneys, tendons, pancreas, brains, eyeballs, and lungs. HAWARF. There are more vegetarians who swear by the sweaty, suspiciously wet tofu than there are meat-eaters who love organ meats, so hearts and lungs and brains will soldier on. (Seriously, tofolks, what's with all the water?!)

3 organ meats/offal vs. 14 tofu

  • organ meats/offal (87%, 808 Votes)
  • tofu (13%, 121 Votes)

Total Voters: 929

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7 cottage cheese vs. 10 egg yolk
I used to hate cottage cheese and in fact, I still kind of do. Unless it comes from Cowgirl Creamery. No joke, their Clabbered Cottage Cheese is the awesomest. Firm of curd, light in the mouth, and not at all watery, it's craveable. All other cottage cheeses can go dump themselves, but that one stays. Egg yolks are weird. They're either too runny or too chalky, and for some people – devilled, fried, or Scotched – egg yolks will always have the whiff of poop or farts. And that's not unusual, by the way. It's a scientific fact that some people lock into that sulfur scent and others don't note it at all. Crazy genetics! I don't totally hate egg yolks, but it's because of them that I no longer enjoy lemon curd. It just always tastes of raw yolks to me, and I hate that because I used to adore lemon curd and make it all the time. I think we underestimated the yolked power in this one, and I'm going to call it for egg yolks running through.

7 cottage cheese vs. 10 egg yolk

  • cottage cheese (61%, 537 Votes)
  • egg yolk (39%, 344 Votes)

Total Voters: 881

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2 mayonnaise vs. 15 parsley
This is where I'm going to be a picky foodie. So, I hated any evidence of mayo on my sandwiches as a kid and I wouldn't allow it, especially when white bulbs of it ballooned through the holes in my sandwich bread. (Also, my mom made herself PEANUT BUTTER AND MAYO SANDWICHES! I mean, there's not enough gagging in the world to rid yourself of that image.) And don't get me STARTED on Miracle Whip. (Crap. We forgot Miracle Whip.) Anyway, the foodie thing is that I love homemade aioli, especially when I don't break a wrist doing it myself, so you might think that makes me a snobby picky foodie, but it really doesn't because there's something way more revulsive about processed egg and vinegar and oil than what you make at home. Also? Homemade doesn't quiver and shiver as much. (MORLFF.) Parsley, however, is the anti-MORLFF for me. I find its flavor soothing and cleansing when I've overdone it on richer foods. I know people hate it, but they don't hate it as much as mayonnaise, so the condiment will quiver-shiver to the next round.

2 mayonnaise vs. 15 parsley

  • mayonnaise (55%, 487 Votes)
  • parsley (45%, 392 Votes)

Total Voters: 879

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  • Jack says:

    My dad made peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches when I was a kid. Completely counter-intuitive, but honestly: not that bad.

  • attica says:

    When I was in Milan a couple of years ago, I had a pizza that had (among other tasty toppings) a sunny-side-up egg at its center. Having that yolk run all over the cheese and tomato was the nearest bit of heaven I had at an Italian dinner table (which is saying something, no lie). I suspect that sounds gross to many, but OMFG, so so so good. Therefore, cottage cheese (which doesn't really bother me, but I have to be in a mood for it) is getting my anti-vote.

    I can't even bear the scent of licorice. Blech.

    On the other hand, I've had a number of pleasant meals of various kinds of offal. I don't cook it myself, but if it's on a menu of a well-reputed chef, I'll order it.

    I did cook calf's brain for a junior-high French class once. They're pretty mildly flavored which could offend only a few, but with a weird spongy texture, which will probably squick out many. Still, it was fun to play French Zombie for a half-hour: Cerveeeeeeellllees!

  • Yoshi says:

    Parsley is worse than *mayonnaise*? Really?! Tomato Nationals, I thought I knew you….

  • Jenny says:

    Wow, it was truly alarming how many of these pairs sound good together right now.


  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Dang, parsley came to fight, y'all.

  • Krissa says:

    I do not eat shellfish AT ALL, and yet I still voted for licorice. Die forever, licorice.

  • Jenn C. says:

    There's too many pairs where I love both the contenders! Waaaaaaa! (Am I some weird nasty-food loving freak?) Anyway, very grateful voting in all match-ups isn't necessary, and fascinated by the results so far.

  • scout1222 says:

    Right now mayo and parsley are dead even! Most contentious!

  • Liz G. says:

    OMG, I can't believe I had to vote for garlic, but I'm having a love affair with cilantro right now.

  • Clover says:

    @Yoshi, I'm as stunned as you are. Parsley is a wonderful, fragrant, healthy green thing that grows in the garden. Mayonnaise is a slimy miasma of ingredients I cannot bear to think about, and the sum is even more horrifying than the parts.

  • Melanie says:

    Well, I couldn't even vote in the cilantro v. garlic bracket; it's like asking me to choose between my children.

    But mussels being the "scrubbing bubbles of the ocean's toilet" is probably the best turn of phrase I've ever heard. Consider it stolen.

  • Grateful says:

    @Jack When I was growing up, my parents ate "pear salad"–a canned pear half on top of cottage cheese, topped with mayo and grated cheddar. Even my mayo-loving self was repulsed by it.

    …that is, until recently, when I tried it and realized that the salty/sweet combo kinda rocks a little bit.

  • jennie says:

    The only cole slaw I've ever had that wasn't utterly repulsive is the kind they put in the sandwiches at Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh, which is made with some sort of light vinegar sauce and is nice and crunchy instead of runny and slimy and gross. (Yes, in the sandwich. Along with fries. It sounds horrifying, and it is enormous and kind of weird, but if you are in Pittsburgh, you should totally check it out, because it's an awesome sammich experience.)

  • Lisa D says:

    You can also add Velveeta to the "loaf" category. Any "cheese" that is shelf stable and called a loaf should not be considered cheese IMHO.

  • Anlyn says:

    Love licorice, love scallops, love cilantro, and love garlic. So had to abstain on those. Never been fond of mussels, though I can swallow them if need be. My dad used to make gravy out of the organs of the turkey, and wasn't bad, but I always took big bites of mashed potatoes to balance out the little organ chunks.

    Love hard-boiled eggs, so cottage cheese got my vote this time…I like cottage cheese in general, but so many brands are so milky and gross.

    Mayonnaise sucks, though I will eat it spread very thinly on a fried Spam sandwich (with relish, yum!).

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    It's the whey-ish runniness of the cottage cheese I can't cope with. One way my mom randomly invented to make CC more palatable and also cut the heat on super-hot salsa is to mix 'em together in equal parts. And then shovel it into your facehole with salty chips, mmmmmm.

  • Leigh in CO says:

    As a New Mexico native, I can attest that a fried egg on top of flat (not rolled) cheese enchiladas is OMG soooo good. My favorite burger does the croque-madame thing, also yum. (Yo, when in Denver, hit Park Burger, seriously). I love cottage cheese, but if I couldn't have creamy yolk, life would suck a bit.

    A raised hand here for peanut-butter/mayo sandwiches in my youth, though we were a Miracle Whip family at the time. The peanut butter must be crunchy.

    I have very fond memories of making "hors d'oeuvres" as a kid, which consisted of a slice of bologna, a layer of Miracle Whip, and a slice of American cheese, rolled up and secured with a toothpick. We thought we were so fancy, what with the toothpick and the French and all.

  • Clover says:

    Did anyone else's mom try to smuggle cottage cheese into lasagna in place of ricotta? So nasty.

  • Elisa says:

    I recently changed my diet (due to health reasons) and no longer eat meat. But I have no idea what to do with tofu. It is just this block of…tasteless…whiteness. Help! Ack.

    PS: Had no idea that many people dislike licorice. Thought I was in the minority there.

  • Janie says:

    Forcing me to choose between garlic and cilantro is just cruel – they are both delicious!!

  • Kara says:

    There are so many of these I really like – some I even love. I like cilantro, although it does seem to be pretty polarizing. I adore garlic. I like veal. I loooooooove seafood so I like scallops, mussels, and I could eat lobster all day every day. I like parsley and eggs and I like my eggs runny, the better to sop up with toast.

    And of the things left that I don't like, the only ones I actually will not eat are mayonnaise, organ meats, and bologna/olive loaf. My grandmother made bomb-ass coleslaw so I don't have a knee-jerk "gross" reaction to it. I like the smell of licorice/anise better than I like the taste but the taste doesn't offend too much, ditto coconut (my grandfather loved coconut so I kind of got used to it). If you cook tofu right (press the water out before you cook with it by putting a cutting board on top and a heavy book on top of the cutting board), it can be really good – it just picks up the flavor of whatever you cook it with. I wouldn't buy cottage cheese on its own, but if I were in a pinch, I'd eat it and be good with it.

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    It's not the yolks that bothered me so much as a kid (as long as they were cooked solid), it's the whites. Slimy, slippery, disgusting. Egg white is what Tofu dresses up as for Halloween.

    (Tofu. I can never even think of it without recalling a priceless quote I heard about the earnest, evangelical health food movement of the seventies: "It always tasted like somebody meant well.")

  • emandink says:

    Why is it that so many of these pairings are so hard? How am I supposed to vote against cilantro or garlic? For that matter, how can I choose between organ meats and tofu?

    Curse you bracket!

  • Dave P. says:

    Parsley v. Mayo is shaping up to be a classic 2 v. 15 tourney matchup. Plucky #15 keeps it close through halftime, but then they get in foul trouble and the threes stop dropping and #2 pulls away in the last 3 or 4 minutes. Mayo's coach is taking off his jacket and is starting to scream himself hoarse, so they are up by 6 right now.

  • Lisa says:

    Every time I take a whiff of cilantro, I go all Newman. VILE WEED. I can't even WALK INTO a Chipotle, because while I *know* I can get cilantro-free rice there, IT IS TAINTED. And now they've got that shit up in my Taco Bell? DIE IN A FIRE, CILANTRO.

    (PB and Miracle Whip sandwiches are the best, but only on Roman Meal bread.)

  • Elyse says:

    Every single one I was like – oh none of this is so bad, then I came to mayonnaise (HURRRRFFF) versus parsley (HRRRAAAAALLLFFFF). I had to really sit and think about which was the lesser evil, and it has to be mayo because at least you can hide mayo. Even chopped up fine, I know when parsley has been added to something – it permeates everything with this bitter, metallic flavor. DIE PARSLEY.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    I love Dave P.

  • Laura says:

    The list of foods that truly repulse me is extremely short–I even started liking cottage cheese this summer after claiming to dislike it for 20+ years. So I really just came down here to note the difficulty of laughing my ass off at "LOAF! LOOOAAAF!" while simultaneously covering my ears & running away because I am sooooo emetophobic.

    Now I truly understand why "Hew." was invented.

  • Teri says:

    Parsley must be my own personal cilantro, because HAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE. No idea why. Otherwise, I pretty much enjoy the majority of those gross foods, which in and of itself is … kind of gross?

  • MinglesMommy says:

    As long as we're on the subject of food, beets are the instrument of the Devil, and lamb tastes like death and evil combined. (Even in my dreams it tastes disgusting.)

    You know, in my humble opinion and all.

  • Jeanne says:

    I once made the mistake of eating scallops when I was not quite over a stomach bug (I'm sure you all can guess what happened next.) Never. Again. I don't like licorice/anise either but at least the smell of it doesn't make me gag.

    Cottage cheese, and anything with the same/similar consistency of cottage cheese also makes me gag. It's the barfiest food ever for me.

  • JC says:

    Licorice could be up against a toadstool-and-sauerkraut sandwich and I'd still vote licorice through to the next bracket of noxiousness, such is my hate for it.

    Veal vs. coleslaw was an interesting one, because I actually like both quite a bit. However, I realized my only experience with veal is when it's been breaded and drowning in marinara and melted cheese. And the thought of creamy coleslaw on a pulled pork sandwich (with garlic Texas toast as bread) for lunch today is making me think impure thoughts. Coleslaw for the win… er, loss.

    I can only eat cottage cheese (and cream cheese) if it's one of the full-fat varieties, and even then I only tolerate it. "Lowfat" and "nonfat" are clearly USDA shorthand for "chalk paste" and "plaster dust", and even worse are the well-meaning folks who think it's an acceptable substitute for lovely, creamy ricotta in stuffed shells or lasagna (thanks, Mom… NOT).

    I've never really gotten the appeal of lobster. Crab has a better flavor, better texture, better price, more versatility, etc. Having said that, if it's between lobster and olive loaf (aka "Dad, this lunch meat is staring at meeeeeee…")? Pass the butter and the mallet.

  • Georgia says:

    Here's the deal with tofu: it is not/was not invented to be/should not be considered a meat replacement. It's . . . a protein source, like beans, or eggs. (In lots of Chinese cuisine, tofu is part of dishes that have meat in them.) Firm tofu is the most meat-like, but you still need to press out the water before cooking (if it's not stored in water it goes bad). Then, chop up the tofu, add it to a saucy dish, or ladle a sauce on top of it, or fry it up crispy and add it to something, and it's pretty tasty.

    Sorry for the rant. I don't even like tofu that much! But I think it gets a bad rap because people are thinking, "Uh, THIS is what you vegetarians eat instead of steak? No thanks." We eat seitan instead of steak, and it's delicious.

  • Tarn says:

    My people.

    My mother and grandmother love to make Miracle Whip and banana sandwiches. HAWAAAAAAARGHFHGHF! A concoction that would win this contest hands down, had enough people acknowledged its vile existence to put it on the list.

    I could never get past the chunks in cottage cheese, though I can stomach it if it's disguised in lasagna (though I agree with the poster above, it loses to ricotta every time).

    Egg yolks is a tricky one for me. I love a well-cooked egg, hard-boiled, scrambled, whatever. But I CANNOT and WILL NOT do runny. No snot on my plate snotting up my other delicious breakfast foods, thank you very much. Or my salads, or my PIZZA WTF Attica?!? I would burst into tears if I had my mouth all ready for hot cheesy pizza and somebody had violated it with a runny egg.

  • LunaS says:

    I have so much to say, but I only have time for two:

    If mayonnaise doesn't win, my faith in humanity will be irreparably damaged.

    It was hard for me to choose between mussels and coconut. However, mussels look like something that would be tasty to a seafood lover (me), but they always end up tasting like (theoretical) ass. Good job, mussels.

  • Jody says:

    When I came here I was more than prepared to vote for Lobster as I hate it but don't mind bologna…but after reading your description I changed my mind! How disgusting! And to think that I have eaten a lot of bologna!!

    Now I will have to give lobster another shot!

  • Karalynn says:

    Coconut should "win" this whole thing. Devil's pubes indeed! If I was stranded on an island with only coconut to eat I would first get really skinny, and then I would become delirious and eat dirt, and then I would eat coconut. At least I would get to hammer the crap out of it to show my displeasure before I choked it down. What I am saying is coconut is gross.

  • cayenne says:

    Cilantro and licorice/anise/fennel are Satan's aromatics.

    I have a seafood consumption priority scale: scales>insects>bivalves. Bivalves are solidified sea snot on the half-shell.

    And yet licorice is a gazillion orders of magnitude worse, so scallops lost my vote. I console myself knowing I helped vilify its cousin, mussels, and I will definitely be voting for clams & oysters in future rounds. Not even breading and deep-frying can make those buggers (…boogers?) palatable.

  • Andrea says:

    I had no idea people hate parsley. I don't like it, but it…doesn't really taste like anything, does it? I see it as useless filler and replace it with basil in any and all recipes. Maybe that's why I don't know I hate it?

  • Rachel says:

    I would like to to vote specifically for Sars' family coleslaw to be made top seed. That sounds vile. And this from someone who really likes coleslaw (yes, with mayo (but not Miracle Whip, that's just nasty)), blue cheese *and*raisins.

  • frogprof says:

    @Grateful: MY MOM DID THAT! Except with pineapple rings [and she did splash out on real Dole and not the generic crap].
    And I still do it every now and then when I need a mayo fix. Which isn't often AT ALL.

  • Georgia says:

    @Grateful and frogprof: Those concoctions sound SO gross to me. Reminds me of my friend's father who didn't know he liked salad until he was an adult, because his mother's version of salad was iceberg lettuce topped with a canned stewed tomato topped with mayonnaise. Horf.

  • Keckler says:

    Count me in as a lover of a cracked egg over pizza. Also, I do love a good fried egg the morning after a wine-flushed night — especially when it gets all brown and crispity on the edges. Mmmmm.

    Tell me something, tofolks, does tofu have a flavor? Because for me it's all gross texture and I just don't understand it.

    I am shocked — SHOCKED — to discover all the parsley haters out there! Makes me think my friend isn't as nuts as I thought she was!

    I'm not being racist, but of the parsley haters out there, how many of you are of Asian descent? (I'm always trying to gather unofficial/unscientific research to muse over.)

  • ferretrick says:

    DOWN WITH COLESLAW!!!!!!!!!!! Not only do I hate the taste to begin with, I worked at a Hardee's in high school and used to have to mix that shit in these big rubber containers with only plastic gloves to protect my hands. How the fucking hell chopped grade Z cabbage with a few tiny specks of carrot and a baggie thing of "sauce" that resembled the contents of a used condom could get SO COLD I'll never know, but I swear you could get frostbite doing that. HATE!!!!!!

    The only possible defense of mayonaise is that with other ingredients you can make awesome dips with it. But on it's own? HWERARF! And it gets extra hate points for the LOOK you get from mayonaise lovers when you say NO, DO NOT LET THAT SHIT TOUCH MY FOOD. You know the one.

  • Donna says:

    Next time I will not complete the survey while trying to eat lunch.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    chopped grade Z cabbage with a few tiny specks of carrot and a baggie thing of "sauce" that resembled the contents of a used condom


  • Kathryn says:

    Grateful: I almost replied to your comment with an "OMG, YOUR parents did that to you TOO?" before I remembered who you were. Heh. I'd almost forgotten how burgers in our house were ALWAYS accompanied by a side of pear-half on cottage cheese. On top of a piece of iceberg lettuce. THAT was the problem for me: having to choke down that crunchy piece of tasteless vegetable matter soaked with cottage-cheese runoff because it's "good for you". Bleck.

    Wow, no idea that parsley would even come up (hew) in this discussion. It's so inoffensive to me, almost like a breath-freshener. My issue is with Italian parsley, which as a garnish looks IDENTICAL to cilantro. Expecting a nice green bit of garnish and getting a mouthful of soap-shavings feels like being betrayed by nature every time.

    Other than mayonnaise and cilantro, the only taste in this bracket that will RUIN a dish for me is anise-flavored ANYTHING. So licorice is out. I'm shocked that garlic was included; garlic butter is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

  • Maura says:

    People who do not like scallops have not had a properly cooked scallop. HEAVEN. (Legal Seafood in particular gets it right. And I could not live a life without mayonnaise, what is wrong with you people?? It does lead to the question though-where do we fall on tartar sauce?

  • Carrie Ann says:

    I used to hate mayo, and I'm still picky about its applications and especially the quantity, but I've come to find it indispensable in specific instances (like on the BLT I had for lunch yesterday, yum), so I voted for parsley just because it is NEVER indispensable. It's useless at best and ruinous at worst. It tastes like almost nothing, but if a chef has a heavy hand with it, suddenly the whole dish tastes like grass. Why? Parsley, what is the point of you?

    That said, I am sad that Miracle Whip is not going to appear later in the brackets, because that shit is vile and ruins everything it touches.

    Also, I'm sad that egg yolk is not going to make it to the next round, because I've shed so many of my food aversions over my 31 years, but that is one I just can't shake. It tastes like blood to me. Metallic and wrong.

  • jmd says:

    I can't believe I had to vote for bologna – I LOVE Oscar Mayer bologna – had it for lunch every day in school, still love it to this day. I comfort myself by saying I really voted for olive loaf, because, ew. And I really do love lobster so that is ok.

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