"I wrote 63 songs this year. They're all about Jeter." Just kidding. The game we love, the players we hate, and more.

Culture and Criticism

From Norman Mailer to Wendy Pepper — everything on film, TV, books, music, and snacks (shut up, raisins), plus the Girls' Bike Club.

Donors Choose and Contests

Helping public schools, winning prizes, sending a crazy lady in a tomato costume out in public.

Stories, True and Otherwise

Monologues, travelogues, fiction, and fart humor. And hens. Don't forget the hens.

The Vine

The Tomato Nation advice column addresses your questions on etiquette, grammar, romance, and pet misbehavior. Ask The Readers about books or fashion today!

Home » Culture and Criticism

The Nause-AA

Submitted by on August 14, 2012 – 9:46 AM47 Comments

It's the icky sensation that's sweeping the Nation: the Nause-AA, in which the Bunkler Snacketology clinic seeks to crown not the best cereal, candy bar, or cocktail, but rather the worst, most disgusting food sensation of them all. It is probably clear from our official graphic which noxious pellet my money is on, but we'll just have to see whether the conclusions Keckler reached in Suffering Succotash are borne out by y'all's anecdotal votes and complaints.

TN food-bracket vets will remember how the tourney works, more or less – Keckler and I build the bracket, then post commentary on the match-ups; you vote in the corresponding polls; everyone involved talks trash about zucchini (hew) and gets in fights over whether cilantro is a food.

Watch the front page of TN,, or the TN Twitter feed (that's @tomatonation; it's linked at the top of the page) for updates. Or just subscribe to hashtag #NauseAA. (As you do.) As of this writing, Tuesday 14 August, I'm having some cat-adjacent technical issues — read: "my laptop is upside down in a bag of rice thanks to Little Jackwagon" — but we're still planning to launch Flight 1 tomorrow.

You can also find updates and instructions on this page throughout the tournament. Current bracket is right here.

Questions? Interested in sponsoring a round with an ad or a prize? Drop an email to bunting at tomatonation dot com.

Where do we vote?

Right here on TN. Look for the "Nause-AA" tag; that will lead you to the current polls. If you can't find a poll, that means we're between rounds.

How could you leave off [food I hate] and include [delicious manna from heaven]?! YOUR SNACKET SUCKS AND I HATE YOU GUYS!

With only 64 slots in four areas, we can't include everything. There is a considered rationale for inclusion and exclusion; we don't do it to piss you off.

Also, there's a lot of evidence to suggest that manna was a mold. So, yeah.

Why is [x] in one category but [y] in another?! SUCKS! HATE!

Again: 64 slots; 4 flights of 16 each. We do our best to classify everything correctly within the limits of the bracket structure, but the bracket structure…has limits, and we won't be able to please everyone. We encourage you just to have fun with it.

You should absolutely email me if you spot any mistakes, but please understand that "I think your ranking of avocadoes is BULLSHIT!!!1!" is more of a difference of opinion than an error.

Again, our bracket is here.

Be Sociable, Share!



  • Ansley says:

    This is making me laugh so hard. Love that egg yolks and egg whites got separate entries. Also, I think you could market this as a diet plan. Read the list before each meal and then decide if you really want to eat.

  • Melissa says:

    I must not be a picky eater, because so many of these sound delicious to me! I was expecting really disgusting things like braunschweiger or liver.

  • Georgia says:

    I predict raw oysters for the win.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Liver is in there, technically. (Organ meats.) (Hew, "organ.")

    I would also like to salute my colleague for coming up with some of the most delightfully horrible onomatopoetic renderings of vomiting I've ever seen. You are all in for a "treat."

  • Mary says:

    I read the bracket entries and highly approve except for one – how in the world did chocolate make it onto a list of "the worst, most disgusting food sensation of them all"?????

  • Liz Derosier says:

    As a confirmed omnivore I glanced at the list and immediately was all "don't make me choose – I love both x & y!" in almost every pairing. That said, I look forward to the descriptions you and Keckler come up with. Especially for offal vs tofu, which I think is one of the few pairings featuring items I definitely don't like.

  • Leigh in CO says:

    Hee hee — raisins with a 1 seed, tomatoes with a 16 seed. I would recognize the originator of that battle anywhere.

  • Stella says:

    I need to see beets into the final four at least. UGH BEETS. They taste like dirt. Dirt, I say!

    @Mary – yeah, that's weird. I know people who are allergic to chocolate, or aren't fond of it, but I don't want to be friends with anyone who HATES chocolate. Because those people are androids.

  • Anlyn says:

    Aw, bologna and olive loaf are not the same thing AT ALL…one is actually yummy (go olives!).

    Looking at the bracket has made me hungry.

  • Anlyn says:

    Oh, and if raisins do NOT win this, then there is no justice in this world. Boo raisins.

  • Phred says:

    Believe it or not, I know two people personally who find chocolate repugnant. And yes, they're both women… FWIW. When I had my tonsils removed (at age 21!), I found that chocolate suddenly tasted a lot more like chalk than it used to – something about the surgery had messed with my sense of taste, and it took most of that summer for my system to recover.

    Looking forward to the battles – though I agree that an awful lot of those items look really tasty to me (people don't like tarragon? Seriously?).

  • Sue says:

    I see many food items that caused me to sit at a table while others were enjoying dessert and TV…well done!

  • Colin says:

    Oh man. I’m not going to be able to vote at all in most of these, since I actually love most of the foods listed. But I will do whatever it takes—WHATEVER IT TAKES—to send fake cherry flavoring back to the depths of gustatory hell whence it came.

  • Pam says:

    Celery is the Devil's creation. Raw celery, with its stringiness and icky crunch polluting foods near and far, has to be a final four contender. Cooked celery? Meh. It just kind of disappears, which says a lot about it. It can't stand the heat, so it should get out of the kitchen.

  • attica says:

    I see a number of items that disgust me only in specific preparations or iterations. F'r instance: my mom's cole slaw is delicious; anybody else's is grosstastic.

    Can't wait to play!

  • ferretrick says:

    I know you can't include everything, but seriously: Canned. Tuna. FISH!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where is it? The smell like the breath of 50 cats with severe dental problems packed into one little can. The drippy, runny, slime "juice" that resembles nasal drip. The appearence like mud scraped off the bottom of the Hudson River. And the taste-well, actually, I've not sure I've ever really tasted it, as I usually start retching before it gets anywhere near my mouth.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    "Finned seafood." It's in there.

    Meatloaf, somehow, isn't — but I guess neither of US thought it was foul? (I can't eat it anymore, but I still miss my mom's, even though the physical preparation was super-disgusting.)

  • Kitty says:

    I am so excited about this, I can't even tell you.
    Also, just to clarify, because I'm dumb, the goal is to vote for the item that we find the MOST disgusting, not the least, right?

    So for example, obviously fake cherry flavoring is 100x more vile than bananas, so I would vote for the cherry?

    Sorry if this is a really stupid question – I haven't had enough coffee today.

  • cayenne says:

    Liver FTW. It exemplifies offal = awful.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @Kitty, I'll remind people of this when we open the polls, but yes. You're voting for the one you hate more.

  • ferretrick says:

    Hmm…I saw that, and can't speak for anyone else, but I didn't know that's what you meant. Maybe you could put /canned tuna or something like that?

  • Liz G. says:

    No slimy okra, or did I miss it? And (even though I love it) I was expecting escargot.

    There's only three really icky foods here – offal (although I do like liver, it's the tripe that I can't do), lima beans and finned seafood.

    I'm kind of sad that some of my favorite foods are on here. I will be crushed if raw oysters win. I love my oysters on the half shell!

  • Trish says:

    OMG, liccorice vs. scallops, two things that I hate so, so, SO much facing off in the first round! Just the thought of having to let one of them slip through makes me queasy.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @Rick, I think it'll be clear once the polls/write-ups open, so I'm-a leave it.

    @Liz, I had ten heart attacks just now all "DID WE FORGET REVOLKRA?!" but we didn't, it's a 3-seed. Right-hand side.

  • Elsajeni says:

    @Trish: That's so funny, that was the matchup I looked at and thought, "But those are both delicious! How can I choose?!"

    How would you describe the 4 categories, O Snacketologists? I see, maybe… meaty things, vegetables, fruity things, and… things that are mostly white?

  • ferretrick says:

    @Elsajeni: Thanks for putting this train of thought in my mind: "things that are mostly white…sounds like a Republican convention…wait, most vile politicans? Now THERE is a bracket"

  • Sherry says:

    I guess I must not be picky. I looked through it, and my general impression was "Eh, that's not so bad." At least, of the things I've tried. I have no desire to try things like oysters or scallops, so I guess they'll wind up tops on my list, although it's hard to believe that they would be more revolting than artificial cherry flavoring. (HATE.)

    Oh, poor maligned okra. It's not at all slimy if you bread it in corn meal and fry it. Although really, almost anything tastes better breaded in corn meal and fried. It does wonders for eggplant and zucchini, too.

  • clover says:

    I'm having flashbacks of the summer my friend Charlynn and I decided we were going to learn to like eggplant. We ate it every night, in dozens of allegedly delicious preparations.

    One night she flung her napkin to the floor and declared, "I've finally figured out why I hate eggplant!"



    Cue uproarious laughter, lifelike vomiting and phlegm-hawking sounds, and a phone call to the nearest pizzeria for something more appetizing.

    I would say "eggplant FTW," but you've checked just about all my disgusting food boxes here: yogurt, mayo, oatmeal, cottage cheese.

    Nicely done. This is going to be a stiff competition.

    Side note: On a dare, I once ate a spoonful of canned cat food. I also once tried a mayo-based salad to attempt to be polite. The cat food was better.

  • Kriesa says:

    This is sad, but I really like eating 90% of the competitors. However, you did get my least favorite as well: Fake Cherry Flavoring FTW!

  • Jenn says:

    This is perfect, and perfect timing. I need something to do at work.

    @Pam – A couple weeks ago I bought a thing of carrot and celery sticks (because it's impossible to find just carrot sticks anywhere). I tried to force myself to eat the celery but I just couldn't do it, even after slathering each bite in salad dressing. It's times like those that make me happy to be an adult whose parents can't force her to eat anything she doesn't want to.

  • Sarah says:

    Since Circus Peanuts aren't available, I'll have to save my vote for clams. I recently was peer-pressured to eat a steamed clam. All I have to say is that, where I come from, you stop eating your boogers before preschool for a reason, and I see no need to revisit that time.

  • scout1222 says:

    This is going to be so much fun.

  • Tracey says:

    The graphic makes me sad, because I love raisins. Also prunes.

    I like most of the stuff on the list, but the things I hate, I reallyreally hate. Offal, mayo-based salads, and (blerg) fake cherry flavoring most of all.

    This is going to be fun!

  • Erin in SLC says:

    Would you crazy non-tasters quit yer humblebraggin' about how it all sounds delicious? You sound like my husband.

    Brocco for the trophy, but brussels sprouts for runner-up. Once we were cat/reptile/apartment-sitting for a friend, and all week, we kept smelling (we THINK) brussels sprouts cooking in a neighboring unit. Got stronger and stronger as the week went on. I'm like, "What kind of sicko eats brussels sprouts every night?" (Husband, naturally, doesn't mind so much.)

    Anyway, the friend came home from vacation, and the next time we saw him he was all, "Oh, man, sorry about the dead mouse! Took me a while to find it."

  • Erin in SLC says:

    Right, capital B, like Brussels. I knew that.

  • Keckler says:

    @Erin in SLC "Would you crazy non-tasters quit yer humblebraggin' about how it all sounds delicious? You sound like my husband."


  • Kim says:

    Since Circus Peanuts aren't available

    The worst thing about Circus Peanuts is the fake BANANA flavoring, which I submit is worse than fake cherry. That and their overall dead-finger qualities.

    Hmm, I see that my Texture Issues will heavily influence my voting.

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    Randomly, cilantro. I agree with the late, great, Nora Ephron: "Whatever tastes good with cilantro in it, tastes better with cilantro not in it."

    I resolve this by just ignoring cilantro as an ingredient. "Hmmm…rice, wine, chicken broth, *skipCILANTROskip*, scallions…." Works like a charm.

  • Clover says:

    I have three words for all you cilantro-haters: More. For. Me!

  • Kari says:

    Sars, in the write-up, can you also clarify if this is icky taste vs. icky sensation? In the above description you use "sensation" several times, but it seems to be including flavor as well, correct? For example, I hate prunes flavor but their texture doesn't offend as much sweet potatoes texture and vice versa for flavor. I just want to cast my votes accurately. Also: LONG LIVE CILANTRO.

  • Anne-Cara says:

    Tomatoes and onions are pretty much my least favorite things ever, but I doubt either will make it past the first round. I suppose that means I'll have to turn my loathing on to mayo-based things and Brussels sprouts.

  • JB says:

    Woo! Non-taster here, and there are only a few things on this list that I find revolting. (That being said, blue cheese for the win, because it tastes and smells like unwashed feet.)

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @Kari: It doesn't matter why you're voting for it, really. If you think oysters are icky, for example, you probably think it's because of the texture, but if you just hate the taste of salt water, that's fine too.

  • Georgia says:

    Oh man, celery. I don't really care about it either way, except that my late grandmother, who was an excellent baker, but only a good cook of SOME dishes, put celery in EVERYTHING. My best guess as to her reasoning is, "It's celery; it's tasteless and inoffensive" — but on pizza or in tacos? That shit is offensive.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @Georgia, we must be distant relatives. My grandmother was aces on dessert, but…let's go with "inconsistent" on the entree, and she put LIMA BEANS in everything. Including beef burgundy, like, henh? And it was the same rationale. "They're filling!" Grandma, that's…what the beef is for.

  • JenK says:

    Hmm…I'm interested to know the categories, too. It seems like I love most everything on the right, except a few things I've never tried. (Cauliflower and Brussels sprouts roasted together? Love!) On the left, though…the meat-based "foods" are making me gag just thinking about them. And cilantro–EW EW EW. But I have to go with organ meats FTW. If it could taste or digest me, I can't eat it.

Leave a comment!

Please familiarize yourself with the Tomato Nation commenting policy before posting.
It is in the FAQ. Thanks, friend.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>