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Home » Culture and Criticism

The Nause-AA: Round of 64, Flight Upchuck

Submitted by on August 16, 2012 – 9:09 AM85 Comments

Today's write-ups by Sarah D. Bunting. 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 blue cheese vs. 16 chocolate
I should just say right up top that I hate, like, four things in this entire draw. The foods I hate, I really really hate, but it's still a pretty short list — and no way is blue cheese on it. The more a cheese reeks of cat pee and ancient Trappist mold, the more I want to spread it on a piece of crusty bread and follow it with a sip of Sauvignon. In fact, I will probably vote for chocolate in this round, because I love cheese so deeply and don't really care much about chocolate. I don't hate it; I just don't care. Still, blue cheese coasts into the next round.

1 blue cheese vs. 16 chocolate

  • blue cheese (80%, 696 Votes)
  • chocolate (20%, 178 Votes)

Total Voters: 874

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8 yogurt vs. 9 creamed vegetables
Yogurt has many more health benefits, and leads to far more hilarity when trying to consume it in the presence of certain orange cats, who will climb your leg regardless of whether you're wearing pants, purring wildly, determined to divest you of your Dannon. The average creamed vegetable, meanwhile, is disgusting, fattening, and redundant — but my fantasy-football team isn't named Institutional Starch for nothing, and the same steaming blob of creamed spinach that will send most of you running for the nearest barf bag is one of my favorite foods of all time. And yogurt is sometimes really sour, and also I fuckin' hate those Activia ads, so I think yogurt triumphs here. ["The word 'creamed' paired with vegetables makes me ralph. Also, because of the beneficial lactobacillus cultures, Dr. Mathra sings 'Bac-ter-i-aaa!' in tune with those ads now." — Keckler]

8 yogurt vs. 9 creamed vegetables

  • creamed vegetables (84%, 764 Votes)
  • yogurt (16%, 148 Votes)

Total Voters: 912

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5 finned seafood vs. 12 tarragon
Tough call. I'd vote tarragon, because I like it less than I like a perfect slab of bluefish broiled in a foil jacket with infused mayo…but that description just had a few of you bralfing into your hands, so there you go. ["VOOORRRRPPPHHH!" — Keckler] That said, I didn't know how passionately tarragon haters ("tarragontagonists"?) felt about the seasoning until I mentioned that I was growing some and my sister-in-law YELLED out, "EW, TARRAGON!" I…what? Really? So it's deeply felt, but it's also probably niche. ["It's the black-licorice-ness of it that makes it so awful. A little goes a long, long way. Tarragon may be my cilantro." — Keckler] Seafood, no problem.

5 finned seafood vs. 12 tarragon

  • tarragon (59%, 511 Votes)
  • finned seafood (41%, 350 Votes)

Total Voters: 861

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4 clams vs. 13 puddings: rice, tapioca, etc.
Heh, "clams." …Okay, seriously: I love puddings. The gloppy presentation and smooooooth texture will classify it as untenably revolting to many; I love it (as long as the diner doesn't dick it up with raisins on the top). I think the childhood associations (and sweet teeth) for some will outweigh the texture issues and the presence of pudding skin for others. And I also feel like, if I added up all the food-poisoning stories I'd ever heard, clams would get the blame most often. Clams FTW.

4 clams vs. 13 puddings (rice, tapioca, e.g.)

  • clams (75%, 662 Votes)
  • puddings: rice, tapioca, e.g. (25%, 226 Votes)

Total Voters: 888

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6 crab vs. 11 Parmesan
Heh, "crabs"! …Sorry. I like crab fine. A spicy crab cake with a little paprika-sauce happening and some sweet corn: good stuff. I like Parmesan fine too, but fresh Parm only; the stuff in the green can is a sickening clumped-up mess that smells like someone got carsick in a gym locker. Why didn't we rank that bullshit higher? I'm-a go nuts and predict an upset for Parmesan.

6 crab vs. 11 Parmesan

  • crab (60%, 490 Votes)
  • Parmesan (40%, 328 Votes)

Total Voters: 818

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3 raw oysters vs. 14 oatmeal/grits/hot cereal
That scene in whichever Ramona book where Ramona stares at the blue oatmeal in her classroom and then sprolfs all over her desk put me off oatmeal for 15 years, and I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one. Not to mention that oatmeal is one of many, MANY dishes that people insist on air-mailing into the shitter by putting RAISINS on it. Occupy Oatmeal Cookies! But the raw oyster is a seafood (strike one) and slimy (strikes two through seventeen). I love a platter of Wellfleets and I drink every drop of the brine, but Dirk can't even watch me eat them, so it's definitely a thing. Oysters, easily.

3 raw oysters vs. 14 oatmeal, grits, and other hot cereals

  • raw oysters (85%, 748 Votes)
  • oatmeal, grits, hot cereals (15%, 134 Votes)

Total Voters: 882

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7 goat cheese vs. 10 egg whites
Goat cheese should win this going away. I like it, but I completely get the hate; it's sour and it sticks to everything and it's pretty hew-y, objectively speaking. But I absolutely DEEEE-SPISE cooked egg whites, with that weird under-density and the SWEAT ON THEM, blearrrrf. That's the devilment in a deviled egg, people.

7 goat cheese vs. 10 egg whites

  • egg whites (66%, 557 Votes)
  • goat cheese (34%, 291 Votes)

Total Voters: 848

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2 mayo-based salads vs. 15 milk
I have loathed milk since childhood. I love all other dairy products, but milk…I just…hurgh, I can't. I had to drink a glass every night with dinner as a kid, and the number of times I sat there, alone, with the glass getting slowly warmer, the skin of fat congealing in my nightmares…I can't take that fatty sour top note. It's so repulsive to me that I put water on my cereal. WATER! But a lot of people love milk, or just hate macaroni salad more, and macaroni salad is weird and I don't like it either. I love my mom's potato salad (celery tops and red onion: tell a friend!), though, and it's not milk, so that's my vote. Not your-all's, though, I'm guessing. Sick-nic favorites for the win.

2 mayo-based salads vs. 15 milk

  • mayo-based salads (69%, 604 Votes)
  • milk (31%, 275 Votes)

Total Voters: 879

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  • Jeanne says:

    Hmmm, I actually like a lot of these foods. I guess I'm not as picky an eater as I thought. Creamed vegetables can go straight to hell though.

  • LonOtter says:

    Milk vs. Mayo-based salads was a hard one, because while I love me a good mayo-based salad, the bad ones are truly wretched (retch-ed?).

    And milk? I'd love to slug a big glass of it, but my digestive system would revolt. Emphatically. Violently. Lactose intolerance for the sad. Thankfully, the lactase enzyme pills work for me and most cheese has little to no lactose left. If I couldn't eat cheese I think I'd just nip out and shoot myself.

    So, milk got my vote.

  • Hannah says:

    For all my love of shellfish, I'm least acquainted with clams. And I never really knew what "whole belly clams" meant, but it makes me think of a textural experience similar to eating those Gushers candies.

    And THAT is the most gag-inducing thing for me in this tournament thus far. WHORK.

  • emandink says:

    Whew. Today was *much* easier.

  • Sue says:

    Tough call on some…..aside from milk. My mother gave me a glass of milk to drink one morning which was not fully rinsed out, so still soapy. Unable to drink it straight, w/cereal, etc. to this day. Although I can cook with it….

  • Jane says:

    I am SHOCKED at the yogurt/creamed vegetables results. Yogurt is so foul.

  • Krissa says:

    I mean, I actively love stinky cheeses, but hello – up against chocolate? No contest.

    Also, Parmesan cheese is completely unrelated to the Ped-Egg-produced industrial powder in a green can.

  • Christy M says:

    I think LonOtter and might be the same person. Grudging vote for milk here as well.

  • Christy M says:

    And *I*!!! LonOtter *and I* could be the same person.

  • Kelly says:

    I totally don't hate enough food to participate in this. My reactions to virtually every entry so far have been, "People hate that? But that's delicious!" This all explains a lot about my life, really.

  • Erin in SLC says:

    @Hannah: I must confess a perverted love for those Gushers candies. On paper, there is no justification for anyone eating them ever, given that they just kind of bleed to death right in your mouth. Still, for reasons beyond my understanding, I could eat an entire box in one sitting — especially the Tropical flavor, or those weird Smurf-blue ones.

  • adam807 says:

    Of all the things on my list that it's "weird" to dislike (and I like A LOT, but like you if I don't I REALLY don't), milk is the one that people can't fathom. I've also never liked it, so I'm hoping for it to at least win this heat, so I can feel personally vindicated. (Though, water on cereal? Like someone's already chewed it? HWORRORHTKHKKKK!)

    I feel like puddings should be two separate categories. Chocolate, butterscotch, vanilla…YUM. But rice or tapioca, with their gloppy bits and, well, vomit-like appearance and texture… I honestly don't know what they even taste like, since the sight of them makes me gag (see also: chowder).

    I'm also eternally fascinated by eggs, and how much they change depending on cooking style. A boiled chicken and a fried chicken are both still recognizably chicken, but a boiled egg and a fried egg are like two entirely different food groups to me. For all the egg questions I'm just assuming we mean hard boiled, which I can't even be near (prepared any other way, I could eat them for every meal).

  • Brigid says:

    Sorry, but milk is the most disgusting thing you've got on here. You are DRINKING THE BREAST MILK OF ANOTHER SPECIES PEOPLE!!!!! We're the only species that does so, and continues to do so beyond infancy. We're not built to digest the breast milk of other species, which is why so many people have dairy issues. Gross. It won't win on here, but will definitely win in my heart. ACK. Blurgh.

  • Lisa says:

    I voted for egg whites over goat cheese because a) I've never had goat cheese, and 2) egg whites are the basis for FUCKING MERINGUE which is vile cow slobber and should never be on pies ever ever ever.

    My mom makes the best Waldorf salad known to man, so you're out, milk. Mayo, apples, walnuts, grapes, and celery for the win!

  • avis says:

    But I love everything in this bracket! Not just don't hate-actively enjoy! The only vote I can make is for mayo salads and then only because of that carrot-raisin "salad" that is clearly punishment for some moral failing. Not even my mom's potato salad can outweigh that wrongness.

    I may have oatmeal and grits for breakfast, raw and fried oysters for lunch with a blue cheese topped salad and crabs for dinner with chocolate and rice pudding for dessert.

  • JC says:

    Between tarragon and finned seafood, it was so tough. I like tuna, salmon, and halibut as sushi, and grilled monkfish is utterly delicious. On the other hand, my absolute favorite roast chicken recipe involves tarragon and Dijon mustard. Plus, a world without tarragon is a world in which Béarnaise sauce cannot exist. And that is not a world I would like to live in. The coin toss went to fish moving on.

    Crab and Parmesan? Add some linguini and garlic-infused olive oil and you've just described my dinner plans. That's one of the few matchups I have to skip.

  • Hannah says:

    Oh, I LOVE me some Gushers. I just don't think the texture would translate well to clams.

    Also, I have to confess a passion for the parm in the green can. It absorbs the extra oil! And for some reason I appreciate the sawdusty texture! I had some on my breakfast spaghetti this morning!

    That being said, the Ped Egg comparison has definitely left a mark…

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    I'm so proud of all my fellow milk-haters! It's not getting through, but it's doing creditably at least.

  • Kara says:

    Once again, I don't hate most of these things. I LIKE most of these things. Also, I'd make a distinction between rice and tapioca puddings and the smoother puddings, like straight-up chocolate or vanilla. Tapioca is, as my grandmother used to say, fish eyes and glue, but a regular chocolate pudding doesn't make me gag, texture-wise (which is really the barf-factor for me, the texture).

    Also, goat cheese is fucking DELICIOUS.

  • zuhn says:

    I used to be late for school every morning because of that damned glass of milk I had to choke down with breakfast. I was doubly late in winter because my mom insisted on heating it up and the skin…rorrfff!!!

  • Kelly says:

    @Sarah: Milk is the one thing I could vote for with no qualms of "I actually kind of like this". It's probably because I'm lactose-intolerant, but I sometimes have to leave the room rather than watch my nieces and nephews drink a glass of milk.

  • KTB says:

    I can't do it, Sars–I actually like milk, and I cannot force down a bite of a mayo-based salad. I loooove German-style potato salad and served it at my wedding, but that's vinegar based and delicious.

    I think I may have inherited my mayo stance from my father, but at a lesser degree. He also has a fantastic story about not eating blue cheese for the better part of 30 years after having to hand crumble 5 pounds of the stuff for dressing when he was managing a Steak N Ale in So Cal in the early 70s. His hands smelled like blue cheese for days, and he stopped eating the stuff entirely until about 2007.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @zuhn: I have never understood why warm milk is supposed to be soothing. I mean, I understand it chemically — there's just absolutely no way I could get it down and keep it down.

  • Robin in Philly says:

    I… I am speechless. I am a speechless FREAK, apparently, because some of my favourite foods/ingredients of all time showed up on this list. AGAINST EACH OTHER, no less. Egg whites & goat cheese? Crab & Parm? Chocolate & blue cheese???!!

    I just voted for chocolate in an attempt to keep Gorgonzola & St Andre from getting the axe. I VOTED OFF CHOCOLATE, PEOPLE. When I had a baby in January, I ate blue cheese for like a week because no-blue-cheese-during-pregnancy was the cruelest thing I've ever endured. Like, worse than the 5 months of morning sickness (ironically, the two things that made me hurl the worst – hummus & bbq pulled pork – have not appeared).

    I am going to go sniffle into my chicken salad sandwich now.

  • Rachel says:

    Ugh, milk. I hate milk, and did even as a child. And it's the worst thing to hate as a child – my parents were great and didn't care, but whenever I went somewhere else, someone tried to feed me a glass of milk, or cereal in milk, or… Blech.

  • Kristen says:

    SDB's writeup of mayo-based salads reminded me of a running joke in my family — "Salads of the World" night. We were flooded out of our house a couple years ago (thanks, plumbing!), and had a two month hotel stay courtesy of State Farm (thanks, homeowners insurance!). The hotel provided dinner (aka happy hour) every night, with a monthly menu rotation. "Salads of the World" night had us both running first for the bathroom, then the nearest fast food joint…and let me tell you, 2 months without a kitchen to call your own, and you'll eat just about anything to avoid fast food. Ugh!

  • Sandman says:

    I love almost all dairy – including milk – but the one time I was given a glass of warm milk, I kept it down for maybe five minutes. Maybe. Not only did it not help me sleep, it practically gave me nightmares. HRRGLORFF.

  • Leigh says:


    I'm sorry–the discussion ends right there for me. Also, between that and cilantro, you've pretty much got my food hates covered, but it's too fun of a game not to play!

    (Ped egg parm…omg. It's called a block of cheese and a microplaner, people! Whole new world.)

  • Tarn says:

    I feel like I need to qualify a lot of these choices.

    Word that chocolate, butterscotch and vanilla puddings are the best things on earth, but rice and tapioca? BLEARGGHGHGH! Get your cottage-cheese-y chunks out of my sweet deliciousness!

    I like milk okay, as long as it's ICE cold. And the skimmer the better. Basically as close to ice water as it can be without actually being ice water. I don't even like melted ice cream because it's too close to fatty room-temperature milk. I'm always the first one in my family to finish a bowl of ice cream because I'm racing against time, trying to beat the melty warm-milkyness.

  • Kate says:

    Yes! Finally someone else who agrees with me that the fake Parm in the green can smells like barf. I remember in elementary school we'd have bowls of the institutional no-name brand on the table on spaghetti day and the entire cafeteria would smell foul. Blerch.

  • Leigh in CO says:

    What @JC said. Tarragon > cilantro x 1,000,000.

    But what I REALLY want is that bluefish/infused mayo recipe.

  • attica says:

    Time was, yogurt would have gotten my antivote walking away. Then I got old, and I really enjoy it now. Even the unflavored (i.e. bitter) stuff, which only needs a wee bit of sugar or honey sprinkled to make it nice.

    Can't even vote in the crab v parm contest. Like 'em both, eat 'em a lot. I even make parm crisps as appetizers at parties. Mmm salty!

  • scout1222 says:

    I refuse to vote in the chocolate/blue cheese and goat cheese/egg white contests. Actually, now that I've typed it, I'll go back and vote for egg whites, because if I had to do without, it would be egg whites, even though I really enjoy a good egg white scramble.

    But blue cheese and chocolate? I can't stain my voting record by choosing either!

  • clover says:

    I have texture issues and despise condiments and other slimy foods. Always have. It's generally not really a problem, because most slimy foods are also bad for you, and I learned the magic words "plain and dry" when I was a kid, ensuring that I get my burger the way I want it.

    But there are three foods I try every couple of years because I really WANT to like them, because they're healthy and wholesome and only weirdos dislike them. Oatmeal and yogurt are both on that list. The other is hummus. I want to like them. I try to like them.

    I totally remember that Ramona book.

    *Shudder.* If you need me, I'll be over in the emetophobia forums.

  • GracieGirl says:

    @SDB – Ramona Quimby, Age 8.

    I've never been much of an oatmeal person; however, I will happily eat trough of Cream of Wheat if it's topped with butter and brown sugar. Best winter breakfast ever. (Not that it has to be winter for me to crave it.)

  • Jinxie says:

    Oh, MAN, you're killing me with these choices today. "Mayo-based salads" {hooooarrf} is the only item here that I hate, and not only do I not hate everything else, I LOVE pretty much everything else. Clams v. Rice Pudding?? Crab v. Parmesean??? I CAN'T CHOOSE! {shakes fist}

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    When this is all over (and we're all 10 pounds thinner), someone remind me to collect all the vomit sounds from the write-ups and comments. Then we can vote on those, too! (Hew.)

  • Sarah says:

    This is insane. How is finned seafood going down to the measly, unassuming, basically inoffensive tarragon? People, I implore you: think of your cubicle-mate's microwaved leftover salmon from last night. Think of the weird kid's tuna-fish sandwich that could clear out that entire corner of the lunchroom. Think of cat food. Think of that disgusting texture, with the striations and the bits flaking off from each other like–okay, I just legitimately gave myself a shiver of disgust. Think of how regularly even the Top Chef Masters screw it up–clearly, anything that doesn't have even a little bit of wiggle room in the cooking process in order to be edible by people who LIKE it is not something that should go down to an HERB. Finned seafood may be my least favorite thing in the entire contest. It is slimy; it is disgusting; it reeks. It is a pox on cuisine.

  • Dorine says:

    Oh, all the milk haters here warm my heart — I always thought there was something totally wrong with me that I can't stand the stuff. I ALSO spent many a dinner watching that glass of milk get warm and wishing I could disappear instead of having to drink it.

    And crab vs. parmesan? I'm with JC — stick 'em together (stuffed inside a halibut filet, even), and I'm a happy camper. But I live where we get nice fresh Dungeness. If we're talking crappy fishy-tasting red crab, pass.

  • Krissa says:

    You milk-haters are a strange breed to me. I drink whole milk; I put cream, actual cream, in my coffee; low-fat dairy products of any kind are verboten in my house. If you're lactose intolerant, ok, but…I just can't quite grasp not liking milk.

  • clover says:

    Major tangent: My sister and I received a sampling keyboard for Christmas around the same time we discovered the movie "The Goonies." We spent waaaaaay too much time rewinding and replaying the scene where the kid describes making barfing sounds and pouring fake puke off the balcony at the theater so that we could capture the "Houuuuuughhhh!" sound he made and play it back on our keyboard.

    Brilliant fun. Almost as fun as this thread, which is severely hampering my productivity.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    I totes disagree with @Sarah on the content of it, but that was a gorgeously formed rant.

    @Krissa, cream or half-and-half (known too-cleverly to Buntings as "1") in coffee is way better, I agree. But here's another frolf-inducing thing: the little CRUSTY FLECKS AROUND THE LIP OF MILK CONTAINERS that end up floating in things, circling, eddying, LYING IN WAIT. HATE HATE HATE! BIZZARRLLFFFF!!!1!

    God bless my grandma, who lived through the Depression, so that's why she would drink buttermilk (hrf) by the pint-glassful, but she just could not understand why I was not only not interested, but actively revolted. And her glassware was yellow. Not helpful.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Also, you go, egg whites. (Far away.)

  • Yoshi says:

    I've hated milk since I was a little kid too. I fortunately had non-pressure-y parents, so I never had to face it down (and would always drink water, which other friends/family members were okay with giving me instead); but one day when I was about 11 I inadvertently picked up and chugged from my cousin's mug of milk, thinking it was my tea. The shock of unexpectedly drinking milk was bad enough, but my cousin was only about 2 and had not yet learned how to drink without filling the cup with drooly backwash. It was… horrible. Even now, 20+ years later, I still can't look at a glass of milk without thinking of that moment.

  • Kathryn says:

    I, too, despised oatmeal cookies for years because of the raisin element. (Yesterday I said getting cilantro when I was expecting Italian parsley was like being betrayed by nature. Getting a raisin cookie when I was expecting chocolate chip is like being betrayed by my mother.) Then my husband tried a new recipe: substitute dried cranberries for the raisins. Mmmmm. Sweet and tart, bringing out all the flavors of butter and sugar that go into a really good, chewy oatmeal cookie.

  • ferretrick says:

    Fish is not supposed to come from a can, people! I'm sorry, but if you can reject delicious fried clams or steamed crab legs, but think that that revolting stinky paste in the Starkist tin is a viable seafood option, you really need to see a doctor and have your tongue biopsied. Also, person across the hall who brings a can of tuna for lunch EVERY DAY I hate you and hope you die, except I'll die first as that insidious smell creeps it way into my office and asphyxiates me.

    I cannot deal with most textured puddings, especially tapioca, but at the Thai restaurant we frequent, they make a "chocolate" rice pudding-brown rice in coconut milk and chocolate, served hot…delicious.

    Mayo based salads are the devil's way to ruin a perfectly nice picnic. Think of that chicken. Picture it, ready to die nobly to provide someone a delicious KFC Extra Crispy dining experience, only to find out it's going to become salad instead. Oh, the indignity.

    Milk is fine, but can we please agree that skim milk is not milk? It is glorified water. Also, the funniest Calvin and Hobbes I ever saw-Calvin asks Hobbes, "What exactly was the person who first drank milk thinking?"

  • FloridaErin says:

    Oh, my God, that part of "Ramona". Guh. I had the same problem with oatmeal for ages. Pair that with the fact that a kid in my class in 5th grade pulled that very same stunt and it smelled like oatmeal? Gag. Now, I love the stuff, but I was off it for a long time.

    Now, Malt-o-meal? LOVE. Even loved it when it clumped. I'm sure I'm in the extreme minority, here.

    I'm glad I actually like everything that seafood has been paired against, because seafood is going to lose every time.

  • adam807 says:

    @Ranting Sarah I like tarragon, but its flavor and smell are dangerously close to licorice, so I can understand its being here.

  • Kitty says:

    The tarragon hate is baffling to me. Wow.
    I love it; especially adding dried tarragon to albacore tuna salad made with homemade mayo. Ha! That one dish includes about 4 "Nause-AA" items. Hee hee…I just made a whole bunch of y'all queasy didn't I? Sorry.

    My relationship to eggs is so weird. I love them and hate them in very specific and unique ways. I voted against egg yolks in the last round, but for egg whites in this one.

  • Pam says:

    Lots of my favorite foods here! This is soooo hard to basically chose the one I love less!

    But I will maintain my earlier stance that raw celery ruins everything. For example, love a nice cold tuna salad fish sandwich (mayo-based, finned-seafood double!) on toasted wheat with a slice of swiss and tall cold glass of milk to wash it down. Yum! (Sorry to those on the verge of vomiting already after Sarah's rant). Add celery to the tuna salad? No thanks, I'll pass. Lisa's mom's Waldorf salad? Sounded delicious until celery popped its ugly mug into the ingredient list.

    Some easy picks though: my dad always picked homemade tapioca pudding as his birthday "cake". My mom spent what seemed like half a day to create something that resembled barf in a bowl. It's like someone else's 'abc' breakfast. Gack!

    Love oatmeal, but my brother ate cream of wheat every morning before school. Blerghhhh! Still don't know what the attraction was there. It tasted like sawdust and Elmer's glue watered down and mixed together, even with the help of sugary products. Sorry, GracieGirl.

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