"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: Sweet Sicksteen

Submitted by on September 4, 2012 – 11:43 AM48 Comments

Today's write-ups by both of us, Keckler on the lefthand side of the draw and Buntsy on the right. 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.

8 veal vs. 12 licorice/anise
What is getting really gross for me at this stage is reading the match-ups and unintentionally imagining the two paired together in some sort of cooked way. Like, veal scaloppine sauteed in licorice sauce or something along those HOARFING lines. I can do veal. In fact, nothing goes better with a bottle of Gignodas than ground veal in a carefully made pasta sauce. On the anise side, I like fennel raw or roasted licorice, however, can suck it hard and die from lead poisoning.

8 veal vs. 12 licorice/anise

  • licorice/anise (56%, 472 Votes)
  • veal (44%, 372 Votes)

Total Voters: 844

Loading ... Loading ...

3 organ meats/offal vs. 7 cottage cheese
Here's another great dish to imagine: grilled cow heart nestled in a white and lumpy nest of weeping cottage cheese! Organ meats contain detritus the body is trying to get rid of, so putting that detritus BACK in your body is just wrong and gross and no! Cottage cheese, when not providing a bed for a slab of pre-skinned ox tongue, I can handle and I think you can, too. Organ meats are offal and will go on to the next round.

3 organ meats/offal vs. 7 cottage cheese

  • organ meats/offal (83%, 703 Votes)
  • cottage cheese (17%, 140 Votes)

Total Voters: 843

Loading ... Loading ...

9 creamed vegetables vs. 4 clams
At culinary school, they tried to make me like Lima beans by creaming them. It was not a good idea. Nor is ANY creaming of vegetables. Why? Because cream is a dairy product and dairy products can curdle when heated improperly, so what you are really eating is curdled creamed corn, curdled creamed green-bean casserole, and curdled creamed carrots. Curdled dairy products get chunky and sour and what else is chunky, sour, and cream-esque? Vomit. Vomit and vegetables. Clams should drop off here because creamed vegs are far more vomitous.

9 creamed vegetables vs. 4 clams

  • creamed vegetables (52%, 441 Votes)
  • clams (48%, 400 Votes)

Total Voters: 841

Loading ... Loading ...

3 raw oysters vs. 2 mayo-based salads
I promised some de-mayo'd recipes if you all made sure this gag-inducing entrant made it to another round, and you came through! Here you go:

The awesome, addictive Cumin Cabbage Slaw from my friend Marisa (who is also the author of the gorgeous Food in Jars canning book). It's freakishly easy to make, and I love it alone, as a crunchy bed for crab cakes, or stuffed into tacos instead of lettuce.

Another great way to have mayo-free coleslaw is to order the Cambodian salad from Saffron in San Diego. It's beyond awesome.

Finally, here's my favorite mayo-free roasted potato salad. One change: add the garlic to the potatoes AFTER they come out of the oven and let the residual heat cook the garlic. It won't burn or be bitter that way.

Raw oysters are just giant boogers. They'll move forward.


3 raw oysters vs. 2 mayo-based salads

  • raw oysters (71%, 587 Votes)
  • mayo-based salads (29%, 243 Votes)

Total Voters: 830

Loading ... Loading ...

9 eggplant vs. 5 fake cherry flavoring
I'm having the same problem Keckler is at this point re: pairing the opponents in a single dish. My mind is going to an "eggplant with fake cherry flavoring" place that is highly disgusting — and indicative of the weirdness of this matchup. It is shocking to me that eggplant edged raisins in the last round, and I don't quite know what to make of the resulting face-off between a food whose objectionability seems to lie in its challenging prep/sometimes slimy texture, and a flavor that's both nostalgically beloved (Luden's) and resented for ruining otherwise-delicious candy journeys (Starburst). Add to that the fact that neither entrant won by a wide margin in its previous round, and it's a tough call. Fake cherry lasted longer than I'd thought, and I'll vote for it again, but I think its road ends here.

9 eggplant vs. 5 fake cherry flavoring

  • fake cherry flavoring (54%, 447 Votes)
  • eggplant (46%, 379 Votes)

Total Voters: 826

Loading ... Loading ...

3 okra vs. 7 prunes
Okra is the more revolting, I would say, and it's becoming harder to avoid it; it's showing up more and more on whiffy locavore menus. On the one hand, anything to break the iron grip of the sunchoke on the pretentious presentations of Park Slope, but on the other hand, okra. ["Sunchokes are bland masses of mealy mash. Okra is green popcorn. I'm sure there are people out there who eat them recreationally, but if I see you eating prunes I will always assume you're doing it because you are trying to relieve your constipation." — Keckler] Prunes may make it somewhat close, but okra squolshes through to the final 8.

3 okra vs. 7 prunes

  • okra (62%, 493 Votes)
  • prunes (38%, 307 Votes)

Total Voters: 800

Loading ... Loading ...

8 Brussels sprouts vs. 13 succotash
Man, y'all reeeeeally hate succotash. I don't think I had the same succo you guys did as a kid; my mom's version was just corn and Lima beans, with a shit-ton of butter and black pepper. If it had contained the minefields of cubed carrot and squeaky string bean some of you have described, I wouldn't have cared for it much either…but I wouldn't have hated it. ["And PEAS — don't forget the mealy, bland peas!" — Keckler] What I do hate is the fact that speckly, gooshy, nasty zucchini took an elbow to the neck by the delightful mini-cabbages we know as Brussels sprouts. Shut up, zucchini, seriously.

…Okay, the prediction. I'm going to go with succotash. One, I'll be voting for it myself, as I like it slightly less; two, it won by a wider margin than its opponent and seems to be having a Cinderella tourney so far.

8 Brussels sprouts vs. 13 succotash

  • succotash (67%, 543 Votes)
  • Brussels sprouts (33%, 264 Votes)

Total Voters: 807

Loading ... Loading ...

3 chard vs. 15 Lima beans
Another strange one. Kale got kale'd off in the first round, but the more digestible and less frequently pilloried chard stayed alive? ["My argument is that kale — while seemingly ubiquitous these days — is easier to avoid than chard, which has been mainstream much longer. Because of this, people feel that chard is shoved down their throats in side dishes, etc. Also, bad chard can be tannic and make your mouth squeak." — Keckler] People hate Lima beans, which I would call boring at worst, enough to haul them into a third-round match-up? I chalk this one up to the vagaries of the draw, and/or voters not finding certain high seeds as despicable as we do, but it's still a trifle bizarre. In any event, while I hope Limas don't end up facing succotash in the next round in some weird cannibalistic twin-cest dogfight (…you're welcome for that image; tip your waitresses), I do think they win again, thanks to many more people remembering them unfondly from childhood. — SDB

3 chard vs. 15 Lima beans

  • Lima beans (62%, 477 Votes)
  • chard (38%, 298 Votes)

Total Voters: 775

Loading ... Loading ...
Be Sociable, Share!



  • Emily says:

    I'm happy to see that hatred of eggplant is not my cross alone to bear. Ugh, my jaw is getting watery just thinking about it.

  • Jeanne says:

    Contrary to what Keckler said, I CANNOT handle cottage cheese. Not under any circumstances. Organ meats, however, I think I could manage. Assuming they were prepared properly of course.

  • Kristen says:

    I hate everything listed here. I happily ate fried clam strips at Friendly's as a kid, but a trip to Maine taught me that clam strips are nothing like "real" clams, with bellies and such. I'm not going to be able to vote anymore!

  • Soph says:

    All I can think of when I see lima beans on this list is how sad that many of you have probably not had the magnificent side dish at Cochon in New Orleans. People, it's heaven in a bowl.

    Then again, I also love okra, raw oysters, and veal. Must not have many Southerners here?

  • scout1222 says:

    OH MY GOD! So excited to see a shoutout for Saffron. If you're ever in my town and end up there, their peanut sauce for their chicken skewers is pretty fantastic, too.

  • ferretrick says:

    Mayo based salads should be winning. Oysterys are horkarific, I agree, but given that only 1%ers can afford to eat them on a regular basis, how often do you really have to deal with them? I only see them once a year at the fancy/shmancy company Christmas dinner, and it's easy enough to turn my head and quietly ARRCKERFFFF in a napkin when I see the owner sliming a seafood booger down his throat. Although, that's the only reason we waste one of our appetizer choices ON oysters, because he's the only one that eats them. Maybe I should hate them for that, when we could be getting more of the delicious stuffed mushrooms instead.

    Mayo based salads, on the other hand, are EVERYWHERE. You'd think you'd be safe after Labor Day, but OH NO. Unimaginative guests will still bring a big old tub of botulism to foul your carefully set buffet and earn your everlasting ire. And usually, the further after labor day, the more likely it's going to be a gross store bought brand, which makes it EVEN WORSE.

    And further, Brussels/Belgium, it's a good thing you have great chocolate, because if sprouts were the best you had to offer the world, everybody would have just let France annex you already.

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    Go to hell, Prunes. Go to hell and just sit there.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    cottage cheese = bloorrrgghhh

  • JC says:

    Regarding offal vs. cottage cheese, I can eat beef tripe in menudo soup but it's not something I ever crave – it has absolutely no flavor and the texture is like rubber noodles. Beef heart isn't bad, actually. When I cook it very slowly into beef burgundy with mushrooms and onions, it's got a faint chewiness to it but otherwise it tastes like regular stew beef. I make it a point to have it once a year. On Valentine's Day.

    Unfortunately, I have also tried liver, kidneys, marrow, and in one regrettable instance, sheep's head jelly. Those are all so ridiculously, utterly loathsome to me that there is no way in hell I am letting the relatively inoffensive cottage cheese go through to the next round.

  • Georgia says:

    @ferretrick: Don't forget Belgium's incredible beer!

  • Kristin says:


    Always wondered what happened to the non-Ricky-Martin members of Menudo. NOW I KNOW. heh.

  • rab01 says:

    My grandmother's sweetbreads were one of three or so dishes she made that weren't horrible. Plus, thinly sliced tongue used to be my go-to deli sandwich while cottage cheese always makes me think of milk that went bad. I guess I'm just weird.

  • Lisa says:

    Y'all can hate lima beans all you want. More for me! Lima beans cooked with bacon grease with little bits of bacon in them? HEAVEN.

    But okra? Okra can die in a fire. My husband fLOVES fried okra and gets it at every restaurant he can (we're Southern also). It tastes like dirt. Greasy fried dirt.

  • Anne-Cara says:

    I've had sweetbreads and they weren't too bad. Cottage cheese, on the other hand, makes me gag.

  • avis says:

    @Soph I am with you on oysters and okra but please do not make me eat lima beans. Maybe BECAUSE I'm southern and was forced to eat them as a child?

  • Rachel says:

    When I was little, we'd go over to my grandparents' house sometimes on Sundays. There was a small grocery store just down the street, so we'd beg Grandpa to take us to the store and buy us some candy.

    "Sure," he'd say. "But I get to pick it out."

    Every time, he would get black licorice. Every. TIME! And we fell for it EVERY TIME. We'd taste it, make amazing faces and horrible noises. Grandpa would just laugh and laugh. And refuse to let us get any other kind of candy. He was kind of a bastard, actually.

    I voted for licorice, obviously. Funny childhood memories aside, it is truly what the devil's ballsack must taste like. Ick.

  • Michael E says:

    ferretrick: Yes, oh my god. Those de-mayoed recipes look delicious (especially the slaw, which I'm all OVER that), but they're really distracting from the horror of a tangy, bilous potato salad.

    And then there's egg salad. Peewee sums it up for me.

  • attica says:

    So on my first night in France, after napping away my jet lag, I'm strolling Paris's left bank for supper. My French is okay, but not fluent. I'm alone, and I'm intimidated by the prospect of French gastronomy. I find a little diner-looking joint that was open at the ungodly early hour of 6 pm, figure it looks down-market enough to manage my first-night jitters.

    I see a paper plate tacked on the wall markered up to announce the Plat du jour as being rognons de veau. Hey, I think, I know 'veau' is veal, and 'rognons' sounds round-ish, so I bet it's veal medallions and it's the daily special, and I'm gold. So I order it. The waiter gives me a look of surprise/approval, and I assume it's because he can tell I'm American and he thinks my French accent is lovely. (Naturally, right?)

    The dish arrives. It's really not medallions. It smells like liver, but not as strong. It's served with green beans and a bernaise sauce. At this point, I find my wee dictionary to look it up (why not till now? Could not tell you.). Kidneys. Wee kidneys of baby cows. In bernaise sauce. Well, now I know the waiter's look meant 'holy smokes, this American lady just ordered offal! How about that!'

    But I'm not about to send it back. I tuck in. Delicious. The sauce was a lovely accompaniment. I'm so proud of myself for trusting the humble plat du jour because even down-market food in France is awesome.

    And this is why I have to vote cottage cheese. Because of France.

  • Bo says:

    I like foie gras, so shoot me. And sweetbreads in brown butter and giblet gravy. Which isn't a lot of organ meat, but it's a lot more than I'd put up with cottage cheese.

    I like fennel. I find anise to make things taste soapy. And although a licorice jelly bean can make me happy, any not quite sickening sweet version of licorice is just awful.

    If once had a raw oyster I really liked–at Le Bec Fin. They can make anything seem amazing (there was chopped something and some light saucy thing, whatever). But I can't imagine the raw oyster anywhere else.

  • Suzanne B. says:

    Oh, my lord. I honestly think there's a a secret trump card in the licorice category. And that is: Finnish/Dutch *salted* licorice. DUBBEL ZOUT.

    Seriously. Once I was away and my cat sitter failed to clean the litterbox properly. (I know: boo, hiss.) When I returned, the ammonia stink unfolding into my face at the mudroom door reminded me of something. I thought, and thought, and then realized: the smell was that of a bag of "herring drop" ! Little fishies of salty black licorice, dusted with salt granules!

    Here! for haring [sic] drop:

    Heavy on the ammonium chloride, and always good for pranking friends!

  • frogprof says:

    I want to marry ferretrick. That is all.

  • Soph says:

    @Avis: I feel you. I absolutely hate brussels sprouts, no matter how many times and ways people make them. But, I swear to you that the ones at Cochon are divine.

    However, I guess there is something to be said for still thinking a food is disgusting, in general, while acknowledging that one preparation of it is good? Take Keckler's okra recipe, for example. Even if it's delicious, and someone who otherwise hates okra acknowledges that it's great…they could still, in good conscience, vote for it here.

    To wit: I love foie gras, marrow, and a well-fried sweatbread, but liver, gizzards, headcheese, brains, etc…hate.

    Oh, the nuances of the Nause-AA!

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @attica, I think this is exactly what happened to Brenda and Donna on their first night out in Paree. But whatever gets cottage cheese a vote is fine by me, BECAUSE LE BARFE.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    …Really, succotash?

  • Tylia says:

    "but if I see you eating prunes I will always assume you're doing it because you are trying to relieve your constipation." — Keckler] – That will be the only reason I am eating them, so if you see me eating them, in public, you are assuming correctly. Horf.

    Also, can I just say how hard that matchup was? Okra. Vs. Prunes. The hate I have for both of those foods is quite large. Had to chose prunes because my memories of hate are little bit more recent and imprinted in my brain than my hate for Okra. Can't believe they are losing to Okra right now. (Still can't believe Raisins, the devils nads, lost to plain old eggplant.)

    Also, Jen S 1.0, quoted you on twitter, because that's exactly what prunes should do.

  • Delia says:

    LICORICE FOR THE FINALS! I will finally be validated in my intense, not-so-irrational hatred of all things anise, fennel, and especially that foul black candy. My husband loves the French drink Pastis. He also loves mushrooms. I don't know how we remain together.

  • Janie S says:

    I didn't really vote for succotash so much as against brussels sprouts, because I have genuinely enjoyed brussels sprouts.

    Besides, succotash seems to have been invented for the sole purpose of making kids dislike veggies on principle.

  • tadpoledrain says:

    Man, nothing I really really hate has made it through, other than veal (on principal, because TORTURED BABY COWS) and organ meats/offal (because I find the thought gross, not because I have that much experience eating the stuff, and also because anything called "head cheese" has no reason to exist).

    Salted licorice could totally take this whole thing, though, if it had been well-known enough to make the bracket in the first place.

    Actually, speaking of gross things that Northern Europeans eat, whither the lutefisk, Sars? Yeah, technically it's whitefish, but… It's so much more!

  • Keckler says:

    @scout122: we spend some summers San Diego and Saffron is always a must-visit for us. I love her roasted chicken with all the dipping sauces AND the cucumber salad. The drunken noodles are also pretty good.

  • ferretrick says:

    @frogprof: Thanks! I accept. I'm pretty sure an amphibian/marsupial wedding would make Maggie Gallagher have a coronary, so that's reason enough right there!

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    I skipped succotash vs. brussel sprouts, because I love my husband's succotash and I've never actually eaten a brussel sprout, so who knows, maybe they're like getting tongue kissed by an angel…but I doubt it.

    …eee! Quoted on twitter!

  • Nicole says:

    Licorice for the win! (The only thing truly hated thing left for me, now that raisins and green peppers are out.)
    And tadpoledrain – they have a lutefisk eating contest here (Seattle) every summer. I can't even watch it, much less participate. Bad enough to eat lutefisk but to eat as much as possible, as fast as possible? Wash it down with some Aquavit (anise & fennel). BARF CITY!

  • Sandman says:

    And further, Brussels/Belgium, it's a good thing you have great chocolate, because if sprouts were the best you had to offer the world, everybody would have just let France annex you already.

    And I hate beer – especially beer that tastes of – wait for it – fake cherry flavouring! ("Alembic" is Flemish for "the cat won't touch it," right?)

    And this is why I have to vote cottage cheese. Because of France.


    Seriously, you guys, this is my favourite bracket ever!

    If either okra (die, dieee!!) or barf-on-a-plate cottage cheese on a plate wins this, I'll be happy.

  • Heather C. says:

    The thing about mayo-based salads, is that a home-made potato salad or macaroni salad can be pretty good (as long as there is no RELISH), but the stuff purchased at the grocery store? HOLY MOLY BARFARONI!!! There is relish everywhere! Why wasn't relish in this competition at all?!?

    But I still voted for mayo-based salads, because I love me some oysters. And offal that is chewy, not mushy. Pho with soft tendon!!!!

  • Georgia says:

    No! Lambics use REAL cherries. Ah well, more kriek for me.

  • Jenn says:

    I think cottage cheese only became known as a diet food because people would rather starve than have to eat it.

  • Jeanne says:

    I've never had an oyster, but I voted for it anyway because my mom's potato salad is the bomb. She has a light touch with the mayo so that probably helps.

  • Tarn says:

    I'm torn on licorice. If it has just the right amount of sweetness, I like it. I'm a fan of black jellybeans and that Australian licorice I sampled at Costco once. But the "real" hardcore bitter licorice candy or Blackjack gum is just nasty. And the licorice-y flavor in so many things, like anise, fennel and tarragon (wtf with all the licorice-y things, nature?) can be so overpowering.

    Special place in my heart for Pastis though. Met a cute French guy several years ago when I was staying at a hostel in an old villa right on the Mediterranean. We sat on the beach under the stars talking for hours and we ended up totally making out and it was all very Before Sunrise and he offered me a taste from a bottle of Pastis. It was nasty, but now I associate it with one of the most romantic nights of my life.

  • Tcreole says:

    I would rather pound a nail into my head, grip the nailhead with pliers, pull it back out with a squeal of bone on metal, move it over a half inch, and pound it in again than eat licorice.

    I am convinced that licorice is made by feeding rabbits mass quantities of anise-soaked fennel tinted black with squid ink, then collecting their poop and re-forming it.

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    Sandman, another beer hater! Be still, my heart!

    I can't stand beer. No matter what kind or who brewed it, it tastes bitter as hell. No, I don't taste any top notes or bottom notes or whatever, Glenn Gould, it tastes BITTER.

  • mspaul says:

    How is it possible that raisins (the Devil's Candy) and green peppers (the Typhoid Mary of pizza toppings – infecting the whole damn pizza with its putresence even if you only get it on half) are out, and my beloved fake cherry flavoring is still in?

    I'm no fan of the cough syrup flavor, but a cherry Icee is my favorite non-alcoholic drink bar none. And finding a DQ that still has the cherry-dipped cone is like finding the delicious pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The fact that it's going to advance over eggplant is against everything I believe in.

  • Sandman says:

    Glenn Gould, it tastes BITTER.

    Hee. ::high-fives Jen S 1.0::

    @Georgia: Here, have my share FOR LIFE. Kriek = eek.

  • Keckler says:

    Um, guys? Celery. Raisin. ICE CREAM!

    Excuse me while I vomit up my toenails.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    I will now be calling it "selenium ricin," just because.

  • Keckler says:

    @Bunting: "Celiac Ricin" (no offense to celiacs).

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Yeah, that's funnier. (…"Celine Ricin"?)

  • Sandman says:

    "Celery Rasin"? At least it wasn't "Marscapone Hazelnet," I guess. I think The Penny Ice Creamery needs to pay its editor more than a penny a word. But even properly spelled, Celery Raisin Ice Cream sounds, well, ill-advised.

    (And, yes, I'm officially the hamfisted Pot calling the Kettle on its typos. Still, there are standards, orthographical and gustatory.)

  • Sandman says:

    Also, I've never had the chance to go to Saffron, but I'm a big fan of Su-Mei Yu's food writing and recipes. I have her book Asian Grilling, and it's great:

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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>