5 Most Divisive Foods in America

Everyone has a different sense of taste.  Some love raw veggies, others hate them.  Some like the taste of chicken, others don’t.  Here’s a list of five divisive foods that receive substantial opposition.

1. Cilantro

cilantroIn Texas cilantro is not an uncommon ingredient.  Many people love the pungent herb, but just as many despise it–so much so that there are websites dedicated to the hatred of cilantro (i.e. ihatecilantro.com).  Even Julia Child despised it, saying, “Cilantro and arugula I don’t like at all. They’re both green herbs, they have kind of a dead taste to me.”  Recent research has suggested that people come by this hatred honestly as some could be genetically predisposed to despise cilantro.  A common description of the herb by those who don’t like it is that it tastes like soap.  This could be because some of the substances that produce the aroma of cilantro are very similar to that of some fats which are also used in making soap.  Despite the evidence that suggests cilantro hatred is genetic, it isn’t so hardwired that people cannot develop an appreciation for the herb.

2. Mayonnaise

Hellmanns mayonnaiseThere is a long list of mayo haters, including some familiar names like President Obama, Rachael Ray, and Jimmy Fallon. Even Buzzfeed jumped on board with an article referring to the condiment in question as “the devil’s condiment.” For many, it seems that the texture and color of mayo is what turns their stomach, rather than the taste. Essentially just oil and raw egg, mayonnaise seems like a delicious combination.  I for one like the taste, but can’t bring myself to eat it because of the way it looks.

3. Blue Cheese

blue cheeseIt is not surprising that this pungent cheese is hated by many, yet adored by others.  In this case, mold is the culprit for the stink. Penicillium Roqueforti is the specific mold used to make some blue cheeses.  Blue cheese gets its marbled mold because of a process called needling–basically, a cheese maker will pierce the cheese curd with a sterilized rod in order to give the mold the oxygen it needs in order to grow. Many people associate the smell of blue cheese with stinky feet.  In fact, part of the reason people’s feet smell is from various types of fungus.  It is not likely that people will resolve the divide between blue cheese lovers and haters anytime soon.

4. Liver

Liver pateFull disclosure–I’ve only tried liver once or twice in my life, but struggled to make it through both times.  There are a few common ways to cook liver: liver and onions, fried chicken liver, and liver pâté which is likely the most popular. Foie gras is a type of pâté made from fattened duck liver and originated in France.  This delicacy has become somewhat controversial in recent years due to the practice of gavage or the force feeding of ducks in order to make the liver fattier.  Those opposed to foie gras have referred to it as an “elitist luxury born of abject cruelty”

5. Brussel Sprouts

brussel sproutsBrussel sprouts top the list as the most hated vegetable in America; however, like cilantro, there may be a genetic component to people’s distaste.  The gene TAS2R38 may be responsible for preventing some people from tasting a bitter compound called PTC that is found in brussel sprouts.  The compound isn’t generally found in human diets, so we would not typically have the opportunity to taste it.  If you do have the gene, then chances are that you will not like brussel sprouts. Those without the gene most likely will not be able to taste the bitterness and are more likely to enjoy brussel sprouts.  That being said, taste is often a relative experience so a taste for sprouts could be developed over time.

Which foods do you despise? What would you add to the list?

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