Let’s face it – even the most adventurous eaters can harbour a secret (or not-so-secret) common ingredient they just can’t stand. Whether it’s a childhood aversion that thrived well into adulthood or simply an ingredient that you reflexively avoid on restaurant menus, here are 13 items that make an appearance on many people’s hit lists (and how to learn to love them).
Even well-known chefs freely air their hatred for green peppers (Giada De Laurentiis once said she would never put one of the offensive bell peppers in any of her recipes). The slightly bitter taste turns off some diners so much, that even a hint will have them, well, seeing green. If you’re green pepper averse, try a trendy shishito pepper. Charred or blistered on the grill, the sweet smokiness is amped up, and one in every 10 or so has a little heat to keep things interesting.
The inherent gooey nature of a runny egg – whether the soft-set curds of lightly scrambled eggs or wobbly centre of a poached or fried egg – can make some a bit queasy. If it helps, think of a runny egg as a sauce (after all, carbonara is fundamentally pasta tossed with egg and guanciale).
Even if you’re an avowed anchovy hater, chances are you’ve ingested them recently – these umami-packed fish are used as flavour boosters in Worcestershire sauce and Vietnamese or Italian fish sauces, and are often a secret ingredient in stews and Caesars. Anchovy avoiders can try adding a splash of one of these sauces to a stir-fry or braised dish for a low-stakes way to ease into the salty goodness.
Readers of Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential may recall the late chefs tendency to reserve not-quite-prime steaks for those who order their meat well-done, and although most cooks will respect this kind of order, many despair at the thought of taking meat beyond medium rare. The weeping may get even louder when cherished cuts or prized meats are involved.
See here for 15 Delicious Ways to Use Leftover Steak
Olives are so diverse — from inky black to the palest of green, briny and salty or buttery and mild — that many people who dislike olives might be mollified if they found the right type. For those who meticulously pick each sliced circle off a piece of pizza, try a different kind: mild Cerignola olives are perfect for stuffing with cheese, tuna or marinating in a variety of flavours.
An appreciation for the visible mould and slight crystalline structure, as well as a definite aged funk, separate the true blue cheese lover from the rest of the population. Like olives, blue cheese comes in a dizzying array of colours and flavours, from a creamy and mild Cambozola to a mean and lean Roquefort – in general, the more blue that’s visible, the stronger the taste.
Liver is a much-maligned organ meat (get those thoughts of fava beans and a nice Chianti out of your head), subjected to indignities such as overcooking or even (shudder) boiling. Lightly breaded or sliced thinly and stir-fried with vegetables, learning to love liver may be a true adult life goal.
Raisins raise the ire of a bunch of people, tired of finding these chewy nuggets in oatmeal, cookies and other baked goods (don’t even get Canadians started on the butter tart debate). Dried cranberries have a similar texture and application, but their refreshing pucker may distract from the texture.
Speaking of tarts, take the ultimate Canadian quiz and find out which butter tart matches your personality