Okay, here goes -- 13 Food Items That Irk Me to Varying Degrees (in no particular order, with the exception of the grand prize winner at #1):
13. Pre-cut zucchini and summer squash. I will readily pay extra for pre-cut winter squashes -- they're hard as rocks, they wobble like Weebles, and it's truly a miracle attributable to some future saint who's waiting to be canonized that I haven't hacked off part of a finger when I've tried to cut them myself. But the warm weather varieties??? Oh, come on! They're soft, they're thin-skinned, and it takes a whole whoppin' 30 seconds or so to slice one. Do we really need this much convenience??? Oy ....
12. Food that is spicy for the sake of being painful and attracting attention, rather than for the sake of being flavorful.
11. Burgers with 87 different things on them. I want a burger with a patty, lettuce, onion, tomato and ketchup ... pickles can be placed on top, but I'll just pick them off and eat them separately. I might toss on some Swiss and some mayonnaise; or perhaps I might stuff the patty with blue cheese once in awhile. I make a fabulous burger -- that was Jeremy's idea, to his credit! -- with crumbled bacon and grated Swiss cheese mixed into the ground beef. But I don't want ketchup and mustard and mayonnaise and barbecue sauce and chimichurri and wasabi, topped with chili and sprinkles and walnuts, with a 54-ingredient "special sauce" slathered on the bun that's been baked with its own 19-ingredient topping and a birthday cake thrown into the mix for festivity and visual appeal. I just want a burger!!!
10. Is it really too much trouble to boil water these days???
9. Tofu ... bleah! No matter how it's marinated, how long it soaks for, or what method is used for cooking it -- even if the silken variety is pureed into chocolate pudding -- it is not food. I do not like it, Sam I Am! I will use soy milk and/or flour for baking, I encourage the eating of edamame (even though I'm not too keen on them), and I know that there are extraordinary health benefits to eating soy. But tofu is not edible. Period.
8. Trader Joe's instant oatmeal. Not to make this a "Let's beat up on Trader Joe's" post -- I love most of their goodies. (God knows I've eaten enough of 'em!) But the stuff doesn't really become oatmeal; it's just oats sitting in colored/scented creamy liquid. No matter how much or how little water I use or how much I stir, they don't become a happy unified entity. So I just buy 47 other things when I go there, rather than the oatmeal, and eat them for breakfast instead!
7. Kim Chee. When I was in grad school (2 whole semesters that I despised, but I was still there!), one of my neighbors regularly made it in his room. Oh, my God, the stench!!! I have actually never tried it, I admit, because I simply can't get past the horrific memory of that cooking process.
6. Smuckers Uncrustables. If ya can't spread some peanut butter and some jelly on a coupla slices of bread for your kid, then there's really something wrong in your life. Truly.
5. Natural peanut butters, with the significant and notable exception of Koeze's -- which just happens to be made in Grand Rapids, Michigan! -- which is an exceptional product in every possible way. The others are flavorless, first of all. And then there's the layer of grease that you're supposed to stir in to the peanut mass that has hardened at the bottom of the jar. Except that there's no room in the jar for stirring, and when you try to insert a knife into the jar the grease oozes down the sides and onto your knuckles. And it never really smoothes out into peanut butter, which is truly one of the great foods in the universe, but rather remains a grease-laden blob of brown goo ... ick.
4. Carob. No matter how you try to disguise it or how many times you tell me it's a good substitute for chocolate, it's not. Uh uh.
3. Gefilte fish, which looks like little mini brains which could be used for a science fair display. I've often thought I'd like to try making my own -- taking something lovely, perhaps, like salmon to mince with the matzah meal and some seasoning (Tom's favorite, dill, maybe???). But the grey globs found in jars at the grocery store??? Let's have a collective "Ewwww!!!"
2. Frosting that tastes like chemicals instead of like butter and sugar. And cakes with too little frosting. Frosting is the most important part of a cake or a cupcake! It needs to be made with the proper ingredients, and there need to be copious quantities of it.
drum roll ...
1. Batter Blaster organic spray-on pancake batter. Oh, for God's sake!!! Do I care that it's organic? Nope. It's still pancake batter in a canister, to be sprayed on like hair mousse. Is it really that hard for people to stir flour, baking powder, an egg and some milk together and -- horrors! -- use a scoop to pour it onto the skillet or griddle themselves??? Sheesh! If you're so incapacitated that you can't stand up while mixing your own pancake batter, then you should be sitting back on a chaise while someone brings you chicken soup and hot tea and performs Last Rites over you. And if your life is so chaotic and frazzled that you require this kind of convenience product in order to save time, then you need to re-prioritize and cut back on work hours or extracurricular activities or something else. Every time I see this, the rant starts forming in my brain ... "Slowly I turned ...."
Okay, taking a deep breath now ...!