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Even omnivores draw the line when it comes to Brussels sprouts

Around the table

POSTED: June 5, 2013 9:56 a.m.

I don’t like Brussels sprouts. These tiny cabbages look like swollen, green eyeballs and taste about the way I’d expect a swollen, green eyeball to taste.
Brussels sprouts are one of those foods where this omnivore draws the line. Ditto for rutabagas and avocados.
An old proverb says “one man’s fruit is another man’s poison.” I’m sure Brussels sprouts, rutabagas or avocados are not really poisonous to my body, but if I try to force them down, everything else in my stomach will vote to adjourn.
There’s just something yucky about guacamole. It reminds me too much of tobacco worms. I stepped on too many of these green goliaths in Carolina “backer” fields to consider their squashed look-alike an appropriate accompaniment to tortilla chips.
Obviously, a lot of folks like Brussels sprouts, rutabagas and avocados, or there wouldn’t be a market for them. And those who enjoy them have nothing to fear from me. I’m not writing my congressman or leading a campaign to ban the production and/or import of Brussels sprouts, rutabagas and avocados.
They’re free to eat the stuff they like, and I’m free to not eat the stuff they like.
My pastor will tell you up front that he doesn’t like squash, so my wife doesn’t prepare her delicious yellow squash, green onions and zucchini for church socials. As a Baptist, I’m not concerned about being excommunicated for bringing squash to church, but I figure he’d prefer we didn’t.
He may like Brussels sprouts, rutabagas and guacamole. If so, I wouldn’t expect him to connect church membership to eating yucky veggies, considering how he feels about squash.
A popular food item today is sushi. I tend to agree with that wise Southern philosopher Jeff Foxworthy. Didn’t we used to call it bait? I drew the line about eating raw seafood years ago when a number of folks in my hometown came down with hepatitis. Like them, I sometimes ate raw oysters. I don’t now.
Oh, I still eat shellfish, fresh and saltwater fish by the tons, but it’s cooked — fried, roasted, grilled, broiled or in chowder. I love shrimp and frequently find my thoughts drifting toward Darien, where a shrimp basket at B & J’s Steaks & Seafood is indelibly carved in my taste buds. I’m particular about shrimp, though. I check to ensure even their shrimp have been properly deveined.
I’m also particular about pan-seared rainbow trout. As soon as it’s placed in front of me, I quickly remove the head and wrap it in a napkin. It’s hard to eat something while it’s looking at me.
Nearly all the foods I won’t eat have been tried at least once, but some smell so bad there’s no way I’ll even try them. Chitlins, for example. Anything that smells like road kill is not edible.
Our high-school French teacher put on a French luncheon with recipes she learned while living in France. We were forced to sample everything because she made the luncheon a graded event. Have you ever had escargot? For those who don’t know, that’s a snail. And it tastes like you’d expect a snail to taste!
As this terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusc slimed its way down my throat, the coq au vin (a delicious French chicken dish) I enjoyed earlier decided to leave the premises. Years later, when the Army forced us to eat iguana as part of survival training in Panama — just after our C-ration field lunch — I thought about my French teacher.
C-rations were bad, but they tasted much better going down than coming back up.

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