We all have different tastes in everything. Most of us accept that some people will like things we don't or dislike things we enjoy. It's a normal part of life. There are, however, certain bones of contention in the foodie world. You might say that certain foods or combinations are 'Marmite'. That is to say you either you love them or hate them. Of course, there are probably a few strange people who 'don't mind' Marmite, could 'take it or leave it' but I can honestly say I've never met anyone that crazy.
Personally, I like to try different things, different cuisines, different flavour combinations. I have pet peeves and some dislikes when it comes to food but I'm mostly not fussy. I've chosen four foodie issues to discuss here (two I like and two I don't) with a bonus point at the end.
Pineapple on Pizza
It seems the discussion of whether pineapple belongs on a pizza is a long-standing one. Anyone who enjoys a 'Hawaiian' pizza would, presumably, feel that pineapple does belong. Of course, they may postulate that pineapple only belongs on a Hawaiian, and not on other types of pizza or with other topping combinations.
One argument I've heard is that fruit doesn't belong on savoury or main courses. I like to counter that with: "tomatoes?"
I have come up with a diagnostic tool to determine whether or not pineapple belongs on pizza.
1. Is it your pizza?
If it is your pizza, and you want pineapple, provided the answer to number 2 is 'no', then pineapple belongs on your pizza.
2. Are you allergic to pineapple?
If you are allergic to something, whatever it is, you should probably not put it on your pizza. If it's a mild allergy and you are prepared for the consequences then have it anyway but that's probably still bad advice so don't blame me for any undesired outcome.
3. Is the pizza to be shared?
If the pizza is to be shared, you need to check the answer to number 4. If it is not to be shared, please refer to points 1 and 2.
4. Do all the people wishing to eat the pizza want pineapple on it?
If everyone eating the pizza wants pineapple, with the advice of number 2 in mind, then it definitely does belong. If not everyone wants it, it's probably best to leave it out (unless there is an even enough number of yes/no, in which case you could put it on half and not the other half).
If it is to be shared, pineapple can be picked off but it is a food that leaves traces and sogginess. It is, therefore, quite reasonable to not have it at all if nobody else wants it.
There you have it. Pineapple belongs on pizza if all parties want it. If you do not want pineapple on your pizza then it does not belong. Is it really any more complicated than that?
How Do You Have You Steak?
I often ask for my steak to be well-done (yes, terrible, I know). I actually like medium steak. I don't want blood coming out of it. I will, however, ask for well done in a restaurant for the simple reason that I know it will be cooked. My husband and I once went out for steak - he asked for his 'blue' while I asked for mine 'well done'. The waitress was confused, not knowing the meaning of 'blue'. My husband told her that the chef would know. The chef did not know. Our two steaks should have been opposites - his barely seared, mine brown all over. They were exactly the same - both burnt.
If I trust a chef to know how a steak should be cooked, to know the difference between well done, medium, and whatever else, then I will ask for medium well. If I'm not sure, I'd rather ask for well done. There is an idea that a darker steak would be rubbery and tasteless. If that's the case, you're doing it wrong.
Apparently, some chef people don't like cooking steaks well done. Some say it ruins the flavour - but that's a matter of opinion, and I have cooked some really tasty steaks that way. I have a chef friend who likes well-done steak (he also likes everything else I've mentioned in the article). Furthermore, if you think there is only one way to cook a steak then why not just do it that way rather than offering options?
Just like pineapple on pizza, if you like your steak raw then have it that way. If you want it medium or well or whatever, have it that way. There is no right or wrong way to have a steak.
Sauces and Dressings
What is it with having to put sauces and dressings on everything? What, in all honesty, is wrong with having food that tastes of food? It's bad enough when you go to a posh restaurant and have to have whatever weird dressing they throw over a 'dressed' salad but now, it seems, most other places have followed suit. Salads do not have to be dressed. Side salads with a jacket potato definitely do not need to be dressed.
If you want a dressing on your salad, they ought to be available. If you prefer your salad to be a salad, you should not have dressings forced upon you. I once had a salad in a restaurant. There was no indication that it would be dressed. It was dressed with a weird honey and ginger thing drowning the food. It wasn't terrible but had very strong flavours.
If I'm out and need/want to have food, I'll often order a salad as a healthy option. It defeats the purpose of choosing a healthy option if your once healthy food is now covered in a sweet, slimy dressing. I'm not averse to sauces and dressings. I just prefer a salad to be a salad - a basic salad should be fresh, crisp, and crunchy. It should not be limp and soggy. If you must have a dressing, it's surely preferable to put it on after serving rather than soaking it, especially if it is soaked in something that someone else has determined to be a good accompaniment. I will gladly try different dressings but I'd prefer to choose the amount I want rather than have them as the main ingredient.
One of the few foods I dislike is avocado. Why is it in fashion? Avocado has the taste and texture of soap. When it is 'smashed', it is more like regurgitated snot.
Avocado isn't as bad as some over-used foods. At lease, provided it is not smashed, avocado can be removed without leaving any unpleasant taste or texture.
As with anything else, if you like it, have it. My issue is not that other people like something I don't. It is that avocado is matched with things I do like and limits a whole range of foods. I've seen a number of perfectly good meals soiled by the addition of avocado - the spam of the hipster world. Another controversial food that I enjoy is sushi (more on that later). Herein lies the avocado problem. I have encountered several meals that have included avocado where it does not belong. For some reason, it seems especially popular to include avocado in fish sushi.
Seeing what looks like a nice piece of smoked salmon or prawn on its rice and seaweed bed, I'll see a little piece of something green. Given that salmon goes with cucumber (it's English law* that those two things go together), it is disappointing to find that the little bit of crisp, fresh cucumber is, in fact, a little bit of squishy, slippy, flavourless avocado. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't in everything. It's not the only culprit - it's only recently been made possible to buy a pre-packed sandwich without mayonnaise on it, and a ton of onions seems to be a favourite with many a takeaway - but avocado just happens to be the latest fad. Honestly, I don't understand it. Then again, I don't understand any fashions or trends in any context so maybe it's just me.
In my opinion, avocado should stick to being an ingredient of body wash and hand cream.
*this may or may not be true.
A quick note on sushi. First of all, I like it. I like all the sushi (except the bits with avocado).
Lots of people will immediately dismiss the idea of sushi because they don't like raw fish. Let's break this down:
1. Sushi is not raw fish
Sushi comes from a Japanese word meaning sour rice. Sushi is made up of vinegared rice balls topped with vegetables, meat, fish, egg, or whatever else you want to put on it. The fish used in these sushi rolls is usually cooked.
Sashimi (meaning pierced body) refers to Japanese dishes of raw meat or fish.
'Sushi' restaurants will often serve other Japanese dishes. This may or may not include sashimi.
2. How would these people know they don't like raw fish anyway?
Some people may be put off by the look of something or by the idea of it. It's not just sushi - I've seen people turn up their nose at the most innocent and normal of foods.
When people say they won't like sushi because they don't like raw fish, I don't mind too much having to explain that's not what it is. I do wonder, though, how a person who doesn't know what something is could know whether or not they like it.
If you like something, have it. If you don't like it, don't have it. Just stop putting an ingredient in everything just because it's in fashion, and don't knock things until you've tried them.