There are certain universally loved foods that everyone together can agree are delicious. Like chocolate chip cookies. And avocado toast. Certain others, however, are a bit more polarizing—when it comes to ingredients like blue cheese or anchovies, for example, there’s really no gray area. You either love them or you hate them.
We polled Plated HQ, and found that these are 10 of the most polarizing foods around. If you’re daring, give one of them a try. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something new to love (or, maybe, hate).
Fun fact: blue cheese is actually not a single type of cheese. Rather, it’s a general name for a class of cheeses cultured with a specific mold that produces the blue-grey veins that run throughout the final product. French Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Point Reyes Blue all fall under the blue cheese umbrella, but are different in their specific flavor and appearance.
Those who love blue cheese cite its rich, salty flavor, and its flawless pairing with honey and nuts. Others, however, mention its overpowering smell (you can thank the mold for that one). Want to try it? This Plated recipe will do the trick.
These tiny saltwater fish are usually sold packaged in little tins, and either pickled in vinegar or brined in salt. Their strong, fishy taste lends a great umami flavor to traditional Caesar salad dressing (yes, there’s fish in there!) or Vietnamese fish sauces. Plus, anchovies are considered an aphrodisiac, so they can help boost the mood on a romantic date (though, you should maybe bring some breath mints along, too). Anchovies are not for the fish-averse, though—if you don’t like the taste (or smell) of fish, this is not be the food for you.
Ah, cilantro. The most controversial of all of the herbs. While most disagreements about food arise from a difference in preference, cilantro is a bit different, because how you taste cilantro can actually depend on your genes. For some people, cilantro is a bright, fresh herb that adds a burst of flavor when used as a garnish. Others, however, have a genetic mutation that makes cilantro taste like soap. No wonder they don’t want any on their tacos!
You’ve probably seen marzipan around the holidays, when sweet shops around the world use the sweet, almond paste to wrap around chocolates, layer over cakes, or shape into small figures. Marzipan is a pretty simple concoction made of sugar, egg whites, and almond paste. It’s the last ingredient that’s the key—some people adore the distinct, nutty flavor of almond paste and find ways to add it to nearly every dessert they bake. Others, however, find this smooth, super sweet ingredient to be cloying and chalky in texture.
Mushrooms are incredibly versatile in the kitchen—they can be dressed up (hello, truffles) as a garnish for a fancy pasta dish, or dressed down in a casual weeknight omelet. While those who dislike mushrooms tend to stay away from all varieties of the fungi, there are actually some mushroom varieties that are less pungent than others. If you’re mushroom-hesitant but are willing to give them another try, choose a milder variety like button or oyster mushrooms (and stay away from the intensely flavored portobello or porcini mushrooms). Plated’s Peking mushroom bowl is a great place to test your mushroom limits.
This candy isn’t like your run of the mill Twizzlers or Red Vines. Black licorice is the real deal, and has gained both a loyal following and some adamant enemies. Black licorice actually gets its flavor from the roots of the licorice plant, which has a taste that’s similar to fennel and anise—sharp, bitter, and a bit salty. If this doesn’t sound like your kind of sweet, you’re not alone.
People who love olives typically adore them for their salty, briny flavor (featured prominently in this recipe). Those who despise olives cite their slimy, chewy texture. But even if you don’t like olives, nearly everyone can agree that olive oil (especially the deep green, earthy flavored extra virgin olive oil) is a kitchen staple.
It’s not hard to figure out why some people don’t like oysters—they taste like they came straight out of the sea (because they did), and if you’re not big into seafood, this may be a turn off. But trust us: condiments can go a long way with oysters—in fact, most people who love these briny bivalves really just love the mignonette and horseradish sauces that go on top. So, the next time you’re faced with dollar oysters at happy hour, squeeze on some lemon and give them a try.
In a condiment world seemingly dominated by ketchup and mustard lovers, it can sometimes seem like mayonnaise gets the short straw. Many people find the white sauce to be too thick and too rich. Even if you’d never add mayonnaise to your sandwich, though, most people enjoy this controversial condiment in some form (like as a binder for egg or potato salad). And, if you’re someone who douses their eggs benny in hollandaise sauce and loves a good aioli, yet turns their nose up at mayo, we have news for you: it’s all mayo. All of it.
So, we have some news. White chocolate isn’t…actually…chocolate. It’s actually a chocolate derivative that is made by eliminating the cocoa solids, leaving only the cocoa butter to be mixed with sugar + milk. Even if you wouldn’t want to eat it plain, don’t write this chocolate-imposter off yet! Baking with white chocolate has some great benefits, too—namely that it’s mild enough to use as a base to mix with dried fruit, nuts, coffee beans, and more.
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