Food Phobias

Kendra Vizcaino-Lico


Romulo Yanes

As Halloween approaches I can't help but think about the scary things that give people a fright and make their skin crawl. And, it's not just ghosts, monsters, and witches that come to mind. There are plenty of everyday things lurking in kitchens and on plates that freak people out.

One of my biggest fears is of the "eyes" that grow on potatoes. As a child, when I found out what the little green growths were called, I was terrified that the old potatoes were watching me. I now know that the potatoes can't see me, but that doesn't make them any less scary or gross. I still can't touch a potato that has the creepy little sprouts on them.

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I worried that my aversion to certain eerie eats was just a strange idiosyncrasy, but I found out that many people have food fears. A good friend of mine told me that he is afraid of whole fish and has been plagued by nightmares of them his whole life. Walking into a seafood market is a serious challenge for him. Another friend of mine admitted that she can't eat Farfalle pasta because it reminds her of death and frightens her too much.

Some of our editors also opened up about their spookiest culinary creep-outs:

Esther: Whole Dried Dates and Foods with Small Holes
"A friend once freaked me out with a dried date. The context was a conversation about cockroaches. I now have difficulty viewing whole dried dates as something yummy. Also, I try not to think about it, but I cannot eat lotus root, and hole-y cheeses creep me out. The bubbles made from milk when blowing through straws give me the heebie jeebies. I am making myself itch."

Kerry: Thick Cold Cuts and Small Fish
"I'm afraid of tiny, slithery silvery fish;anchovies and sardines are ghastly and terrifying!!! I'm also afraid of cold cuts that are thick-cut (okay, maybe not afraid, but horrified!)"

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Kemp: Preserved Eggs, Fermented Tofu, and Squash Blossoms
"Thousand-year-old eggs and fermented cubes of tofu freak me out. As far as fresh eggs, cracking one open to see that it's fertilized gives me the willies! Also, checking the insides of fresh squash blossoms for bees scares me. I'm always afraid I'll get stung."

Lauren: Raw Chicken
"I have a fear of under cooked or raw chicken. I bit into a piece of undercooked chicken once and it sent chills down my spine." Michele: Bugs- "Finding a bug in my food or the thought that there might be bug particles in something. I found a small worm on my plate as a child and was later served a salad with a live caterpillar in it at a diner. So I like to keep a watchful eye, especially when I eat out."

Siobhan: Food with Eyes and Hidden Celery
"I live in fear that someday, somewhere, I'm going to order the egg salad or the chicken salad thinking that there's no celery in it...BUT THERE WILL BE CELERY IN IT. I'm also afraid of food that can look at me: whole fish, prawns with their heads on, whole lobsters, roast pigs, etc."

What's your food fear?


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