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Complainer’s Guide to Vegetables We Hate

4 mins

We can't all love all vegetables all of the time. “Hate” is an ugly word, though. Detest? Reject? Abjure? How about a Shakespearean revulsion? “Prithee, mother—no more spinach. My gorge rises at it!” Based on numerous polls, here is a wildly opinionated list of our most feared vegetables.

Table of Contents

To madly paraphrase Abraham Lincoln: We Can't All Love All Vegetables All of the Time. “Hate” is an ugly word, though. And anyway, these tastes are subjective, aren’t they? Some of us think peas are a gift from the heavens, some of us can’t shovel them quickly enough under the table and into the family dog’s willing yap. We’ve all been there. Only the dreaded vegetable changes. 

Herewith, a wildly opinionated list of our most feared vegetables.The list, if not the order, is an amalgam (you heard me) of many online opinion polls. The editorializing is pure common sense. If your favorite veggie is found on this list of “the most revolting”, don’t be upset. That would just be further proof of the …. magic … the magic of all the different … things? You know what I mean.

The Turnip 

The turnip: nature's gift to horse lips 

We know from the movies that horses eat turnips with abandon. Repulsive horse lips grasp and roll the dirt-covered turnip around, moving it ever closer to the equine hell-mouth and its teeth like yellowing piano keys. iYuck! People charitably describe the turnip as “peppery”, while more honest folk declare it "bitter" and spit the masticated root across the dining room with force. 

The turnip may be a holdover from the earliest days of human agriculture when we felt obliged to eat whatever popped magically out the dirt. We’re better than that now.

The Beet

"..hey, someone left their dirty laundry—omig*d, it's food!!"

We want majesty in our contacts with the natural world. Beet leaves look like last week's unwashed laundry. The deep red ochre color doesn’t help, either. It’s like looking into the very center of your most disturbing organ. A steaming plate of beet discs in the middle of the dinner table is enough to make one’s flesh crawl. On this I think we can all agree.

The Artichoke

a food item you consume by scraping. 

The cursed artichoke says all that need be said about the human race’s determination to make use of every awful thing made available to us by…well, by a frankly mischievous Mother Nature. “Let’s see if they’ll eat THIS.”

The artichoke is captivating to look at, and in form displays that mysterious mathematical symmetry that so beautifully underwrites all of nature.

Then you get down to business and have to scrape this idiot thistle with your incisors to get anything off it at all. That’s right; the artichoke is a species of thistle. Big surprise. Just set this leathery beast aside and eat the mayo with a spoon.

The Radish

..roots growing out of roots growing out of ... you get the idea.

Now here’s a root vegetable that tastes like a root. Is that a good thing?

Sometimes you pluck one of these from the bunch and the hairy little secondary (adventitious) roots are still attached and all over the place—like cobwebs, but fibrous and utterly alien. And this goes in the mouth? Another favorite of horse teeth.

The Brussels Sprout

A clenched fist of leaves. Don't provoke it.

Similar to what happens when you try to grow peas in Chernobyl. Enormous. And enormously packed with the features that make the pea so frightening.

Pop it into your mouth and it’s a mish-mash of lawn clipping, forest floor, and some unidentifiable, pungent other flavor it’s best not to dwell on. On the vine these things look like sleigh bells. But look closely at the Brussels sprout and you see that it’s a superdense, clenched fist made of leaves. Get it away from me.

The Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash - we recommend against bringing them into the space ship

Butter. Nut. Squash. Two nouns and a violent verb—like that makes any sense.

Butternut Squash looks like the unnerving prop pods a sci-fi movie set decorator would distribute around the spaceship’s exterior airlock on Planet X. Yeah, sure. Pass the Butternut Squash. Just not to me.

The Eggplant

Sometimes inexplicably called the aubergine (?!), this unreasonably purple monstrosity is all show and no Go. For all its royal purpleness, you take a forkful and it’s like eating boiled mush crowded with slippery little seeds. Yum.

Eggplant is spongy, bitter, and mushy— the gag-reflex trifecta. Eggplant parmesan is a good example of smothering an offensive taste sensation with Italianate taste bud camo. Eggplant (sorry; Aubergine) is impossible to eat and too unwieldy to throw with any accuracy. Walk away.

The Mushroom

Otherworldly and unnerving; a nasty combination, especially for food. illustration Eugen Gramberg

They gave you the creeps on your hike, poking up like pale, hellish little invaders from the compost-carpeted forest floor. So it just makes sense to bring this unnerving life-form right onto the dinner table. "No, no -- don’t put your feet up there. We’ve reserved this space for fungus."

I’m sorry, but these beige freaks have gills. THEY HAVE GILLS.  And what are they anyway? Plant? Animal? YES.

Eat hearty.

The Asparagus

Yeah - "The" Asparagus. A definite article gives this stuff more of the horror movie vibe it deserves. 

"The Asparagus" features a weird, weaponized, braided warhead sitting atop a stem-like thing whose fiber you will gnaw at for quite a little while. Or if you buy canned asparagus, a whole phalanx of these things will slop out like a bunch of wilted, glistening pencils. G'head - pick one up. Try to take a bite as it flops around like a paralyzed eel. Archaeologists now believe asparagus was first cultivated in Egypt. Like the Mummy. Just sayin’.

Veggie Dynamics

It so happens that the healthiest items on Life’s menu are the vegetables; nutrient-rich, naturally filled with anti-oxidants, and carriers of the suns’s sacred energy, which alone keeps Earth’s biosphere thriving and dynamic. And luckily they all taste really good and aren’t too, too weird to look at. So here’s to life. Uh…is there any more gravy?


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