While I have a tremendous passion for food, it isn’t all loving. It was recently brought to my attention that you can just as forcefully write about the foods you loathe and despise as you can about the foods you love and adore. My interest was immediately piqued.
Write about my food loathings? Those utterly despicable items that occasionally make their way onto my plate and (gasp!) onto my palate? I am fiercely adamant about my food dislikes and feel fully justified in attacking them with full-on verbal (and written) assault. So, the questions is, where to begin?
I’ll tell you one ingredient you will never, ever see in my recipes – Raisins. Why? Because they are a disgusting abomination of what is otherwise a perfectly lovely and tasty food item. The texture of a raisin combined with its sickeningly sweet flavor are apropos to nothing. It is a food destroyer. You will never hear someone proclaim, “Raisins are my favorite food.” It is an impossibility. I’d say people who “like” raisins are really just tolerating raisins.
Oddly, I’ve found this trait is genetic. My immediate family, generally, does not like raisins. What can I say? We have genetically refined tastes. I felt further justified in this opinion when I visited the Bob’s Red Mill booth (one of my favorite whole grain producers) at a food blogging conference in Atlanta. The vendors made a quinoa salad for tasting. I saw little shriveled bits in the salad and with a scrunched-up nose asked, “Are those raisins?” I was happy to hear, “No, currants.” Totally acceptable. According to the Bob’s Red Mill employees Bob Moore, the founder of the company, despises raisins. At company potlucks new employees have to be forewarned not to bring any dish with raisins. It is taboo. YES! Now I love these products even more. Bob Moore is a very smart man with excellent taste.
I am not generally opposed to dried fruits, per se. I just have a particular dislike for the gruesome squishy texture and sugary sweetness of a dried grape. People ask, “What about Golden Raisins?” Seriously? Are you kidding me? Even worse. Any version of a raisin with the potential to be extra juicy and sweet makes me cringe. I find raisins, minimally acceptable, if they have been dried within an inch of their lives to near crunchiness. Not a bit of moisture left. But you pretty much have to leave a box of raisins open for months to achieve this result. Believe me, I’ve tried.
As a young child of the 80s, small boxes of raisins often haunted my Strawberry Shortcake lunch box. My mom doesn’t even like raisins, so I know she put them in there solely to terrorize me. I would pray that the raisins had become old and stale, so I could at least eat a few to fill my hungry belly. Rarely was that the case. I would hide the raisins in the pantry behind other snacks in a meager attempt to dissuade their appearance in my lunchbox. It never really worked. Raisins must be extra cheap (lord knows no one would buy them otherwise) because no matter how many times I said I didn’t like them, Mom would always buy more. (Again, purely for torture.)
In short, raisins are gross. Seriously. Want to ruin a salad? A bread? A dessert? A pastry? A life? Just add raisins.