How do I learn to eat better?
June 21, 2005 4:06 PM   Subscribe

Fruits and veggies make me want to vomit. How do I learn to eat healthy?

Growing up, my parents let me eat anything I wanted. That meant a steady diet of drive-thru burgers and other junk food. Now that I'm an adult, that's all I can eat. I want to eat better, but it's not just that fruits and vegetables taste bad - they actually make me gag, which makes it extremely difficult. I think it's mostly the texture of foods that does it: I like tomato sauce, but hate tomatoes. I can handle leafy lettuce on my sandwich but not shredded. In very small quantities (i.e. two or three bites) I can tolerate broccoli, raw carrots, and apples. Melons, peppers, spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, onions, corn, beans, peas, anything with seeds - all disgusting. I've brought it up with my doctor, but the weird thing is I'm actually underweight, with normal cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. so he didn't think it was a big deal. I know I'm lucky that's the case, but I hate going to restaurants and knowing that 90% of the menu is going to make me want to retch. How can I learn to tolerate food that's good for me?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (37 answers total)
What's your reaction to juice? Maybe you could start by buying a juicer and get some healthy food in you that way. If your goal is to have a healthier diet this may be a way to achieve the goal while avoiding your dislike of certain textures.

Otherwise, the only way you're going to overcome your repulsion to these foods, imo, is to force yourself to eat them. Maybe start with a little at a time. This worked for me with sushi. I used to hate the taste (and texture) of it but hearing friends go on about how good it was, forced me to keep trying it until eventually I came to love it.
posted by btwillig at 4:27 PM on June 21, 2005

well veggies i can kind of understand...but fruit? fruit's a really easy thing to eat, if you like sweet junk food, it's just a much healtheir version of that--apples, grapes, oranges, pears, bananas, that sort of thing. i like junk food (although i don't eat it that much), but if i have to choose between a jolly rancher and an apple, id go with the apple. or if it is the texture, a home-made smoothie is absolutely delectable.

also, you might want to start with "neutral" vegetables, like potatoes--they make the fries you oh-so-love.

and if it has anything to do with phobias...that's another issue entirely.
posted by Lockeownzj00 at 4:29 PM on June 21, 2005

I'd say the first thing is to stop eating fast food. Eat hamburgers and chicken sandwiches and french fries, if you want, but not at fast food joints, where the texture of everything is carefully chemically controlled.

Stick the the veggies and fruits that you're okay with at first, then add something similar to your repetiore. For example, tomato sauce. Then maybe some tomato sauce with some roasted red pepper pureed in. (Actually, you may be able to introduce yourself to the taste of all kinds of things if they're pureed into tomato sauce!) Include pears when you eat apples. Oven-roast yourself some cut-up potatoes...and sweet potatoes. And so forth.

I'll try damn near anything once, but I still have a few veggie issues from being a picky eater as a kid. I found that I was much more adventurous when I tried vegetables from cuisines with which I was unfamiliar while growing up. In particular, I discovered all kinds of new veggies thanks to different Asian cuisines (new kinds of greens and eggplant!), and a whole new world of starches (plantains! yuca!) thanks to Latin American food.
posted by desuetude at 4:52 PM on June 21, 2005

Was this intended to be posted as Anonymous? It seems relatively un-embarassing, at least to me, and it might be helpful to have a 2-way discussion in order to best answer your question.

Have you tried talking to a psychologist/psychiatrist about this? It sounds like it might be some kind of mental block.
posted by odinsdream at 4:54 PM on June 21, 2005

I used to think it was odd that I didn't like most fruits, until I found out that I was slowly becoming allergic to them. So maybe you're just slightly allergic to fruit and retching is your body's not so subtle way of telling you to back off. That or it's something mental as odinsdream has suggested.

FWIW, I am not a board certified physician. I do, however, watch House, M.D.
posted by billysumday at 5:02 PM on June 21, 2005

Great link glibhamdreck!

I, too, have always hated the texture of most cooked vegetables but bury them in sandwiches and curries and the like, where I never have to actually cut and bite into a mouthful of vegetables alone. Would this help?

Like Lockeownzj00, I love fruit though, and could live the rest of my days on mangoes. Perhaps baking them into breads or pies or something would work, or covering them in honey or yoghurt to deceive yourself that you're having dessert? Smoothies is a good suggestion too, or sorbets or yoghurts.
posted by jamesonandwater at 5:09 PM on June 21, 2005

I second btwillig's advice: try to force yourself to eat tiny pieces of food. I'd also recommend to start with sweet-tasting fruits, since sweetness is one of the two basic characteristics of food we inherently like as little babies, richness being the other one.

Be sure to hand-pick your fruit, and make sure it looks and smells tasty. I imagine this might be hard for you to judge, so don't be afraid to ask someone else for help. Taking a bite from an overripe, mushy apple can be quite disgusting indeed. I suggest you start out with strawberries. Work your way up from there.

Also, try to actually learn to savour the little bits of food instead of gulping them down as fast as possible. Hopefully, you'll find out that your gag-reflex and dislike were purely psychological.

Another tip: experiment with different preparations of the foods you currently dislike. For example: you might try dried tomatoes as an intermediate step between the sauce and raw slices.

Don't be disappointed if it takes a while before you to learn to appreciate all those new flavours. A few years ago, I absolutely despised the taste of olives. However, every time we were having dinner at the Italian place, I tried to nibble some bits and after a few months I actually started to like them! The same thing happened with chicory, anchovies and raw tomatoes.

Finally, don't be afraid to try out new combinations. Often a particular taste will blend magnificently with another one, lifting the whole experience to another level. Example: dark chocolate & strawberries.

Good luck!
posted by koenie at 5:09 PM on June 21, 2005

Maybe a little clarification is in order concerning the savouring I mentioned in my previous post. Currently, you dislike the taste of most foods because you simply expect them to taste bad. In zen-like terms: try to 'empty your cup' and approach the tasting experience with an open mind. :) I'm sure you'll be able to overcome your disgust.
posted by koenie at 5:32 PM on June 21, 2005

How about applesauce?

Or you could try eating vegetables mixed with things that are bad for you. Like broccoli with cheese sauce, heck almost any vegetable with cheese sauce. Birds Eye makes these frozen vegetables with sauce that are all pretty good.
posted by jefeweiss at 5:38 PM on June 21, 2005

I can handle leafy lettuce on my sandwich but not shredded.

Have you tried lettuces other than iceberg? Cause once I tried romaine and mesclun, I found out not all lettuce is alike. Plaintains are also great, especially if their seasoned up with some garlic. Actually, seasoning and spice are one way to get past veg-o-phobia. Some pickled sweet peppers on a sub (which are free of seeds) are a good start since the heat (if you like hot stuff) helps overcome the initial fear. I never had the phobia of corn, but Green Giant makes a blend called mexicorn with little chopped peppers in it that might have the same heat effect. Sauerkraut has a real strong flavor so that's another way to get the veggies in you.

Nuts are a good way to get some nutrition too. I used to think I hated 'em, but now I gobble salted peanuts constantly. Pecans are great too. Collard greens, which are cooked up with a mess of pork fat, are a good way to slowly get over green food phobia. I still can't eat raw onions, though, even though I love onion-flavored stuff, and even onion rings.

I'm probably the biggest junk food junkie here, (and likewise underweight with normal cholestrerol etc) so I know where you're coming from.
posted by jonmc at 6:15 PM on June 21, 2005

As far as fruit, try honeydew melon. I was a total fruit-phobe (excepting bananas & blueberries) but it came with a brunch I ordered once, and it's sweet as candy, dude and the texture's really no big deal. Try peach yogurt with a little granola (that yoCrunch stuff comes with it), it's a nice easy intro to fruit too.
posted by jonmc at 6:19 PM on June 21, 2005

I think the retching is a disgust response that can be unlearned, but it will take time.

Leafy greens are a challenge for the lachanophobic-- I would try starting by eating chunks of crispy iceberg lettuce on a hot day with some ranch dressing dip, as you would chips.

Also, remember that different methods of preparation make a drastic difference in taste as well as texture. Strong or bitter vegetables like onions and peppers become sweet when caramelized or roasted. Which has just reminded me of something-- if you taste a slice of apple and a slice of onion while blindfolded and holding your nose, you are unlikely to be able to tell the difference between them. Maybe holding your nose could help you get beyond the retch response.
posted by obloquy at 6:24 PM on June 21, 2005

I had exactly the same thing. I got over the vegetables, mostly, by eating a lot at a girlfriend's house (this was when I was younger). Her parents were big on vegetables, and would give me so much grief if I didn't eat them, that my natural boy-impress-girl instinct force me to scoff them.

I still struggle with fruit. It's the texture, it's the sharpness. Too used to bland, stodgy foods, or sugar hits with the edges taken off. I'm used to fruit flavouring coming as 5% of the total experience, not 100%. I got into apples via Braeburn, which is kinda mellow, but still struggle with bananas, pears, etc etc.

I think time will be the only answer. Time, and sitting a fruit bowl right next to the couch. Laziness works well here.
posted by bonaldi at 8:32 PM on June 21, 2005

I find this reaction is often a matter of how they're prepared. People who hate vegetables, like my Dad, often hate them because the cuisine they are accustomed to does nothing for them. If you are the kind of guy who eats meat and potatoes with a oouple of boiled broccoli florets on the side, then I don't blame you for hating vegetables. If you want to love them, you've got to branch out.

Buy the Laurel's Kitchen and Sundays at Moosewood cookbooks and cook some of the weirder vegetarian dishes in them. Eat out at Ethiopian, Thai, and Indian restaurants and try to order vegetarian. Go to a farmer's market and buy some cherries and mangoes and purple carrots. This is kind of a cultural thing so you've just got to spend more time in cultures that can do wild and amazing things with vegetables and fruits.

Make your own guacamole. Try juicing fresh apples and carrots. Discover spanikopita and gazpacho and baba ganoush.

A burger and fries will soon look like a brick and popsickle sticks.
posted by scarabic at 8:36 PM on June 21, 2005

The Vegetarian Epicure is also good and much less hippie.
posted by scarabic at 8:37 PM on June 21, 2005

Dang, but you sound a lot like my ex-daughter-in-law, anon. When she and our son would come over for meals, we'd always serve fruit, and she got so that she'd eat stuff she'd had at our house, anyway. However, if the rewards of eating something as wonderful as, say, strawberries doesn't appeal to you on its own merits, you may be able to talk yourself into it when you discover how good for you eating fruit and veggies is.
posted by Lynsey at 9:35 PM on June 21, 2005

I'm actually underweight, with normal cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. so he didn't think it was a big deal.

Lousy doctor you've got there. How's your liver function? Body fat ratio? Energy level? Toxic load? Nutrition? If you pay attention only to broad metrics like how much you weigh you're inviting disease, diabetes chief among them. Nourish thyself.

I am really kind of horrified and full of pity after reading your [more inside]. It's a terrible situation you're in. I don't mean to insult you openly, but perhaps shaming yourself into action is something to consider. I'd sure as hell pity any friend of mine who ate nothing but fast food and couldn't bear to bite into a slice of tomato.

Maybe you should get a job working at a fast food restaurant so you can see the rat hair/feces levels approval stamps on all the supply boxes that come in. Hint: "acceptable levels" of both are greater than zero. I think your parents did you a huge disservice.

Does anyone else think that the level of revulsion for natural foods described is... uh... UNNATURAL? I'd suggest bringing it up with a therapist in addition to your doctor. Treat it like a phobia. I mean: are you also afraid of going outdoors into the sun? Unable to have sex but way into porn? A SIMS fanatic who fears actual social interactions? You'd take any of those as a mental health issue, wouldn't you?

Get help.
posted by scarabic at 10:32 PM on June 21, 2005

"Maybe you should get a job working at a fast food restaurant so you can see the rat hair/feces levels approval stamps on all the supply boxes that come in. Hint: "acceptable levels" of both are greater than zero.

Uh, there's shit in literally everything we eat, scarabic. As a matter of fact, I guarantee you there's more shit and dirt on a nice fresh portobello than in your typical fast food burger. Lettuce? Little insects all over the place, hanging on for dear life, and trillions and trillions of bacteria that aren't killed before consumption the way they are in ground beef.

Fruits and veggies are good for you, and I dig them, yeah, but their value has nothing to do with the quantity of (literal) shit we eat.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:30 AM on June 22, 2005

This previous question from myself has some good answers.
posted by longbaugh at 1:35 AM on June 22, 2005

Well, if you like fruit and veggies in a processed form you can get to like them in their natural form.
In other words.. say you like salsa and guacamole, right? That's actually tomatoes, onions, avocadoes, cilantro and spices. When you get fajitas do you eat the bell peppers and onions? That's really easy to do at home.

So, if you cook a steak for dinner (or whatever), you could slice up some tomatoes and avocadoes, spinkle some salt and pepper and call it a salad. Or saute some onions and bell peppers together to have a fatija-like side dish.

As for fruit, get stuff that you really want to eat. How about a nice cold watermelon to share with friends when it's burning outside?
Get some strawberries and freeze them. Not only do they make excellent little sorbets eaten alone, but popped them into a food mixer with some milk and icecream will yield mouth-watering junkfood!

Also: A hell lot of fruit, veggies (and meats) taste much better with a sauce. Learn to make a lot of different sauces, dips, etc..
For cooked veggies, grab a cheddar cheese sauce for instance. For fresh fruit, learn to make "coulis", which is the nice fruit sauce you sometimes get over your icecream or fruit salad in restaurants.

Last piece of advice: lots of exotic cultures have brilliant dishes with veggies. Look into "hummous" from the Middle East as a veggies/bread dip...

Hope this helps :/
posted by ruelle at 4:55 AM on June 22, 2005

Move to France. Seriously, find someone who knows their fruits and veggies.

I was just visiting a sister who brought out some strawberries for breakfast. I eyed them skeptically and took one -- biting into that thing was a mistake. It was flavorless and hard. It was nothing like what I learned to love as a strawberry.

I hated strawberries when I was younger. Now I know to hate bad ones. This is the trick -- if something disagrees with you consider first that it might actually be disagreeable -- trust no one's opinion until you find that person who is always on the mark with the best examples.

Repeating this for all fruits and veggies (and meat and fish both raw and cooked), I have learned to embrace the entire spectrum of food. It will take time but with good examples, good help (someone who can show you the better examples), and peer pressure you will find a way.
posted by Dick Paris at 5:57 AM on June 22, 2005

Get help.
posted by scarabic
"Organic food?"

"I'm just as happy with an irradiated carrot, so long as it tastes good. Organic food is grown in shit by hippies."

-- Tony Bourdain
posted by matteo at 6:53 AM on June 22, 2005

posted by WCityMike at 7:10 AM on June 22, 2005

I was a really picky eater as a kid, but I've come around to enjoying most foods. Not that I like everything--green peppers on pizza I'm not fond of, broccoli I can do without, I don't like horseradish/dijon mustard/wasabi either. Among some others. It's ok to dislike some foods, most people do.

I completely understand the aversion to texture...I live in Japan and many, many foods here have a rubbery texture and sauces can be a gelatinous goop at times. And the Japanese have no qualms about leaving the fat on cuts of meat, which makes me's the only time I wish I had a fork and knife rather than chopsticks to cut the offending fat off.

But I think of food as an exploratory experience. For trying new food I try to have a "when in Rome" attitude about it. I figure if so many people like it, there must be something to it, if I happened to be born in this part of the globe, I'd like it just as they do. So I just step off that cliff and even if I don't like it I try to pretend I do, even to myself. You'll be surprised the amount of food you learn to like and even love.
posted by zardoz at 7:41 AM on June 22, 2005

-- biting into that thing was a mistake. It was flavorless and hard. It was nothing like what I learned to love as a strawberry.

so true - when I was recently in england, my grannie served fresh strawberries & cream for dessert often, and me & my american relatives couldn't help but notice how different the berries were than what we get at home. This was true of many fruits and vegetables. In america, we often aim for bigger and brighter, and just stop worrying about the taste...

So I'd agree that going to farmer's markets and getting real fruits and veggies would be a good place to start.

I think it's mostly the texture of foods that does it: I like tomato sauce, but hate tomatoes.

tomatoes should be deep red, juicy, and tart. If they taste at all ...pasty / fuzzy... they are Bad Tomatoes (when left too long they develop an unpleasant texture). Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes are more likely to be fresh.

I can handle leafy lettuce on my sandwich but not shredded.

sounds like you prefer romaine to iceberg... do you like mixed baby greens? mizuna, arugula, mustard greens, etc?

Melons, peppers, spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, onions, corn, beans, peas, anything with seeds - all disgusting.

are these fresh or frozen? Frozen veggies are generally gross, in my experience, so discount anything you know about vegetables through that route. Asparagus, mushrooms and corn are often personal preferences; I wouldn't worry too much if you never develop an overwhelming love for these. (But it is important that you have good data before you make the call - these particular veggies should always be eaten when tender, so if you have been served rough or old versions, they'll probably not taste that good.) Peas - sugar snap or snow peas as well? If you're just talking pea-soup kind of peas, then that texture doesn't appeal to everyone.

I would recommend trying good fresh thai or indian food, and in general, getting out of the habit of depending on fast food. I think you can really become acclimated to certain tastes, and it isn't always easy to recalibrate... You do mention going out to restaurants, though, so perhaps you've tried well prepared fresh vegetables and still can't get into them. what about in soup, or quiche, or stuffing or things like that? Also you don't mention zucchini, green beans, potatoes/sweet potatoes or squash, which all seem like pretty standard veggies...
posted by mdn at 9:24 AM on June 22, 2005

You may be malnourished if all you've been eating is fast food and junk, so congratulations, anon, on deciding to balance out your diet with healthy stuff! I used to hate and fear vegetables and fruits as a (super-skinny) child and now I love them. Preparation is key to making the transition.

1) If you really can't let go of the fast food, try veggie burgers. Try the veggie versions of anything. Add more vegetables to your pizza, if you're not having an entirely veg one. Go for the guacamole, the salsa, the spinach-artichoke cheese dip. Go for spinach-and-herb pasta noodles instead of plain ones. Indulge in carrot cakes and banana loaves. Gradually mix more and more vegetables in with your tasty meat. In the beginning it's not so much about the actual nutritive value as it is about conditioning yourself into making the healthier choice.

2) Ease yourself into veggie love by starting with the safer vegetables, like potatoes. Only instead of french fries, have more potato salad. Also, think of vegetables as being ingredients in other foods, such as corn in chips and tortillas. Then maybe corn on the cob or sweet baby corn won't seem too bad. The fresher and less processed, the better -- but hey, take what you can. Try to be a little more adventurous each time. Beets taste like a hybrid of potatoes and corn. Cauliflower is a chunkier version of brocolli. Sooner or later you'll be onto the green, leafy things. It could take you a very long time to learn to actually love vegetables, but taking those baby steps count.

3) Do you like eggs? Eggs are healthy - either by themselves or as omelettes with lots of other ingredients. This is a really safe and easy way to try out non-leafy vegetables.

4) Try vegetable soup or any noodle soup or broth containing any vegetables. The nutritive value of all ingredients permeate together in the pot so even if you only drink the liquid, it'll be very good for you.

5) Butter! Prepare your vegetables with lots of butter and salt to taste. This may not be the leanest option, but at least you'll make your calories count. Butter really does make everything taste better. So does garlic. Most restaurants prepare their dishes with a lot of both anyway. Also, never underestimate the power of condiments. The smallest amount can change the way any food tastes. There's your ketchup, your mustard, your herbs, your spices, your cream, your sour cream, your vinegar, your soy sauce, your wine, and so on. Poorly done, they mask the flavor of food, but properly, they enhance and glorify it.

6) Your blender is your friend. If the texture or form of any fruit really bothers you, put it in a blender and sip it through a straw. You can add ice, milk, ice cream, or sugar to make it more palatable, or wheat/whey/protein for nutrition. If you experiment with mixing and matching fruits, you could come up with bizarrely yummy recipes. Patent and/or share with friends! Maybe eventually you could even try a gourmet red bean pearl milk tea thing. You can also use your blender to make your own dips or to turn certain fruits/vegs/seeds/nuts into sauces.

Just have fun. Don't turn fruits and vegetables into an obligatory thing you HAVE to love just because it's Good For YouTM. Think of yourself as a tourist in vegetable world. If you don't like it, you can always turn back. Better yet, think of yourself as an adventurer. Conquer fruits and vegetables and the world is yours!
posted by Lush at 9:24 AM on June 22, 2005

a) Chew every bite at least ten times. This is important for real food - most of us learn it as kids, but you might have missed out. If you chew a piece of raw celery twice and swallow that, you're going to trigger your gag reflex.

b) Consider avoiding supermarket produce until you learn what fruits and vegetables are supposed to taste like. Growing your own, making friends with someone who grows their own, or paying $6000 a pound for vine/tree/bush ripened whatever, are all good ways to discover what these things are supposed to taste like.

c) Consider going on a long camping trip and only packing in some of the foods you'd like to learn to appreciate. After a 40 mile hike, whatever you have always tastes much better when compared to things that aren't there.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:33 AM on June 22, 2005

I think it's mostly the texture of foods that does it: I like tomato sauce, but hate tomatoes.

tomatoes should be deep red, juicy, and tart. If they taste at all ...pasty / fuzzy... they are Bad Tomatoes (when left too long they develop an unpleasant texture). Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes are more likely to be fresh.

I'll put in a word of defense for anon on this one. I'm a really adventurous eater -- but can't stand a big ol' slice of fresh tomato because of the seed gunk. I'm fine with salsa, though.

Anon -- it's okay to be picky in a modified way. You'll likely never going to love veggies the way a true veggie-adorer does.
posted by desuetude at 10:06 AM on June 22, 2005

i'm not sure this is a help, as i don't really have your problem, and you mention not liking certain kinds of lettuce in sandwiches, but in my opinion a "veggie delite with no cheese, all the veggies including jalapenos, oil and vinegar" from subway somehow tastes like junk food, but is chock full of veggies.

as i said, i suspect you'll hate it, but i offer it on the off-chance that you might find it a useful bridge from fast food to salads.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:20 AM on June 22, 2005

desuetude, tomatoes that have been forced to grow faster than normal often have a high content of that soupy-seedy snot stuff, making them very nasty. Home-grown tomatoes that have been given full nutrients and time to grow properly are almost fully solid, with very little of that slime inside.

It's no wonder you can't stand those tomatoes, they're nasty. Go get a proper tomato from a farmer's market and see what I mean, please!

i love tomatoes
posted by odinsdream at 10:31 AM on June 22, 2005

I'll put in a word of defense for anon on this one.

there are definitely actual preferences, and there's nothing wrong with not liking this or that, but in my experience a lot of people have bad impressions of vegetables thanks to lousy produce in the US. Not liking one thing can just be taste, but not liking everything says to me that it's possible the problem is quality.

I'm not a major tomato person myself, really, but a good tomato is a whole different thing from those lame imposters so often sold - it's clear, crisp, sharp & distinct. I often don't like tomatoes that come in salads of generic restaurants, e.g., but the good ones can be a real treat.
posted by mdn at 10:47 AM on June 22, 2005

I'm with the anon defenders. One one hand it sounds like a just a personality quirk, but speaking from experience many people get very, offended isn't quite the right word but its the best I can think of, offended when someone doesn't want to eat what or when they are eating. Eating can be a social activity and when you are so far from the norm with others you are dining with, it can cause friction.

I know exactly the response Anon has because I have it, even to a worse degree because the foods that don't make me gag are much more limited.

In my case, I've explored some psychiatric options, but haven't found anything yet that really sticks. But, that aside, two things I can suggest.

1. If you are comfortable talking about your preferences/pickiness/choices, take a couple cooking classes. Not high end classes for gourmet type stuff, stick to ones that work with the basics. Spend some time getting familiar with foods you don't eat. Don't push yourself out of the gate, but try to be comfortable. That comfort level should help alleviate some of the anxiety that comes with looking at a food item and having the fight or flight response that the gag reflex is tied to. Keep in mind, a person who is a true omnivore gags on food because its bad or rotten or possibly so. That's an instinctual response meant to keep us safe from bad food. You are fighting against that instinct, miswired though it may be in our case.

2. Cognitive Therapy - Try to find a cognitive behavioral therapist who works with anxiety and/or food issues. In my case, and possibly in yours, its important that you change the way you think about food and trying new foods BEFORE you start attempting new foods. If you want to be ready and push yourself, but indeed aren't ready, then you are reinforcing the behavior and the thinking patterns that go along with it.

Feel free to contact me, I'd be happy to describe some of my (mis)adventures where food is concerned.
posted by Jase at 3:25 PM on June 22, 2005

Absolutely agreed with everyone saying that there's a world of difference between good tomatoes and bad tomatoes. Bad tomatoes are the spawn of Satan. Good tomatoes...oh, baby. In fact, it wasn't until I went to Italy that I learned to love good tomatoes. Miniature tomato halves in a painfully fresh caprese salad...pure bliss. It was shocking how different they were from the grainy, snotty, flavorless red baseballs you usually find at the supermarket.

Try cooking something with porcini mushrooms: it's the only vegetable I've ever encountered that, when prepared well, tastes distinctly meaty. (Marcella Hazan's got a recipe for chicken breast and wine/porcini/tomato sauce that's to die for.) Basic meat recipes with vegetable-incorporating sauces are probably a good general entry point: this steak with shallot-merlot sauce is damn tasty, and frying up some sliced mushrooms with the shallots makes it even better. And they recommend you serve it with (battered, deep-fried) onion rings. That's a day's veggies right there!

If you've got an ice cream maker, make sorbets. I guarantee it's a lot easier than you think. 1. Grab a pint or two of fresh berries from the farmer's market (preferable) or a good bag of frozen berries, then mush 'em up with a blender/food mill/hammer. 2. Make some simple syrup: 1 c. water + 1 c. sugar, cooked on the stove until the sugar disappears. 3. Add simple syrup to the berry mush until it's as sweet as you want it. Maybe add a squeeze of lemon juice. 4. Dump it all in your machine and freeze it up. Add a bit of liquor (rum, vodka, berry liqueur) in the last five minutes to keep it from freezing into a solid chunk. Voila! You have sorbet.

And since strawberry season is in full swing up here, I'll pass on this recipe I found for Strawberries Romanoff Bread. Unlikely, but really good.

i love food
posted by Vervain at 3:52 PM on June 22, 2005

Tomato-adoring odinstream, you cannot fathom how sensitive a mere tomato-liker can be to the presence of the tiniest amount of that seed goop. I promise, I've had really really good tomatoes. Yes, I acknowledge that this is a strange quirk. I'm not alone. There are secretive pockets of food-adoring, tomato-seed-goop disliking folks. Most of us with very happy extra-tomato-slice-blessed significant others.

I also agree the durable-for-shipping are the worst offenders. Why, why, why, do restaurants bother putting gross pink or mealy "fresh" tomato on my sandwich in the dregs of winter? Good god, it's okay to be out of tomatoes before relying upon literally the bottom of the barrel. Yes, this contributes significantly to thet dislike of veggies by folks like our original poster.

I stand by my statement, though. True, profound veggie love is very difficult to attain if you don't got it already. True, profound veggie like is totally obtainable, though.
posted by desuetude at 4:06 PM on June 22, 2005

Fresh from the blue, which might really help: The World's Healthiest Foods
posted by Lush at 1:27 AM on June 25, 2005

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