• Love it or hate it? (Flickr / You As A Machine)
Don't want a fight over dinner? Best not to bring up one of these ingredients.
Shane Cubis

24 Mar 2017 - 12:41 PM  UPDATED 24 Mar 2017 - 1:02 PM

Everyone has different tastes when it comes to the dining table, some more bizarre than others. Perhaps this person isn’t a fan of hot chips, or that person never craves chocolate. But there’s a special category of foods that admit no grey area – everyone lines up on one side or other of the debate, and will give no quarter. Here are the foods we love to hate.

Even heads of state have an opinion on pineapple on pizza

When future students of history look back on the Food Wars, they’ll learn the greatest spiritual divide of our time was whether pineapple belongs on pizza. At first the battle seemed fairly one sided, with the non-pineapple people looking down their noses at the Hawaiian fans. But once Icelandic President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson got involved, declaring he would ban the practice if he had the power to pass las by himself, it was on. Suddenly the pro-pineapple people were reframing their enjoyment of the stuff as “being able to enjoy the complex interplay of sweet and savoury flavours”.

Celery is a selfish vegetable

Other vegetables are team players, happy to add to a flavour mix with texture or offering themselves up to be combined with some culinary dance partner. Not celery, which announces its presence in a meal from the beginning, and continues drawing attention to itself until the plate is empty. So reviled by some is this water-absorbing vegetable that a 2011 survey of dubious provenance declared it the most hated among adults with 36.1 per cent of respondents giving celery the thumbs down. Thus far no world leader has declared their intention to ban the stuff.

Coriander hatred is genetic

You can try calling it cilantro, but haters of this herb won’t be fooled for a second. For a large segment of people from certain backgrounds it tastes like soap, and a 2012 study from genetic testing company 23andMe found that this reaction is hard-wired into the genes. What genetic advantage comes from thinking coriander tastes like soap? Does it stop kids swearing? More research is required.

Olives, capers and anchovies form a line in the sand

Or should that be a line in the salt? That’s really the basis for rejecting this trio of ingredients, which really work the more savoury side of the tastebuds. (Of course, that doesn’t mean disliking capers means you hate the other two.) Anchovies have the extra downside of being – and I quote from a text message I received recently – “seafood (yuck) that is HAIRY (double yuck) and it also smells bad”. Powerful anecdotal evidence of the passion those little fish evoke, and why they’re so effective at stopping people from eating your half of the pizza.

Bananas split the population

Shockingly, not everybody enjoys mentally morphing into a gorilla as they slowly peel down each side of a banana before hunching their shoulders and eating the delicious treat inside. In fact, there’s a significant proportion of the population who gag at the very thought. For some it’s about the “slimy” texture and mushiness. For others, the phallic shape makes them embarrassing to eat in public. And, obviously, there are some people who can’t abide the flavour. Some who can't stand them fresh are fine with banana bread. 

Lead image by You As A Machine via Flickr. 

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