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General Science => General Science => Topic started by: cheryl j on 25/11/2011 06:21:38

Title: Why are "gourmet" foods kind of gross?
Post by: cheryl j on 25/11/2011 06:21:38
Why are certain foods that are considered classy or an aquired taste almost but not quite disgusting or rotten tasting? A lot them are in fact fermented. For example Blue Cheese or Brie, wine, Fois gras, oysters, snails,lobster tamelly, various mushrooms, caviar, creme de fraiche. You can probably think of others. Is it psychological? Do we like to flirt with disaster, or are almost rotten foods, like over ripe fruit, more tastey for biochemical reasons?
Title: Why are "gourmet" foods kind of gross?
Post by: CliffordK on 25/11/2011 08:41:12
All cheeses are fermented or aged, with bacteria or yeasts being part of the processing. changing forms of food to another, more desirable form.

Wine, and beer, of course are fermented, using yeasts to replace sugars with alcohol.

Some of the foods on your list can be "fresh".

With oysters, you can have them fresh.

Pop them open with a knife.  Poke them with a fork.  If they move, they're fresh and can be eaten.  If they don't move, they aren't fresh...  and you shouldn't eat them.  Can't get much more fresh that that!
Title: Why are "gourmet" foods kind of gross?
Post by: Don_1 on 25/11/2011 10:32:39
Cheryl, oh Cheryl!

How can you not like a good Camembert? It is the epitome of great cheese and, incidentally, should not be more than 30 days old when consumed. As for blue cheeses, a fine aged Stilton or a nice fresh Roquefort is sheer bliss.

I pity those poor Americans who may never know the creamy wonderful taste of Camembert and Brie. I don't know what their pasteurised substitute tastes like, and I don't think I want to.

Pate de Fois Gras, what a stunningly fine taste and texture.

Snails? OK, but for the herb and garlick butter, they aren't so appealing. Try the same herb & garlick butter on some nice fresh Mussels! Beautiful!

Caviar. Well I have never had the real McCoy, the Beluga. At around 200 for 50gm, its really not the sort of thing I can afford, but having had its poor relatives (a farmed Sevruga and Lumpfish), I don't really know what all the fuss is about. Even Lumpfish Caviar is around 15 for 100gm. Too salty for my liking.

Truffle, well yes, I think that's one greatly over-hyped fungi, but not rotten or risky.

Lobster, crab, mussels, squid and just about any such 'fruits de mer' (pardon my French) I just adore. As a child I remember the seafood man coming round the streets on a Sunday afternoon. A pint of winkles made a cheap Sunday teatime meal. Winkle sandwich!!! On a nostalgia trip, I had some a while ago. Eeee by gum, I had forgoten how good they taste.

But I must admit, there are some of these 'acquired taste' foods which do put me right off. I wouldn't even try them given the opportunity. Sheep's eyeballs.... YUK. Brains (which I did try) bloody awful in texture and not something I was keen to swallow.

But think about it, dog, horse, locust, ants, grubs of this sort and that and (much to my absolute disgust and utter objection) Turtle. Aren't these as repulsive and objectionable to us as pig and cow are to others?

What about those strange Chinese delicacies, birds nest soup and 1000yr old eggs! Birds nest soup I find objectionable as much for the disruption it causes to the poor Swifts which went to so much trouble to build them as to the fact that you might as well just boil up any old spit, add a soupcon of guano and serve it up. And those 1000yr old eggs are, in actual fact, usually no more than 100 days old. But I still don't fancy that idea.

I do think it is a psychological thing in some ways and perhaps even a class thing, but I just can't agree with you on those cheeses, pate and seafood.
Title: Why are "gourmet" foods kind of gross?
Post by: SeanB on 25/11/2011 19:28:17
One man's gourmet food is another's daily fare. Tastes in various regions vary, as do the dishes.
Title: Re: Why are "gourmet" foods kind of gross?
Post by: Monox D. I-Fly on 08/03/2018 02:43:59
But I must admit, there are some of these 'acquired taste' foods which do put me right off. I wouldn't even try them given the opportunity. Sheep's eyeballs.... YUK. Brains (which I did try) bloody awful in texture and not something I was keen to swallow.
Reminds me to my childhood when I didn't have the heart to try eating chicken's eyeballs but my parents kept telling me to try and damn, they're watery delicious! Not as tasty as the brains, though. The brains are my second favorite part of a chicken next after its skin. My favorite, however, is cow's brains, which is unfortunately not as widely sold as back then, now.

But think about it, dog, horse, locust, ants, grubs of this sort and that and (much to my absolute disgust and utter objection) Turtle. Aren't these as repulsive and objectionable to us as pig and cow are to others?
Yes, as a Muslim I think pigs are repulsive, but our religion day is celebrated by slaughtering and eating a cow together. Grasshoppers are delicious, though (aren't they the same as locusts?).
Title: Re: Why are "gourmet" foods kind of gross?
Post by: Bored chemist on 08/03/2018 09:56:19
"Why are "gourmet" foods kind of gross?"
For much the same reason as the emperor wore his new clothes.
Title: Re: Why are "gourmet" foods kind of gross?
Post by: evan_au on 08/03/2018 10:00:19
Quote
Why are "gourmet" foods kind of gross?"
Because they aren't like the foods you grew up with...
Title: Re: Why are "gourmet" foods kind of gross?
Post by: PmbPhy on 16/03/2018 00:41:12
Quote from: cheryl j
Why are certain foods that are considered classy or an aquired taste almost but not quite disgusting or rotten tasting?
Taste is highly subjective so a particular food cannot be said to be good or bad. One thing people don't often consider when thinking of the quality of a food is the foods texture. E.g. I used to love sardines but now the thought of eating those little fishies freaks me out a bit. In some cases a food is considered gourmet if its expensive. That's why lobster is considered a gourmet food.

Quote from: cheryl j
A lot them are in fact fermented. For example Blue Cheese ...
I don't think I could eat blue cheese unless it was used for dipping buffalo wings in. In that case I can't have those wings without blue cheese.

Quote from: cheryl j
Is it psychological?
I think so. I used to have an extremely closed minded friend who refused to acquire a taste for any food. He said, why bother? But to me its great to do so because you expand your pallet thus having a larger variety of things to eat and thus enjoy. I recall when my brother used to buy smoked oysters. I thought they were gross. But I thought that if my brother grew to like them then maybe I should see what the big deal is so I acquired a taste for them and now I enjoy them.

When I as a kid my mom would make bacalao every Christmas eve. I loved it!! I never knew what it was until I was in my 20's and asked. My mom told me it was marinated cod fish. Had I known that I may never have tried it. Thank God I didn't know it! :)  I recently came to learn that I love smoked baby clams too.

In my teens we used to drink screwdrivers made with Smirnoff vodka. It was okay. But when I tried the vodka straight I hated it. Decades later I decided to try other brands so I tried Absolute vodka and Grey Goose vodka. Love them!!
Title: Re: Why are "gourmet" foods kind of gross?
Post by: Monox D. I-Fly on 18/03/2018 03:46:01
I don't think I could eat blue cheese unless it was used for dipping buffalo wings in. In that case I can't have those wings without blue cheese.
What are buffalo wings?
Title: Re: Why are "gourmet" foods kind of gross?
Post by: PmbPhy on 18/03/2018 23:23:13
buffalo wings
I don't think I could eat blue cheese unless it was used for dipping buffalo wings in. In that case I can't have those wings without blue cheese.
What are buffalo wings?
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_wing