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The Nause-AA: Round of 64, Flight Spew
August 17, 2012


Since I came to no real consensus in Suffering Succotash about the most hated food -- though an awful lot of people talked about tomatoes -- we're going to make this determination ourselves with our highly scientific polling system.

Head on over to Tomato Nation to register your displeasure: remember vote with your gag reflex, vote for the most disgusting choice, vote to vomit!

Today's write-ups for The Nause-AA brought to you by Sarah D. Bunting.

1 raisins vs. 16 tomatoes I freely, proudly admit to cooking the rankings on this match-up – but I don't know what y'all expected. As I told Joe R on Twitter yesterday, "Ain't called 'Raisin Nation,' ain't gonna be." However: 1) while I believe many of you share my exhaustively documented hostility towards the dried grape, I believe just as many of you find them inoffensive or even enjoyable; and 2) really really a lot of people hate tomatoes, and I completely understand it. That seed glurge is quite disgusting, and it's my opinion that there are few more heavenly bites on earth than a good Jersey tomato…but there are few more miserable bites than a grainy, pale pink, midwinter tomatoid that comes apart in your mouth like a handful of (Mon)sand(o).

In other words, you know I had to rank them this way – but I actually don't know who's going to make it out of this showdown alive. We may have an upset on our hands. An upset Sars, that is. BECAUSE RAISINS ARE HORRIBLE.

8 cooked carrots vs. 9 eggplant I like eggplant when it's cooked properly, but that can be a challenge for a lot of people, and I should probably admit that my definition of "properly" involves a rollatini preparation that makes the eggplant almost an afterthought to the big old wad of ricotta. Eggplant also has a slime factor, although that doesn't bug me that much. Cooked carrots, however: feh. I don't loathe them, but they make the house smell like feet for hours afterwards, and they're total filler. Proof that a given restaurant doesn't know squat about Italian food = carrots in the primavera. I dislike them more but I think eggplant carries the day here.

5 fake cherry flavoring vs. 12 banana (I did a poll once, I think, that proved fake banana is more loathsome to the general population, so if you want to include fake banana in your banana vote, feel free.) I hate fake-cherry stuff. Hate it, hate it, hate it. All the sourness of a real cherry, but none of the balancing tastes or textures, and it's always so violently pink, too. But I can sympathize with the banana hate – they smell quite strong; they have gacky strings clinging to them; there's a mushiness happening that texture-phobes can't cope with (I like mine medium rare, so I get it); and listening to someone else eat a banana is untenable. This will be a closer race than the rankings suggest.

4 squash vs. 13 mushrooms Another match-up that may give us an upset. People have so many reasons to skeeve 'shrooms – soil-y taste, fungal status, the squeaking on the teeth, the resemblance to penis heads – but I love 'em, and as a reluctant vegequarian, I'm grateful for the portabella's portability as a meat substitute. Squash, meanwhile, has no reason to exist. It's a serious hassle to prepare, requires pounds of seasoning to make tolerable, and has an onomatopoetically accurate name. Squaaaaashhhh.. No thanks! Trying to cut down on stringy, seedy orange things that are gross! [“All I have to add is that prepping squash turns my palms orange and makes the skin peel off them. Oh, and that childhood trauma I detailed in Suffering Succotash. Yeah.” --Keckler]But that's just me. Mushrooms grow in poo. We're probably done here.

6 dates/figs vs. 11 beets My father hates one food. Beets are that food. I never had them growing up as a result, and when I finally tasted one, it was like, "…And?" I'm not going to put on shoes and a bra in the middle of the night and run out for one or anything; I just don't see the big whoop either way. Dates and figs look like testicle sacs and do not taste good enough to merit the metaphorical tea-bagging.

3 okra vs. 14 cauliflower We had a family friend who used to bring us okra from her garden, and my mother heroically tried every possible non-fried variation because she didn't want to be rude or lie about it to our friend -- until Mr. Stupidhead literally ran to the kitchen sink and garked up the mouthful he'd just forced down, then muttered over his shoulder, "Ma, I can't do this anymore." This is not an isolated reaction, I feel. Cauliflower can smell like an armpit when it's boiled, but you can put cheese and mustard on it and bake it; you can puree it with a shit-ton of garlic; you can dip it in ranch dressing. Love it. Also, it's a cruciform vegetable, and that's just fun to say/show off with at the table. Okra wins easily. [“Everyone who votes against okra has a standing invitation to have it at my house any time to experience a conversion. I love both these veggies, but have a soft spot for okra and how it won me over as well as became my three-year-old’s most-requested vegetable.” --Keckler]

7 prunes vs. 10 sweet potatoes/yams Is anyone else kind of sick of sweet potatoes with booze in them? Yeah, me too. I like sweet-potato fries, though, and a roasted yam with red onion is quite delish. Prunes…I don't know, you guys. Even if the prune is unbelievably awesome – and I'm okay with dried prunes, but they're just not – the association with their use to treat constipation is just too much for me. Prunes move ahead here.

2 turnips/rutabagas vs. 15 onions I had a really good turnip side dish the other day, but for some reason, I've never reached a détente with the rutabaga, which remains resolutely unresponsive to, well, anything. Cheese doesn't help, garlic doesn't help, acids don't help, sugar doesn't help...I give up. It has a bitterness that somehow is the more off-putting for its faintness (see also: radishes). If anyone has a strategy, let's hear it, but in the meantime: yecchh. I think the roots beat the onion handily, but enough people hate either raw onions (too "spicy") or cooked onions (too slimy/mealy) that they could make a horse race out of this.

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Stephanie Vander Weide Lucianovic