30 April 2014


If someone cleaned out their rain gutter and served it to me in a bowl and called it pho, I would probably believe them. I also wouldn’t eat it.
I will never understand everyone’s obsession with pho, and I’m not even going to try. This food is not for me.

Dear Food Thoughtz: will you ever try a bowl of pho?
Nope. Absolutely not. No.

26 April 2014


When I was eight my mum put sliced oranges in my lunch. This must have been the first and last time she had ever done that. When I tried to eat them, I was only able to suck out the juice, but wasn’t able to tear the flesh from the skin. What was left were pulpy and stringy stalagmites, rising up from the orange peel. It was embarrassing and I have never tried again.

But even if I had been able to successfully eat an orange, I still don't think these are for me. I have never been particularly fond of orange juice, and have especially always really hated the pulp variety. I can’t stand orange flavouring in things—least of all chocolate or desserts. For some reason I've always found a zest of orange peel somewhat nauseating. I don't even remember being particularly fond of the bit of orange that I did manage to tear free that one time when I was eight. Which reminds me—of course that one time in grade 3 was hardly the only time I've ever tried an orange. I have had oranges plenty of times in my life, but always cut up in some sort of fruit salad. I think my mum used to put it in with our fresh cut up grapefruits in the morning.

This brings up the most horrifying part of any orange: the pith. It's supposed to be good for you, but I'll be damned if it's not the most vile and bitter part of any fruit known to man. The only explanation for the existence of something so gross is that it's a defense mechanism against consumers. Listen to nature, you guys. This is the orange's way of telling us that we should not be eating it. Look, I get it. From a distance, oranges are beautiful: they are perfectly round and bright orange—why wouldn't we want to eat this delicious looking specimen? But when you finally manage to peel back the tough skin, rather than the revelation of a delicious fleshy-fruit to be eaten, what we get is all the reason we need to abandon this as a food.

It is a bit embarrassing to admit this as a former English student, but I don't really like Jeannette Winterson. I read The Passion and didn't like it even though everyone else does, but bravely I forged on and read Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. The novel achieves title while the protagonist is in hospital, and her cruel evangelical mother doesn't visit her and only sends oranges upon oranges. Finally the protagonist tells her mother that "oranges are not the only fruit." We should imagine that she is also saying "this is not the only life" and that we should all canter off to the city and become lesbians. Or we could accept that she's really only talking about fruit and was correct in stating that oranges are not the only fruit, and with so many other options under the sun, why would we settle for this difficult and disgusting citrus abomination?

Somewhere between the pith and the pip
The orange fruit lies:
Brightly coloured; its flesh a-drip...
But the taste of the flesh does little to disguise
The ever-present,
The always-unpleasant,
The bitter reality of the pith and the pip.

21 April 2014

"Dear Food Thoughtz:" Pooping the Rainbow

Dear Food Thoughtz, 
I, like you, ponder deeply when considering my food choices, and I appreciate your awareness of and respect for your particular culinary aversions. You see, years of study and many more years of personal experience have led me to believe that your own body knows which fuel it requires at any given time. So rejoice in your ravenous appetite for Ramen; let a slippery slink of spaghetti slide between saucy lips, if you so desire. 
Inexplicably, my body so craves those foods which have the unavoidable side effect of coming out the same colour they went in. If you know what I mean. Beets, asparagus, spinach - you name it, I want it. Should I trust my appetite and dig in? Or is this the type or inner body turmoil that I should avoid at all costs? 
Confused Craving Crusader 

Dear Confused Craving Crusader,

First of all, a little known fact about me is that I actually used to really like beets. I don't anymore. It's impossible to know what changed, but I do still like to look at them from afar. I think I might like to see them in a hyper-realistic still-life painting.

That said, a lot of what I try to communicate here at Food Thoughtz is the importance of trusting your own appetite, rather than pandering to preachings of others. But your food choices are disgusting and obviously in conflict with mine, so while I encourage you to eat what makes you happy, you should do it quietly and not around me.

I will say this, however: It has always been my understanding that if the purpose of eating is to extract nutrients from food, the food that goes into your body and the waste that comes out of it should be somehow markedly different. The process of extracting all that is useful from those foods should fundamentally change them into an unrecognizable mass/stream of waste. I will be the first to admit that I know absolutely nothing about biology (with the exception of a story I wrote in gr. 11 biology that tracked Megan M's transition from a piece of food into diarrhea as she made her way through a human body), but it seems to me that something that should be happening in your body is not happening if food is coming out more or less the same way it went in. Everyone seems to agree that spinach, asparagus, and beets are all "good for you," but what if the reason that the resulting waste so closely resembles the original food item is because your body is trying to tell you to stop putting that inside of yourself?

I'm also a bit confused about your desire to poop the rainbow. I mean, I suppose it's a noble quest, but also so fleeting. I guess this is one of those "it's the journey; not the destination" type things, but do you plan to document each poop? And then stitch the photos together into a pride flag? Are you coming to Toronto for World Pride? Please let me know. I don't really want to see your multi-coloured poops, but it would be nice to see you.

16 April 2014


I don’t know why I’m picking on the French (and the Quebecois--I forgot about that poutine post) so much lately, but I can’t even fathom what a people must collectively have to go through to bring them to a point where they would be willing to suck a snail out of its shell—and then turn around and call it a delicacy. I have so little idea, in fact, that I had to ask Yahoo! One person’s response was that it’s no worse than eating clams, oysters, or lobsters. Right. Exactly. It’s not any worse than that. But nor is it any better, and considering that encrusted sea-garbage is just about the worst “edible” thing there is on this planet, that ranks snails as among the worst of the worst.
As much as I hate snails--both as an animal and as a food-- I did
really enjoy putting these snail shells on my back.

One time I was compelled to eat ribs. I have no idea whether or not the meat was any good because I was too overcome by the horror of tearing flesh from the bone. I know that some people talk about sucking marrow from bones, but I'm pretty sure this is just an urban legend, so I can only imagine—but would prefer not to—how much more horrific it would be to actually suck the meat from a chunk of coiled calcium that functions as a skeleton. Do people actually realize that snails are just slugs with shells? Has anyone seen a slug? Because they are vile and horrific beasts, and I used to devote large portions of my summers to hunting slugs with the sole purpose of then throwing them into the ocean.

I don’t know what snails eat, but I’m pretty sure it’s 90% gross slime, 10% garden plants. The snails in our aquarium live off of the algae that develops on the sides of the tank … which is just slime. And then they convert that slime into more slime so that they can transport themselves to richer slime reserves. They are disgusting. In my quest to rid the west coast of its slugs, I had the displeasure of accidentally stepping on a few a couple of times. That slime is the worst. It is sticky and slimy and doesn't come off, and while I have no idea how snails are prepared for eating, if something is not done to rid them of that slime, I can only imagine they are simultaneously lubricated down your throat, but also cling there like sickly, descended tonsils. And speaking of tonsils, if someone removed their tonsils and gave me the option of eating the raw tonsils or a perfectly prepared snail, I'm about 75% sure I would go for the tonsils. Although both are undoubtedly disgusting, only one of them would be a snail.
 Given that snails as a food are so commonly associated with France, it seems like a shame to not draw a correlation between the depravity of the Marquis de Sade and escargot. I don't know how many of you, like me, once had their interest piqued by Sade's extreme commitment to personal freedom and then proceeded to read an online summary of One Hundred and Twenty Days of Sodom only to be so utterly shocked and appalled that you could barely even make it through the summary, but that's how I feel about eating snails: the mere idea of it is so repulsive to me that I can't even begin to imagine actually trying the real thing. Through Sade's commitment to destroy and deprave the body so that he might be free (I have no idea what the Marquis de Sade was trying to do), he probably consumed a whole bunch of snails because few things in this world are a greater assault on the human body than that. There might be something interesting to say here (probably not), but I'm really just trying to get to Simone de Beauvoir's famous question, must we burn Sade? Her answer was a tepid no. A more crucial question might be: Il-faut manger les escargots? Our "no" must be far less tepid.

Snails are treated as a culinary specialty,
But sucking snail-meat from its shell
Is nothing more than a perverse bestiality:
If it doesn’t land you in jail, it will surely land you in hell.

So the next time a gentleman asks you to his chateau,
Remember the one hundred and twenty days of the Marquis de Sade:
A debauched, murderous orgy under a “personal freedom” façade.
The invitation, I’m afraid, you are obligated to forego
And give him instead a rousing escar-hellzno!

15 April 2014

Remembrance of Tacos Lost

Remember that time I tried a taco and really liked it? Well, within a week of that positive experience I tried another taco and it was disgusting. I recently found pictures of the experience.
 This is what they looked like. Gross, right? Raw onion and cilantro?

And here's a picture of me eating one.

And here's another. I think I ate three in total.

13 April 2014

Crème Fraîche

I really need someone to tell me whether or not crème fraîche
is good enough for me to crawl inside of. Because so far,
everything is pointing to yes, and I really want to clamber into a
large bowl of it and simultaneously swim and eat through it.
Please tell me if this is a reasonable reaction to what
seems to be a delicious food.
Readers! Alert! Can someone please tell me what crème fraîche is and whether or not I need it in my life? Because it sounds like I do. It sounds like it’s a thicker version of whipped cream, like sour cream but with less sour. Is it like a better form of Cool Whip? Is this what Cool Whip is based on? Wikipedia tells me that the EU regulates the ingredients of crème fraîche so that it can only be cream and bacterial culture. I love thinking about this branch of the EU. Do you think that this is what France’s role is in the EU? Regulating food ingredients? Because aside from rampant striking, strict food regulation seems to be France’s primary contribution to the world.

But I am serious about crème fraîche. I think this might be something for me. I think I might like to have it with fresh strawberries and maybe a sprinkling of sugar. Is this how it is eaten? Maybe with fresh or canned peaches? Is there something I'm missing? Why is this not whipped cream? Is crème fraîche to cream what yogurt is to milk? Because if so, count me in. That sounds delicious. But I am also afraid of what it might turn out to be. I am afraid it might be too much like sour cream or too... I don't know... French? Because French food can be really tricky. One minute you think it's all delicious pastries and sweets, like pain au chocolat or some delicious fruit-tart, but then you might be cruelly reminded of that gross frozen pea salad made with mayonnaise.

To err on the side of caution, I have labelled this post as "Food I Have Tried But Would Not Try Again," "Food I Will Eat," and "Food I Won't Eat," because at this point it could belong to any one of these three categories. I might have asked for someone to mail me a jar of crème fraîche, but with Canada Post's ludicrous new shipping rates, it would be an unfair financial burden to place on any of my valued readers. If I ever do try this potentially delicious/potentially disgusting new food, I will update the labels accordingly. I might even revamp this post so that it is somewhat relevant.

France fails in many ways--
like in their incessant will to strike--
But when it comes to what to pair with fraises, 
Sometimes even I feel like
I need to re-write my menu afresh
And introduce this mysterious crème fraîche

07 April 2014


The Quebec election is over. The Liberals have a majority and Pauline Marois is out. Perhaps now is the time for Quebec to repeal its repressive language laws so that “poutine” will be listed on the menu in both its French and its English name, “gross-sloppy-mess.” Just kidding. I don’t actually really have much of an issue with Quebec’s language laws—except when they insist that the menu listing for “pasta” in an Italian restaurant be changed to “pâtes,” which is unnecessary and tedious.
The term “two solitudes” has often been invoked to describe the troubled relationship between Canada and Quebec, and although in this sense it has been used descriptively, I also yearn for the day when it will be prescriptive and poutine will be served as two (three) solitudes: fries on one plate, a little dish of gravy on the side, and if you’re particularly depraved, a small heap of cheese curds on a separate plate. As it stands, poutine is disgusting and sloppy combination of all three ingredients that has more in common with the lump of rotting and mouldy hair that I pull out of my drain every month or so than it does with food. That said, poutine is actually my favourite national (I mean “Quebec nation”) dish—I just happen to enjoy mine plain, with the gravy and cheese curds on the side (read: in the garbage).
I'm not even sure what part of the poutine disgusts me the most: the gravy or the cheese curds. On one hand, I think it would be easier for me to eat fries just topped with cheese curds than it would be to eat fries covered in gravy. But there's something about those cheese curds--and I'm not sure if it's because they're called "curds"--that makes me wince. I guess they're find if you get the good ones that melt on top, but I feel like too many of them would just sit like firm, gelatinous lump. They look like the teeth of teratomas or something. 

I might think that poutine is disgusting, but I disparage it with the utmost respect for Quebec's rich culture.

It shouldn't be a surprise that I won't eat poutine,
And my reasons for which should by now be routine:
It's sloppy and gross and a waste of good fries
And I can't stand the sogginess all of that gravy implies.
But yet--in between my gags and my heaves--
I will still find the voice to beg: "Quebec, please don't leave!"

05 April 2014

Food Thoughtz Review: These Nachos

Recently an avid reader and huge fan of Food Thoughtz asked whether I would review the take-out nachos that he was currently eating. I myself did not try the nachos and he was disappointed with them, claiming they were soggy.

When I do write a proper post on nachos, I will have nothing but good things to say because they are delicious and one of my favourite foods.
 After seeing this picture, it should be pretty obvious to any seasoned reader why I didn't eat these nachos. But aside from my personal distaste for leafy greens and whatever this salsa/water-tomato-chunk hybrid that red stuff is, there are a few other reasons why these nachos were a mistake.

1. You can never get nachos as take-out food because they have to be consumed almost immediately upon coming out of the oven. Of course they're best when hot, but most importantly, the cheese has to be freshly melted. There's nothing worse than melted cheese gone cold because it becomes almost like a whole new rubbery substance and it is disgusting. It also looks like these nachos either weren't baked long enough in the oven (some of the cheese should be a golden brown), or worse yet, that they weren't baked in an oven at all but were cooked in a microwave (which I think probably also contributes to the sogginess, although I'm not sure how because I have no idea how a microwave works).

2. If you have to have your nachos with toppings other than plain cheddar cheese (or, ideally Kraft Tex-Mex, although that is so expensive that I can't imagine a person in a financially stable enough position to afford it)--and I would advise that you don't--then you definitely can't get take-out nachos because of course they will only get soggier the longer they sit. That said, it was really irresponsible for the restaurant in question to put such moist tomato/salsa on the chips before baking them. Diced tomatoes that have retained some semblance of form, green onions, green peppers, black olives, jalapeno peppers--fine. I wouldn't eat that, but I can understand why someone would because nachos with those toppings smell friggin' delicious when they come out. But the key is that while all of these toppings have a fairly high water percentage, all of them are solid enough to not totally ruin the chips.

3. Is this salsa? Because this isn't what salsa should look like to me--partly if not mainly because salsa should always be served on the side.

4. These chips look like they might have been oily.

04 April 2014


Tonight my roommate cooked asparagus for dinner and it smelled like one thousand cats had just peed everywhere. Of asparagus, Proust once said: "[It] transforms my chamber-pot into a flask of perfume." Proust also spent nearly his entire life in a cork-lined room.

I have hated asparagus for as long as I can remember. Eating it always reminded me of eating a slimy, plump, green worm bloated with urine. The worst is when it is slightly over cooked and so it’s too soft to cut or bite through cleanly, so you end up having to tear through a bunch of stringy, wet asparagus strands. The only way I could choke it down was by slathering it in butter first. I also don't think it's healthy to eat a food that so drastically alters your urine so quickly.
A little known fact about me (or perhaps very well known, depending on who is reading this) is that I once worked on a farm harvesting asparagus. It was one of the best times of my life and is, I’m sure, directly responsible for why my back now looks like a well-loved leather purse. Although I hate asparagus, it was a pretty fun vegetable to harvest, and one time I even tried it raw (word to the wise: asparagus is way better when consumed raw because it tastes almost identical to garden peas, although I am not sure if it only tastes like this when freshly sliced from the ground). I especially liked harvesting it because I always felt like I was thwarting its will to live by constantly cutting it down.

While I worked on the farm I always thought I was engaging in a slightly unethical activity by bringing asparagus to the masses, as well as encouraging my own family's consumption by bringing home free second-rate asparagus. That summer taught me a lot about myself--namely that I am willing to do just about anything for a very nominal amount of money.

Our bodies often warn us that a food should disgust us
By wreaking havoc on our digestive functions.
What is it about the asparagus
That so grossly alters our renal productions?

So how is it that one continues to devour with glee
A vegetable that so violently alters the smell of our pee?