THIRTY-TWO. Fear Factor

So, Fear Factor…that show that had people eat spiders, bathe with scorpions and drink cow’s 3956AA736A63F9E3FB8201DB50EA984C.jpgblood…yeah, take that all in for a minute…UGH.  Well, just like those addictions and cheats I talked about a few weeks ago, we all have fear and aversions to things that terrorize us.  Many of these come from an unpleasant experience and/or just something we conjure up in our own mental capacities.  I am not talking phobias, because those are deeper issues and fears that are a little too serious for this blog.  However, I am going to share with you some of my fears, mostly food related because that seems to shock people the most when I have food aversions.  No, chefs don’t EAT everything, even if we do TRY everything.  There is a difference!  Oh, and just so I don’t get the “don’t knock it before you try it” comments, this list is based on my experiences and not just my perceptions…. SHALL WE?


Hello my name is Monica, and I can’t eat CALAMARI LEGS.


So… yeah…I just can’t.  Let’s start with the fact that I have no problems taking raw squid, cleaning it, stripping it, separating the body from the tentacles, removing the ink sac and getting it prepped for cooking.  The slimy little sucker doesn’t phase me for a minute alive, dead or raw.  It’s when it’s breaded, grilled or fried that I can’t stand it.  When I can, I order just rings and I always get the strangest response like I asked for the server’s first born son.  Most times, I never just get the rings and have to deal with those curled tentacles just waiting to come alive and attach themselves to my face. abc_gma_von_fremd_090717_ms Every time I do muster up the courage to try them, they kind of have a fried onion texture, but then I start to think that once they enter my stomach they reconstitute, come alive and cling on to the lining of my stomach and eventually I’ll gag one day and a whole squid will come out.  I wish I was joking, but the whole thing plays in my head like one nonstop horror movie.  It’s not that they really taste that bad, it’s just the whole notion of the tentacles looking worse to me after they’ve been cooked just messes with my psyche.  My skin crawls just writing about it…YUCK.  The irony is all this, is that I have no issues with octopus, I love it…legs and all.


Hello my name is Monica, and BANANAS disgust me.


First of all, and just to get it out of the way, the pure phallic nature of the fruit makes me laugh and really I just need to grow up.  Next, no one ever looks good eating a banana.  NO ONE.  I mean strawberries are romantic, grapes are too.  There is nothing pleasing about seeing someone eat a banana, in the conventional manner that is.  I can’t stand the smell of it and the texture and taste is just ghastly.  The smell is so grossly distinctive that I can sniff it out far before I even see it.  I hate the way it just sloshes around in your mouth and makes you make these weird noises when466033082_XS.jpg you eat one.  Also, there is like a 2 day’s time frame that a banana is even worthy of consuming, should you choose to.  After that, it’s a rapid downfall of bruising, discoloration and eventually smells and tastes like rotten baby food.  I think the worst part is that peel that you are left with that for some reason looks like a battered ragdoll that was run over by a dump truck.  How the heck can anyone eat a fruit like that?  Gross.  


Hello my name is Monica, and I don’t like EVERYTHING on my BAGEL.


I hate everything bagels, and similarly multi-grain bread.  I feel like it’s the “garbage” bagel, meaning that they took whatever leftover crap that was left from making “purebread” bagels and created this pity “mutt” bagel.  It’s not like they make an everything cream cheese to go with it, why?  Because that would be utterly disgusting.  I mean can you imagine a cream cheese with strawberries, onion and lox?  I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.  But back to this bagel issue I have…aside from the concept itself, it’s also not even put together properly.  This stuff gets EVERYWHERE!!!!  I mean there’s a poppy seed stuck in my teeth, sesame seeds all over my lap, a dehydrated piece of onion hanging on the bagel itself like a booger…. just a hot mess.  Weirdly, I don’t have an issue of textural and taste differences in each bit, I actually like when each bite of food I take tastes a little different from the last, but for some reason it doesn’t work with bagels.  I am a purist when it comes to bagels.  One flavor, one herb, one seed and one type of cream cheese is perfection.


Hello my name is Monica, and there is nothing smooth about SMOOTHIES.


Ok, so these days, shakes and smoothies are all the rage, mainly for meal replacement purposes.  I touched on a previous blog about how I won’t even entertain a shake made from kale, carrots and ginger sprinkled with some powder that when blended looks like cesspool.  No, I can’t and will not ever accept that as something that should replace anything I eat.  Now, smoothies in general, I have never been able to stomach.  I love fruit and I love milk, SEPERATELY.  Once you put the two together in a blender, my gag reflexes kick in and I can’t even stand the smell of it.  If you haven’t noticed by now, I eat w07-fruit-smoothies-banana.jpgith my nose first and not my eyes.  If it smells off, I won’t even go near it.  I have no specific flavors that bug me, they all do, although the ultimate punishment for me would be death by banana smoothie, it would do the job really quick.  The idea of drinking my fruit that is no longer recognizable just makes me sick.  Someone once told me that a smoothie is like soup…meaning that it’s blended fruit versus blended vegetables, which I did ponder over and well, no, it’s not the same, not at all.  Soups are savory and have complex aromatics and flavor layers that take technique and finesse to master…smoothies, the only thing you master is using your index finger with your Vita-Mix.  I say eat your fruit, drink your milk….no need to streamline the process…just sayin’.


Hello my name is Monica, and finally I have an issue with WATER AT NIGHT. 


I know I said that most of these were food related, which they are, but I had to share this one with you because it’s probably the one thing I really do fear.  I honestly have no idea how this started and when.  I realized it when I was in college as my campus was on Lake Michigan.  I remember walking home from the library late one night and hear the lake just crashing into the rocks and I went to go walk over to see and this eerie doom feeling came over me and my heart started racing, a chill down my spine and the hairs on my arm were just standing straight up.  At that moment, I have never really been able to go near water at night again.  I won’t go in the surf on the beach at night, I won’t walk on a pier at night and I definitely won’t be on or in the water after sunset.  It has been this way since I was 19 years old.  Well, it’s bee13512091_10153533376400124_1785922190960706373_nn about 16 years since then and I finally confronted my fear and got on a boat and stayed on until way past sunset.  Even as we docked and stayed on to hang out at the pier, I made it point to go to the bow and look over into Lake Michigan and just deal with whatever emotions might come over me.  I was scared like no other and shuffled my way to the farthest point of the boat that was in the water and closed my eyes took a deep breath in… then I opened my eyes, exhaled and looked out and down into the water.  I can’t say that I am cured of this fear, as you couldn’t pay me to jump into it and swim around in it, but I can say that I did conquer it, for a minute.  As for why it freaks me out so much, I’ve only concluded that it has something to do with the unknown and the darkness of the water that makes me feel vulnerable, like I have no control of what could happen.  Can someone say control freak?  I own it, I am one…but this time, I took control for a minute and it was a good thing. 


So here we are again, talking about our quirks and what makes us who we are.  The interesting thing is that fears and addictions evolve as we change as well.  This list of my own aversions and fears is about today, 10 years from now, I may have a whole different list because as you can see, you can get over some of those fears.  You can ween off addictions just the same and discover new ones as you go through life.  Some of you now have ammo against me and know exactly how I can be tortured, you are welcome.  Others are just reading this thinking that I am the oddest person they have ever known.  I am hoping though that it makes you all think of your own off centered aversions and fears and share them!  Maybe some of us can even help you get over some of them, or just totally judge you for it 😉 Either way, it makes up who you are and that’s a fear that no one should ever have. 



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