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Food Fears [Fierce Foodie]

Certain foods inspire an illogical revulsion in me. I find mushrooms, for instance, impossible to separate from the fact that they grow upon decomposing matter. Their very texture conjures up images of rotting meat and dead, wet, brown leaves. For my boyfriend, it’s the sight of bone or cartilage; he can’t stand any sign that the meat he is eating was ever part of a dead animal. Raisins are also a deal breaker in his world. I love raisins, but I can imagine that anti-raisin feelings might be related to their cursory resemblance to rodent droppings, or his aversion to all things dried out.

I have a fear of undercooked pork and chicken that is so intense that the mere thought of eating it makes my stomach hurt. I have been faced with social situations in which I have been served pink turkey and basically raw pork, and have had to swallow bits of both. While I did not immediately sicken and die as I feared, my stomach cramped before I had even taken a bite and made the whole experience akin to running a gauntlet.

Yet, paradoxically, I welcome bloody beefsteaks and pink in the middle burgers. While canned food frightens me because it has been marinating in its metal casket for months, even years, and tastes like iron to me even after it’s re-cooked.

Then there is the creeping realization that any number of ingredients in our food may be tainted with toxic chemicals or fecal bacteria. Buying local or organic ingredients would seem the safe alternative, except for the fact that the cost is generally prohibitive. And there is the sad reality that a certain amount of rat fecal matter is allowed in our food no matter what.

Food fears are likely to grow worse as more and more information about our suspect food sources makes its way into the media via documentaries and outbreaks. Though it’s generally the last news we want to hear. We want to be comforted by our food not terrorized by it.

The Least Terrifying Foods Possible In My Mind

1. Find a nice person like my mother who grows her own cherry tomatoes. Pick them off the vine, wash, and eat.

2. Boil a potato, peel it, add salt. Eat.

3. Plain macaroni dressed with butter and parmesan cheese.

4. Grilled cheese sandwich.

5. Tomato Pie.

Tomato Pie (Courtesy of


1 9-inch pie shell

1 yellow or red onion, chopped, caramelized in pan

3-4 tomatoes, cut in half horizontally, squeezed to remove excess juice, roughly chopped, to yield approximately 3 cups chopped tomatoes

¼ cup sliced basil (about 8 leaves)*

2 cups grated cheese (combination of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack, or Gruyere or Mozarella)

¾ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon (or more to taste) of Frank’s Hot Sauce (or Tabasco)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

*To slice basil, chiffonade them by stacking the leaves on top of each other, roll them up like a cigar, starting at one end slice the “cigar” crosswise in thin slices.


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place pie shell in oven and cook for 8-10 minutes or longer until lightly golden. If you are starting with a frozen crust, you’ll need to cook it a little longer. If you are using a homemade crust, freeze the crust first, then line the crust with aluminum foil and pre-bake it for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

2. Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the chopped tomatoes, using either paper towels, a clean dish towel, or a potato ricer.

3. Sprinkle the bottom of the pre-cooked pie shell with chopped onion. Spread the chopped tomatoes over the onions. Sprinkle the sliced basil over the tomatoes.

4. In a medium bowl, mix together the grated cheese, mayonnaise, Tabasco, a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper. The mixture should be the consistency of a gooey snow ball. Spread the cheese mixture over the tomatoes.

5. Place in oven and bake until browned and bubbly, anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes.

Serves six

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featured image credit: hlkljgk