Monday, May 2, 2016

Foods That Aren’t Really Food

See? People trying to make
pomegranates edible.
There are some things we all say are food that really aren’t. 

Take, for example, pomegranates. By the time you get through cutting it open, careful not to get any on yourself, it stains, and digging out the seeds, just so that you can get that tiny bit of edibleness around them … No, not food.

Grapefruit: absolutely not a food, more of a torture.

Lots of diet food – rice cakes, melba toast – fall less into the “food” category and more into the “cardboard” category.

Popcorn, in my opinion, is similar to rice cakes and melba toast, except you can drench it in butter.

In fact, there are a lot of foods that are inedible except as vehicles, excuses, really, for eating melted butter: steamed clams (breading and frying those also works), escargot, lobster.

Fondant, that weird clay-like icing bakers use when they are building something that looks cool out of cake ingredients, is not food.

Neither are marshmallows and cotton candy.

Legally, restaurants are not supposed to put anything on your plate that is not edible, in case you are too dumb to tell that that flower blossom isn’t really meant to be eaten. But it isn’t. Ditto: those sprigs of parsley and cilantro and those dried red peppers in your General Tso’s chicken. Not food.

Likewise, spicy ingredients – hot chiles, horse radish, wasabi – while fine as an accent to the actual food on your plate, are not, in my opinion, food themselves. Just picture yourself trying to eat a bowl of any of them.

Anise, the flavoring for black licorice. My grandmother was so proud of her anisette cookies. Blech. When she gave me, ordinarily a cookie fiend, one, I would sneak it back onto the plate when she wasn’t looking.

Did I miss any?


  1. Ha! This is great. I'm glad you mentioned escargot and cotton candy. The former tastes like a rubber eraser drenched in garlic butter and the latter is like chewing on fiberglass insulation. Blech, indeed. And fondant! Hate it. When I have cake, I want frosting, damn it, not a half inch thick layer of dry wall compound.

    How about capers? Kind of like buckshot in your salad. I looked them up and found they are quite expensive because they have to be harvested by hand. The article said pickled Nasturtium seeds are a "handy substitute." Yeah, I have the whole back forty planted in them, so no problem. Sheesh.

  2. You forgot tofu.