35 People Share Food They Can Never Eat Because Of Their FamilyInterview With Author
All of us probably have a specific dish our parents would prepare when we were growing up that still can make our stomach churn. You would come home from school, open the door, and get hit with an aroma that would instantly kill any semblance of hunger.
So one netizen asked the internet what dishes were ruined for them by their parents' terrible cooking decisions. From a distaste for seasoning to cooking all meat beyond recognition, people detailed the food choices they had to relearn later in life. So get comfortable, grab a snack, and get to scrolling. Be sure to upvote your favorites and comment your own experiences below. We also got in touch with satelliteboi who made the initial post to learn more.
All food. It wasn't until I was a young adult that I discovered that food could be good. My mother would buy a nice premium cut of beef -- tenderloin -- and fry it in a frying pan for a good 30 minutes and then add ample water and boil it until it was well and truly inedible. I grew up thinking eating was a chore.
Tuna sandwiches and boiled chicken. My younger sister was a very picky eater and for a long time relied on those as protein staples. The stench of boiled chicken was a constant in our home. As soon as the sulfur odor had faded from one chicken, it was time to boil another. This went on for about 5 years. One day when I was 14, after a solid 3 months of tuna sandwiches for lunch (and often dinner), I burst into tears and pleaded to eat something, *anything* else! My mom knew I was an adventurous eater that liked just about everything, but to make things easier, she fed me my sister's extremely limited diet.
Nearly 30 years later I can't bring myself to eat canned tuna or boiled chicken. Blech.
Mushrooms. I grew up in a country where everyone picked mushrooms from the woods. Then people would soak them in salty water, then boil for 40+ mins and then use it in cooking, like frying or in stuffing. They literally had no taste and the texture was awful. So I came home one day (I was 30 years old at that time) and we picked some amazing fresh porcinis and I just lightly fried them with garlic, pork belly and thyme. Everyone’s mind was blown lol
Bored Panda got in touch with satelliteboi who initiated the discussion online. Firstly, we were curious about why he posed this question to the internet. “Okay, I made the post because I had recently told the story to a few friends separately and they had found it pretty funny, especially my POC friends who give me trouble for having “white people” tolerance (and I take that in stride, no harm meant or done by those comments).”
“I was wondering if anyone else had had a similar situation with their family or what else might’ve been ruined by the way someone was fed growing up,” they shared with Bored Panda. Before the internet, it seemed like bad cooking ran in generations, but now we all have the luxury to improve and learn.
Lasagna. My oldest sister had a brain tumor when she was 9-10. I was 4-5. We were very fortunate to have friends and family rally around us. But what is the practical choice when you bring a family a premade dinner? Lasagna or some type of hot dish.
As a teenager i couldn’t figure out why I didn’t like lasagna. Everyone else seemed to like lasagna. I recall numerous times at a friends house for dinner forcing myself to eat lasagna or trying to push it around on my plate to be respectful.
My middle sister one day told me she didn’t like it either. Because we ate it like 2 times a week for over a year. There’s probably some psychological factor of it representing the stress and confusion of that time as well.
My mom was a horrible cook, so almost everything. Thank the powers that be for the Food Network and youtube for showing me that food is supposed to be seasoned.
It’s kinda funny, but I’d have to say pizza!!! My great grandmother was pure Sicilian and would make the absolute best pizza every time I visited her. She made everything but the cheese from scratch! Even the sauce came straight from tomato’s grown in her garden. I have yet to find anyone who can make a pizza as good as hers was.
That’s why we asked satelliteboi to share a little about their own cooking journey, particularly about how they learned to make dishes with actual seasoning and flavor. “I learned to cook by watching a lot of YouTube and by cooking dinner with friends. I’m usually more reserved when seasoning my own food because I’m scared to ruin it with too much.”
I was raised in a cult that believed each family should keep a years’ supply of food on hand. As such, most of our meals were from cans.
The worst was the canned carrots. They were salty, had a strange smell, and had the consistency of baby food. We had them three times a week, and I was not allowed to leave the table until I finished everything on my plate. There were times I didn’t get to bed until midnight because I was trying to chose those carrots down.
To this day, I can not stand cooked carrots. I can do maybe roasted if I am in the right mood, but it has to still be mostly crunchy.
Beans. My mother’s beans were always hard. Worst was rice and beans.
First time I had soft beans, I was shocked.
My Asian mum is an amazing cook. However, when it comes to western food, she has interesting takes. Bolognese is more like a mincemeat curry served with pasta and she would actually eat her portion with rice instead. Her shepherds pie was littered with raw chillies. The worst was her scrambled eggs. She would add sugar and cook it till it resembled pellets.
Now, I know sweet scrambled eggs or omelettes exist but this was neither of those. I was so used to sugary scrambled eggs that I was incredibly insulted at the soft salted version offered to me by a friends mum. I ate it of course and made no complaints but I secretly thought she was a bad cook. I later came to realise that this version was far superior!
“Little by little I started adding more once I’d seen people around me using their spices liberally, but I still usually stick to my basics, salt, pepper (a little), onion powder, and garlic powder,” they shared. Many of the stories in this post follow a similar pattern, of slow, hesitant experimentation until the fear of a spice rack is finally broken.
Darling mother loves dill. Will put it on or in anything she can. My siblings and I won’t touch the stuff…ever…
Beef here. My dad over cooked steaks to the point that knives couldn't cut it and eating it was a chore. I moved to Korea almost two decades ago and Korean beef (similar to Wagyu) opened my eyes to this new world of meat.
We were also curious about how satelliteboi handles spice now that they have some experience. “My spice tolerance is not great. I still get uncomfortable with too much black pepper in my food, but I’m trying to push myself and try spicy things. I’ll munch on spicy chips, but only a few at a time, with a cup of water close by.”
Beef stroganoff- I blame Hamburger Helper, specifically.
Grew up with a mom who made this often (cheap, easy to make.) Now, the smell of it makes my stomach turn.
I was a picky eater growing up, but in retrospect, I've always wondered if the food was just bad.
I moved to London when I was 20 and it was the first time I could try foods from parts of the world I didn't grow up in. Turns out I love Indian. Turns out I love a lot of food that isn't bland.
My family might have done me a favor though, because now I try new things well into adulthood and I'm still discovering tastes I love.
Apple Pie. When I was a kid, and we visit McDonald's sometimes for breakfast. I saw Apple pie on the menu and asked if I can try that. My Mom said cooked apples will not taste nice. In fact, fruits are supposed to be eaten raw and not cooked.
When I started working, I had the freedom to eat whatever I like. I ordered apple pie and I loved it instantly.
But in general, they were happy about the discussion the initial post prompted. “I’m overall glad how well the post was received. It helped me know I’m not alone in having food reservations based on how I was raised and fed growing up. I also got a lot of tips for increasing my spice tolerance and I'm grateful to the community for that.” If you want to improve your own cooking game, Bored Panda has got you covered, check out our article on kitchen hacks, or explore some culinary fails.
I couldn't eat ketchup unless it was already on my fast food cheeseburger, and I definitely couldn't use it to dip anything in, until I was like 30. When I was growing up my brother put it on everything, and the smell of it started making me sick, because not only would he drown everything in it, but if he was dipping something in it, he would scoop it so that all of his fingers would drag through the ketchup, and then he'd put his whole hand in his mouth to get extra ketchup. It made me sick. I can enjoy ketchup on some things now though.
There was a brief period of time, not even a year. after my grandmother died that my grandfather was cooking for my brothers and I. Before I took over at 14 out of necessity. He never cooked before. He was very classic old world, went to work and came home to (bad) food she cooked. The most he could cook was warming up a tortilla on the burner and a slice of bologna the same way.
I don't know how or who told him about it but he discovered Mrs. Dash seasoning after someone also told him that salt in anything was going to kill you. And it became the main ingredient of everything. Potatoes, eggs, heated up pasta sauce, on Spam, on white rice. Everything. No salt. Maybe a little pepper. To this day almost 30 years later. I cannot even look at Mrs. Dash in the spice aisle without feeling honestly nauseated. God I still remember the smell of it. There was 5-6 jars of it at all times in my cupboard. He went through a jar or more a week. This was like PTSD for me. I still see it in my mind. Dreading anything he made because it would only taste like that stuff.
Looking back the reason I hated vegetables is because they were always straight from a can and into the microwave with no seasoning.
Like a lot of people: vegetables.
My dad liked his vegetables cooked to mush, even more so as he has gotten older and his teeth have gotten worse, so my mum placated him and overcooked vegetables. She also never used any seasoning, not even salt and pepper. Turns out that vegetables are great when cooked properly and seasoned just right.
Bologna. We had it constantly. That's all they would ever buy. Sandwiches. Fried on egg sandwiches. Cut up and mixed with eggs. I can't even stand to smell it.
My mom ruined a couple of meals for me, but in a different way. Her meat loaf and goulash were some of my favorites. Even with her recipes, I can't recreate the flavors. So they're ruined in that hers were so good that none others can live up to it.
My dad is a decent cook, but one of his quirks is that he doesn't like to waste food. Which is fine, except for how he does it.
We had a wedding reception catered by a local Italian restaurant. The next day he made French toast...
...with the garlic bread.
My mom has 5 recipes in her whole cooking repertoire and my entire childhood was either eating these on repeat or fast food. And my parents would get hooked on a fast food joint and we would eat there once a week till they got tired and moved on to another.
I HATE lemon pepper chicken like nothing else in this world.
And the thought of going to a primo burger groses me out.
Twizzlers. My dad loved Twizzlers, and so did I. Then he died unexpectedly.
He wouldn’t listen to me about getting vaccinated or masking, he got COVID (though was “just” sick at home for a week), and then 2 months later he suddenly died.
Anyway, now I can’t eat Twizzlers without being sad.
Cliche for the time period but Pork. Dry, dry, dry Pork. They overcooked all the meats so I could have overcome this. Except for the constant Parasite stories and the stories that if you get sick once every time after if you’re even near it will make you sick again. I eat the crispiest bacon and sausages.
I was almost ruined for spice (still can't handle more than mild-leaning-medium salsa) similarly. My mom used to make, for instance, chicken soups/stews/etc with 6+ cups of water... and *one* bullion cube. Maybe a little salt & some pre-ground black pepper so old it could vote. Luckily that little bit was apparently enough to save me from total spice intolerance.
Also almost ruined was salmon- throughout my childhood baked 45 minutes at 350, with slices of oranges on it the entire time (so they get burned and turn bitter af, a flavor they impart to the salmon itself) Pork chops, steak, and plenty of other meats got a similar "40-45 minutes at 350" treatment but the salmon was especially bad.
Always bought the largest ones. They almost always had a “woody” texture because the proteins grew too fast and didn’t have time to develop properly. I always mentioned that three small ones cost the same as two large ones but was always shrugged off.
They were also unseasoned and usually dry.
My grandmother ruined ribs for me. My mother says they were “country pork style” ribs though I honestly have no idea. All I know is they were almost all pure fat and then she would steam/boil-ish them in bbq sauce so none of the fat would render or get crispy or anything so when they were ‘done’ it just felt like slime in your mouth 🤮
To this day I can’t look at any kind of ribs without my stomach turning… and I LOVE bbq as a general rule. I’ve tried to eat them again but just seeing them brings back such strong memories of any time we were at my grandparents for more than a few days (like Thanksgiving or Christmas) ribs would be made as one of the meals and I’d either have to eat them or eat nothing so even with what are clearly properly cooked ribs I just still can’t get past ‘all that’
Of course, my sons favorite food is ribs 🤷🏻♀️🤣
Not food but ingredient, rosemary. They put way too much every chance they got, I was in my 30s before I was able to try it again
Every version of pork chops was dry as the desert, heat blasted til it was gray in the middle.
Carrots. When I was about 8 or 9, I got a really bad case of conjunctivitis. On top of the medical treatment and eye drops, my mom was dead set on drowning me in carrot juice because of the popular belief that eating carrots is good for your eyes. So she took that to the next level, buying kilos of carrots weekly and juicing them every morning. I would sit in the morning at the kitchen table, tears streaming down my face, gagging, with my mom begging me to finish up the glass of juice. No other fruit mixed in could help mask that horrible taste.
I couldn't stand carrots in any food for years. Not boiled, roasted, finely grated, nothing. Once I started cooking myself, I slowly was able to incorporate them back into my diet and actually enjoy them roasted or even grated in salads. But snacking on raw carrots is just a big NO for me, and the smell of carrot juice still makes me gag to this day.
My father is anything except a decent cook, and one day when I was a kid he decided to try and make a "superfood smoothie" for shits and giggles. It consisted of bananas, unwashed kale, raw spinach, walnuts, chia seeds, raw oats, and ice. He just about killed the poor blender and it tasted distinctly of swamp. Still can't have bananas without becoming nauseated.
I made my parents some zucchini and used some black pepper and my Dad wanted to know what the black things were. He didn’t like it.
My parents had odd obsessions with food. Canned asparagus, cold. I’d offer to buy fresh asparagus and steam them. Unnecessary, I was told. The incident of the 100 corns they froze and we ate for 3 1/2 years. Took me *decades* to get over that. Broccoli when I was older. It’s one of my favorite vegetables - but, not just steamed and served, salt less and butter free. Cauliflower is exceedingly good - but not just boiled and served with some melted orange cheese goo. When I would make dinner for them I’d be careful to add such scandalous things as thyme, marjoram and maybe bay to sauces.
My mom ruined spaghetti, lasagna, hamburger helper and oatmeal for me. Constantly made dishes and had to eat as leftovers for like a week. Or having only oatmeal for breakfast every day I’m burnt out on it and never crave it.
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