I have been all over the world cooking and eating and training under extraordinary chefs. And the two food guys I would most like to go on a road trip with are Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlmann, both of whom I have met, and who are genuinely awesome guys, hysterically funny and easy to be with. But as much as I want to be the Batgirl in that trio, I fear that I would be woefully unprepared. Because an essential part of the food experience that those two enjoy the most is stuff that, quite frankly, would make me ralph.
I don't feel overly bad about the offal thing. After all, variety meats seem to be the one area that people can get a pass on. With the possible exception of foie gras, which I wish like heckfire I liked, but I simply cannot get behind it, and nothing is worse than the look on a fellow foodie's face when you pass on the pate. I do love tongue, and off cuts like oxtails and cheeks, but please, no innards.
Blue or overly stinky cheeses, cannot do it. Not a fan of raw tomatoes or tomato juice- again I can eat them, but choose not to if I can help it. Ditto, raw onions of every variety (pickled is fine, and I cannot get enough of them cooked), but I bonded with Scott Conant at the James Beard Awards dinner, when we both went on a rant about the evils of raw onion. I know he is often sort of douchey on television, but he was nice to me, very funny, and the man makes the best freaking spaghetti in tomato sauce on the planet.
I have issues with bell peppers. Green, red, yellow, white, purple, orange. Roasted or raw. Idk. If I eat them raw I burp them up for days, and cooked they smell to me like old armpit. I have an appreciation for many of the other pepper varieties, and cook with them, but the bell pepper? Not my friend.
Spicy isn't so much a preference as a physical necessity. In addition to my chronic and severe gastric reflux, I also have no gallbladder. When my gallbladder and I divorced several years ago, it got custody of anything spicier than my own fairly mild chili, Emily's sesame noodles, and that plastic Velveeta-Ro-Tel dip that I probably shouldn't admit to liking. I'm allowed very occasional visitation rights, but only at my own risk. I like a gentle back-of-the-throat heat to things, but I'm never going to meet you for all-you-can-eat buffalo wings. Mayonnaise squicks me out, except as an ingredient in other things. Avocado's bland oiliness, okra's slickery slime, and don't even get me started on runny eggs.
I know. It's mortifying.