Department of Human Resources

“Food Repulsions: Breaking the Cycle of Shame”

By Karen Costa



I do not like olives.  That is an understatement.  When I think of olives, I shift uncomfortably in my chair.  Sometimes I get a little acid in the back of my throat, a precursor to mouth vomit.  I have never eaten a whole olive in my life.  Unfortunately, I sometimes get the little black pieces in food I order and I pick those out.  I see people eating olives, sometimes on toothpicks, sometimes dipping their fingers right into a jar of olives, and I think, “That is disgusting.  What is wrong with you?”  But I don’t say that out loud.  I just say, “Oh I’m not a huge olive fan.”


The thing is, it is really weird that I don’t like olives, because I love salty things.  I typically eat one bag of tortilla chips each day.  I like chips of all kinds.  When I was little I put potato chips into my sandwiches and made chip sandwiches.  I also really like vegetables.  I think olives are a vegetable right?  Even though they should have their own food group, which I would name “Gross Things,” they must be a vegetable.  And I love vegetables.  I eat them all day long if I’m not too full from all the tortilla chips.  So why don’t I like olives?  It kind of bugs me.


My olive repulsion got me thinking about food repulsions, something I don’t think has been discussed enough in our culture.  I’m not talking about foods that just aren’t your favorite.  Like crackers are just okay to me.  I will eat them, but they neither thrill nor disgust me.  Some people go apeshit for muffins.  I guess they are all right but I’m like whatever.  You know you have a food repulsion if you actually look away from the food when you see it, the mere sight of it causing mouth vomit.


After some deep reflection, I realized I have one other food repulsion.  I am completely repulsed by lima beans.  When I just typed lima beans, I got the chills.  I just got the chills again.  I’m going to stop typing it, but you know what I’m talking about now.  I wish they didn’t exist.   I can remember my mother cooking them when I was a kid, and since my parents were old school about food, we had to sit at the dinner table until we ate our vegetables.  I would sit and stare at them, willing them to magically disappear from my plate.  Oh god, I just Google imaged them and it completely freaked me out.  They look like little green kidneys.


I think I’ve finally found the answer though.  If you are repulsed by a food that logic predicts you should like, clearly your aversion stems from a past life.  One of my friends just wrote to me on Facebook that she is repulsed by apple pie and also by frozen strawberries in strawberry ice cream.  That doesn’t make any sense.  In a past life, I think she was maybe murdered in a bakery or ice cream shop.  Right?  Another friend of mine is repulsed by water chestnuts.  They don’t even have any taste.  What happened to her in her past lives to repulse her like this?


My work here is done.  Even though ignorance is bliss, were you really living a full life, not knowing that your extreme distaste for apple pie and water chestnuts was from a past life?  Maybe now that we know, we can move forward.  Not that I’m ever going to eat an olive or a lima bean again, but at least I can let go of some of this guilt I’ve been carrying over my food repulsion.  It’s not my fault, and it’s not yours either.





“It’s All About Presentation”

By Joel Metlen



Sorry if my flash disturbed your dinner. I don’t mean to intrude, but the waiter just brought me my nachos. I want to get at least three or four shots while they’re still steaming and the cheese has the magnificent, liquid gloss. Not to brag, but I’m sort of a pro when it comes to photographing food. I mean, I haven’t been paid for my work—yet. But I don’t do it for the money. I’m in it for the art.


In the beginning, I just used my iPhone. Sure, that tiny lens wasn’t the sharpest, and the flash blew everything out, but you couldn’t beat the convenience. I could whip it out anywhere: the McDonalds drive through, that romantic dinner at Olive Garden, my Aunt Elly’s wake, where they were serving these awesome little hors d’oeuvres with spinach filling. Once you add a little Instagram filtering, presto, that photo looks damn near professional, like it could have come from a high end SLR.


Hold on one second. I just need to get a shot of my girlfriend’s burger. This won’t take long. Sure, sometimes she gets a little impatient as a snap a frame or two, especially when her food turns cold. And yeah, she threatened to leave me after we got kicked out of Per Se because I was “upsetting the other patrons,” but she knows how important it is that I get my shot. How could I ever enjoy a meal otherwise? After I ate it, there’d be nothing left—no mouth-watering image to gaze upon later and evoke the specter of those delicious flavors.


Of course you’re probably saying to yourself now, “Hey, that’s no iPhone you got there,” and you’re right. After a few years, I decided to up my game. As much as I loved my iPhone, I was tired of sacrificing quality for convenience. That’s why I now go with the Canon EOS-1D X with its 18.1 Megapixel sensor. I just pop on an EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM lens, set up my 500 watt Sylvania lights on their AC stands with an umbrella to add diffusion, and fire away. Oh, by the way, make sure to watch your step as you pass by our table; sometimes people trip on the extension cords.


What do I do with all these photos you may ask? Well mostly I share them with friends on Facebook; although for some reason I seem to have a lot less friends now than I used to. Two weeks ago, I realized that even my mom had defriended me. What’s that all about? But hey, my photos are for those who truly appreciate the art of capturing a great meal. Now, don’t worry. I’ll be done here in a minute or two. Please go back to enjoying your dinner. There’s just one more angle I’d like to try …

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