10 Ingredients That Can Instantly Ruin Any Dish


AUTHOR: Ben Rice

Are there certain ingredients that you just can't stand in your meals? While some ingredients may ruin a dish for one person, another may love it. In this post, we'll explore 10 ingredients that could potentially ruin a meal, depending on your personal taste preferences. Whether you love them or hate them, these ingredients are worth keeping in mind when cooking up your next dish.

What Does The Public Say?

Somebody started a debate recently, inviting an online community to share their dreaded ingredient. So here are some popular — or unpopular — choices as voted by the general foodie public.

1. Celery

Anybody who enjoys a bloody Mary or buffalo wings and dip swears by celery. Like olives, cucumber, or cilantro, celery has such a distinct flavor that it can contaminate a dish even after removal. So naturally, Italian cooks were up in arms. Celery is in the Holy Trinity of sauce vegetables, onion, garlic, and celery.

2. Liquid Smoke

When liquid smoke appears in a link, you know real foodies are involved. I have never tried this one, but I am a fan of real smoke in my meat. However, the consensus here was that chefs are overusing this potent flavoring to the detriment of their recipes.

3. Licorice or Anise

Did you know licorice is the stem of a flowering plant? There was particular malice toward this strange ingredient. Even though seeing it in a recipe is rare, some chefs use it in desserts; others even cook it with meat. The famous sweet snack comes from the juice of the licorice plant Glycyrrhiza Glabra.

4. Rose Water

Rose water is not prominent in western cooking. When used in moderation, rose water adds a rich, perfume note to Middle-Eastern desserts and pastries. However, western chefs struggle to judge the amount needed, leading to rose-flavored everything. Nobody wants that.

5. Cilantro

I like to call cilantro Taco's frenemy because just the right amount works with the spicy meat filling; get it wrong, and you have ruined a perfect relationship.

When used in excess, cilantro becomes an obnoxious flavor for some people. Chopping it into fine pieces mitigates getting a leaf stuck in your gums — which borders on trauma for some.

6. Olives

A hilarious reaction to this suggestion was an allusion to the "just pick out the olives" trope. This poster then declared that the instruction was defunct.

Removing olives is pointless if the taste and smell of a rotting carcass have contaminated your food." I can empathize, although a toasted bagel with olive tapenade and cream cheese tastes wonderful.

7. Capers

A funny exchange over the thread saw one commenter show love for capers, saying how one quart is nine dollars at Costco. A responder replies that they would pay that amount to never have them in a meal again. The latter statement fills my heart with love fuelled by a shared hatred of this ingredient.

8. Truffle Oil

One of the most expensive items on the list is truffles, which wealthy people (or those with a truffle-hunting mammal) shave onto their pasta or risotto. However, many in the thread waxed lyrically about their hatred of truffle oil ruining their fries or pasta dish.

9. Cucumber

Cucumbers have an image problem. In unpeeled form, it resembles a diseased, wart-covered green bioweapon. When peeled and shaved, some people swear by the healing properties of a very healthy vegetable. However, like celery, cucumber has that knack for flavoring everything in the dish, even after being discarded.

10. Green Bell Peppers

The green bell pepper is unlike its more popular yellow and green siblings. For some reason, people just don't feel the green member. I am not on this wagon, though I will concede they are my least favorite capsicum variety. If green peppers are fire roasted, they can be good. However, in raw form, the bitterness is a turn-off.

This thread inspired this post.

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