My top five horror foods

While OCD does mean that I'm worried about the threat of germs and contamination when it comes to cooking, it does not mean that all of my interactions with food are problematic.  I am very cautious when it comes to eating meat and fish, and I'll never eat a sandwich without opening it up first, but this is just a more exaggerated version of food-based common sense.  In my eyes, anyway.  However, I can enjoy most foods with only one or two OCD questions (are you sure this is cooked through?  Did you wash your hands after you touched this?  Will you try this first?) and it does not prevent me from trying new things.

There are, however, a few foods that I do struggle with, particularly during the cooking process.  Here they are in reverse order, concluding with my number 1 food phobia.


Many mushrooms
5) MUSHROOMS.  Now, there was a time when I wouldn't even eat mushrooms.  They've got that weird texture and earthy flavour that is quite off-putting for a fussy kid.  But they've grown on me (not literally) and I'm now quite partial to them in pasta sauces, casseroles and the like.  However, having grown up in the countryside surrounded by poisonous varieties that look exactly like their edible cousins, I'm always convinced that the pickers will have made a mistake and popped a killer into my pack of chestnut mushrooms.  And they're always muddy, making them a major handwash headache during cooking.

4) EGGS.  Salmonella is the issue here.  And guidelines like this don't help, seeing as they rule out the delight of a soft-boiled egg.  I'm less bothered by eggs than the CDC though, mainly because I grew up eating Mum's leftover cake mix out of the bowl.  I don't think I ever got sick from that but, as my OCD worsened, I stopped eating anything containing raw egg, thus losing one of the simplest pleasures of childhood.  I bake a lot so I've had to get used to handling eggs, but it remains a handwashing hassle.  And don't get me started on the ones that have chickenshit on the shell.


Mahi-mahi meat, apparently
3) FISH.  Like a lot of people, I just don't know where to start with cooking most types of fish. Some you can have virtually raw; others need quite careful cooking.  The bones are also a massive problem for me.  Even anchovies, which I absolutely love the taste of, are too bony for me to eat regularly (and I fuss every time, trust me).  At home, I tend to go for fillets of fish like salmon or the fuss-free steaks of tuna.  I'd like to try more but I'm not ready for that just yet.

2) PORK.  Anything that's full of worms has got to be a bit creepy, right?  Although the incidence of poisoning from pork is relatively low now, logic and rational thought rarely beat the OCD voices. I've never been a massive pork fan anyway, so it doesn't feature too heavily in my weekly shopping lists.  The taste can be a bit bland and it's easy to cook badly but it would be nice to be able to approach it without fear.
Uncooked chicken legs

1) CHICKEN.  Could it really be anything else?  One of my favourite meats as well, thanks to its tender meat and versatile flavour.  However, it's one of the worst foods for food poisoning and, as an ASDA shopper, I appear to have more reasons than most to be nervous.  Preparing it tends to provide lots of opportunities for mess and contamination. It sticks to knives and chopping boards as if it wants to make you sick.  I might be able to get away without pork for the most part (pulled pork is very much an exception) but chicken is just too delicious to cut out entirely.  I'm not going to be tackling poultry any time soon but, if I don't, I'll never be able to say I've beaten my food OCD.  It is my Everest. *dramatic sigh*

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