Meat Pies and Food Aversions

In this week’s assignment on French Fridays with Dorie, we were challenged to prepare hachis parmentier.

Now, SoupAddict is not a speaker of French, and had no idea what that is. Further, SoupAddict first misread the name, seeing “haggis” instead of “hachis.”

Now, ya’ll know what haggis is, dontcha? (SoupAddict will pause while you google it.) Thaaaaat’s right. Sheep innards, suet, and other ingredients that can’t possibly compensate for the fact that it’s offal and deep body fat stuffed into a sheep stomach casing.

Scottish tradition dictates that the dish be served with whiskey. (Certainly no explanation is needed there.)

You can see why SoupAddict was extremely concerned at this most unexpected turn of events.

She was, however, immediately relieved when, flipping to its recipe in the book, there was no sign of sheep innards in the ingredient list.

But the relief was only momentary as she focused on the picture of the dish: why, it’s a shepherd’s pie. A meat pie. [shudder]

Meat pie [shudder]. SoupAddict has a huge problem with meat pies. Huge. They make SoupAddict’s tummy go flippity-flop. And not in a good way, like when you crest a hill in your car going too fast, and you experience that awesome little tingly drop in your midsection. Not that SoupAddict ever crests hills going too fast. No, sir. That was all Father of SoupAddict, back when whipper-snapper SoupAddict was merely SoupInclined, and FoSA would take the family station wagon flying over a particularly favorite neighborhood hill. SoupAddict did not inherit station wagon flying tendencies from FoSA. To wit: SoupAddict does not own a station wagon. She owns a snappy little V6 Cougar. Which she does not drive too fast. No, sir.

It’s been weeks now since the haggis misunderstanding occurred, but SoupAddict still has not come to terms with the meat pie, which got her to thinking philosophically about food aversions.

Clinically speaking, food aversions range from things we just don’t like the taste or texture of, to things that make us positively ill at the mere thought of eating because of a past experience (like coming down with the flu and associating the accompanying, um, flu activities with what you had for dinner), to an innate defense mechanism evolved to help us reject flavors that signal poisonous foods.

SoupAddict has several food aversions in addition to meat pies [shudder], the most prominent being flaked coconut. It’s purely a texture thing, as SoupAddict loves coconut in its liquid form. But one teeny-tiny hint of flaked coconut, and SoupAddict is immediately in danger of involuntarily expelling said coconut. If you get what she means.

Meet SoupAddict’s worst nightmare (right): the coconut-covered bunny cake. The cake that started it all. On Easter Day, many, many moons ago, SoupInclined took one innocent bite of a cute, floppy ear and spent the remainder of dessert time gagging in the bathroom.

To this very day, SoupAddict avoids bakeries like the plague around Easter, because she just cannot face down The Bunny.

SoupAddict is also witness to an astounding myriad of food aversions at work, where her colleagues are frequent guinea pigs of her baked goods. Boss of SoupAddict will not consume anything that has espresso or Bailey’s in it. (Although unbeknownst to him, SoupAddict has tested the veracity and nature of this aversion. She baked brownies with espresso powder, and he didn’t like the brownies. And then she baked more brownies — the same brownies — with espresso powder, but told BoSA there was no espresso powder in it. He ate two. At least. Fascinating how the mind works. And how easily SoupAddict lies about her baked goods. “Is there espresso in this brownie?” “Nooohohooo. No. No.”)

Another poor soul refuses to eat the following: nuts, cinnamon, eggs, white condiments (mayo, cream cheese, sour cream, creme fraiche), mustard of any sort, sweet-and-salty mixed together, cold sandwiches, salads, vegetables that in any way resemble their native forms (e.g., tomatoes, no; tomato sauce, yes) and mushrooms. The only thing SoupAddict can feed this poor soul is a bowl of ganache (and SoupAddict does not have the heart to tell her that there is heavy cream in said ganache, which might have a texture too close to sour cream to pass the not-a-white-condiment requirement).


While SoupAddict struggles to overcome her nonsensical issues with meat pies — seriously, look at Dorie’s hachis parmentier … what’s not to like about this … cheesy mashed potatoes over perfectly seasoned beef — she would love to hear about your food aversions – please share your story in the comments!

Update! Dorie recently shared this recipe on NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130921453.

This post is participating in French Fridays with Dorie, a blogging project where we cook our way each week through the recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s new cookbook, Around My French Table. Given the book’s newborn status, we’ve been requested to not post the recipe. SoupAddict hopes that you’ll understand and will perhaps be inspired to either buy the book or seek out a recipe of a similar nature to try on your own. Or better yet, join us on French Fridays with Dorie!

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