In last week's issue of Creative Loafing, we celebrated the best of what Charlotte has to offer. Just to be contrary, this week's Chew On This column will list the worst of food-related stuff. No readers were polled, and the opinions here are mine alone.
WORST WASTE OF KITCHEN COUNTER SPACE
The Electric Can Opener
If you have arthritis or another debilitating condition, the electric can opener can be a boon. But if you're perfectly healthy and your hands can grip, get out that hand-crank can opener. How lazy can you get?
WORST NUT IN A CAN OF MIXED NUTS
The Brazil Nut
It's big, it's bland, it's boring. Hey, Mr. Peanut, ditch the Brazil nuts and give us more cashews!
WORST SO-CALLED "DELICACY"
Pate de Foie Gras
I'm squeamish about eating any organ meats, but force-feeding a goose or duck six pounds of corn a day until its liver is more than 10 times its normal size -- just so it can be slaughtered to provide a gourmet morsel -- is especially abhorrent.
WORST ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER CON JOB
"It tastes like sugar because it's made from sugar." You know what? Sugar tastes like sugar because it is sugar. True, refined sugar has lots of calories, can rot your teeth, and is really bad for diabetics. But at least we know what's wrong with eating too much of it. There's been very little human testing of sucralose (Splenda), and one long-term human toxicity studies -- published after the FDA approved sucralose for human consumption -- lasted only three months -- hardly the length of time most Splenda users plan to keep ingesting it. If the only reason you're using Splenda or any other artificial sweetener is because you want to cut back on calories, try just using less sugar. And that no-cal lure of artificial sweeteners? Studies have shown that people who drink diet soft drinks often gain weight because they think they can eat more since they've saved all those calories in their beverages.
WORST KITCHEN TOOL
The Garlic Press
You stick a garlic clove in this contraption, squeeze the handles together, and smooshed up garlic oozes out of the little holes. You could mince a clove or smash it with the broad side of a big knife and get the same results without having to use toothpicks to clean all the remnants of garlic from those tiny openings.
Call it mayo, call it aioli, call it Miracle Whip. To me, that white gooey stuff is one of the most disgusting substances on the planet. But that's just me. I know people who eat it by the tablespoonful.
WORST WAY TO EAT A BURGER
Why not just slap a Brillo pad on a bun? If you're going to eat red meat once in awhile, it's at its most flavorful when it's still somewhat pink. That way, it won't be all dried out, requiring globs of the aforementioned mayonnaise or some other wet stuff to make it go down.
There you have it. The first of the totally biased "worst" lists. More may follow in a future column.