What’s Your Least-Favorite Herb or Spice?

Where the heck did that question come from? Well, yesterday I was eating yet another healthy frozen meal, and detected a distinct note of tarragon. Ick, I am not very fond of tarragon. It’s always in there ruining the flavor of chicken or green beans. Ugh. Those thoughts surprised me, because I think of myself as someone who loves all the little plants, seeds, and tasty bits that add flavor to food.

Tarragon is lurking in here. Image by  @JosiEpic via Twenty20.

But nope, I do not like tarragon. Sorry, plant. To be honest, dill doesn’t thrill me, either. I remember a period where I was eating a lot of my step-mother’s cooking. Flo would not cook with garlic, because she said it made her stink (and as a professional photographer, she had to get close to a lot of people). Instead, she seemed to sprinkle dill on everything. I understood fish and eggs. Those commonly get covered in dill (which I remove). But she ruined her wonderful roast vegetables with it, put it on mashed potatoes, etc. I suffered in silence.

Dill is so pretty, and easy to grow, though! And butterflies/caterpillars love it. Image by  @JulieK via Twenty20

On the other hand, I love most other spices and herbs, even some of the less popular ones. And I like hot things, too. Lucky me.

Lee won’t eat anything with “curry” flavor. So there go my beloved turmeric, coriander, and cumin. He always declares that things he doesn’t like have cumin in them, even when I know there isn’t any in there.

How can you not love curry? Image by @melaniephoto via Twenty20.
Tastes like delicious to me. Lee makes them leave is mostly out in guacamole when he has a choice. Boo hoo. Image by @melaniephoto via Twenty20.

And of course, there are the people who find coriander tastes like soap. They can’t help that, it’s a gene. I admit it is a bit odd, but it’s a flavor I just love.

And some people have allergies, like my friend Elizabeth, who had to give up her dream job as a chef when she found out how super-allergic she is to rosemary.

I’m not sure why I like some flavors and not others. But, I’m curious as to what herbs and spices ruin food for the rest of you. I look forward to your responses, whether on the blog or elsewise!

Now, this was a random Blogmas topic you could use in your own blog, right? Have a spicy day!

Do You Have a Label You Just Don’t Like?

For the past few days, I’ve been noticing that I cringe when I hear certain words used to label people or things in conversation, on social media, or on television. Some of these are words I know bother other people (like “gypsy,” for personal and business names that the Romani/Romanichal folks would not be fond of because the people using the term aren’t referring to actual gypsies, or naming your pets “Dixie” or “Cracker” or other loaded Southern words in today’s climate).*

The Roma wagons are so cool, though. Image by @Loreke76 via Twenty20

Others are just me. I realize that, for some reason, I do not like the word “cheap” when applied to things you buy. I think my internal definition in my idiolect has more to do with poor quality than low cost. In my mind when people say they want a cheap thing, they are saying that they pay more attention to the price of a thing than to how well it will work or how long it will serve, a short-term viewpoint. So, I never refer to things I obtain as cheap. They are inexpensive, which doesn’t have the poor quality connotation that’s really a secondary definition of cheapness. To me.

Yeah, economical, not cheap!

Back to the first group of words I don’t like, most of them appear to be words that apply to cultural, racial, or national groups. I just recently began to cringe when I hear “Latinx,” after hearing someone say no actual Latino or Latina person would use that word, since it isn’t even Spanish. To them it sounds like white people went and made up a word to solve a problem that didn’t really exist. People who speak Spanish don’t take grammatical gender as literally as English speakers do. How about that? Should I use “Hispanic?” That one has its own issues. Maybe I’ll just call people by their names or refer to their country or origin if they aren’t from the US.

As for these Mexicans, in Mexico, let’s use that term. It was either these guys or some pan flute players. I like mariachi music better than those flutes, which aren’t Mexican anyway.

I guess I know how much people treasure their cultural identities, so I want to use the words members of a particular culture prefer to use, even if they change as time goes on. It would be a LOT easier if there was universal agreement, though. I actually knew someone who preferred “negro” to “Black” or “African American.” Plus, the AA term really doesn’t apply to actual Africans or people from the Caribbean who have moved here. ARGH.

One thing the current movement toward acknowledging the great variety of gender terminology and preferences has taught me is this: it never hurts to ASK someone how they want to be referred to. So, if you don’t know, ASK if a Cajun wants to be called that. ASK what your “indigenous” friend likes their cultural identity to be called.

Let’s call this woman “Quechua” and her alpaca beautiful.

Just don’t be cheap about it. Don’t gyp me. Don’t try to jew me down. When did you start to cringe in this extra cringeworthy paragraph? Do you see why I prefer to be careful with labels and their derivations? It’s not just me being a liberal snowflake (by the way, each snowflake is unique and beautiful, so thanks for calling me that, frenemies!).

Signed,

Suna, she/her, McLeod of the Clan McLeod**


*I have known many dogs named Dixie, and it didn’t use to be controversial. Times change.

**Way too fond of one branch of my Ancestry family tree, perhaps?

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