This post has been updated.
Please quote tweet this with your most controversial food opinion, I love controversial food opinions— Jon Becker (@jonbecker_) November 19, 2019
People, from well-known figures in the food world to celebrities (hey, everybody eats — and has opinions, right?), had fun with the challenge. They trashed beets, mayonnaise (so many mayo-haters!), various styles of pizza, and pineapples on pizza (I thought we had been through that already?) in dramatically absolute terms.
“No rice has ever been good,” one user proclaimed. “Lobster is a tasteless sea cockroach,” another declared. Comic Jim Belushi labeled onions “disgusting.”
Here’s mine: onions are disgusting - you’ll never change my mind— Cannabis Farmer: Jim Belushi (@JimBelushi) November 24, 2019
But the poll, which mirrored similar exercises in which people shared their possibly unpopular takes on movies and sports, predictably devolved.
The controversy really reached a boil when Tom Nichols, a professor and author who is a prominent conservative critic of President Trump, replied to the prompt: “Indian food is terrible and we pretend it isn’t.”
Some people took issue with his palate. “Do you not have tastebuds?” retorted TV personality Padma Lakshmi.
Do you not have tastebuds? https://t.co/o2IVYsrr8R— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) November 24, 2019
Others criticized him for dismissing a vast and varied cuisine, with some calling his response racist.
Today in white male solipsism.— Shailja Patel (@shailjapatel) November 23, 2019
From the school of "women comedians are terrible" and "non-white literatures are terrible" and "hip-hop is terrible" and "anything that doesn't cater to me and reinforce my conviction that I am the center of the universe is terrible."
We who? pic.twitter.com/qLFlHCvoJ1
Still others defended him. And Nichols was defiant, posting that he simply does not enjoy spicy food. In fact, on Tuesday, he penned an op-ed for USA Today calling people who had criticized him for failing to understand the breadth of the cuisine “well meaning but misguided” (he’s been to “numerous Indian restaurants” and didn’t like any). And the idea that his comments smacked of racism? “This was all lunacy, of course,” he wrote.
ABC senior national correspondent Terry Moran similarly got dragged for his contribution to the solicitation: “Chinese food is tired,” he tweeted. “It’s boring, gloppy, over-salted and utterly forgettable.” That, too, prompted social media eyerolls.
I can’t with this website today. https://t.co/LTXAwvI7Ef— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) November 24, 2019
When your “controversial food opinion” just seems like racism 🤷🏻♀️ pic.twitter.com/zsX9xaWw17— JenniFEAR de Guzman Strikes Again (@Jennifer_deG) November 24, 2019
And as the controversy spread, many people grew tired of the exercise more generally.
It’s surprisingly fun watching the “controversial food opinion” debate speed toward its inevitably violent conclusion. pic.twitter.com/cPFUhTtctb— Saeed Jones (@theferocity) November 24, 2019
I loved all your controversial food opinions so glad you finally have a defined personality trait now.— jesus pizza (@shitfoodblogger) November 24, 2019
San Francisco chef Pim Techamuanvivit might have had the very best response to the thread and the fights that it had stirred. In a tweet that also went viral, she wrote that in Thai, instead of saying that you “don’t like” a food, you instead say you “don’t know how to eat this.” That expression, she wrote, represents a more generous way of looking at food — and maybe at the world, too.
“‘I don’t know how to eat this’ implies that no food, no cuisine is inherently bad,” she wrote. “It leaves open a possibility that maybe, just maybe, if we learn how to appreciate it properly, we might even end up liking it. Might not be such a bad idea to start saying this in English too?”
And, hey, it takes up far less than 280 characters.
“I don’t know how to eat this” implies that no food, no cuisine is inherently bad. It leaves open a possibility that maybe, just maybe, if we learn how to appreciate it properly, we might even end up liking it.— Pim Techamuanvivit (@chezpim) November 24, 2019
Might not be such a bad idea to start saying this in English too?
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