I like a lot of foods people seem to hate. My favorite Thanksgiving pie is mincemeat, not pumpkin. My favorite licorice color is black (red is just a licorice imposter). You can heap any kind of shellfish you want on my plate except oysters. You’ll find blue cheese in my salad and Brussel sprouts cozying up to my steak. But what about “America’s Most Hated Food”? Was I born in the wrong country? Sorry fellow citizens, I must respectfully disagree with the winner of a recent survey on hated foods.  Black or green, stuffed or plain, sliced or diced, there’s nothing quite like the taste of an olive.

Zippia is a job-search engine I’d never heard of, until I came across their just-released survey called The Food Each State Hates the Most.  Zippia’s road to its results is rather unscientific.  First, come up with a list of forty-odd foods where people tend to say, “gross”.  Then, use Google Search Trends to determine which of these foods people look up the least.  Finally, group the search results by state.  After that meandering highway, here’s what you get:

    (Click image to enlarge)

I think Zippia produces these surveys as a clever way to attract customers.  Didn’t work for me – they just insulted my taste buds!  Thirteen of fifty states claim the olive as their most hated food?  Two of those states are California and Georgia, where the lion’s share of America’s olives is grown.  I’m already suspicious.

Not a pile of tires

I’ll grant Zippia’s survey this.  Most people I know don’t care for olives.  They don’t like the look or the smell, and even though they’ll admit to olive oil in their salads and heart-healthy recipes, they’ll still deny any affection for the fruit.  Yes, I said fruit, not vegetable.  Doesn’t that make those little sodium balls a bit more palatable?

The rest of the survey, I can buy.  Anchovies shouldn’t swim anywhere near a pizza (good call, America’s Heartland).  Washington and Oregon residents probably sat next to me in elementary school, overdosing on bologna sandwiches.  Eggplant, ick.  And beets… beets… I’m almost sixty years into this world and have yet to acquire the taste.  Check back with me in the next life.

If the Zippia survey is to be believed, I live in a state where turkey bacon is our most hated food.  Really?  We just bought several pounds of the stuff last weekend at Costco.  It’s not so bad.  On the other hand, olive oil and vinegar stores are trendy around here.  Most markets have an olive bar adjacent to the cheeses.  Meats and breads have been enhanced with bits of olives for years.  And for the really fancy, serve a tapenade with your crackers; a French spread made of finely chopped olives, capers, and anchovies.  Okay, so tapenade’s probably not for everyone.  But I like it.

I developed a taste for olives as a kid because my mother kept tossing them into her casseroles.  Before I knew it I was eating olives as a snack (and what kid hasn’t done the “wave” with one on each finger?)  One regrettable afternoon I downed a whole can of the large black ones before discovering my mother intended them for one of her recipes.  Believe I went to bed with no dinner that night.  At least my belly was full of olives.

[Side note: The only member of my family who likes olives is my daughter.  Maybe I should’ve named her Olivia? I did have a childhood crush on Olivia Newton-John.]

Not “monster eyeballs”

As if you need more proof of my love of olives, you’ll always find several cans in my pantry.  The sliced ones go into my pizzas, salads, and tacos.  The diced ones go into my omelets.  The whole ones sneak onto vegetable trays next to the carrots and celery (when my wife isn’t looking) or I just down ’em by the can.  And their green siblings with the red pimentos jammed down the middle?  They go perfectly with chips ‘n’ dip in front of the TV.

Step aside, America.  Spain produces more olives than any other country.  Italy and Greece aren’t far behind.  It would be appealing enough to live on the sands of the Mediterranean, growing old on their uber-healthy diet.  But also having trees of “America’s Most Hated Food” everywhere you look?  That clinches the deal.  I just might take my O-Love overseas one of these days.

Some content sourced from the Zippia.com article, “The Food Each State Hates The Most”, and Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia”.

Author: Dave

Three hundred posts would suggest I have something to say… This blog was born from a desire to elevate the English language, highlighting eloquent words from days gone by. The stories I share are snippets of life itself, and each comes with a bonus: a dusted-off word I hope you’ll go on to use more often. Read “Deutschland-ish Improvements” to learn about my backyard European wish list. Try “Slush Fun” for the throwback years of the 7-Eleven convenience store. Or drink in "Iced Coffee" to discover the plight of the rural French cafe. On the lighter side, read "Late Night Racquet Sports" for my adventures with our latest moth invasion. As Walt Whitman said, “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” Here then, my verse. Welcome to "Life In A Word".

16 thoughts on “O-Love”

  1. Well, this was so funny! I enjoyed looking at the map. Did you see Maine does not like Sushi? Wonder if that is really true given they have a lot of fresh seafood. California not liking olives? I don’t believe it. Like you said, go to any grocery store there and their are olive bars next to the salad bars. Anyhow — funny that you got in trouble over olives. If I was a Mom, I’d be irritated too if a child ate part of the ingredients. Thanks for a big chuckle. Italians use anchovies on a pizza with arugula, it’s good.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll join you at the olive bar, buddy, with my black licorice, thank you very much. Obviously this isn’t a scientific study — I don’t see liver anywhere on the map. cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great Scott, a kindred spirit with the olives and licorice! We are few and far between. Great point by you – liver completely debunks the logic of this study. I think liver deserves the win for the overall category instead: “The Food America Hates the Most”.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. One of my first impressions of you I’ll never forget! Before you and Brigid were married, I visited you in San Francisco. We went to wine country and when ordering lunch, you ordered a sandwich loaded with olives and sprouts! SO DISGUSTING!! Brig and our family were raised on the midwest meat and potatoes diet. I immediately thought, “what does Brigid see in this California boy”? OLIVES! SPROUTS! YUCK! Well, after all these years, I can only assume it’s not his food choices ( mincemeat? GROSS) I will agree with the black licorice.. black jelly beans are the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To make the Napa memory even more “disgusting”, that was an egg salad, olive, and sprouts sandwich I ordered. Forgot about that oh-so-tasty lunch. I would totally order the sandwich again. Hoping you know a place here in Colorado that makes one? You redeemed yourself with the black jelly beans. I had no idea… 🙂


  4. I love olives, but can’t stand cooking with olive oil even though it’s supposed to be good for you – to me it has a funny taste. I think it’s the salt I like!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Have to agree with you there Joni – you don’t always want the olive taste in your cooking. We use coconut oil (or butter) on the stove instead.


  6. Olives – I think I’ve only had them on pizza … perhaps I need to expand my horizons. And speaking of pizza, I always would order pizza by saying “hold the anchovies” – perhaps I should give them a try sometime. It’s only because no one else eats them! I agree the red licorice is an imposter. When I was a kid growing up in Canada, I was only allowed a rare candy treat. One of those treats was when we went into a neighboring town and always stopped at the candy store where they had genuine black licorice Scottie dogs and licorice pipes. You’d bite into this very strong-tasting licorice which was dark brown inside. My mom had to have her little bag of Licorice All Sorts. My mom also had an affinity for black jellybeans and Sanders made them, a whole box of black-only jellybeans. No one fought her for them. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree Linda, we should try anchovies on pizza before judging. I hear they’re very salty (like some versions of black licorice). I was never a fan of All-sorts licorice. Those other flavors mixed with the black licorice just didn’t do it for me. I prefer my black licorice straight – like fishing the black jellybeans out of the Easter basket instead of eating them along with a handful of many other flavors.


  8. A fellow olive fan here. The black ones are OK, but the green ones are fabulous. One of my favorite pizzas is pepperoni and green olives, but I almost never find someone who will sign on with me.

    I’ll let you have all of the black licorice, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I would try that pizza, J.P. (anything with olives!) For the record, you’re the first person I know who ranks the green in front of the black. I like all colors… and my black licorice.


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