Why I Hate Broccoli: It’s In My Genes
February 10, 2014

Why I Hate Broccoli: It’s In My Genes

Now, I am not a fussy eater by any standards. I am a bit of a foodie, I suppose. Put me in front of most things and Lord I will be tempted. I would have stood no chance in the Garden of Eden. A big, shiny apple is a true delight. Mind you, to make it shine, I always seem to have to get a scrubber and soap to get rid of that waxy stuff and chemicals you can’t see. I don’t suppose Adam and Eve wouldn’t have had that problem what with everything being organic back then. End of Biblical digression. Let’s just say I love food. But, there are a couple of things that really make my stomach churn.

One of them is lamb. Any arguments about vegetarianism aside, I cannot stand being in the same house as a piece of lamb once it starts cooking. It’s the smell. Too meaty man, just too plain damn meaty. And when I smell it I could go off meat for life; deep down I know I should anyway. It just takes me straight back to school dinners. Lamb days were the ones I hated with the odor drifting around from mid-morning. Ugh.

But my real hate is broccoli. I know, I know, it’s good for me! That does not help. It’s good for my colon, as I get reminded all the time. What has broccoli got to do with punctuation, I used to ask? Why does a vegetable improve my use of that annoying little mark: the one you are never quite sure where to put? Ooops, just ended a sentence with a preposition: I think maybe that’s wrong. Which reminds me of Winston Churchill’s reply to someone who pointed out he had committed the same grammatical error: “That is the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put,” he said. Nice one Winny, shame about Gallipoli. End of Churchill digression and probably inappropriate use of colons.

So it’s that colon then, the one that connects my stomach and my bum and processes all my waste! Ok, given that I hate broccoli so much and it is good for my colon, why can’t I just get it right in there and miss out the horrible bits – looking at it, smelling its drain-like odor when cooking, feeling its weird texture in my mouth, that bitter iron taste. Another thing that doesn’t help is calling it a head of broccoli – I don’t eat heads, ever. A broccoli suppository would be a way round it. I want to be healthy. I try to eat the right things most of the time. I watch my BMI and my BP, all that stuff. So getting the old green (or purple) broccoli tree right to where the action is would be a small price to pay to get the broccoli police off my back. No can do, they tell me – just eat it why don’t you? They just think I am too fussy.

But, perhaps my hatred of broccoli is because I am special. I discovered research that might just prove that. I think I am what scientists call a “genetic super-taster” with more specialized taste buds on the end of my tongue than your average run-of-the-mill broc lover. We super-tasters have a variation in a gene known as TAS2R38 that gives us increased aversion to bitter tastes and other flavors. Some people with this variation have specialized structures on the tip of the tongue known as fungiform papillae. Some of us have them, some of us don’t.

So, next time I push the broccoli to the side of the plate, I have an excuse; it’s in my superior genes. Now pass me the orange broccoli, sorry carrots, please.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Eric Hopton is a writer, musician, artist, and photographer. He has a degree in Social Anthropology and has always been passionate about travel, having so far visited 73 countries. His music and sound work has been used in many projects around the world and can be heard on Bandcamp and Freesound, where he has contributed over 1,300 sounds under his sonic alter ego, ERH.

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