This section of my website explores the facts and consequences for me of living with extreme dislikes of a number of common food items.

Oligophagy: the fact (or habit or custom) of eating few different foodstuffs. (See Wikipedia.)

Here’s a brief rundown of the chief dislikes that make me an oligophage. All these things are to me so horrible and offensive that I will not go near any concoction (dish or prepared food) of which any of them is an ingredient: eggs (except in proper cakes, and batter — Yorkshire pudding or “toad-in-the-hole”); oil (except for frying, roasting, baking); many dairy products, including yoghurt or cream of any kind and cheeses like Camembert or Stilton ; fungi; anything sour or bitter tasting including (above all) vinegar but also tomatoes, capsicums, beer, most wines; fruit served as vegetable (including aubergine, avocado, courgette, and apple or cranberry sauce with meat); invertebrates (snails, “sea food” such as prawns, crab ...) and odd bits of animals (trotters, tripe, ...); coffee and tea.

There are also various individual things that, although I do not so vehemently loathe them as the above categories, I do not particularly like, and that I therefore refuse to be bothered with. In fact this also applies to a whole category that I call infant vegetables. What? I imagine you ask. Well, again in the realms of French idiocy here, one example is “mange-tout” which translates as “eat everything” and means absolutely nothing, but in fact is used to refer to undeveloped peas still in their pods — rather unpleasant and utterly pointless. Yuck. Another example is tiny, undeveloped maize seed heads, cooked and eaten whole (apparently) — such a stupid idea, when the farmer has gone to all the trouble of raising the crop to give a proper harvest of fully developed ripe maize ears; such a waste of all the effort of sowing, and the field space occupied to grow the huge plants. Why the blazes harvest and cook them too soon??!! Also these underdeveloped things are apparently eaten stalk and all, whereas with fully grown ones the sweetcorn is taken off the stalk (which is then not eaten).

How few is “oligo-”?

Not insularity or fear of the unfamiliar

Intensity of dislike: difficulty of comparison

Effects on “Weltanschauung

Effects on “social life”

Effects on choice available to me at home

TV cookery

I think this section will be enough to convince anyone sufficiently interested that for someone like me food — or, to be more precise, other people’s food tastes — are a major factor in shaping one’s lifestyle. I am writing these pages chiefly for my own satisfaction but am publishing them in case there’s anyone else out there with a similar gastronomic life story.