We Asked People About Their Most Traumatic Food Experiences
Alle illustrationer af Sander Abbeme

We Asked People About Their Most Traumatic Food Experiences

How your favorite food can become your biggest enemy.
September 28, 2017, 6:00pm

This article originally appeared on MUNCHIES Netherlands.

What's better than stuffing yourself with your favorite foods? The only possible answer: Nothing. A big bowl of noodles, cheesy pizza, or gooey chocolate cake are life savers, whether you're battling a hangover or trying to mend your broken heart. Food is the lifelong friend that never hurts you.

Or does it? A few years ago I ate two pounds of edamame beans before an exam. My stomach couldn't handle the obscene amount of salt and Japanese legumes I'd just ingested, and it only took 30 minutes before all the beans came back out. My test was a disaster and for days afterwards I couldn't think about edamame without remembering the very specific flavor combination of salt and vomit. This food trauma turned my best food friend into my worst enemy, and turned my summer into a hell of studying.

I'm not the only one who's been traumatized by food. MUNCHIES gathered the best stories about throwing up whipped cream, disgusting milk, and hot dogs in shower drains.

Lieke, 25

When I was in high school, I was given a Looney Tunes cup of fresh milk to take along with me every morning. I had instructions to drink that milk at 10:00 AM. By that time, the milk was usually lukewarm and smelled sour. I always came up with ways to get rid of the milk: Sometimes I poured it into the toilet, other times I left it in my backpack, and in a few days the milk would turn into a compact cheese-like substance. At times, small pieces of curdled milk would float around in my cup.

This was at the core of my milk trauma, but it got even worse when I decided to mix the milk with raisin biscuits. I never liked raisins and figured that two gross ingredients could create one delicious thing. The result was a mash that looked like vomit and apparently also tasted like it. Ever since then, I can't stand the thought of milk. I'll also never understand people who drink large amounts of milk straight from the carton, as if they miss their mother's nipple.

"Every time I think about peppadew peppers, I get instantly nauseous and remember picking up pieces of vomit drenched in olive oil."

Charlotte, 26

I have a very intense fear of whipped cream. I've never liked it, because it reminds of the pre-chewed worms that baby birds eat. But when I turned ten, my fear became even more extreme. I was invited to the birthday party of one of the most popular girls in school. They had a whipped cream pie and felt this social pressure to eat it, despite my disgust. That turned out to be a bad idea, because after one bite I projectile vomited onto the table like the girl from The Exorcist. My vomit caused three other girls to throw up too, and before long the table was covered in whipped cream and vomit.

I wasn't invited to another birthday party until I got to high school. Even when I talk about whipped cream now, I feel like I'm going to throw up. I hate the stale smell, but it's the texture that truly gives me nightmares. I hope my kid will be able to chew at an early age, because I can't deal with pureed foods.

Esther, 25

Ten years ago, I was part of jeugdbeweging [a weekly hangout for kids in Belgium that takes place on Saturday or Sunday]. We played a game: The challenge was keeping Tabasco in your mouth for as long as you could. We stood in a line and kept our mouths open. At regular intervals, they would pour in more Tabasco and because we weren't allowed to swallow, we were all drooling like crazy. It burned so bad and after the game—which I won, by the way—I drank lots of milk, stuffed myself with bread, and rubbed the inside of my mouth with toothpaste to get rid of the burning.

My taste buds were ruined and every time I think about the smell or taste of Tabasco, I feel myself starting to shiver. It was absolutely disgusting and I've always avoided it since. Talking about this takes me back to that day and I remember everything really well. Gross.

Igor*, 26

Seven years ago I went to a dance party called Dum Dum in Utrecht. The theme was Oktoberfest, there was karaoke, people wore lederhosen, and they were serving an endless stream of hot dogs. I became friends with the guys who served both the beer and the hot dogs, and they treated me to food and drinks all night long. I got so drunk I decided to eat five hot dogs, one after the other, without chewing. It seemed like a good idea, until I woke up the next morning and threw up all of those hot dogs while I was in the shower. They had barely been digested, so the shower was littered with pieces of hot dog meat and bread.

Without much luck, my girlfriend tried to jam those chunks of food down the drain. That sight, combined with the slightly sweet smell of partially digested meat and the intense nausea I felt at the time, make me want to vomit whenever I remember that moment. Luckily I don't really get a lot of flashbacks, aside from that one time my friend surprised me by making hotdogs shaped like tortoises. Very sweet, but it didn't fix my food trauma.

Tim, 26

One snack you can easily eat way too much of are those peppadew peppers in oil stuffed with cream cheese. That's exactly what I did at a party a few years ago. After consuming one too many peppers, I felt like I had to throw up. I thought I would make it to the bathroom, but I started vomiting while still on the stairs, which were made of wood. I spent hours picking pieces of pepper out from between the steps and crevices in the wood.

The stairs hadn't been sanded yet, so the owners didn't mind that much. They were much more dismayed by the intense smell of vomit that lingered in the stairwell. Every time I think about peppadew peppers, I get instantly nauseous and remember picking up pieces of vomit drenched in olive oil. Luckily, I only encounter [peppadews] at parties thrown by people over thirty, so that's not very often.

*This name has been changed by the MUNCHIES editorial staff. He might also be one of our editors.