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I Hate Cucumbers
Do You Hate Cucumbers Too?
Have you ever wondered why you or someone you know hates cucumbers? The answer might be in your genes. Read on to find out more about cucumber hate.
I've had a strong aversion to cucumbers my whole life. Interestingly, it also extends to watermelons, which in my opinion taste similar; however, I like pickles just fine! My father also shares the same "cucumber hate" with me, so that was my first clue that there might be more to it than a weird personal quirk. Here's what I learned.
Scientific Look at Cucumber Hate
Why some people find cucumbers disgusting
Like most vegetables (cucumbers are actually scientifically classified as fruit, but most people treat them as vegetables) cucumbers contain various phytochemicals. A lot of these bioactive compounds may have a positive effect on human health. Many of them are also known for their bitter and pungent taste.
Now this is where it gets interesting. Back in 1931, scientists have identified an organic substance Phenylthiocarbamide - often simply called PTC - that either tastes bitter, or is completely tasteless depending on the genetic makeup of the individual.
Cucumbers contain related organic compounds that are thought to cause the taste some people find repugnant (and others don't notice at all). A gene called TAS2R38 is responsible for the ability to taste the earlier-mentioned PTC, and another bitter compound called PROP. It's not too much of a stretch to say that there could be some more unpleasant chemicals that only certain people can taste.
It's true... The cucumber hate might actually be encoded in your genes! I think we should take pride in our superior tasting powers that lesser mortals do not possess. Go ahead, celebrate your genetical superiority.
Why Do Watermelons Taste Like Cucumbers?
I swear, people think I'm crazy when I tell them I don't like watermelons. "Whaaaat, how can you NOT like watermelons? They are awesome!". It's not like I hate watermelon because it tastes watermelon-y. I dislike it because it reminds me of cucumbers (especially the part closer to the rind). However, the taste is much fainter than that of cucumbers, so I can somewhat tolerate it.
There's no real mystery here, though. Both cucumbers and watermelons are members of the same Cucurbitaceae plant family. They're basically like cousins. Evil, wicked cousins.
Know Your Enemy: The Cucumber
Vile cucumbers thriving in their natural habitat. Contrary to the popular belief, cucumbers are not suitable for human consumption unless prepared properly (e.g. pickled).
Cucumber Hater Badge
Feel free to use this badge in your forum signature or a blog post. Wear it proudly, for you are one of us - one of the enlightened people who know that cucumbers do not taste good.
- Bitter taste, phytonutrients, and the consumer: a review on the Americal Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
- Various Wikipedia articles.
- My awesome taste buds.