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Just put together a list

Lists, we editors are told at seminars by magazine experts, are the thing. You see ’em on any newsstand: 10 Great Meals in 30 Minutes. 20 Exotic Vacation Spots. 12 Ways to Hold Your Man.

I personally hate magazine lists; they’re just excuses to put together an article with not much effort.

Which, with today’s heat index of 107 warranting as little effort as possible, is why I offer herewith some of my lists:

10 things I’ve never liked in any way, form, or fashion: 1. Celery. 2. Olives (but like olive oil). 3. Turnips (but like turnip greens). 4. Avocados/guacamole. 5. Squash/zucchini/cucumbers. 6. Caviar (it’s all fish eggs to me, and smelly at that). 7. Disco. 8. The Beach Boys (musical equivalent of scraping fingernails on a blackboard). 9. Diet sodas of any kind (all taste like chemicals). 10. Bread pudding (yeah, I know it’s de rigueur in the South, but you can have my share).

7 things I’ve tried once and never again: 1. Escargots (they’re snails any way you disguise them, and as much as I’ve battled them in the yard, I don’t want to eat them — although I did, many years ago, in a fancy restaurant atop a ritzy hotel in Tehran, just to say I’d done it; the garlic wine sauce was fantastic, the snails were like chewing on pieces of rubber). 2. Mountain oysters (sorta like oversize, round chicken gizzards). 3. Fried rattlesnake (tastes like chicken — but if a chicken bites you, it won’t kill you). 4. Fried alligator (tastes like chicken, and while I’d rather eat the alligator than vice-versa, why bother?). 5. Conch fritters/conch chowder (the “in” things in Key West and the Islands — more rubber). 6. French fried grasshoppers/chocolate-covered baby bumblebees/other idiotic things that people ate to gross out other people back in the ’60s. 7. Motorcycles (I once risked my life riding with a less-than-sober biker and vowed if I ever got off alive, I’d never straddle another, and I haven’t).

4 things I like that most people don’t: 1. Okra, fried or boiled (what would gumbo be without it?). 2. Spinach (gimme my Popeye medal). 3. Fried green tomatoes. 4. Faulkner’s writings (an absolute master of the use of language).

3 things I’ve never tried, even though I had the opportunity, because I just knew I wouldn’t like it: 1. Chitterlings (the cooking smell is turn-off enough). 2. Squid pizza (in Venice a friend ordered it, and it was black … and ghastly-looking). 3. Baked possum (just an overgrown rat).

5 things I love and could eat every day: 1. Garden ripe tomatoes. 2. Garden fresh corn, green beans. 3. Hot, crispy cornbread sticks (all the better if the pan’s greased with bacon drippings). 4. Tree ripe peaches (probably the finest fruit on the planet). 5. Strawberry shortcake with real whipped cream.

3 things I hope never to do again: 1. Try to peel an apple with a plastic knife from a KFC “utensils” packet. 2. Sneeze with a mouthful of food. 3. Watch any TV show with “Amazing” or “Great” in the title, or “Reality” in the description.

5 things I consider firing squad offenses (or at least deserving of a horsewhipping): 1. Banana pudding made with from-the-box vanilla pudding. 2. Milkshakes made with artificial soft-serve ice cream. 3. Chocolate cake made with artificial frosting from a can. 4. Artificial tomatoes from the supermarket. 5. Magazine lists.


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