Things That Make You Go Ew


What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Cereal, eggs, toast?  If you live in Japan, it’s likely you ate natto. A.k.a. fermented soy beans.

Natto looks like Rice Krispy treats, but it’s not-o. They are a favorite breakfast food in Japan, often eaten with raw eggs and fish flakes.

And according to author Rachel Herz in her book That’s Disgusting:  Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion, they smell a bit like ammonia and tire fire.





Then again, I routinely drink this for a mid-morning snack:

kale smoothie _opt

Frozen kale blended with fruit or the latest from Yankee Candle?


Grilled tarantula, octopus ice cream, frog porridge–one person’s meal is another’s poison. When I was a kid it was the crunchy onions in my mom’s beef stroganoff that grossed me out.

But disgust goes further than food.  It is related to other emotions like love, laughter and excitement.

Disgust can inspire laughter.

We all have our own personal “ew” factor.

But we are not born with it.  Disgust is learned.

Children will play in dirt (even eat it), pick up bugs or dried poop and carry around that “sleeping” bird they found in the corner of the back yard.  They don’t know what’s disgusting until they are told.

But why is carrying around road kill disgusting?  After all, kids could collect and swap them like trading cards, right?  And they’re free, unlike Pokemon cards.

Herz says the fundamental function of disgust is to protect boundaries.


“We are the only creatures who experience emotional disgust and we are the only creature that knows it will die .”


Dead birds make us think of germs, disease and ultimately death.  So we develop psychological strategies to defend ourselves from that which we think is a possible threat to our existence.

And it doesn’t stop there.  Obesity, homelessness, or disability can bring out a reaction of disgust.  In fact, anything that “reminds us that we are squishable creatures with a finite time on this earth” can cause us to reject, shun, deny and even destroy.

Of course not everything that disgusts is actually dangerous.

Anyone want a slice of TOILET CAKE?

It’s too gross to post here, but if you can stomach it, click HERE.

Yuck, but then again it’s just cake, right?

What we find disgusting can be easily manipulated.

How else do we see salmonella carrying geckos as cute and charismatic insurance mascots?

Or get caught up in the kind of disgust that leads to derision or bullying?  Suddenly it’s no longer about survival–instead it can lead to missed opportunity or prejudice.

But reasoning can be our tool.

“The more we examine and reflect about the world we live in and the people around us, the more mindfully and compassionately we live.”

So fermented soy beans with a side of compassion?  Order up.

What are your thoughts? I would love to know what you think about the things that make you go ew!





42 thoughts on “Things That Make You Go Ew

  1. I’ll be skipping breakfast this morning, Coleen. Thanks so much.
    That potty cake? Yeah, I’d skip that too. Eeeewwww!
    Fermented soy beans? That’s one kind of “eeww.”
    Bullying? That goes way-beyond “eeww” for me.

    And for breakfast I like to heat up vanilla soy milk with a dash of vanilla flavoring. Some people may not find that enticing at all.


  2. I love that cake! So gross!!
    Since I am going to school for registered nursing, my ‘ew’ factor has (out of necessity) become virtually non-existent. But I would have to say that the #1 thing that still grosses me out is stepping on a slug. We have several that hang on our porch every night, and even though I know that I always seem to forget it. *SQUISH* :-p


      1. I would guess they’ve seen enough of that sh*t in their day job… Heh heh. 🙂

        Speaking of which, we have one at our home right now! But, thankfully, just a leak, not a clog. Am I oversharing?


  3. HA! I love it, Coleen, especially your caption under the kale candle. 😉 I was so grossed out by foods described as “chunky” as a kid, I wouldn’t eat them. Mushy bananas make me gag… So does the sound of smacking and slurping cereal. EWWW!


  4. Ewww is right. I grew up in a farm family, although we lived in town, so lots of things that ‘city kids’ thought disgusting were normal for us. It takes a lot to turn my stomach, but I have to admit I wouldn’t eat anything here, except your morning brew.

    great info Coleen, thanks


  5. Well, you’ve stirred up my “ewww” factor. That first cake has turned me off desserts, so thanks for reducing my caloric intake.

    As to my other “ewww” . . . it’s any food that’s blue. Remember when that was a rage? Glad the blue food fad has gone away.


  6. That cake is so gross. As the the Natto? I just ate that yesterday.
    Yes, you read that right. I. LOVE. NATTO.
    Do you still like me? LOL
    Even though it’s Japanese, I grew up eating that stuff. I make it with soy sauce, a dash of wasabi, a dash of sesame oil, and minced scallions, and eat it with a bowl of hot rice. Yes, it’s slimy. The flavor has that umami taste of soy sauce and nuttiness. My 4 y/o agrees. She can’t get enough of natto and rice.

    What can I say? As the French say, “chacun à son goût”

    (Hey, and I like escargot and caviar too, FYI).


    1. Lydia I have to say I was hoping someone would say they’ve eaten natto! One person’s opinion is just not enough! I love tofu, miso and sesame, so there’s a possibility I might actually like it…maybe. The slimy part might be a challenge though. Thanks for sharing Lydia!!


  7. Most of my husband’s jokes make me go “ewwwww!” I am soooooo getting that toilet cake for him! Did I mention a lot of his humor is of the bodily functions variety?

    That Japanese breakfast – LOL! Ever since she discovered its equivalent in Finland, my daughter has been fascinated with it: blood pancakes! That one makes me go “ewwww!”


  8. Visit any Irish household on a Sunday morning at breakfast time and you’ll find us eating black pudding.
    From Wikipedia: Black pudding, blood pudding or blood sausage is a type of sausage made by cooking blood or dried blood with a filler until it is thick enough to congeal when cooled.


  9. What a very unique post! I laughed as I read it — especially listening to the “Doctors” in the background answering embarrassing and gross quesions. Guess I’ve had my fill for the day. I love soy beans, but I just know about the breakfast meal? Can’t believe the cake — that was the topper — pardon the pun. I needed to laugh today. Thank you!


  10. The family recently visited a restaurant where respect for the animal is emphasized, and where every edible part of the animal is used. We ordered the tasting menu, which means we accepted whatever the kitchen sent out. My daughters enjoyed an appetizer of cooked and sliced goat heart, served with toast and cornichons. These same daughters refuse to eat pasta.


  11. Uh Coleen, where did you find that discusting thing? Yuck! I’m so glad it wasn’t the Irish that eat that! No way! But I do juice with Kale, beets, cucumber and carrots. And it’s good, believe it or not. Trying to eat healthy. 🙂


  12. Coleen, I remember being at your Grandmothers house as a teen and I’m sure I remember being offered blood pudding. A friend of ours in town , her dad. was a Scottish baker & he made it all the time for the Scottish bakery he worked in , since most everyone in town was a Scotsman. I know it had to be delicious but I never tried it due to its name. Your mom may have though. PS: that cake was sooooo gross, I’d love to get one for someone I know, we call him “potty mouth”.Thanks for the excellent post. Have to go for my colonoscopy now (I wonder if they take special orders. ummmmm


  13. Your first picture made me think about Oreo cookies. I heard a story on the radio about how the Chinese didn’t like Oreos. It’s an interesting concept. I grew up with Oreos and love them (too much), while they were a foreign food object to others. Thanks for a great reminder of our differences and similarities. As an adult, I eat a lot of vegetables and things I would never touch as a kid. I also remember that my kiddo’s taste buds are “fresh” where as mine has some miles on them. A fun post.Have a great week.


  14. I’m so glad I read this post after I’d already eaten lunch. So funny. And true that we all have our own ewww factor. My girls get grossed out by the look of oatmeal in the morning. I eat it every day. I also like to snack on dry bread. My daughter can’t even be in the same room for that. I don’t understand how those things make them go ewww. Your post however – no arguments there 😉 ewww, ewww, ewww!


  15. We have the Walter book and my kids think it’s great:) Porta-Potties make me go ew and any dirty bathroom. Gag! Great post.


  16. My EWWW button got hit from the first image — yikes, fermented soybeans??? — and carried on through to the toilet. When you mentioned it was a cake, I had to go back and look because it looked so real. 🙂


  17. I agree with August on the whole banana thing. If I’m going to eat one, the peel has to be pretty green. Once they start to turn yellow I can’t even stand the smell. When they start getting spotty, I may just throw up. Kind of how I felt when I saw the Japanese breakfast and the toilet cake. However….I did get a screen shot of the PRETTY cake…and will be making that for my daughter’s birthday next month. So even though I’m feeling a little queasy….now…I’m glad I toughed it out and read the entire post. 🙂


      1. I’ll try to remember to post one, Coleen. It won’t look exactly like that one because I’m fairly sure they used fondant…and I don’t care for it. But I can get frosting almost as smooth…and I’m really looking forward to making it! When I showed my daughter the picture, she was impressed. 🙂


  18. I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to food, but those soy beans look nasty.
    Not many things make me go eww! Before I was a mom, a whole lot more bothered me. I’ve grown a thick skin against disgust. Now I’m disgusted by watching the news and seeing what’s going on in the world, or by who is winning Top Chef. Ha!


  19. My mother-in-law; cats (the animal AND the musical); any song that starts with the lyrics “when I look into you your eyes”; tripe; Kylie Minogue; frenemies


    1. Now that you mention it, When I look into Your Eyes, does have a bit of a stomach turning quality I think it’s been so overused that it comes across as not genuine at all. Like frenemies.
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing. I promise to never serve tripe here.


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