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Condiments are my Worst Nightmare

Condiments are my Worst Nightmare

What do you put on your burger? I’m sure you like ketchup, mustard, or relish. How about your bagel? Cream cheese, obviously. Toast? Butter and jam. Sandwich? You clearly want mayonnaise or some spicy mustard.

To you, they enhance the flavor.

To me, they turn a perfectly good meal into a toxic waste. Yes, everyone, I have a phobia of condiments. There could be nothing more nauseating than having to consume any of them. I don’t care if they’re on the corner of the plate, just keep them away from me.

It may seem silly or irrational being afraid of condiments, but behind most food phobias is an explanative story, mine of which is epic.

I was nine. My family went to have lunch at a delicatessen on a Sunday afternoon. We were all enjoying our sandwiches, mine, bread with turkey. But at the table next to us, a kid had an assortment of meats and cheeses, ranging from roast beef, ham, turkey, swiss, american and muenster, stacked high on his plate. Next to his food lay a second plate on which he squirted a full bottle of ketchup at least an inch thick. The white ceramic of the plate was drowned in a goopy, blood-like concoction. The revolting smell traveled over to my table, and I immediately felt my stomach drop. I tried to ignore it and avert my eyes, I really did. Tragically, I couldn’t help but stare in horror as he took a slimy piece of ham with his hands, soaked it in the plate of ketchup, and shoved it right in his mouth. Ketchup dripped down his fingers and out the corner of his mouth. He swallowed and let out a satisfied sigh, then dunked another piece of ham in the ketchup.

I was 10. It was breakfast at camp, and my friend got a bagel. She had four little containers of cream cheese and she spread two on each half of her bagel, the cream cheese so thick and so viscous. I saw her coming to sit next to me and knew there was no escape. She had braces at the time and as she devoured her bagel, caked in her brackets formed a thick, chunky layer of cream cheese. Even after breakfast, she reeked of it. But wait, it gets worse. When she saw that she had cream cheese left over, she took her finger and spooned it directly into her mouth.

Thus, my fear was born. My family and friends think it’s hilarious to make fun of me for it. On the weekends if I sleep too late, my little brother takes the cream cheese into my room and holds the container open right in front of my face so I have no choice but to inhale it. I wish I was kidding.

As absurd as it seems, I genuinely am afraid. I’d swim with sharks before I’d let those condiments hit my taste buds. It bothers me tremendously when people try to force them on me or make fun of me for my fear, so please, show some respect when someone reveals their phobia.

No person I’ve ever met feels this same fear, and there are often many things I stand alone on. If you want to hear more about me against the majority, check out my blog every other Friday for a new entry on the web version of Inklings.

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About the Contributor
Jane Levy, Editor-in-Chief
When she first joined Inklings her sophomore year, Jane Levy ’16 was scared to raise her hand in class. She lacked confidence in her voice and her skill.   But she stuck with it, and now, she can’t imagine what high school would be like without it. “Inklings defines my high school experience,” Levy, who is now the Editor-in-Chief of Inklings, said with a smile. Though she loves journalism, it’s the people in Inklings who make her experience meaningful. “Through Inklings I have made my best friends,” she said. “I would have missed out on so much had I not joined.” Being a part of Inklings has taught her that with freedom comes responsibility and that what you put in you get out. “The lessons I have learned in Inklings transcend into all aspects of my life,” she said. “I am so fortunate to be leading this class, club and community.”

Comments (8)

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  • E

    EbonyNov 28, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    I have found my people. I also have this fear and I’ve never been able to describe it to my friends and family so they think it’s a joke. One time my sister put a little squirt on my chips and then buried it under another handful and chips, I ate it and I got so upset that I cried and stormed off to my room. Tomato sauce is the worst, however there are some exceptions. I don’t really know where this fear stemmed from but I hate the smell, the texture and everything about sauce. I wish my friends and family could understand that I’m being serious.

    Reply
  • C

    Courtney GoodwinNov 27, 2022 at 1:17 am

    I can eat ketchup on fries (just a little, and I dip them in it), or maybe BBQ sauce on a burger (again, in moderation). But my god, when the sauce is dripping? Or if the person eating it gets sauce on their face? Or, worst of all, if they have two sauces and the those sauces mix? I can’t. It is more than I can take. To protect myself, I do not look at other people while they are eating.

    Reply
  • D

    DaveJul 27, 2022 at 11:29 am

    I have this phobia as well, there are millions of us out there someone should arrange a festival for like minded people. 😀

    Reply
  • U

    Unknown PersonJun 13, 2022 at 8:44 pm

    I’ve always been like this and I always thought it was just me. I scream or cry (no joke) if someone messes up my pizza and puts tomato sauce on it. Everyone teases me about it and it drives me crazy. How can they eat it like it’s normal? Condiments are distgusting and literally inedible for me. Is there a name for this?

    Reply
  • A

    AmySep 12, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    I have the same phobia and people think it’s funny and joke about it my entire life. They also want to know “why?” or “what happened to you as a kid?” Do other people with fear of spiders or heights HAVE to explain their fears like us? I have lots of nightmare stories of condiments running a muck in my life but all when the fear has been in me, I don’t know when it started but it had to be when I was little? I share your pain, know that you are not alone though!

    Reply
    • L

      Lori mNov 6, 2021 at 12:14 am

      I hate any condiments. Mayo really the worst of all. I wont even buy it for my family. Never gave it to my kids when they were growing up.
      Though i will eat cream cheese on a ?. But i have to put it on in a thin layer and it be toasted and hot. I just use real butter on most things. Melted.

      Reply
  • J

    JakeAug 7, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    You are not alone brother…. what is this monster of a phobia called

    Reply
    • L

      LadylitAug 29, 2022 at 10:45 am

      I have the same problem. I cannot even stand to go to the condiment aisle at the store. I get an irrational fear and nausea. People have teased me and tried to trick me into eating it. Believe me, if I could change it, I would. It is very inconvenient to try to get something to eat at a sandwich place.

      Reply