The great debate: 10 controversial food takes that stir the pot

In the vast, wild world of the internet, few topics can ignite a firestorm of opinions quite like food. From the texture of egg yolks to the legitimacy of American cheese, everyone seems to have a hill they’re willing to die on. So, grab a snack (controversial or not), and let’s dive into the 10 most polarizing food takes that have foodies and casual eaters alike typing furiously into the void.

1. The great yolk divide

There are two types of people in this world: those who believe a runny egg yolk is the epitome of culinary perfection, and those who view it as a slimy, uncooked mistake. The former group argues that a perfectly runny yolk is like liquid gold, while the latter would rather eat their shoe than deal with the goo.

The runny yolk is a symbol of the modern brunch—a glistening, Instagram-worthy emblem of leisurely weekends. Yet, for every fan of the #YolkPorn movement, there’s someone gagging at the thought. It’s a battle between texture and taste, between aesthetics and the primal fear of the undercooked.

If you are wondering where I stand? I love a runny yolk and live for the day where I get to mop it up with a piece of toast.

2. Oatmeal: Sweet vs. savory

Oatmeal has long been a breakfast staple, but the internet can’t decide if it should be topped with fruits and honey or cheese and broccoli. The savory camp argues that oatmeal is just another grain, perfect for a mini risotto at 7 AM, while the sweet tooth brigade can’t imagine starting their day without a sugar rush.

Oatmeal is the chameleon of the grain world, and the internet has taken this versatility to new heights. While traditionalists spoon in brown sugar and cinnamon, the avant-garde are topping theirs with avocado and sriracha. It’s a culinary tug-of-war between the sweet comfort of childhood and the bold flavours of global cuisine.

I don’t eat a lot of oatmeal (ok, none). But if I did, I would have to side with the savory crowd. I am not a huge sweets guy for breakfast, unless it’s pancakes or waffles. I also think cheese goes with everything.

3. The processed cheese conundrum

In one corner, we have the cheese purists, who wouldn’t touch a slice of processed cheese with a ten-foot pole. In the other, the pragmatists, who argue that nothing melts into a gooey, comforting blanket over their nachos quite like good ol’ Velveeta. It’s a cheesy dilemma, indeed.

Processed cheese, with its meltability and shelf-stability, is a marvel of food science that some can’t stomach. Yet, it’s the secret weapon in many a creamy mac ‘n’ cheese. This debate often melts down to a question of food snobbery versus unapologetic indulgence.

I was raised on processed cheese. The sound of the plastic opening plays in my head. It’s so handy. It melts fast. It’s perfect for crackers. You don’t have to dirty a knife. What’s not to love.

4. MSG: The flavour enhancer we love to hate

MSG has been demonized for years, but a vocal online community insists it’s the unsung hero of the culinary world, adding that umami punch to dishes that salt just can’t replicate. Critics, however, still clutch their pearls and their stomachs at the mere mention of it.

Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, has been the subject of much myth and misinformation. But as more food lovers embrace science, MSG is being rehabilitated as a legitimate and delicious way to season food. It’s a narrative of redemption, with a dash of chemistry.

I don’t really have an opinion either way, but it sure is a topic on the Food Network.

5. American cheese on burgers: Yay or nay?

Is American cheese the perfect melty complement to a juicy burger, or is it a plastic abomination? Fans argue it’s the soulmate of the hamburger, while detractors suggest that calling it “cheese” is a stretch.

American cheese’s meltability has made it a fast-food staple, but some argue that its processed nature doesn’t belong in the realm of quality burgers. This debate often grills down to a clash between convenience and culinary craftsmanship.

Referring back to earlier in the post, American cheese (usually in plastic wrap) is my go-to for burgers. It’s already shaped to sit on top of the burger and it melts fast. If it’s good enough for Bobby Flay, it’s good enough for me.

6. Cereal: Breakfast or dessert?

Some renegades on the internet argue that cereal is too sugary for the morning and makes a better dessert. This take has breakfast traditionalists spitting out their coffee in disbelief, defending their morning ritual with a passion usually reserved for sports teams.

Cereal as dessert is a concept that’s hard for some to digest. Yet, with the rise of cereal cafes and the trend of dessert for breakfast, it’s clear that the lines are blurring. This debate is a spoonful of the larger conversation about what constitutes appropriate mealtime fare.

This may have been true when I was a kid, but now if I have cereal, there is nothing dessert-like about it. Unless you eat boring and flavourless things for dessert.

7. Pineapple on pizza: Delicious or diabolical?

Ah, the age-old question that has ended friendships and divided families. Team Pineapple argues that the sweet and savory combo is a match made in heaven, while the opposition views it as a culinary crime against humanity.

The pineapple on pizza debate is perhaps the most divisive of all food arguments. It’s a clash of cultures, a test of tradition, and a question of whether fruit has any place in the savory sanctuary of pizza toppings.

This one I don’t get. It’s gross. Even the visual of pineapple on pizza makes me lose my appetite. Like breakfast, I am not much of a sweets guy when it comes to pizza. I can appreciate the pairing with ham, I just think it’s wrong.

8. Vanilla ice cream: Bland or brilliant?

To some, vanilla ice cream is the plain Jane of desserts, overlooked and underappreciated. But its defenders argue that its subtlety is its strength, a creamy canvas for a myriad of toppings. Plus, who ever complained about a scoop of vanilla on a warm apple pie?

Vanilla ice cream is often seen as the default, the safe choice, the “I’ll just have what she’s having” of desserts. But its defenders are vocal, celebrating its subtle flavour and versatility. This debate scoops into our desire for complexity versus simplicity in our desserts.

Vanilla is easily one of my favourite flavours of ice cream. It’s so simple, but perfect. Plus you can mumble the opening to that Jack Harlow song and make your kids make that cringe face.

9. Cilantro: Herb of the gods or soapy nightmare?

Cilantro has the unique ability to divide dinner tables across the globe. Thanks to genetics, for some, it’s a fresh, zesty addition to any dish. For others, it’s as if someone squirted Dawn dish soap on their taco. I am one of the cilantro haters.

Cilantro’s divisive nature is actually rooted in genetics, with some people possessing a gene that makes it taste like soap. This debate is less about preference and more about biology, but it doesn’t stop the herb from being a leafy lightning rod in the food world.

Even the smallest amount will turn me off from eating. I blame science because everyone else seems to really enjoy it.

10. Ketchup: The condiment controversy

The use of ketchup on eggs or steak is a hotly debated topic. Proponents argue it’s a versatile condiment that adds flavour to bland foods, while critics see it as a culinary cop-out, masking the true flavours of the dish. Let’s be clear though, we all just love the salt flavour right?

Ketchup on steak or eggs can be seen as either a flavour enhancer or a mask for poor cooking. It’s a condiment conflict that pits tradition against personal taste, and it’s a sticky subject that’s not just about the ketchup—it’s about the sanctity of classic dishes.

There is nothing my kids won’t put ketchup on. Personally as I age, I am gravitating away from ketchup unless we are talking french fries.

Honourable mentions

  1. Mayo on Hot Dogs: Some people swear by the addition of mayonnaise to hot dogs, while others find the idea appalling.
  2. Eating Kiwis with the Skin: There are individuals who eat kiwi fruits with the skin on, much like an apple, which others might find unusual or even unpalatable.
  3. Deep Dish Pizza is Overcompensating: A take from the internet suggests that pizzerias offering a wide array of crazy toppings are just compensating for bad pizza.
  4. Tomatoes Overpower Burgers: Some feel that tomatoes on burgers are too overpowering and take away from the other flavours of the burger.
  5. Nuts Ruin Brownies and Carrot Cake: There’s a camp that believes adding nuts to brownies or carrot cake is a surefire way to ruin them.
  6. Avocados are Overrated: While avocados are a beloved food for many, some find them to be overhyped, with a bland taste and unappealing texture.
  7. Organic Food Isn’t Always Better: The debate over whether organic food is truly superior to non-organic options is ongoing, with some questioning the higher price tag and purported benefits5.
  8. Vegan Cheese Is Nasty: The taste of vegan cheese is a point of contention, with some non-vegans and even vegans finding it unpalatable.
  9. Black Licorice is Delicious: Black licorice is a divisive treat; some adore its unique, herbal flavour, while others can’t stand it.

In Conclusion: To each their own

What these debates reveal is not just our passionate (and sometimes hilarious) opinions about food but also the diversity of tastes that makes dining such a rich and varied experience. Whether you’re a staunch defender of pineapple on pizza or the thought of savory oatmeal makes you gag, remember: the beauty of food lies in its ability to bring us together, even as we argue over how to enjoy it. So, let’s raise our forks (or pitchforks) and toast to the great food debate. May the best taste win—or at least not end up in a food fight.

What is your strongest food take? Let me know in the comments.