Halloween is drawing near, and while we’re in the mood to celebrate all things spooky and strange, let’s talk about food phobias. While fears of spiders and heights are quite common, once you get into the fear of foods, things can get pretty weird, pretty quickly. Not to judge anyone’s irrational fears (I myself am cartoonishly afraid of spiders), but it’s hard to imagine anyone being legitimately scared by broccoli.
When thinking about food phobias, it’s important to distinguish dislikes from fears. Most people have strong preferences, but phobics experience genuine panic, sweating and nausea when faced with the food of their nightmares.
For your Halloween holiday reading pleasure, here are the strangest food fears:
The Fear of Food/Eating
The most inconvenient food phobia of them all. Cibophobics typically have had a scarring experience with food poisoning or deal with large number of food allergies. This phobia can, of course, be deadly if not treated.
The Fear of Cooking
Isn’t this just the most convenient excuse to never have to bring a covered dish? But really, some people have a strong fear of preparing food. The idea of it becomes paralyzing, making it impossible to cook. Take-out options become critical.
The Fear of Peanut Butter Sticking to the Roof of Your Mouth
We all like to keep a cold glass of milk nearby with our PB&Js… some more than others. This fear comes from the idea that the sticky substance could cause suffocation.
The Fear of Mushrooms
Yeah, they’re fungus, but that doesn’t mean they have to be scary. Mycophobics will hyperventilate and get sick at the thought of even being in proximity to a Portobello.
The Fear of Garlic
Beyond your basic garden variety vampire, there are actual people walking on Earth who fear being in the presence of garlic.
The Fear of Chickens
The fear of chickens is surprisingly common, but since there have been few scientific studies on the exact condition, it’s hard to give a hard and fast figure. Sufferers often fear the feathered fowls will attack and peck them to death.
The Fear of Meat
It’s not just limited to vegetarians. While many people choose not to eat meat, carnophobics are literally afraid of the stuff.
The Fear of Sour Foods
Acerophobics avoid the tongue-tingle feeling of sour foods. Lemonade, pickles and SweetTarts would just be too much to handle.
The Fear of Vegetables
Lachanophobics may be afraid of all vegetables, or they might be selective. Their unfortunate fear can result in sickness from an unbalanced diet. Either way, it’s a guaranteed crippling reaction at any salad bar.
The Fear of Fish
Eating fish is an uncommon fear, but it does exist. Not fresh. Not fried. These folks won’t touch a tuna sandwich or salmon salad for any reason.
The Fear of Chocolate
It’s hard to imagine someone being terrified of melty, delicious chocolate, but they’re out there. And I’m sure it’s no fun.
The Fear of Alcohol
This goes beyond a lifetime avoidance of Keystone Light because you guzzled it in college. This is a true fear of drinking alcohol. Sufferers tend to avoid social engagements where it’s likely to just be present.
The Fear of Dinner Conversations
Sometimes you just don’t want to be bothered by human interaction — sometimes. But deipnophobics prefer to eat by themselves all the time because they have a fear of those awkward dinner conversations.
The Fear of Hot Things
Thermophobics are equal opportunity haters. Their fears include warm weather, heavy clothing, hot foods and anything giving off warmth. Drinking a hot chocolate by the fire while wearing a cozy sweater would be completely out of the question. (They don’t know what they’re missing.)
The Fear of Taste
Variety is the spice of life, but not for everyone. Geumophobics fear unfamiliar tastes or flavors — presumably leading to the most boring cook-at-home dates of boiled chicken and water.
The Fear of Chopsticks
Like many fears, this one often stems from an unfortunate event during childhood. Also unfortunate is the lack of sushi these poor folks probably get to eat.
The Fear of Swallowing
It begs the question, how can someone even live with this fear? Ironically, having phagophobia actually causes the fear to worsen, since anxiety will cause the muscles to tighten making the experience of swallowing that much more difficult.