Metallic Is Welcomed in My Nail Polish, But Not My Squash


I had such a complete vision for dinner last night that I sketched it out at 3pm, eagerly waiting to start cooking.  Initially I wanted to try beets, as I’ve been too afraid of a magenta kitchen, but didn’t want to alienate my beet-hating boyfriend so I omitted the ingredient.

Instead I subbed in eggplant  and bonita squash, a lighter-skinned zucchini and a apparently a dish ruiner.

Browned corn kernels, chopped onion, rounds of eggplant and squash, mixed with roughly chopped mizuna and great northern beans. A feta-basil sauce, thickened with a roux, is splattered on top. And on top of that, a scant layer of buttered pumpernickel breadcrumbs.

Actually, let me be clear on the process: the squash was seasoned with salt and pepper then laid season-side down on a non stick pan hot with oil. Only one side was cooked, as I didn’t want the squash to turn mushy when baked.

The dish smelled strongly of feta upon exit of the oven. Success, I thought.

And then the whole fucking thing tasted metallic. Like totally off. Not like I need to spit it out, but more like I’ll eat this fast so it’s over and then I’ll go in the kitchen and eat the remaining pumpernickel and slather it with butter.

I’m now trying to figure out what went wrong. I bought the squash this weekend at the Bloomingdale Farmers’ Market, so it’s new to me, but I have no idea how long the vendor had the squash out of the ground. The reason I’m jumping to accuse the squash is that I had used one on Sunday and it made my scramble with potatoes and eggs taste metallic too. I thought it was one bad squash, but its metallic-itis seemed to inflict all of the squash I bought this weekend.

Is there something that I could have done to avoid this nasty taste? Is it too late in the season to be eating summer squash? Do I suck at cooking?

You may also like


  • Tim September 28, 2010  

    I’ve run into this several times with potatoes. I get a metallic taste that lingers and is irritating, especially in the back of my mouth and my throat. And while I’ve read that as potatoes age (spoil) the skin can produce a taste like this, I’m not sure that burnt olive oil isn’t the culprit. What kind of oil were you using? Is it possible that burnt oil caused the problem?

  • erica September 28, 2010  

    i had a melon once that tasted so like bleu cheese i couldn’t eat it. STUNK like bleu cheese. no one else would touch it either. sorry about your dinner 🙁

  • gansie September 28, 2010  

    burnt oil. hmm. that’s not a terrible idea. or do you think maybe my oil is old? or just of poor quality and can be burned easily?

  • robin September 28, 2010  

    I am very sorry to hear about your bad experience. Did you happen to taste the squash raw?

    That light green squash (a Lebanese variety called Kousa) is usually my favorite because it is never watery and becomes more concentrated in flavor as it cooks.

    I run that market so please tell the producer you bought it from about the problem so that you can be reimbursed. Summer squash is fine in the fall.


  • Borracho September 28, 2010  

    Definitely don’t think it is that the olive oil has just gone rancid. If that were the case, you would have noticed just from the odor when you opened the bottle. Did you recently switch oil brands or anything that could be throwing things off a little?

  • Liza September 29, 2010  

    I bought Spectrum Olive Oil Spray thinking it would be so awesome and it tastes metallic every time – then I looked on the back of the can and it said the oil can only take heat up to 325 degrees, and I’m not sure how hot my skillet gets on the gas stove (is there a way to know?). So I’m with Borracho and asking did you switch oil brands recently? I’m learning more and more about how different oils handle heat.

  • gansie September 29, 2010  


    thanks for chiming in here! i wanted to let you know that i was not trying to bash bloomingdale, your vendors or their produce, just wanted to give all the facts i had.

    i have not tasted the squash raw but i think i have one left – so i will be sure to do that and let you all know if it tastes funky. thanks for your advice. and i will definitely be returning – i need to buy more of those dried beans!

  • Tim September 29, 2010  

    Stef – I think it’d be interesting if you tried 1/2 the remaining squash raw and then cooked the other 1/2 in canola/veg or other high heat oil and see if the metallic taste still comes through. That should narrow down where the funky flavor’s coming from.

  • gansie September 29, 2010  

    @tim. fantastic experiment idea. and i may add a third variable: squash cooked in butter.

  • not a retard July 1, 2012  

    if u use extra virgin olive oil past medium hit then u are a total idiot

  • Marie April 11, 2014  
  • Jodie Foster November 6, 2014  

    My whole crop of spagetti squash tastes like metal? Could it be metals in my water?

Leave a comment