Most of you know that my passion in life is cooking and eating. I love nothing more than to spend a day over the stove cooking and baking a feast for my family and friends. I love holiday entertaining – tons of family and friends, everyone laughing and making memories, and lots and lots of food. Shoot, I love cooking for people at any time of the year – it doesn’t just have to be around a holiday! Food is a common denominator no matter your age, sex, race, background, or religious/political beliefs. If we can sit down to a meal together as friends then who needs enemies?!
However, like most people I’ve had my share of battles at the dinner table – and not just as a kid either. I really pride myself on not being a picky eater normally – you don’t get to the size I am by being so. But there are used to be a few foods that I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. For example, you couldn’t pay me enough money to willingly eat spinach, or any kind of cooked green for that matter. Lima beans literally gagged me. Hominy – I don’t even want to go there. I was certain that artichokes were actually poisonous. Tofu…well, this is a family site so I won’t even describe what I thought about that stuff. Liver wasn’t going to come anywhere near my mouth. And mushrooms of any kind were both taste and texturally insurmountable. And I’m sure that if I sat here long enough I could come up with several more foods that I’m not crazy about. Lamb comes to mind…
Anyway; as a kid, I wasn’t allowed to be a picky eater. My Mom’s philosophy (she was right on the mark, by the way) was, take a bite or two of everything – keep an open mind about it – and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to go back for seconds. I’m so glad that she instilled this belief in me and didn’t allow me to be a baby when it came to foods I didn’t (think) I was going to like. In recent years, this has become one of my pet peeves – people (adults and kids) not willing to give foods a try because they *think* they’re not going to like it.
Now I’ll admit that there were plenty of times that I actually didn’t like the food, but I was able to be polite about it and at least try it. And there were also plenty of times when I thought I wasn’t going to like something because it ‘looked’ gross where I actually quite enjoyed the food. Had I never been made to eat it, I would have missed out on some of life’s greatest tastes – Indian food comes to mind – some of the smells alone can put you off eating for months if you let it. And, as a pastor’s wife I’ve certainly been invited to my share of dinner gatherings where I wasn’t in control of the food, and often included foods that I really didn’t like (green bean casserole for example is on every church potluck supper table – and usually multiple pans of it!). For the most part, I’ve been able to ‘choke down’ the gross foods, and smile while doing it. Thank you Mom!
I’m happy to report that in the past couple of years it seems my taste buds have done a bit of growing up. Well, except for the liver. But to be honest about it, I did ask Sam to cook some up for us at the first opportunity as I’ve actually been craving it. I know, weird huh?! He’ll have to cook it outside though – I’m not having that smell in my house for the next month!
In truth, I’m very glad about this sudden change in tastes. I’ve been enjoying sautéed mushrooms in as many things as I can. I’m in love with spinach and artichoke dip. I make a wicked green bean casserole – albeit a very non-traditional one at that. I think greens go quite well with a variety of foods – pasta especially. And the liver, well, it’ll get its chance soon enough to prove to me how tasty it really is.
What about you? What foods do you find yourself digging into lately that would never have crossed your fork before?