No Matter How You Slice It

A strange thing happened last night. My wife got home early and did the grocery shopping and prepared a meatloaf for dinner. That’s not the strange part, even though I tend to do most of the shopping since the grocery store is on my way home from work. She picked up Betty Crocker Butter and Herb Potatoes and a bag of frozen green beans to go with it. This is where it gets a little strange.

She picked up whole green beans. Normally when I shop, I get cut green beans. I mentioned to her that I prefer cut green beans and she said she preferred whole green beans. She also likes french cut green beans, which I don’t like. That just seemed to make no sense to me when I thought about it. They are still green beans no matter how you slice them (or don’t). How they are cut shouldn’t affect how they taste.

As best as I can tell, I must associate french cut green beans with some dish I didn’t like as a child, although I don’t recall anything. I suspect that may be true for other foods as well. The fact that I don’t eat apples now may have something to do with not liking applesauce as a child. Are there any foods you don’t like because of a dish you didn’t like as a child?

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The Bitter End

So far I’ve examined some of the more subjective reasons that some people are fussy eaters. Today, I want to look into one of the more scientific reasons. Some fussy eaters dislike bitter foods. Well, it turns out that may have it’s roots in the early days of hunting and gathering. These days we know what plants are poisonous and avoid them by name or sight. Back then, they had to rely more on taste and, apparently, a lot of poisonous plants have a bitter taste. If you ate them you would get sick and possibly die. Early man often had a dislike of the bitter tastes of these plants. Maybe it was from seeing others eat berries and die. Perhaps they ate them, got sick and lived – only to avoid them in the future. Who knows?

To this day, some people dislike bitter foods. Could that be part of an age-old defense mechanism? Perhaps. Still, why some people choose to eat foods like sour cream or Limburger cheese is beyond me. I suppose it has something to do with people not dying after eating them. Personally, I’m not about to take the chance.

Fear of the Unknown

I’ve discussed some of the reasons I don’t like some foods – like the way it smells, feels, or looks. I started to think about a lot of the foods I don’t like, or rather, say I don’t like – even some of the ones I now eat like tacos. As I thought about it more, I realized that sometimes it’s just a fear of the unknown.

It’s a little hard to admit, but sometimes I won’t try something just because I’m afraid of how it might taste. Even if it doesn’t smell bad or look bad I’m still worried that it will somehow gross me out. Fortunately, this is the one aspect of fussiness that I do have some control over. I have made up my mind that I will at least try something before I say I don’t like it (unless it smells revolting). It’s not going to be easy, but I am going to try to be more open to new foods.

So is there anything that you think I might like? Give me a recipe and I’ll try it and let you know how it turns out.

Duh! It is Celery Root

So I tried the Root Vegetable Mash recipe I found. When preparing it a few things struck me. First, it is a much harder vegetable than sweet potato. Second, it smells like celery. When the vegetables were boiling there was the unmistakable smell of celery – a smell I dislike. Then suddenly I realized “Duh! It is celery root!”. That was one strike against the dish already since smell is closely tied to taste.

It took a little longer than 20 minutes to cook. Perhaps I didn’t cut them up small enough. After about 30 minutes they were ready to mash. I broke out our potato masher and got to work.

When I was done, it didn’t look very appetizing. I’ve already mentioned how the way food looks can affect a fussy eater. This was strike two.

Since my goal is to find new foods I’ll eat, I gave it a try anyway. While it certainly wasn’t in “The Stroganoff Column“, I definitely didn’t care for it. I decided to try to make the best of a bad situation and looked around for something to punch it up a bit. I sectioned off the mash into separate portions to try a few things

First, I tried adding a little chili powder. I figured if it worked for sweet potato fries it might work here too. Sadly, it didn’t. Next, I tried one of my favorite ingredients, cinnamon. That didn’t help either. Finally, I decided to try brown sugar – partially because I have a sweet tooth and partially because I remember some kind of dish my wife would make with sweet potatoes, brown sugar, and marshmallows. That was a little better, but I think I would have had to spoon a lot of it in to make it good enough to finish.

So in conclusion, I’m going to have to pass on this dish. I’ll need to find another way to prepare celeriac in the future. Any ideas?

“The Stroganoff Column”

Some foods I dislike so much that my wife, Linda, and I use it as a point of reference. Beef Stroganoff is such a dish. Within the first few years of our relationship, she made it for me. Had it been our first date meal rather than pizza, we probably wouldn’t have stayed together.

She just gave me a small bite of it. No sooner did it hit my tongue than I rushed to the sink to spit it out. I then proceeded to rinse my mouth out time and again. I think I even tried scraping my tongue to get rid of the taste. She has never made it, or anything too similar, again.

Now when I try new foods and say I dislike them, she’ll ask “Is it in the Stroganoff Column?”.

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