Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Evolving Tastes

I napped this morning, falling asleep during a pre-recorded episode of Leverage. When I woke up, the recording had ended and I was now watching (shudder) Martha Stewart introduce ladies who ran a cupcake blog. Martha and the ladies were comparing their favorite cupcakes and Martha said that her favorite cupcake recipe was a coconut cupcake.

coconutcupcakes.jpg (19637 bytes)

The cupcakes she showed, topped with fluffy white frosting and toasted coconut looked so good.

I realized how my tastes have changed over the years. When I was little, my godfather used to bring us boxes of Sees candy whenever he came to dinner. It always gagged me to unsuspectingly bite into a candy only to find it was a chocolate covered coconut. I hated coconut. It was one of the incentives for learning how to identify the contents of a bonbon by the design on top of it before biting into it (trust me--I know a coconut one!)

I probably still wouldn't go and buy a Mounds or Almond Joy bar today, but if I bite into a coconut candy I eat it, and I cook with coconut, loving the Indian and Thai dishes whose taste comes heavily from coconut milk, which tastes so much different from packaged sweetened coconut.

The Martha Stewart experience got me to thinking about the kinds of things that I never ate as a kid and now consider it a real joy to eat.

Bugs.jpg (64495 bytes)As a little kid I could not eat raw carrots.

It wasn't necessarily that I didn't like them, but I simply could not physically swallow them. No matter into how many tiny pieces I chewed them, they refused to go down my throat, even with the help of water.

My mother eventually stopped giving me raw carrots. I don't know when I was finally able to eat raw carrots, but ranch dressing is a powerful inducement, I guess. Now I can easily process raw carrots and though I don't cook carrots a lot, I do like them.

Mushrooms were another story. I don't suppose I had any problem swallowing them, but I hated them. Slimy things that nauseated me if I knew that I was eating one. I think that part of the resistance of kids to certain foods has something to do with being able to identify them. My kids, for example, hated zucchini but never had any problem choking down zucchini bread and had no idea when I hid zucchini in meat loaf or in soup.

Now I love mushrooms. I stuff 'em, sautee 'em, and add them to lots of foods.

One of my recent favorite fresh herbs is cilantro. I remember when even the smell of cilantro made me run from the food. It was that soapy flavor that I really hated. I suppose it was the whole explosion of Thai food that made me rethink how I really felt about cilantro. Now I can't get enough of it. I love it in most Mexican foods and love it in Thai food.

I really would like to say the same thing about goat cheese, but I just can't stand the taste. Or perhaps I haven't tried a mild enough brand. There was a girl in the dorm where I lived while I was attending UC Berkeley. She had grown up on a sheep farm and couldn't stand lamb in any form because she told me it smelled like an old sheep. I guess that's how I feel about goat cheese -- it smells like an old goat. I did have something recently (not on our trip) which I loved and later found out was goat cheese, but it sure wasn't the goat cheese I've tasted all these years.

Before we left on our trip, I watched the Rick Steeves video on So. France and was amused when a local woman took him into a fromagerie and had him smell a type of goat cheese which she became ecstatic about and told him it smelled like "the foot of an angel."

Look. I don't care if those feet never touch the ground as they fly around the heavens, but somehow the idea of eating something that smells like anybody's feet, whether earthly or heavenly, just isn't going to sell me on trying it!


Pandi said...

I used to hate olives. Now I love them. But I'm with you: I can do without anyone's feet on my plate!

Indigo said...

Bev, I LOVE COCONUT!!! I eat it by the spoonfuls, I put it on my toast, and I looooooooooooove it in cake and chocolates. My husband DOES. NOT. LIKE. COCONUT. When he dies and is laying in his casket, I'm filling all of his pockets with coconut. And tampons. And I'm giving him my purse to hold. Not my good one though. Anyhow, too much information, but he really hates coconut.