Thursday, February 22, 2007

foods I had never tasted/refused to eat seven years ago, which now make up staples of my diet

  • most fish
  • guacamole/avacados in general
  • tea of any kind
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • celery
  • refried beans
  • black beans, pinto beans, most legumes
  • wild rice
  • real butter
  • red bell peppers
  • real onions/garlic (as opposed to the powdered kind)
  • fresh cilantro; most fresh herbs
  • pea pods
  • soy sauce, oyster sauce, horseradish--there are too many seasonings to list
  • Chinese food in general
  • blueberries
  • pears
  • cheese that didn't come in cellophane
  • salmon & tuna that didn't come in a can
  • peanut butter (I never realized how sweetened most peanut butter is until I was 25 years old--I still can't eat the sugary commercial stuff, but I like it au naturale)
  • yogurt (ditto on the sweetened stuff)
  • whole milk
  • alcohol--not a beverage so much as a seasoning; I don't think I'll ever cultivate a taste for booze

I started thinking about this while living with my parents over the summer. Yesterday I looked around my kitchen and realized my mother would be utterly lost if she were called upon to fix a meal in there. And the odd thing is, I still ate a more healthy and balanced diet than most of the other kids I knew--it was just a bit monotonous. It's astonishing how much my horizons expanded after I got free of my mother's kitchen. Hanging out with the tai chi crowd didn't hurt, either.


Anonymous said...

Stop that. You're making me hungry.

I wonder if this isn't a somewhat universal generational thing in North America... I know my parents' cuisine started to seem pretty constrained once I started to explore food more on my own, 'round about university.

But then, looking back, I don't even recall seeing a lot of the stuff I eat now even being available on rural supermarket shelves in the 70s/80s.

And in fairness to our parents, they've been pretty happy to join us in our forays into the new when they do drop by. We take 'em to Thai and Indian places, they get some Egyptian stuff at the in-laws, and have generally very happily finished what's on their plates. And I notice my father, who does a fair bit of the cooking now, has gradually been building his spice rack. Doesn't rival ours yet (it's a competition, y'know), but he has figured out how to do asparagus with ginger, garlic, olive oil, which impressed me, anyway. And it's light years from the horrid 'boil everything' approach with which his mother attempted to drive us all off vegetables for good.

Food had this sort of industrial feel for a few decades, there, from the Velvetta xixties forward. I figure my parents were probably more products of their times than anything else.

Anonymous said...

Hooray for AJ, coming on board here.

Upon due reflection, I determined that I know very little about cooking and the martial arts, and have even less to say.

Some while ago, you mentioned "The Illusionist" in your compost matter column. Yup, thin plot! The ending was mysterious, but pleasantly so, since it suggested the possibility of a happy ending. I like those in movies, since real life has no such guarantees. But that may be one of the places in which the plot is threadbare.
But Jessica Biel pugnosed??? Je crois que non!!!!

Holly said...

I don't even recall seeing a lot of the stuff I eat now even being available on rural supermarket shelves in the 70s/80s.

This is an excellent point. Shipping methods have gotten much speedier and more reliable in the last thirty years. Also, we have more subsistence-labor in the sunny parts of the U.S. these days, which results in greater availability and lower costs for produce. Yay, progress! My mother once mentioned that they never had the year-round variety of produce in stores that we have now, when she was a kid, and she's only fifty-four.

I think it makes a difference if you grow up in a major city, as well. I grew up in a whitebread small town in the middle of the middle of the midwest, where olive oil was considered exotic until I was in my mid-teens.

My parents, however, have not expanded to keep up with the times. My mother particularly has a timid/bland palate, and neither of them like any strong-flavored vegetables. My dad has a strong aversion to garlic too, so that limits.... well, practically everything. I couldn't even make a decent spaghetti sauce in that house.