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Friday, September 26, 2014

Fear of New Food

Okay, everyone!  We're well on our way to finishing off yet another week, and to finish off the week right, we're going to be having a discussion worthy of FOODIE FRIDAY.

(Well, okay.  To be fair, every Friday since the blog was "repainted" has been known as Foodie Friday.)

Anyway, I thought about what sort of topic to write about.  After all, there are so many foods out there that are really delicious, and food is something that we all have in common.  After all, we all need to eat in order to stay alive, right?

Well, believe it or not, I was a really picky eater as a child.  I didn't really feel adventurous enough to try a whole bunch of new foods.  At that time, I knew what I liked and what I didn't like, and no matter what people tried to do, my stubbornness made me reject any foods that I deemed weird, or strange.  Consider it the Taurus in me.

As I grew older, I began to get more adventurous in trying new foods.  Some of the foods that I really had no desire in eating as a kid, I love now.  Coincidentally, some of the foods that I really had no desire in eating as a kid I STILL don't enjoy eating today. 

I'll give you a few examples of this in play.

When I was a child, I was totally afraid to try yogurt.  Everybody else in my family loved eating the stuff, but I was afraid to try it after a couple of classmates of mine in elementary school told me that eating yogurt was like drinking an entire carton of sour milk.  And believe me, I've tasted sour milk before.  That's one taste sensation that will NEVER gain in popularity.

I mean, looking at other people eating yogurt, I couldn't imagine why people would eat it.  It looked really good...kind of like pudding, only in pastel colours like pink, purple, and yellow.  But still, I couldn't bring myself to even try it because of the whole sour milk visual.  I mean, these people were eating sour milk and actually liked it!  How was this possible?

Would you believe that I was 27 years old before I mustered up the courage to try yogurt? 

Occasionally at the store I work at, they have this pair of ladies come in to do food demos on weekends.  And wouldn't you know it, one of the products that they were demonstrating was yogurt.  I think there were two flavours that they were demonstrating - strawberry and vanilla.  Since yogurt is mostly made with real fruit, strawberry is a no go (I'm allergic), but I hesitantly tried the vanilla one expecting a really nasty taste sensation. 

But to my surprise, I liked it.  It really tasted like vanilla.  I couldn't taste any sour milk at all.  It was really good!  I ended up buying an entire tub of vanilla yogurt that day!

When I look back on the time when my classmates told me that eating yogurt was like drinking sour milk...I wonder if maybe their only experience eating yogurt was from a package that had gone bad in the fridge.  Who can say?

Now I can say that I eat at least one yogurt every day.  And, now that they've come up with the wonderful invention known as Greek yogurt, I'm more willing to eat yogurt more than ever before! 

I should also say that vanilla is not the only flavour I like.  I also enjoy cherry, blueberry, key lime, and raspberry-pomegranate.

I also have to admit that another food that I was nervous to try for the longest time was the mushroom.  I never trusted anything that grew on the base of a tree.  And someone had told me (I think it was another classmate) that mushrooms were poisonous and that if I ate one, I would die.

Now, granted, that was true in some cases.  But something always bothered me about that.  If mushrooms were really that bad, why would it be listed as a topping choice for pizza?  Why would it be a common thing seen on vegetable and dip trays?

And why did Mario always seem to grow big and strong every time he ate a mushroom?  It just didn't make sense to me that mushrooms were all that bad.

So I bit the bullet.  At a holiday gathering that took place when I was, oh, fifteen or so, I pilfered a mushroom from a veggie tray and ate it.  And admittedly, I proceeded to eat a dozen more!  To this day, mushrooms are one of the favourite things to add into a stir-fry, and you can't have a Canadian pizza without the mushrooms.

Now, TOADSTOOLS, on the other hand.  Those things I wouldn't touch with a twenty foot pole.

Now, on the flipside, there are some foods that I was not willing to try because I was worried that I wouldn't like them...and I was right to do exactly that.  When I ate them, I hated them.

One classic example is cauliflower.  To me, cauliflower looked more like an overgrown flower blossom.  And, having accidentally tried a dandelion at the age of four only to find that dandelion petals tasted horrible, I knew I wanted nothing to do with cauliflower. 

I should also note that when I was a kid, I would often sneak into the fridge when nobody was looking and peel lettuce leaves off of the head of lettuce that was often found in the bottom compartment of the fridge.  I couldn't help it.  Lettuce leaves were crispy and cool and so irresistible.  I know, I was a weird kid.

Well, I'm sure you figured out how I ended up tasting cauliflower.  When you're a kid, and cauliflower is facing a certain way, it almost kind of resembles a head of lettuce.  So, I grabbed a leaf, pulling some bits of cauliflower off in the process, and immediately spit it out.  Yeah, cauliflower remains a food that I can't stand today.

Coincidentally, my love of lettuce also made me realize that I can't stand cabbage either.  Cabbage to me will always be known as imitation lettuce with a gross taste to it.  And unlike cauliflower, telling the difference between cabbage and lettuce was near impossible - well, through the eyes of a five year old it was at least.

Okay.  I've shared my stories.  Now, let's hear yours.  What foods did you end up loving after you tried them for the first time?  Which ones did you hate?

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