Arizona and I may like watching various shows on the Food Network, but we pretty much exist on turkey sandwiches, pizza, tacos, salad-in-a-bag and Things That Go On The George Foreman. And when we watch Chopped, his theory is that all of the secret ingredients should go in the blender together and be served with a straw—maybe with different size glasses and garnishes for each round. Appetizer round? A sprig of cilantro and a soup cup. Dessert? A cherry and a coffee mug.
In other words, to say that we’re not foodies would be the understatement of the week, maybe longer.
Now, this shouldn’t be blamed on our parents. Mine grew lots of our food in a couple of big garden plots, and my mom canned jams, jellies and pickles. And there’s a legendary story in Arizona’s family about the time his mom gave him the choice between eating his peas and sitting at the dining table for the rest of his life, and he chose the latter.
When we got old enough to make food decisions, however (especially after my Big Breakup, when I could eat whatever, whenever for the first time in many years), we both gravitated toward really basic menus that happened to align just fine. In fact, the first time I met Arizona’s BFF, he looked in the freezer, laughed, and said, “Is he still eating frozen pizza five nights a week?” And I blinked and said, “I thought he was just going along with me.”
Still, new things occasionally make their way into our menu, like the homemade biscuits that made his eyes bug out with their yumminess, or the occasional new fruit or vegetable. Now, I am not a vegetable girl—if it’s not lettuce, spinach or mushrooms, forget it. And back in the day, when people used to tell me that my tastes would change as I got older, and I would start liking other veggies, I would dig in my heels, shake my head, and go with a mature and eloquent: “Nuh-uh. Not gonna happen.”
But, folks, I’ve got to admit. It happened.
It was at a Subway. (I wonder how many of our middle-aged suburbanite stories start thus, or at Starbucks, Panera, etc.) Or, rather, it was back home one night, when I returned from volunteer hours late and hungry, and Arizona offered me the remaining half of his lunch sub, as he had already fed himself. Despite there being green peppers and (horrors!) tomatoes on said sub, I was famished enough not to care, so I bit in. And angels sang.
Tomatoes, where have you been all my life? Too long, I have reviled you as having the texture of a bloated tick when bitten into, with an initial outer covering followed by a burst of goo. Too long have I required you to hide in ketchup or salsa, your true nature disguised. But not anymore. Now, I travel to Farmer Pete’s stand down the road for big fatties the size of my two fists together, then consume them in salted slices or make towers inside my turkey sandwich or burger. Om, nom, nom, nom.
And so, readerfriends, I confess—my taste buds have changed with age, at least in this small way. I doubt I’ll be jumping on the Lima Beans Wagon any time soon, or taking the Brussels Sprout Express to the corner of Asparagus and Tripe, but for now I’m enjoying my baby steps.
So what about you? What foods did you love to hate as a kid, only to discover them in later life??