Tongue Twisting

Avocado Cilantro

Have you ever been sick after eating a food and then never been able to eat it again?  I was like that with avocados for a long time.  The first time I remember having them was when I was nine-years-old.  My mom sliced one up and sprinkled it with Mrs. Dash as a snack.  I didn’t throw up, but I got a horrible stomach ache that I forever associated with those slimy green fruits.  I assumed I must be allergic to them, and so I avoided them in all forms until just last summer.  I hear constantly about the health benefits of avocados:  the “healthy fat” and “good cholesterol” they provide, their use as an alternative to mayonnaise on sandwiches, etc.  I thought I’d give them another shot and made some guacamole for a picnic.  And I didn’t get sick.  So now I’m hooked on them, and I decided to write a little piece about weird taste buds, new things I’ve gotten to try and like this year, and foods I still can’t stand.

When my husband was four he went to the fridge and drank some spoiled milk straight from the carton.  Now he hates milk, and will never use it, not even to dunk his Oreos, except in his coffee.  His father absolutely will not bite into a piece of onion, cooked or raw, because it was the last thing he ate before going to the hospital with glomerulonephritis for two months when he was a kid.  My brother ate a Taco Bell chalupa when he had the flu, got sick, and now can’t even hear the word “chalupa” without groaning.  Whether I was ever allergic to avocados or not, they were an easy food to avoid, unlike milk or onions.  Most people assumed I had an issue with their texture, even though I like things of similar texture like bananas and mangoes.

I’ve heard that your taste buds change every seven years, but I’ve never seen any medical proof of this.  It is true that your taste changes with age, as do all your senses.  When I was young I was told, like most kids, “you’ll like that when you’re older.”  That I’ll “grow into it.”  And I guess for some things that’s been true.  I hated Brussels sprouts as a kid (duh); now I love them.  Perhaps I had a negative bias instilled in me by my family, who referred to Brussels sprouts as “dirt balls.”  I love roasted or raw nuts as a snack, or added to stir fries or salads.  However, I hate nuts in desserts and baked goods.  I also could never stand cilantro; it tasted like dirt or soap to me.  I hated even the smell of it.  I later discovered that haters of cilantro have a genetic predisposition for their distaste based on old survivalist methods for detecting poisonous foods in the wild. (For an interesting article on “cilantrophobes,” click here.)

Along with changing my taste buds over the course of the past year, I’ve also had the opportunity to introduce my taste buds to some totally new flavors.  The rest of this post will be a photo-list of the good, the bad, and the unfamiliar foods in my life.  Bon appetit!!!

Foods I Used to Hate, But Now Enjoy

Brussels SproutsBrussels Sprouts:  the bane of a child’s existence, along with broccoli
I always liked cabbage, and these are just mini-cabbages.
Now I love them, especially roasted.
En français:  choux Bruxelles (Brussels cabbage)

 

 

Fennel*Fennel:  that licorice-y bastard
Still can’t eat them raw, but don’t mind them cooked.
Great in a breakfast frittata.
En français:  fenouil

 

Avocado*Avocados:  slimy vege-fruit
It’s hard to stop me eating a whole one by myself now.
I can make a mean guacamole.
Try brushing a half with oil, grilling it, then filling the hole with salsa and sour cream.
En français:  avocat (same as the word for lawyer)

 

 

Cilantro*Cilantro:  pungent, soapy, pervasive
This is a key ingredient in my guacamole.
The rest of the world refers to the green leafs by what Americans call the seeds:  coriander.
En français:  coriandre

 

Foods I Still Can’t Stand

tomatoesTomatoes:  only in its raw form!
I love ALL tomato products (salsa, sauce, soup, juice, etc.)
I try one every year to see if my tastes have changed, and they never do.
En français:  tomate

 

 

Blueberry*Blueberries:  why must they be so damn good for you?!
I like every other berry that I know of.
I can eat them cooked in sauces or muffins, and mixed in smoothies.
En français:  myrtille

 

Ranch^Ranch dressing:  so un-American of me
Had a rotten batch during summer camp as a kid.
How can people put this on so many things?!
En français:  ewwwwww

 

 

New Foods I’ve Tried This Year

Figs*Figs:  never before had them raw
I started buying them by the half-kilo.
I make a great fig-onion chutney to put on pizza or brie.
En français:  figue

 

uni

Sea Urchin:  tried it in Japan in a pasta dish
What you eat is the reproductive organs. o_O
I’d wanted to try it for years after seeing it used on Top Chef.
En français:  oursin (uni in Japanese)

 

EscargotSnails:  that quintessential French meal
I ended up getting extremely sick after eating them.
You can buy them in the freezer section here already packed with parsley butter.
En français:  escargot

 

kaki*Persimmon:  my 99-year-old Great Aunt’s fave
You can eat the skins on the variety in Europe.
Maybe I never ate them because they look like tomatoes.
En français:  kaki

 

And several new cheeses:

Note:  Photos marked with * were taken from the public domain gallery at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
The one photo marked with ^ was taken from http://www.hiddenvalley.com/products/hidden-valley-bottle-dressings/
All the rest were taken by me.

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