‘Can’t eat ’em. Don’t like the look of ’em!’ the checkout blokey said to me at the supermarket the other day (yes, it was an older gentleman on the checkout, we’re very pc ’round these parts ya’know). He was referring to some mussels that I’d bought for our tea. I love mussels, funny looking bits an’ all. In fact I like pretty much most sea food, although on further discussion with said blokey, we decided whelks were overall a bit too chewy, unless you’d got the odd half hour or two to eat them.
I’ve always thought you shouldn’t be put off of trying anything by the way it looks. Seafood in particular can look a bit, err, shall we say, challenging (come to think of it, so does a lot of my cooking… you should have seen my summer pudding the other day. The special effects team from ‘Bones’ would have been proud). It got me to thinking about likes and dislikes, foodwise, though.
We all have things we don’t like. I have two brothers-in-law (brother-in-laws?? well, you know what I mean). Even though he’s 50 and should know better, one of them won’t touch any veggies except the odd teeny bit of a carrot, and is a proper carnivor, the other one doesn’t like meat all that much, much preferring to pile his plate with the green stuff. My little niece rejects practically everything she is offered, except sweet things and…. black olives. How weird is that? My daughter’s wouldn’t touch olives until they were in their twenties. They seem a grown up sort of taste.
Is there such a thing though? We tend to give children bland uninteresting food, or sweetened stuff, or things in funny shapes – alphebetti spaghetti etc and then wonder why they are fussy. I never did make different food for my children, they had what we had, and on the whole they ate it…curry’s, cous-cous, stir-frys, chilli – olives were one of the exceptions. We didn’t give them much in the way of sweets (I know, I’m a cruel mother) but they are thanking me these days as, at the age of 26 they are still filling free, and they are open to trying all types of food both here and when they are in foreign parts.
Personally, there are two things I really don’t touch (three if you count coffee…see previous posts). Steak and jelly.
I have had an aversion to steak since seeing my dad’s plate graced with a whopping piece of meat that was oozing blood – he liked it rare. Put me right off it did. I’ve no doubt that if I tried it again now, I might like it, as long as it was cooked gently and not too chewy. I just can’t be bothered to try. However, jelly is a different matter.
Apparently, when I was just a few months old, my mum tried giving it to me as one of my first steps towards solid food. I spat it back at her with contempt. It was revolting then, and it is revolting still. All jelly. Strawberry, blackcurrant, orange, that gelatin stuff that holds the fruit together in flans, that grey wobbly stuff that makes a perfectly good pork pie into something totally inedible for me. Any of it. All of it. Yuck. Don’t know why, just, well, yuck.
My mum always insisted we had jelly and blancmange at my birthday parties. I used to look at the hideous wobbling monstrosity, and was often tempted to push it from the window sill where it sat setting in the sun, but the thought of gobbets of the ghastly stuff splattered across the garden path, and me probably having to clear it up, stopped me. The blancmange was equally bad by the way. Basically thick milky jelly. Yuck, yuck, yucketty yuck (to paraphrase Hugh Grant in Four Weddings).
Anyhoo, next time you invite me ’round, remember, I’ll eat most things, but for goodness sake don’t serve jelly, you might get it spat in your face.