These Are a Few of Our (Un)favorite ThingsPosted: June 22, 2012
First some business. We are very happy to announce that the winner of Jenny Rosenstrach’s new book, Dinner A Love Story, is GEORGIA! Hope you like it as much as we enjoy Jenny’s blog of the same name and her book.
Anyway, when I–Janet–was reading the book last week, Jenny piqued my interest when she mentions “deal breakers,” the thing that we see in a recipe that immediately makes us turn the page. For some people it’s yeast (it was for her for a while); for others it might be phyllo dough. You get the idea. Anyway that got us to thinking about another kind of deal breaker — ingredients that we refuse to cook for one reason or another. So, without further ado, here’s our list of foods we refuse to cook. Are any of them on your list? What’s something you absolutely detest and won’t let in your house much less into one of your skillets?
At the very top of my list since FOREVER has been mushrooms. The reason harkens back to a woman who took care of my sister for me for exactly one week before being canned. Mrs. Crawford was her name and for reasons that remain a mystery to me, she made me sit at the table one lunch until I choked down what I remember as an never-ending bowl of (at that point) cold rice and mushrooms. I also remember cinnamon in this dish (How disgusting is that?). It was about five years before I would even put a grain of rice in my mouth or eat anything with even the slightest smell of cinnamon. I eventually did, but mushrooms have never been allowed back in. I’m not so freaked out that I won’t eat anything that has a mushroom in it, but I often push them to one side or plop them conveniently onto my husband’s plate because you see he LOVES mushrooms and can’t believe he’s married someone who refuses to cook them. We’ve been married 30 years at this point so I guess he’s worked it out.
Next is tofu. I have been a mostly vegetarian for almost 35 years and I do not eat this except when it is disguised in little pieces in something that I can’t tell it’s in. I know this is a little strange and that I’m missing an obvious easy protein option but I can’t stand the texture and also figure why bother to try to like the texture for something that has no taste at all.
Another one on my list is brussels sprouts. My family served brussels sprouts without fail every Thanksgiving my entire childhood and for 15 years my Golden Retriever, Sunshine, who lay next to me on the floor, ate every single one. I would bring my napkin up to my lips, slide the offending vegetable into it and then distract my father, who sat on the other side of Sunshine, and quickly drop it to the floor. I suspect now, as the mother of three, that my dad probably realized I wasn’t eating them. Dogs aren’t exactly discreet when food is dropped at their feet after all, but he never said anything and for this I am eternally grateful. Brussels sprouts are like liver (see next post) to me: two bites and you are okay. The third bite turns into the most repulsive taste ever and things just go downhill from there. (I may have to give these sprouts another chance, however, because I tasted a roasted brussels sprout a month ago when we were visiting friends on Nantucket and surprise! It was tasty! So maybe it was just the way my mother cooked it (don’t even get me started on how she cooked eggplant or asparagus; it’s amazing I like them).
And finally liver. Do I really need to explain this? Even if I ate meat, I wouldn’t eat this. Blech.
I feel a little bit like I’ve waited my entire life for this moment. See, though I’ve lived outside of my mom’s home for almost a decade now (WHAT?!?!?!), I still feel like I endured a lifetime of being forced to choke down broccoli. I hate broccoli. Always have and, I’m confident, always will. See, I’m one of those people who has the genetic mutation that makes broccoli taste intensely bitter. It’s like eating soap flakes. John took a science class early on in our relationship and came bursting through the door one evening, ecstatic to share his discovery of this mutation with me and, once and for all, vindicate me from a lifetime of ridicule and disbelief from my mother. Sometimes when we visit her, she still makes it. I always take this personally.
I also hate cauliflower, and not just because it looks like something that grows on old men’s toes. It’s very closely related to broccoli, you see, and I’ve got it in for that whole damned family.
Like my ma, I don’t have much of a taste for Brussels sprouts. Every few years or so, though, we buy some and I give them the old college try again. They’re in the same family as broccoli and cauliflower, though, so it seems unlikely that this experiment will ever culminate in my smiling instead of running to the kitchen trash.
That’s it, I think. Besides these three, we’re veritable trash compactors around these parts.
So, what is never in your kitchen? And also, isn’t broccoli so gross??