As a child, I believed I could quite happily live off cornflakes and empire biscuits if everybody just left me alone. There was even a time when I’d have to be coaxed into eating pizza, and believe me, it pains me to think of all the pizzas I turned down over the years.
Now, obviously, I grew up and began to widen my palate. I even gave up cornflakes in favour of healthier breakfasts (and because I’m sure I have an actual addiction to the darn things). Unfortunately, during my teenage years I got lazy and pasta and cheese became my staple.
Once I’d gotten myself out of my carb-laden ways, it turned out I was up for trying just about anything…except for a few major food groups: hello fish and eggs! Plenty of people aren’t bothered if they don’t like certain foods – not me. I would dream up scenarios where I’d be sitting by the ocean eating seafood on a veranda, or tucking into a perfect plate of eggs during brunch with friends. Instead, I told people I wasn’t really a ‘brunch person’ and I avoided seafood restaurants at all costs.
Part of me thinks my brother has something to do with my determination to like all kinds of foods – he used to make me try things I was sure I hated all the time (I was usually right, just saying). Either way, I became determined to give myself as much choice as possible when travelling or visiting new restaurants, so I started to eat more of the foods I disliked until I grew to love them.
I will never forget the first time I mistook an olive for a grape. I was so upset and I couldn’t believe that a fruit could taste that bad. Then, one day, I was eating tapas with a friend and he had a whole cup of olives to himself. I tried one defiantly, and you know what? It wasn’t as bad as I remembered that one time. Years of eating new foods meant my tastes had evolved, and the olive didn’t repulse me anymore. In fact, I quite liked it.
This has been the hardest one so far. It’s taken me until very recently to be able to order eggs at a restaurant and eat them without pulling a facial expression that would offend the chef. Now, I actually enjoy scrambled eggs and I love fried eggs!
Lunchtime salad boxes are a big thing during the mid-day office rush. A little place near my old office in Leith had the best salad boxes in my opinion, so good in fact that I decided to try everything they were offering. Broccoli was one day thrown into the mix – crunchy, raw broccoli with toasted sesame oil – and I haven’t stopped eating it since.
White fish in general tastes pretty good to me these days. I’ve even ordered fish in restaurants, and had my first ever fish ‘n’ chips this year. Cod is my favourite so far, but I also enjoy haddock and will be travelling to Arbroath to try the famous smokies next month. My forays into seafood have introduced me to shellfish too, and I quite enjoy lobster and crab from time to time. You just know I’ll be looking for that seafood restaurant veranda when I go to Portugal this autumn!
The first time I tried lamb I hated the flavour. If it didn’t taste like beef, pork or chicken, it was unlikely as a kid that I was going to like it. However, a lamb curry cooked by a friend changed my ways earlier this year. I think it’s absolutely out of this world and have tried it several times since.
Food I still can’t eat
Mustard. The flavour is too intense and clashes with everything I try it with. Salmon too, I can’t handle the texture, and I still can’t bring myself to eat tuna or mackerel! I’ll work on these ones slowly but surely.
What foods have you learned to love?
P.S My brother doesn’t like mushrooms, cheese or peas…maybe I’ll return the favour and make him eat those next time I see him!