Thursday, September 27, 2012

Red peppers and other unmentionables

What food do you love now, that you used to hate? 

For me: avocados. Could barely get a piece down when I was little. Stomach to brain, prepare for feedback. Tomatoes. Hated them. Then there were those curried eggs my mother used to make, from Charmaine Solomon's otherwise wonderful The Complete Asian Cookbook. In a rare concession to a fussy eater my mother let me eat, instead...canned sardines. In tomato sauce. I know. Makes no sense. I would willingly eat canned sardines in tomato sauce but not a slow-simmered curry of hard boiled eggs.

And I could not stand peppers.

Now? I love avocado. It has been the most superb summer of tomatoes, ever. And I lap up peppers (recipe next door).

But those curried eggs - I think I'd rather eat Estorbo's pellets [if you want to know why the cat is wearing clothes in the link, it's a very long story about feline OCD.]

As for the sardines...


  1. I love avocado, but must have kosher salt.
    I love sardines, cause I never had them as a kid.....drizzle w/ balsamic syrup.
    I love tomatoes, but only Jersey, in season.

    I HATED Brussels sprouts as a kid, would gag on the boiled little cabbages.
    Now is my FAVORITE veg, roasted, pan fried or raw!

  2. today's birthday lunch with a friend.
    Spiroolied zucchini, gently-barely sautéed with oil and garlic.
    corn from a cob, cooked.
    roasted red pepper

    this dressing: I cannot remember the source.
    Tomato Dressing:

    1 fresh green chili seeded
    2 cloves garlic
    ½ C.. chopped tomatoes
    3 T vegetable oil
    3 T fresh lemon Juice
    ¼ t. cumin
    ¼ t. salt

  3. oh, sardines. I absolutely have to learn to eat them someday.. what a great source of omega fats and of yet they have not crossed my lips. Waiting until i grow up. OH, but salmon in parchment packet- even without the veggies- purrfect, no mess! delicious.
    "Easy-Cook Parchment Paper Salmon" new york times.

  4. Um, how can I be the only one consumed with curiosity over why he is wearing clothes? And in a jaunty manner with rolled cuffs and all? I'm conflicted between thinking this is the cutest thing I have ever seen and knowing how much cats hate to dress up so thinking it must have been a medically induced costume party?

  5. Brussel sprouts were horrid as a child. They were frozen then cooked to mush. But the fresh sprouts from my fall garden - yum! Nutty flavor, tender to the tooth but not mushy. And beets - I don't think I ever even put one in my mouth as a child. But fresh roasted beets over a spinach salad! And spinach - freshly picked leaves from the garden and either eaten as a salad or quickly wilted with onions and mushrooms with a squirt of lemon and shaved parm. Not at all like the kind Popeye ate from the can!

  6. Katie, indeed. It was a phase that lasted about a year-and-a-half, where he would pick a spot and lick it to death, till raw. All we could do was cover him up. It started with a red coat:

    ...but that didn't cover his legs, so when he licked a leg we had to resort to a shirt.

  7. Didn't eat a tomato until my early twenties. Same for mushrooms. Peppers, raw, earlier -but cooked ones not until my early 20s. Something about leaving home opened me up to new things I guess.

    Did eat sardines. Ate all things fish as a child.

  8. I'd leave the table with it's fresh-picked tomatoes and onions, and green beans. New potatoes, forked from the ground and brought in to be steamed over the beans, rolled in meal and fried to a crisp. I'd walk away from all of that for peanut butter on white bread. What was I thinking? My mental processes and my waistline have expanded over the years.

  9. Growing up on a hardscrabble cotton farm in Mississippi, I was raised by my father and two doting aunts who lived on nearby farms. My only companion in childhood was Percy, a beloved yellow barn cat who seldom left my side. We fished together and he consumed the fish, which I could not stand. Today, I feast on fresh fish from the bountiful waters of the Chesapeake--and never fail to think of Percy when I do. His faded b&w picture looks up at me from under the glass top on my desk. "Feesh," he pleads!

  10. Fish I hated fish. Vegetables, bring em on.

    oooooh and liver and onions. gag me then gag me now.

    xo J.

  11. Y'all are making me hungry.

    Diane Faith - potatoes to be steamed over the beans, rolled in meal - cornmeal? - and then...fried? In slices? They sound wonderful.

    Clark - that Percy. He sounds wonderful. Your story sounds like Steinbeck meets Hemingway - did you ever read about Hemingway's orange cat in Paris? He sounds a bit like Percy.

    Jane - liver and onions, I can imagine. Ugh. It took a girl chef to convert me to liver's cause in Cape Town. Chez Simone was the restaurant. The owner was a very dodgy character. Liver crisp and brown on the outside, pink inside, red wine reduction, caramelized onions, dreamy mashed potatoes. Sorry, I'm probably making you queasy.

  12. Mashed pumpkin. Boiled to death, then mashed. My mother said I could sit, alone, at the table til it was finished. I said it would make me sick. It did.
    Today? I never mash it, but I do love pumpkin in many other presentations. My soup-in-the-shell has turned heads.

  13. Sheesh! That sounds very "Exorcist." Sorry.

  14. Bought a bag of organic avocados and have been using one a night in salad with chopped fennel and radish and kohlrabi. A surprising combo I think.

    I hated peppers when I was kid. It so annoyed my Mother! She took it as a personal affront. She tempted me with a quarter to eat a piece of red pepper but I threw up. Did not like raw tomatoes either.

    40 years later stomach issues lead to a diagnosis of an allergy to nightshades.

    After learning to love fresh tomatoes and red pepper.
    But I miss eggplant the most.

    Cigarette smoke always really bothered me. Nightshade!

  15. Marie, if I was a cat I would definitely have the feline OCD of Estorbo -- clean clean clean and more clean with a nice scratchy tongue! the fact that he (seemingly) willingly wore a fleece vest, and then moved onto jaunty outfits with sleeves means he is a magic cat. Sorry for you all that he had the issue, but he sure looked sharp.

  16. Tomatoes were disgusting. Mostly because they were slow boated fr California up to Alaska and arrived mealy and flavorless. For some odd reason, I loved sauerkraut. I remember thinking a kid shouldn't like something like this, but I did.

  17. Maybe as children we are averse, physically, to Solanaceae, and for good reason? I've remembered that I used to hate eggplant too, claiming it gave me a "scratchy" tongue.

    So, Lynn, what happens to you when you eat them now?

  18. Yes! That's what I think - I had no adverse effects but my chemistry was telling me to avoid those things. Well, cigarette smoke always gave me a headache.

    Night shade reaction at age 51 was pretty constant stomach pain - high, under my ribcage. After a summer of eating nightshades in all forms several times a day.

    Also beginning at age 49 occasional dramatic heartburn of the visits to ER sure it's a heart attack sort. But no rhyme or reason to cause it seemed, because c'mon!Vegetables??!!

    Also wonder if it causes inflammation that aggravates arthritis/joint pain. I think those issues are better now.

    Night shades are hard to avoid. Potatoes in bread. Peppers in everything thai. Pizza. Boiron homeopathic "Acidil" to the rescue.
    They don't call them deadly nightshades for nothing. Which by the way I have plenty of in the garden. Weeds with thorns just seem unfair. The bees appreciate the flowers though.

  19. Oh, just remembered another symptom. I had to pee a million times a night. Well at least every couple of hours. My bladder was irritated. Sleeping through the night is great.

  20. Your question and the resulting comments made me realize that the handful of things I hated as a child but now love all came from cans then. Black, rubbery olive rings. Mushy, olive green asparagus. Sliced, pickled beets. And the dreaded sauerkraut in school lunches. It turns out I don't hate those things, but I do really dislike those versions of those things.


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