Funny how your tastes change as you age. If I think back to all of the things that I disliked eating as a child, I’m left to wonder what it was that I all had eaten exactly aside from peanut butter, bread, ANY kind of Ukrainian food, ham, rice, hot dogs, fruit, chicken/turkey and pasta (minus spaghetti–a story unto itself). It’s no surprise that my mom lost her patience with the three of us, each favouring/despising different kinds of foods. My dad, on the other hand, would have NO part of it. Like it or not, whatever was on the table was what was being served and you ate it. Period! I don’t blame him one bit now, but as a kid, his attitude was not always welcomed to say the least. I spent many a night at the kitchen table, long after others were excused from dinner, trying to: chew pieces of steak, which just seemed to turn into a bigger and bigger wad of sinewy meat (clearly, not MY idea of a luxury meal, though it was my parents’ claim); swallow whole, cooked peas so as not to taste their mushiness on the way down; or push mashed potatoes around on my plate endlessly in the hopes that if I moved the pile around enough, it would eventually disappear?! Unfortunately, none of my loud sighing worked, nor did any of the afore-mentioned strategies and eventually, my mom would have to come to my rescue.
Of course, now that I am older with more distinguished tastebuds, many of the things that I once disliked, have become favourites. On the other hand, some of my dreaded items remain on my undesired list. Some foods gained popularity with me simply because I got over the smell or look of them to actually give them a fair taste. As kids, we tend to make up our minds about how something is going to taste long before it even touches our lips. In some cases, it has taken slow, but repeated exposure to an ingredient over and over again before I have become acclimated to it in such a way that I have actually ended up liking it. Yet again in other situations, I have come to love a certain dish through the coaxing or continual stamp of approval from close friends or loved ones.
Tonight, as I type away, the intoxicating smell of my husband’s world-famous stew wafts through our open floor space already tantalizing both of our taste buds. Hmmmmm!!!! For my husband, stew is a comfort food that he grew up eating, while for me it is a relatively new discovery thanks to him. Previously, the idea of a meal of beef, potatoes, carrots, celery, peas and onions thrown all together in one pot with the flavours simmering and amalgamating was rather disgusting to me, (especially the idea of cooked peas bobbing about–I told my parents that I would be forever traumatized by the peas:-). However, after teasing him on occasion about foods that he hasn’t been willing to try since our union, he kindly pointed out that I, too, have been guilty of jumping to my childhood forgone conclusions with respect to his mom’s beef stew recipe. So, last year, I agreed to try a bite when he decided to put his culinary skills to the test in recreating one of his mother’s masterpieces. Much to my own surprise, I loved every bite of it! Even the peas. And, when he added fresh made dumplings to the slow cooker during the final phase of cooking, that sealed the deal even further. I was hooked. So much so, that now I beg him to make it and he often “isn’t in the mood” for it. How ironic is that? I guess his once-in-awhile-treat growing up is still just that for him, whereas for me, it has become a brilliant mix that makes an excellent, filling supper and even better freezer portions for lunches. Who would have thought that all of these years later, the once-little Sue would be begging for this one-pot medley and leftovers to boot!!!!!! Lesson? Never say never;-).