Wednesday, February 25, 2009

If I know what it is, I won't eat it.

What are today's school's coming to? Last week, 9-year old Jake's 4th grade class took home permission slips for kids to be able to eat chocolate covered grasshoppers. Apparently, the teacher brought some in and challenged the kids to try it. Of the 20 kids, 19 brought back the slips signed, 10 actually ate them and only one of those suffered the dread projectile vomit. Jake manned-up and ate one, and proved to himself it was no big deal. Sheesh. And yet, Jake turns his nose up at peanut butter.
My dad used to love to throw one thing in my face all the time; it was the simple fact that as a young boy, I loved anchovies on pizza until I found out anchovy was a fish. He said when I was very young I ate all kinds of fish without complaint, but at some point decided I hated fish--this is something that pretty much continues to this day. I still remember the salty, strong and exotic taste anchovy brought to pizza, but I also remember the first time that, knowing it was fish, I really LOOKED at it and wondered exactly what part of the fish it was, etc... That's the problem, aside from stuff that really truly tastes bad, we also get too good at visualizing what we're really eating.
Every kid I've known has had a food phobia of some kind. The list includes green veggies of all kinds, onions, mushrooms; and even hamburgers, which I consider strong proof that aliens are among us. Some kids have grown out of it, some not, or not yet. I used to think "they don't know what they're missing" but I'm past that; each has favorite foods that they dream of in the perfect meal, so the beauty of food is not completely lost on them.
The plain truth is, there are some foods that you just don't want to know what's in it.
Other foods I loved as a child, but then "inexplicably" changed my mind:
Goat's Milk Fudge. I looked forward to road trips to the Smoky Mountains where you could get this until I found out it really does use goat's milk. I thought it was just a name. Like as in hamburger doesn't really use ham, etc. The thought of somebody pulling on those tiny little nipples, getting that "milk?," echhh!
Maypo. This was an early maple-flavored oatmeal and was really OK tasting. The problem was the advertising blitz featured animated spokesman "Marky Maypo." I got mercilously teased by everybody who knew my name. Somehow that changed the taste--it had to go.
Apple Pie. Loved it until I had some in which the cook didn't completely remove the core fiber-skin along with the seeds--the coarse sheath that surrounds the seeds is extremely unpleasant and spoils the texture. I just wrote-off the pie after that.
Bologna. For some reason, I can occasionally "forget" what's in hotdogs and sausage and still enjoy them, but the original discovery of what's in bologna has stayed with me. In a big way.
Tripe. Just kidding, I never, ever liked this--for God's sake, do you know what it is? Dear Lord...
I'm not a complete food snob, I still love a sandwich that never failed to gross out my lunch-mates at elementary school:
Liverwurst, swiss cheese, onion and mustard on dark pumpernickle. It was my Mom's recipe, made as always with love.
These days, I can remember anchovy with nostalgia and less distaste; maybe I'll put it on my bucket list to revisit one last time.


Miss Amanda said...

Eww, chocolate covered grasshoppers sound disgusting! And what was my childhood food phobia? I don't remember having one!

mvorpal said...

You're right missy, we never had to change the menu for you! But to be fair, by the time you came along your mom and I had stopped getting creative at dinnertime. BTW, how do you feel about fish, or garlic, or onions?

Z said...

Haha, tripe.... :/ Whenever anybody mentioned haggas you'd ask us if we ever knew what tripe was, and it always sounded disgusting...

And why do I get this feeling that there's a subtle implication that I'm the picky kid who required menu changes.... What's wrong with knowing what you want? :)

mvorpal said...

I'd forgotten about haggis and Burns night. Although I hate whisky, we definitely needed the requisite whisky to help with the haggis, and there were a lot of toasts.
As for picky, for what it's worth, we never served anything that I didn't like either! :)