I won’t mention my age but I was brought up in the days of “sit there until you eat it” my friend was served any left overs the next day. Of course this was usually vegetables never chips. I remember being forced to eat peppery mashed potato in junior school and couldn’t eat white pepper until I was in my 20’s.
As a child I was really fussy but looking back I have to admit I knew if I made enough fuss I would be given more of what I liked and less of what i didn’t like, as long as I eat it all I could leave the table happy (especially if my pockets were full of carrots). Microwaves hit the market in the 70’s, if I eat bad before, I really eat badly then – I remember a conversation on the school bus about how you could boil water in a few minutes to make a coffee in the mic – – we were so impressed, we never really thought it took the same time to boil a kettle. Microwave meals were a thing of fascination and a real food adventure back then. If I had a Findus minced lamb steak microwaved to spitty fattiness with a dried out old mic-ed potato I could brag all playground. There were no calorific labelling and programmes warning you about sugar content – we just rolled with the coaster that was fast convenience food, embraced the food future and agreed with the pester power marketing.
I look back on my young foodie-less days with horror – in my teens my parents were X-pats, I spent my holidays abroad where entertaining was everything – I would be tagged along to this and that dinner party, food event or BBQ. My mum would lecture me about trying things and to not leave anything on my plate – – – I did try and after that I didn’t stop trying, I discovered food, flavours and cooking. What a world that experience opened up to me. My foodie future was set in peel!
As a mother I was determined not to have fussy children, I gave them everything – – my principle was to encourage them to try it and to all eat the same meals together. My children are now teens and even though they have things they like more than others they do eat a huge range of different foods.
When I first met my hubby he told me he absolutely hated parsnips – for years I’d hide them in his food, now he loves them. Luckily we share a passion for food, he barely cooks (21 times in 26 years!!!!) but he loves all foods, we both love to travel to eat and we both live to eat. When I was a teen I told my mum I would never marry a fussy eater – – for me a man should be part caveman, made to hunt, made to eat, made to survive – i’m not bothered about being dragged in to a cave by my hair but I am bothered when a man pulls a face and winces when he goes over a list of all the foods he won’t touch, a man who would avoid certain restaurants because they don’t serve meat and veg, a man who would cry if you served him sushi.
After all what animals are fussy – can you imagine a chimpanzee refusing a banana saying “Ew that looks disgusting” or a shark refusing a juicy leg saying “Ew, to much fat on that” or a Crocodile refusing a red snapper saying “oh, I can’t eat anything with the head still on it” or a chicken refusing corn saying “don’t like the look of that” Animals just eat – unless its poisonous or toxic they munch away, its just natural.
A doctor once told me what phobia goes in your head can come out again – I think its the same principle with foods, for instance if you really hate liver its most probably because you’ve had over cooked rubbery liver in your childhood. Food cooked badly or forced on you can put you off for life – it’s all in your head – – like my pepper revolt. I always think of Japanese children being brought up on sushi – – it was normal, they saw their parents eating it and just eat it. I once made sushi for my Nana’s Japanese neighbours who she invited round for “tea” (Dinner) she asked me what it was – – “We’ll Nana its cold rice, wrapped in seaweed and stuffed with raw fish” We’ll you can imagine her 72 year old response. Hasten to say she didn’t try any – instead sticking to the cold ham, pickled onions and buttered white bread option with a cup of tea. Where as the Japanese lady son tucked in to everything – it was what he was used to, while she questioned the oddness of the Tea served with a meal and why would you have all the bread on the side let alone pickle vegetables in acidic malt vinegar.
Therefor we can get used to anything, get over nearly everything and enjoy foods from all over the world – – – except egg mayonnaise thats gross!!!
(but I’d still eat it after all I am a child of the 70’s)