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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Picky Eater

Ever since I learned to like cilantro, I've had a theory that anyone can learn to enjoy any food they initially dislike.

I'm sure other people can relate to my original stance on cilantro. I knew I had to get over it, though, because it was in too many things that I otherwise would have loved. I came up with a strategy, to try it in as many things as possible. I spent two years trying out everything I could think of that had cilantro in it. It wasn't until I ate a peanut, cilantro and garlic sauce over noodles that I found a recipe that I liked. Just as I suspected, once I found one recipe that worked for me, I could eat it in anything. About eight years ago, when A. and I were working on the cookbook that I hope we will one day finish, I outlined a chapter on this method of overcoming disliked foods. I was going to call it "Break On Through".

Today I had an experience that challenges this whole theory. I went out for dim sum with one of my co-workers and she ordered chicken feet. I thought I might as well try them. My co-worker told me they tasted just like the rest of the chicken, you just had to spit the bones out.

Once a foot was on my plate, I got a little nervous. I didn't like the way the toes looked, but it seemed too late to change my mind. I tried them, and yes, they do taste just like the rest of the chicken. It was spitting out the bones and knowing I was eating a foot that prevented me from enjoying them.

I guess for years I've been so caught up in the successful implementation of my overcoming food dislikes theory that I forgot a key component that's applicable to all things, not just food. In order to overcome anything, you have to want to. I don't want to get past the low level of nausea I experienced eating a chicken foot. There are better things to focus on.

Bon Appetit_


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Something New

I’m having a friend over dinner for tonight. It will be the first time I’ve made anything besides a quesadilla or scrambled eggs in my own kitchen in I don’t know how long.

I haven’t figured out what I’m making yet, but whatever I settle on will be something I’ve never made before.

I came up with this great idea a couple of years ago, in reaccation to the totally opposite approach I previously took to dinner parties. I’d plan a really elaborate menu and give it a trial run a few days before my friends came over. It always turned out so much better the first time that I’d spend the whole second dinner disappointed. It really colored the flavor of these evenings.

Cooking something new for guests saves me from this experience. If whatever I’m making turns out to be less than wonderful, I’m off the hook. How could I have known? I’d never made it before.

Bon Appetit_