Who’s Coming to Dinner?

I like food. All kinds of food. That should be no surprise to anyone who has read this blog for a while or watched me walk out of a room. My ass tells it all. I like good food. Great food.

I haven’t had the fortune of sharing my love of all things edible with many people who share my diversified palate. It gets quite frustrating after a while. Anyone whose list of “what I don’t eat” is longer than the list of “foods I love” is an absolute annoyance to me. Ex didn’t eat mushrooms, Asian food, pizza, shellfish (I’ll be fair, he claimed allergy), Brussels sprouts, nuts IN food or bananas. WTH?? Can you imagine how boooooring meal planning was with all these stupid restrictions?

I now keep a running list of which of my friends won’t eat what. I hate that I have to do this, but I know so many picky eaters that I just know to ask up front. No mushrooms for this one, no sundried tomatoes for this one (OK who doesn’t like sundried tomatoes?), no seafood here, no asparagus there, no pork for this one, add red meat to that for the next, and my personal favorite–no chicken on the bone. Oh, and no onions. I have a friend who doesn’t eat onions…or mac and cheese. Ah! Don’t all great meals start with onions and garlic? Oh, and I can’t forget no raisins or cherries ;). It can make planning a dinner party really difficult. Maybe it’s not hard for the average Jane who is going to offer a few staples that please everybody. Never mind the fact that it’s the same spread they’ve had at every party they’ve been to since you actually had to cook Chex Mix. I’m no such Jane.

Here are a couple of things I keep on hand (or have on hand at the moment) that many people find objectionable: figs, dates, artichokes, sundried tomatoes, brie, every kind of nut you can think of, asparagus, anchovies, chopped clams, cremini mushrooms, shrimp, olives (black and green), all kinds of beans and chilis, and capers. I know at least one person who will turn his/her nose up to each of these. I love these foods, people. It’s so hard to cook without them, to cook around them. This is great stuff!! These items are almost always in my house and I cook with them all the time. I’ve even mastered chopping onions so small that the onion non-eater doesn’t notice.

Me? I’ll try anything once. Yes, I’ve eaten things I don’t like, but I think adults’ lists of foods they hate should be much shorter than the list of foods they enjoy. Maybe I’m coo-coo?

I had a conversation with my class of adult English as a Second Language students about foods and nutrition. We talked about foods that are customary in each of their countries. My student from Central African Republic eats elephant, rhinoceros and monkey (says the palm is the best part). The student from Chad eats grasshoppers. Loves and misses them. Apparently grasshoppers are enjoyed in some parts of Algeria, Burkina Faso and Congo too. [Pausing for anyone who needs to to take a glance at a world map and catch up.] Some Haitians eat cat. And in Tanzania they drink cow blood. Now, while I said I had a diversified palate, I’m neither a vampire nor a cannibal. And yes, for me, eating monkey borders on cannibalism. (I’m not a full-fledged Darwinist, but you’ve got to admit that you’ve seem some folks whose appearance alone makes a damn good argument for man having evolved from ape.) I have however eaten chocolate covered ants and rattlesnake. And I ate blood sausage in Argentina, but it was cooked. So that doesn’t count towards vampirism.

I’m not saying that we should make every meal time a Fear Factor event, but come on? What has a Brussels sprout ever done to anybody?

Is there anything I absolutely won’t eat? Yes, of course. Cauliflower. It reminds me of when your body is trying to fight off strep and white blood cells collect on the back of your throat in little clusters. I’ll pass. Every time.

What about you? What should I absolutely NOT serve if I invite you to dinner?

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21 thoughts on “Who’s Coming to Dinner?

  1. I love cauliflower, though I was sickened when my Health teacher showed us a picture of a disease that looked like it.

    Brussels sprouts just aren’t very good. I used to eat all the veggies at the holidays, but eventually, I pared it down to what I loved best.

    I probably annoy you, but I will eat more, and a wider variety of stuff, if someone else has made it. I’ve been trying new things lately, but I don’t eat out often enough for it to be a big deal. And I’m not picky, I have a refined taste.

  2. @ Debbie

    Then you’re invited to dinner anytime!

    @ Mystery Person…
    …who deleted their comment.

    I was just about to reply to you.

  3. @ ~m~

    I knew what you meant :-).

    I stand corrected, refined taste.

    I have no problem with folks who don’t buy and cook the foods I like. That’s not everyone’s thing. I just wish more people were more open to trying new things and expanding their palette.

    I know some adults eat basically only the foods they ate when they were 3: mac and cheese from a box, chicken fingers and bologna sandwiches. It’s depressing.

    I love when someone else cooks. That’s the best.

  4. If I were the Mystery Person, it would be because I misspelled something and I thought it would leave no trace. But seeing no name is nice; I always wondered why people removed their own comments.

    The ever-changing palate: You can spread the word that our taste buds change as we grow older. I tried something I used to despise and found that I liked it. But I can’t remember what it was because I stopped having it. But it wasn’t onions, garlic, mushrooms, seafood, or condiments (though I have progressed to where I don’t remove the ketchup from my restaurant table). If I don’t know about the onions or garlic, that’s fine, but today, I was trying Linda McCartney’s butternut squash ravioli, and I thought the sauce was funky, and maybe it is, but there were evil mushrooms! They are not listed on the front of the box, but I could have sworn I read the bloody ingredients…

  5. @ ~m~

    I can understand the condiments. I’m not a fan of salad dressing (unless I make my own). But am I to understand that you don’t like onions, garlic, mushrooms or seafood either? Oy! You have effectively eliminated 80% of the dishes I cook on a regular basis.

    I can tolerate someone who doesn’t eat ketchup much more than I can someone who puts it on everything. I once dated a guy who put ketchup on my mother’s entire Thanksgiving dinner. He didn’t last 2 weeks.

    And, pretend every “palette” you see actually says “palate”. I don’t feel like changing them all. Dang homophones!

    Why am I still up?

  6. I.Love.Sundried.Tomatoes.

    To Death.

    I love vegetables.

    But I’ll tell you what a brussels sprout did to me. It let me taste it. OMG. What horror.

    However, I am a big fan of cooking what you want, and if people don’t eat it, they don’t have to. Unless it’s for health reasons or part of a personal eating choice — like my daughter not eating beef or pork — I don’t think it deserves very much consideration. If they don’t eat it, let them twiddle their thumbs. And that includes me.

  7. @ Katrice

    I think I’ve got you down to a science. I even grind the garlic in the pestle and mortar now so you don’t bite into the pieces. And I agree with you about health or moral reasons for not eating certain things. No prob there. I’m really not to upset when someone tries something and decides they don’t like it…but don’t just “don’t eat” stuff for the heck of it.

    I want to choke folks who look at something that’s unfamiliar and automatically respond with, “Ewwww! What’s THAT??” Grow up for goodness sake!

    Am I the only person who doesn’t mind Brussels sprouts?

  8. “chicken on the bone” LMAO..does it really taste that different from the other? lol

    it’s been years, maybe 10 or so, since i’ve had chicken…so i’m simple….keep it colorful..i love the entire rainbow of veggies…i’d pass on anything that has parents so no meat/dairy please 😛

  9. I must admit brussel sprouts are on my list of the most horrid things I have ever had the misfortune to chew. They are right up there with Asparagus. EEEEWWWWWW!!! I don’t particularly care for quite a few things, but I will try new dishes in a heart beat. Like you, I would rather taste it and declare whether or not I like it, than to just look at it and ignorantly declare that I don’t like it. I have eaten grilled and fried alligator and it was amazing, I absolutely loved it.

  10. If my friends had lists of food they can’t/won’t eat – they’d be some hungry people at the dinner table.

    I cook what I enjoy cooking – you’re welcome to come, but I won’t adjust my recipe – you can bring your own!

  11. I can’t believe I’m the 14th commenter on a food post. I can usually SMELL these posts and make comment #1. 🙂

    Food quirks annoy the heck outta me too. I can’t exactly say that there are foods that I *hate*… but more accurately foods that “I don’t go out of my way to have but if you put it in front of me I’ll eat it.”

    Isn’t it ILLEGAL to cook without onion and garlic?

    For me, it’s a love affair. It’s adventure. It’s the experience.

    I’d probably pass on monkey too, though. Gotta draw the line somewhere.

  12. I like that you grind the garlic, but I don’t mind biting into garlic. I LOOOOOOVE garlic! I have had the experience of chomping down on a bitter piece, but you rarely have that problem if you saute it.

    I think you’re alone with Brussels sprouts.

  13. I am anti-chicken-on-the-bone! I can do it if I am STARVING but other than that…I will pass even if it does smell delightful. And in those starving times…it is only if it is a breast and my father usually yells at me for leaving more meat on the bone than I will pull off. I will absolutely NOT put a piece of meat on a bone to my mouth. Now that…is SICK!

  14. lol. This is a fun post. I love mushrooms. There was a point where everything I cooked had mushroom in it. If I was scrambling eggs, there was mushroom, if I was reheating cornbeef, mushroom, soup? mushroom. I’ve calmed down a bit, but mushroom does taste good plus isn’t there some medicinal benefit as well?

    And cookings starts with oniion and garlic for me too.

    Well, I’m not a big meat eater to be honest, chicken and fish. Yep, i know borrrrrrrring. Not very adventurous, you’d be totally annoyed with me.

    Can’t you move to Jamaica and move in beside me? I just love friends who love to cook.

  15. The only thing I don’t eat is bananas–anyone who has seen me AT ALL all can testify to this. But to fair I am allergic to them.

  16. All I ask is that you don’t serve boring food. I’m with you. I’d even go far enough to suggest that, next time, serve six or seven little courses–even if your friends hate this course, they’ll love the next one.

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