Musings: Foods we Like…or Don’t

sd530697As a kid, I remember hating coconut.  I mean, really hating it.  And pineapple.  To this day, I haven’t even tried a piña colada, simply because of what’s in it.  Over the years, I have actually developed a liking for coconut.  I can eat German Chocolate cake, coconut cake, put shredded coconut in something, I’m fine.  It’s all good.  Just the other day I had ice cream with a coconut caramel sauce on it.

This, you might say, is one of the things that happens when you grow up.  Your tastes become more sophisticated.  And on some level, I believe that.  But then, there are some things that no matter how much you want to like them, they just don’t work for you.

Recently, my friend Erin and I started having a weekly get-together.  One of us would make dinner, the other would bring dessert.  It was a nice way to fill a lonely Friday night when Andrew runs off to play D&D.  It’s also given us a chance to try recipes we normally can’t.  Erin lives with a bunch of people who have a combination of allergies and “keep that thing away from me” aversions to some of her favorite ingredients.  I live with a man who has no love of cheese or pasta.  Solution: test these things on each other.

The above photo is from one of these adventures.  This isn’t a Recipe Du Jour post, because I didn’t like this.  It’s supposed to be 5-spice shrimp, an Indian inspired tomato-y shrimp dish served over rice.  It looks great, doesn’t it?Erin loved it.  I…picked at it.  I didn’t know why.  I had had Indian food before, there wasn’t anything in the dish I inherently disliked.  But after a process of elimination, we think we found the culprit: turmeric.

Turmeric, that spice that gives the signature yellow color to curries and other spicy foods.  Suddenly a lot of things began to make sense.  I normally liked curry, but not “yellow” curries.  (I put it in quote marks to refer to the actual color of the sauce, not whatever they decide to name it.)  Andrew would make Japanese-style curry on occasion and I just couldn’t get behind it. I always felt bad, because there wasn’t anything in the dish I should dislike, but now, apparently, I’ve discovered it.

This is boggling to me.  I’ve eaten turmeric before, I’ve considered it a mostly harmless ingredient.  I was once told that you could mix it with smooshed up tofu to mimic scrambled eggs.  Such a little thing ruined a whole series of dishes for me.  I used to make fun of Andrew’s dislike for oregano.  He can’t stand the stuff (which partially explains his dislike of most pasta dishes and pizza.)  But now, I guess we’re even.

Do you have any weird ingredients that you can’t eat?  Not necessarily things you hate, but they just make dishes seem unappealing or less appetizing after you notice them?  Things that you want to like, but you just can’t stand once you actually taste it?  I’ve heard some people have a sensitivity to cilantro.  If you have it, is that like this?