I was in the car with A. Ros today and talk turned to list item number 25 “Host a dinner party using 3 of your most loved foods and 3 of your most disliked foods” – her addition to the list.
It’s a particularly difficult challenge for me – not because I’m scared to eat my most disliked foods, but because I don’t know what they are! I’ve always been pretty ambivalent towards food. It doesn’t really have time to leave a lasting impression when you eat like a duck.
Back in the day I was known as a particularly fussy eater. I think it’s the memories of this time that prompted A. Ros to set me the challenge. I don’t know that I was much fussier than the average kid. I think it’s just about exposure, and at that time we were a traditional “spag bol/sausages and mash/repeat” kind of family, and you just had to slam it down fast if you wanted to secure your place back in front if the TV.
Since those days I’ve been exposed to a wide variety of foods. A. Ros, who is still clearly scarred by my early complaining years, may be surprised to know that I have eaten the following at one time or another:
- Brussels sprouts
- Blue cheese
- Black pudding
- Chicken heart
- Ox heart
- Bone marrow
Most of them I didn’t even mind (although I wouldn’t heap my plate with any of them except the cactus). The brains were offensive mainly because they were served up with cauliflower, which is an unnecessarily brainy-looking thing to add to the plate. Then again, it was cooked by one of the best, in fact The Best (page 25), so it doesn’t get much better than that if you’re going to try it.
Similarly, I struggle to decide on my Top 3 foods. Are deep fried carbs with sugar on top a food? Oh wait, yes! Doughnuts! I’m a woman of seriously simple tastes. I’ll scrape the cream off the side and I don’t need sauce. I’d be just as happy with a dry chicken schnitzel as one with gravy and I’d much prefer a thoroughly ice-magicked bowl of vanilla ice cream to crème brûlée. I find “fancy” food intimidating and I’ll happily order plain old chicken at an upmarket restaurant (after all, it’s the best chicken you’ll ever have). It’s not that I’m scared to try something new… I just feel like it’s wasted on me.
Plenty of people would instantly add “Chocolate!” to their top 3 list, but even that’s fallen off my radar since I discovered it gives me awful hayfever.
In short, there are a whole bunch of foods I like, and a bunch I don’t. I don’t like olives, cream, custard, baby octopus, smoked salmon, dip or soft cheeses… but I couldn’t say I detest any of those things. (I’m also very well aware that I’ve just listed some of A. Ros’ favourite things!)
I’m leaning towards trifle for the Bottom 3 list… The cream! The custard! The sponge cake! Wrapped in a loving jelly blanket! It’s a veritable caucophany of wrongness… Black pudding has got to be on there too, and possibly baked beans? Maybe blue cheese? The bone marrow was beyond foul but I don’t know that I could recreate that little Matt Moran gem. I have no idea on the Top 3… (although truth be told I could eat doughnuts till the cows came home and turned into hamburgers!)
I’m looking for a little assistance from all of you. Can you think of foods I should add to my ‘Top 3’ or ‘Bottom 3’ lists? What have I flat-out refused to eat in your presence? What could you not physically tear me away from? What would you add to your lists? Let me know in the comments below.
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