Some people might be hard-pressed to believe it now, but I used to be the pickiest eater.
I turned my nose up at so many things that I now find delicious. Asparagus. Onions. Peppers. Tomatoes. Mustard. Steak. And the issue of how long it would take me to chew a bite of roast beef is a whole 'nother blog post.
I even refused to eat pie. I was more a of a "cake or cookies" kind of girl.
The only flavor of ice cream I would deign to eat was vanilla. Even the thought of chocolate ice cream kind of freaked me out, and I still don't like chocolate milk.
Like most kids, I did love cheese. But for years I'd only eat American cheese. Later, I branched out to include cheddar. And mozzarella was tolerated, but only in Italian dishes. And I took PB & J to school in my lunchbox for three years straight. I was nothing if not predictable.
Every once in a while, I find myself saying "If my parents were here tonight, they would fall out of their chairs to see me eating this!" And if you'd told me, say, ten years ago how much I would come to love cabbage, onions, and the like, I'd have thought you were loony.
These days, I do really feel for my parents. They, like so many moms and dads, had quite a challenge in convincing their child to try new things. And as a mama, I tend to feel extra compassion for my kids when they don't like something that I serve. Still, the things that are served are the things available to eat for dinner. I completely understand if they don't care for something, but if they decide not to eat it, they could get a little hungry.
So, I've been trying to introduce my children to a variety of foods, hoping they'll be more tolerant than I was. They're not too bad, though. Usually they'll at least try to keep an open mind. Even my second son, the choosiest of the lot, enjoys things that surprise me. For example, he adores nuts. And even rare steak. Give that kid roast beef or a t-bone, and he is there. Not that he'll eat a hamburger.
My oldest boy loves seafood. Any kind, apparently. The boy even likes oysters. Clearly he takes after his father in that area. Me? I'll only eat tuna. From a can.
I confess that I am still...shall we say, a selective eater? I despise most seafood, even knowing how wonderfully healthy it is. I cannot tolerate yogurt or kefir. And I have yet to develop a taste for sour foods.
Still, my "food boundaries" have expanded. Sizeably. Every summer, I find the farmers' market a bonanza of flavors and experiences. I loved doing the CSA program last year, because if forced me to cook and try new things. My current goals for our family are increasing our intake of fresh, local vegetables - which will become much more feasible as spring turns into summer - and introducing organ meats into our diet. They're incredibly rich in nutrients, and besides, I've got a beef heart and beef liver in our chest freezer, just cooling their heels.
I've just got to figure out how to sneak them past my toughest critics!