Posted by: Kennedy | April 7, 2010

Confessions of a Picky Eater

Some people think I have pretty fickle tastes. But if they had known me even 5 years ago, they would say I’ve come a VERY long way to expanding my horizons when it comes to food.

I was an extremely picky child. Yes, I know there are plenty of kids out there who have to be force-fed their vegetables. But do you know any six-year-olds who don’t like pizza? Or sandwiches? Well, I was that kid. My mom used to pack me a container of cereal and a thermos of milk for lunch. When my friends had pizza parties to celebrate their birthdays, their moms would have to boil me a hot dog. How annoying is that?!

Growing up, I developed some healthy habits thanks to my nutrition-conscious parents. But we were not the most diverse in our home cooking. With five children to drive around to various sports practices, extra-curriculars and friends’ houses, my mom didn’t exactly have the time to create elaborate meals or teach us how to cook like she did. We had a lot of meat-and-potatoes nights… and as we got older, fend-for-yourself nights often resulted in many a chicken finger coming out of the oven.

Fast forward to my first year of university, where I had to cook meals for myself for the first time. Ask my roommates: I was NOT creative in the kitchen. Staples included fettuccine alfredo (with a pre-made packaged sauce), grilled cheese, soup, and pizza (yes, by then I had developed a taste for pizza… unfortunately!).

Thanks in part to my roommates, my eating habits improved somewhat throughout university – I started to appreciate foods like tomatoes and tuna, and even onions, if they were cooked and added to sausage on a bun. I became a bit more willing to try cuisine I was unfamiliar with, like Greek and Mongolian. But my favourite restaurant was still East Side Mario’s and I still made the same meals at home week after week.

Then, I moved to Toronto. With hundreds of great restaurants serving up dishes from around the world now at my doorstep, I branched further out of my comfort zone. Thai, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Jamaican – all delicious! Who knew? So far, the only cuisine I can’t handle is Ethiopian – the texture of injera (bread used for absorbing sauces; resembles a cold, rubbery pancake) is too much for me.
With more free time in the evenings thanks to my 9-5 job, I started cooking more. I learned about ‘super foods’ like quinoa and kale from my health-conscious coworkers. Traveling also helped broaden my food horizons – we made an effort to try the local cuisine in every new country. Most of the time this didn’t take much arm-twisting (Italy? Greece? France? Germany? Food HEAVEN!), though I am pretty proud of myself for trying haggis in Scotland – which I actually LIKED!

Now, I’ll try almost anything once. Last night, I tried rapini, or broccoli raab. It looked interesting and I found a yummy-sounding recipe to make for Week 14: Rapini with Quinoa and Glazed Carrots.

It looked great and I was really excited.

Rapini, quinoa & glazed carrots

But unfortunately, I’m not really a fan. It’s too bitter for my taste. But… just a few short years ago I would have taken one look at it and turned up my nose. So I’m making progress!

I had better luck with dinner tonight – I made a HUGE tray of Veggie Black Bean Dip, a recipe I ‘stole’ from Jo. It’s incredibly easy to make and it’s perfect for potlucks! This dish has become a favourite in my family.

Veggie Black Bean Dip

Dinner!

There are some foods I’m convinced I’ll never learn to love. Like mushrooms. And beets. And, apparently, rapini. But my sense of adventure when it comes to food is at an all-time high. It’s just fun to try new stuff – you might just discover a new fave!

Do you make any dishes that are highly requested by friends and family? If so, I’d love to hear about them – after all, I still have 38 weeks to go in my Healthy 2010 plan!

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Responses

  1. Hooray for food adventures! And I’m with you, that clam-y pancake is the WORST. I like to enjoy my Ethiopian with a fork!


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