For those of you who are not familiar with my past, I would like to share a few tidbits. 1.) I had my first salad when I was 19 and it was only because I was working at Tossed. They gave you a free salad after your shift. As a poor college student, a free meal is a free meal. 2.) When I eat scrambled eggs (rarely), the ketchup to egg ratio is greatly out of balance. It basically looks like a bloody massacre on a plate, with a sprinkle of very well done eggs. 3.) I don’t do fish or any sort of sea creatures.
Since meeting my husband in 1999, I have branched out culinary. He literally taunted me till I tried something new. The first month that we were together, I was at his apartment and he offered me some Bulgarian feta cheese (сирене). At that time, my cheese consisted of 2 sorts, “white american” and “yellow american”. Reluctantly, I tried it and immediately thought it was gross. The texture was crumbly and the taste was salty.
Having no choice but to eat what was prepared, I learned to love feta… especially on a Shopska (шопска салата). The love was so strong, that we named our Jack Russell “Feta”.
Over the last 10 year, I have slowly begun to conquer my own culinary frontiers, which brings me to reflect on 2009. Here are some of the barriers that have been broken:
I ate plain yogurt for the first time. Sally and I were in Greece and she was looking for some Total Yogurt and Honey pots, which are known as Fage in the US. I bought some to try and thought they were ridiculously delicious. After they ran out, I tried to recreate the experience with plain yogurt and jam, which then lead me to adding muesli/ granola and now, my favorite breakfast food.
Eggs are a huge taboo in my family. My father detests eggs and anything that he consciously knows to contain eggs. This stems from his father, but the egg-phobia is pretty well ingrained into my father and my uncle. As I mentioned earlier, I have eaten ketchup and eggs, but that was the extent of my egg experience. This year at the Slow Food dinner, they served a salad with quail eggs. I didn’t want to seem different because I wasn’t eating my eggs or give the impression that I didn’t like my salad, so I tried them. The result: Eeh! They didn’t taste egg-y, but they didn’t really taste like anything either.
Working at the Hilton, has also forced me to try new things, not because they hold a gun to my head, but if you want to be a good cook, you need to know how the food you’re preparing tastes. Common sense really. Last week, I had to prepare deviled eggs with tuna as a hors d’oeuvre. I made the mixture as instructed, but when it came time to season it, I struggled with myself internally and then decided to not be a “wussy” and taste the yolk-tuna mixture. Again: Eeh! The taste was really nothing special, but it wasn’t gross. I continued to taste till I felt satisfied with my creation. I then offered some to one of the other chef’s in the kitchen, just to make sure I was on the right track. She replied that she doesn’t eat fish. I just chuckled to myself for a moment.
Next year, my husband wants me to try his favorite soup… tripe. Here is an excerpt of our last conversation about the subject.
Angel: Have you ever been in a barn, where they keep animals.
Angel: Well, tripe soup taste likes that smells!