Monday, March 22, 2010

Edible Delights and Dislikes

During some email correspondence with my dear friend Jim at Suldog, we engaged in a tantalizing bit of conversation. Realize that we are quite good friends, as good as an online friendship can become, so we are pretty open with the things that we talk about knowing the other person won’t be put off with some of the tantalizing topics we might throw out at each other.

Recently, our topic of choice involved... food.

What? Did you think I was going to say something different? For shame! Get such thoughts out of your heads, you pervs!

Anyway, we talked about the types of food we enjoy or dislike. While going through my list of dislikes, I found an interesting factor that had a hand in choosing my eating habits. The human senses. And I’m not just referring to the taste, smell, or sight of the food. It was touch.

Touch? How can a person be put off by touch? What dastardly food could affect me so that the mere touch of it could send my knees quaking? Is it slimy? Is it sticky? Is it prickly?

No... no... and no...

This food is none of those things. To the eyes, it is the least most offensive type that a person can find. It is way better than fried liver on a stick dipped in powdered sugar and toasted coconut flakes. Yet (dare I say it?) there are times where I feel I might try the liver than have a heaping bowl of this food.









Green beans. String beans. Snap beans. French beans. Runner beans.

I won’t say I completely hate this vegetable. I can tolerate it, like a person tolerates a rash as they wait for it to go away. I can eat them fine if it is presented to me and I don’t want to offend the cook. But it is definitely on my list of things to avoid if I can help it.

Why?

Flashback to a simpler time: a child of eleven growing up country-style in an isolated valley. Imagine the farm life and everything that went with it: raising livestock, plowing fields, planting crops.

HARVESTING CROPS!

Yes, those plants don’t just up and pick themselves from the vine, stalk, or dirt bed. An actual person has to go out and do it. The worse memory I have is spending half my summer vacation from school out in those fields, picking green beans.

There is no other vegetable, in my opinion, worse than picking green beans. The sheer multitude of beans to pick on a bush had my fingers aching for rest. But that wasn’t the end of it. Oh no! A person can’t just pick this vegetable and be done with the chore. We had to break off the little inedible end bits away, and then break the longer beans in half.

Grinding. Mindless. Work. Even as I type this, I occasionally wring my hands at the memory. I can still feel the roughness of the outer shell of a fresh green bean, reminding me of a sandpaper surface, constantly over my fingers as I looked at the gigantic, green veggie mound sitting in the silvery bowl and knowing once I got to the bottom I would have to go back outside and PICK MORE! Buckets MORE! And if things couldn’t be that bad, green beans are so flexible that it was an entirely new chore just to get those damn end pieces OFF!

*shudder*

Now I know a few people could argue that there is a worse vegetable that’s harder to pick. And I have to grudgingly agree. Corn is a harsh taskmaster requiring the snapping from the stalk, shucking the outer coating, and then using a toothbrush to scrub off the little hairs in-between the kernels before breaking them in half and tossing it in the pot. We had garbage bags full of corn to do.

Yet I love corn. I love the silky softness of the large green leaves and tufted hair on top. I love the feeling that the bumps of kernels had made against my palms as I snapped the ears in half. And no matter the stiffening joints in hands, I had gone back outside with my black garbage bag while eager to pick more.

Weird how the sense of touch can affect a person. I love corn despite it being hard on the hands, yet I hate green beans for the same reason. Call me unpredictable.

No, dammit! I didn't say picky. I said unpredictable.

Anyway, is there a type of food that you could live without? Is there an interesting (meaning strange) reason why you dislike it?

(btw- here's a great post from Jim(Suldog) today discussing a love for a certain type of food, since my post focused on more of a dislike for one.)

19 comments:

  1. So where do you stand on raspberries?

    I love 'em, even though they grow on those prickly bushes, and you've practically gotta wear gloves to pick 'em. . .

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  2. I adore runner beans, but picking them is a nightmare, only to be undertaken in a long sleeved shirt; the little blighters bring my skin up in a rash while on the bush, but no problems with cooking and eating. Odd, or what?

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  3. I'm a difficult person to offend with food, I like almost all of it. The list of foods I dislike is short:
    Zuccini, summer squash, turnip, chic peas and thus of course, hummus, liver, and perhaps one or two that aren't coming to mind right now.

    I don't have any stories about them though.

    When I was a kid of about 6, I had an uncle who told me that there was a plate of rattlesnake takes in the other room next to the stuffed mushrooms. I ran in there in disbelief, only to find exactly that! Turns out, it was asparagus, and it was a good long time before I was able to eat it.

    Doesn't make much sense though, cause if given the chance these days, I'd try rattlesnake!

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  4. Who can blame you for shunning beans, I would too if I'd broken my back picking them for half a summer! I am really, really weird, I love just about everything (yeah, even liver)except for...

    CHOCOLATE!

    Oh, I can take a thin chocolate coating over something (at a pinch), it's the dense-choclate-all-through stuff that makes me heave. And I've always been like that, even as a kid!

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  5. I definitely need to stop writing stories so late at night. Ugh! This is not my best writing.

    Raspberries? I've never had any, either to pick or eat, although we grew a lot of different things.

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  6. I think there's another P word for you neither picky nor unpredictable are it .. its persnickety or maybe an O word like opinionated which also interestingly contains a P ... and I thought ToonMan was a picky persnickety opinionated eater .. I do believe he's met his match .. okay, he hasnt met you or even read your blog but trust me you two would get along well ... I would however opt not to dine out with you two because HE can make a dining out experience as much fun as a root canal without nitrous oxide... and I am betting so can you.

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  7. Lima beans are on my avoid list.

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  8. Nice visual with the liver :-)

    I have a particular dislike for most dishes with cheese. Pizza? Love it. A cheeseburger. Swell! But, say, vegetables with melted cheese - YUCK!

    I also hate having sticky hands, so some foods I avoid even though I enjoy the taste. Barbecued ribs, for instance, because I feel like I have to wash my hands after every bite. MY WIFE has a similar dislike, but hers is greasy things. Dishes that most folks will eat with their hands - fried chicken, perhaps - she has to eat with a knife and fork.

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  9. Love of cheese but not on vegetables? Just when I thought I heard everything.

    By the way, I just thought to make a list of the crops we grew (and I had to harvest) during summer vacations(I'll probably miss a few from forgetfulness) just in case anyone is curious:

    Potatoes
    corn
    green beans
    green peppers
    zucchini
    carrots
    lettuce
    cabbage
    radishes
    collards
    tomatoes
    onions
    celery
    squash
    cantalope
    honeydew
    watermelon
    grapes
    blueberries
    strawberries
    apples
    plums
    blackberries

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  10. Corn used to be on my list until I was introduced to white corn roasted/steamed in the husk. The heck with shucking it. Just soak it in a bucket of water for about a half hour. Then put it over the coals, turning it about every three to five minutes for another half hour. Then grab the fireproof mittens to hold it while slathering it in butter (after removing the husk and silk).

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  11. I would like to recall my vote for lima beans. I will eat them... even liked them, one time.
    In it's place please add lutefisk.

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  12. Okay everyone. For those of you (me included) who doesn't know what lutefisk is:

    A traditional Nordic dish made from stockfish(air-dried whitefish) or dried/salted whitefish) and soda lye.

    Here's the Wikipedia page I snagged the definition from:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutefisk

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  13. I think once you have a feeling about a particular food from a young age with such intense memories, it's hard to get over. So I can see why the green beans will probably never be tops on your food list. Unless of course you have some new amazing memory with them. Like you win the lottery and it has something to do with green beans. ; )

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  14. "Dastardly". There's that great word again. Just for you, it's going in my next post as well.

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  15. I'm not much for beans unless they're well-salted and contain a big chunk of hog jawl! :)

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  16. Michelle - just saying "lutefisk" in the right tone of voice can clear a room... or in certain parts of the country than have large Scandinavian populations, fill a room.

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  17. Oh man, I am SO glad I did not grow up on a farm. I felt so bad for you while reading that post! No wonder you can't stand beans. Which is really a shame because fresh green beans are one of my most favorite vegetables.

    I dislike a lot of food. Most of it I can tolerate (like the way you said you tolerate a rash, lol!), but I do not pick it for myself. The list includes raw onions, ranch, mayonnaise, alfredo sauce, liver, broccoli with cheese sauce (gag me, although I do love broccoli by itself), cottage cheese all by itself...I could go on, but that would get boring. I don't have any weird reasons as to why I don't like these foods, I just don't. I think I'm fortunate that a lot of the stuff I dislike is unhealthy so I shouldn't be eating it anyway.

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  18. i'm sure i never picked and snapped as many beans as you have in your life but i can remember doing the peas and shelling peas on the front porch of my uncle's farm with my grandparents. i actually kind of liked it.

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  19. Well, I'm incapable of eating green Jello ever since I read this terrible book about a killer green blob a couple of years ago. It was a traumatizing experience; books like that should never have been allowed in libraries.

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