Friday, June 12, 2009

Food Frienemies

Posted by Dave

I'm not sure if I'm alone in this, but when I was a kid I made a "black list" of foods and inanimate objects that, for various and sundry reasons, I didn't like. Some examples:

  • Mustard. I liked mustard when I was very young, but at a party one summer I put too much mustard on a hamburger and practically overdosed. It wasn't pretty, me passed out on the ground with a Snoopy Sno-Cone in one hand and a hamburger in the other, drowned yellow with French's (actually, it was probably Western Family brand). At any rate, I was a pure ketchup guy from age 8 to around age 15, when I again embraced my long-lost condiment friend.

  • Forks. Don't get me wrong, I still used forks all the way growing up. But when I was asked to set the table as a kid, I was taught that the fork is by itself on the left side of the plate. I think there are two reasons I didn't like forks at this point. The first reason was that it was on the LEFT side of the plate, and I was RIGHT-handed. This only added more time to my meals, which as a kid was a no-no -- I was going to shovel food as quickly as possible and get back to playing. The second reason was that because the fork was on its own side of the plate, my impression was that the fork considered itself better than the knife and the spoon. Yes, these were actual thoughts that I had growing up. The fork and I have since made up, thanks in great part to the spork, which provided a good middle ground from which to negotiate.

  • Pickles. I might have liked pickles at a very early age, I can't remember. But I DO clearly remember several surprise experiences with pickles -- at McDonald's in particular -- where I happily prepared to enjoy a Hamburglar-approved fast food feast, when I bit down and felt something crunchy I hadn't seen on the bun before. They had hidden the pickles UNDER the meat patty?! What kind of sadist does this? The whole idea of the top bun is to allow the eater to clearly know what condiments are on the burger prior to consumption - they're all laid out on the inside of the top bun like a delectable painter's palette. And yet, the pickle cleverly hid underneath the patty, waiting to spring its crunchy tangy flavor on unsuspecting kids like me. So after a few surprises, I banished pickles from my life for good.

I'm pleased to say that after reuniting with mustard and forks, I've also moved pickles back onto my good side. Perhaps it started with relish on baseball stadium hot dogs; often I've heard that's a gateway condiment. But a few months ago I tried pickles on a sandwich once again, and started warming up to them. Jessica was kind enough to educate me on the differences between dill and "bread and butter" pickles, since I had generally shunned that section of the grocery store previously.

So -- I've learned that it's nice to make friends... at any time, be it human, animal, vegetable or condiment. If this post encourages just one other person to embrace a new condiment then it was not in vain.


Jessica said...

The other Edible Enemies I wish you would make up with are olives, capers, cauliflower, iceberg lettuce, beets, sprouts, and tomatoes. I love them all!

Emily said...

Dave, keep your list - I have my list and Jess knows it well... Pickles are on it as are Olives, Capers, Beets and Tomatoes... keep it up! I have lots of lists like this :)

Courtney said...

Relish a gateway condiment?! Ha!

Jessica said...

I forgot about garlic. Also please make up with garlic.