The following is a list of foods I love today, at the age of 44. I can’t imagine the 10-year-old me even trying any of these foods, much less liking them. But we grow up; our tastes change, and hardly a day goes by without me craving Marmite. I mean, come on? Isn’t that weird? Please tell me I’m not crazy!
10. Fresh spinach
I didn’t really learn to enjoy salads all that much until I discovered that fresh spinach is infinitely tastier than lettuce. As a kid, I think I tried spinach, in a can, like Popeye; the problem is, canned spinach is barely edible. When you eat a fresh spinach salad, maybe with apples and a splash of bacon vinaigrette, you can only wonder: is this really the same plant as found in canned spinach? Hard to believe.
I’ll be honest; I’ve only had snails (at most) 10 times in my life, and always in a fancy restaurant. But they’re tasty. They taste even better when you call them snails, since calling them escargot leaves a bit of a snooty aftertaste.
I first tried this in a Thai curry dish. I still find the texture a bit strange, but overall I find the taste delectable.
I’ve liked mushrooms for a long time, but can’t recall whether I tried them as a kid or not. I think most Americans are first exposed to mushrooms as a topping on pizza, but I don’t really like mushrooms that way. They invariably go straight from a can to the pizza. Fresh mushrooms are better, and stuffed mushrooms may be the best of all. As a bonus, there are many, many varieties, and they all taste different.
To my mind, mortadella is the king of sandwich meats. It’s a bit like deli bologna, but more flavorful: it is marbled with pork fat, and often has pistachios and olives mixed in. I might have liked this as a kid, but I never tried it. I had never even heard of it. I’d have to drive over a hour from where I live to find this today.
5. Runny eggs
Yolk freaks kids out. But not me. Over-easy is the way to go. And when the Hollandaise in an Eggs Benedict runs together with the yolks…
I guess I haven’t grown up entirely. I don’t drink coffee, unless it’s cold with plenty of milk and sugar. Sort of like a melted coffee ice cream. My favorite way to have coffee is the way they serve it in the Vietnamese restaurants: over ice, with sweetened condensed milk.
3. Pomegranate juice
So bitter. Yet so good somehow. I don’t really know why I like it.
The king of cheeses. Radically strong flavor; almost hallucinogenic. Not just for Wallace and Gromit anymore.
What can I say? Marmite, objectively, doesn’t taste all that great: it’s almost pure umami, like chewing on a bouillon cube. And yet it is alluring for some unfathomable reason. On bread, with butter, it is divine; mixed with honey and corn syrup, it is the ideal pizza sauce. I can get Marmite (or its complex conjugate, Vegemite) where I live, but I don’t eat it all that often. I may go 6 months without having any. Then, on a random day…the 19th of February, say…I will start to crave it, and even start to blog about it.