Friday fluff: What a fool I’ve been

I have a confession to make: I am, or was until a couple of weeks ago, a salad dodger. I’ve always hated salad and refused to eat it, although I love raw veggies and will happily eat many of a salad’s component elements. First I thought it had to do with my general desire not to have my foods mixed together — I have very simple (some would say simplistic) tastes, though I branched out a bit after discovering Indian and Thai. Salads have lots of elements plus dressing, when I’d rather just eat one or two kinds of naked vegetables, so it would make sense that salads were too complex for me. But there was always a nagging voice wondering whether my dislike of salad — and the fact that I always asked for my sandwiches sans lettuce/tomato/mayo — was less about simplicity and more about… well, being a salad dodger.

Turns out I just really hate lettuce. Oh.

It still took me a while to try a non-lettuce salad, because of the voice in my head going “salads are diet food and will make you hate them and yourself.” But I finally got around to eating spinach salad a couple weeks ago, and it was a fucking revelation. I was so excited about how great it was that I texted Sweet Machine saying “my god, you were right all along!” I’d been worried that it wouldn’t be satisfying because of the diet-food aspect, but that’s BULL — as Kate’s mentioned before, it’s astonishing what just the right amount of fat can do to vegetables. I’m really thrilled, because a lot of foods don’t agree with me, like meat, and cheesy things, and fried things, and creamy things — meaning that there are whole restaurants in which salad is my only good option. Not having to be the wet blanket when people want to go to a brewery or burger place is a big deal. Plus there’s a place across the street from my office that does custom salads, and I’ve eaten one for lunch nearly every day for the last few weeks. And I’m so astonished by what a FOOL I was for SO MANY YEARS that I keep telling people about how salad is awesome, which I’m sure makes them think I’m some kind of diet proponent, but I can’t help it!

So, Shapelings: tell us about a time when you turned out to be wrong about a strongly-held opinion (not necessarily food!) in a way that totally altered your habits or beliefs, or even just your lunch order. How did you react to discovering your error? How did your life change?

101 thoughts on “Friday fluff: What a fool I’ve been

  1. Have you tried different types of lettuce? The don’t all taste the same.

    However I am in agreement about spinach salads for the win. Baby Spinach salads are probably my favorite.

    On that note, I discovered that I don’t hate all mushrooms, I just hate white and button mushrooms. I’ve discovered that I will happily eat oyster mushrooms, straw mushrooms or even shitakes.

  2. It turns out that spinach is also the green least likely to irritate people with digestive idiosyncrasies. I think that’s not coincidental, so I’m not gonna push it too much with salad variety. I did try one with mixed greens the other day and didn’t totally hate it.

  3. The day I discovered I didn’t actually hate hummus but instead loved it was a happy day indeed.

    Also, spinach is awesome. I refused to eat it for a long time because it had a reputation as gloopy and disgusting. Turns out it’s actually delicious. Spinach salad with walnuts, chicken, mushrooms and blue cheese… mmmmmmm.

  4. I despised beets until I realized that they don’t always come pickled. Discovering that they’re little crisp sugar bombs when roasted was amazing, and now the people at the farmer’s market get even more of my money.

  5. What about lamb’s lettuce (maiche)? It’s VERY good. It has sort of a buttery flavor and if you add some sliced avocado, it’s fantastic. I wonder if you might be able to eat that more easily that romaine or iceberg lettuce. And Watercress is good, too (although I don’t know about the digestive properties). It has a nice peppery flavor. (I have to admit though that my favorite way to eat watercress is on some white bread with butter. There’s something about the flavor balance and the texture – lovely!!)

    I gotta go find some salad now!

  6. I used to not like spinach, because as a kid I’d only ever had creamed or frozen shredded spinach.

    Bleah.

    Then my husband made me this awesome salad and I asked him what the greens were, and he said “spinach.”

    So, yes, fresh spinach = good frozen or creamed=bad

  7. Coffee… while I’ve been drinking it since I was 12 (hi, I’m from the Pacific Northwest, it’s what we do) I always thought I had to have it heavily sweetened and creamified.

    As it turns out I only need crap overroasted stale pre-ground coffee heavily sweetened and creamified (like Folgers, or Starbucks). Really good artisan roasted coffee (like Stumptown) I can take straight up like a rock star. And the delicious Italian Caffe next to my office (Caffe Umbria) I can have a plain latte with no sugar or flavoring.

  8. I had the same revelation as you did…it wasn’t salads that were boring and gross, it was the iceberg lettuce and colby-jack cheese with stale crutons that defined “salad” while I was growing up. When I discovered other leaf veggies I went crazy. My favorite is baby spinach with roasted sunflower seeds, dried cherries, dried cranberries, and extra-sharp cheddar cheese. It doesn’t need dressing, but a little italian or fruity vinaigrette sets off the flavors really well. I also like mixed field greens with gorgonzola and pecans.

    Now I want one for dinner.

    Also, I grew up thinking I didn’t like spicy food (medium salsa was my upper limit). Then my parents moved to Mexico and I visited them down there a couple times a year. Now I say that if it doesn’t make you cry, it’s not that spicy. That led to a love of Thai and Indian food :-)

  9. I love salads, although it’s interesting that salad dressing is one of my few remaining food hang-ups (non-diet soda is the other big one). I’ll eat it, but I seem to spend a lot of time convincing myself that it’s just as good plain, really it is! (I do like salad plain when it has cheese and some salt and pepper, but blue cheese dressing is also euphoric, in my opinion).

  10. I lived in Texas until I was ten years old, and both my parents are from Dallas, so we did a LOT of meat eating. We had steak, burgers, ribs, chops, etc. every nite of the week for years — well, except for the one night a week we had enchiladas.

    My mom was a great cook, but the kind of food she prepared was really rich and heavy for my teen girl self. Naturally I became a vegetarian at age 12, and learned how to cook my own food (and later cook for others).

    Fast forward to me being in my late 30′s and moving to CA.

    Here I’ve found the wonders of grass fed, hormone free, free-range beef. All natural lamb stew meat. Nitrite-free, uncured bacon. Raw butter. Pacific Rock Cod and Dungeness Crab straight out of the Pacific Ociean.

    These are so different from what I grew up on! I’ve been including a couple of meat dishes in our diets, usually once a week. (We have bacon once a month or so and I looove it. We then save the little bit of drippings and use a teaspoon to enrich our bean soups.)

    And it turns out nothing is as easy to digest as lamb. A stew with some peas, carrots, shallots and potatoes tastes great with a glass of red wine and feels very enriching. Who knew??

  11. The kind of lettuce DOES make a difference. I’ve gotten totally spoiled on the salad bar they have at the cafeteria at work, where it’s mostly romaine. Okay, so the other day Ben and i went out to eat, and our mini-salads were made with iceberg. I thought i was going to be ILL it was so gross!

    Spinach salads are entirely awesome. That’s generally what we make ‘em when when we have salads at home. NOM.

    There are very few foods i don’t appreciate in some fashion, but for the most part, the things i don’t like are things i’m allergic or sensitive to. Raw onions are physically painful for me. I like them cooked, but if they’re raw it feels like i’m chewing ass-flavoured glass. Bell peppers taste like dirt to me, but they also give me eye-wateringly painful heartburn.

    So if i taste something and i don’t like it, it’s probably my body telling me that i shouldn’t be eating it anyways.

  12. Lilah — You aren’t alone, I love salad without dressing, especially if it has cheese. I really like to taste the things in the salad!

    But that non-diet drink thing! I will NOT drink a diet soda. I’d rather have a real soda, especially a Mexican Coke (which uses real sugar instead of corn-syrup).

  13. I’ll go ahead and tell my mom’s too.

    She hates vegetables. Has my whole life, in particular from my childhood she hates asparagus, mushrooms, and tomatoes (among others).

    When I was an adolescent, her stepmother introduced her to garden tomatoes with salt and pepper and she fell in love.

    She now puts tomatoes on almost everything. I’m convinced she could have the same Come To Jesus moment with the other vegetables that she hates, I just need to figure out how to make them palatable *sigh*

  14. I also did not like salad much – largely because it was the iceburg with a single cheery tomato, cucumber slice, and ring of raw onion in boring gloppy dressing. I have learned to like real salads with big chunky veggies and composed salads. Salads with substance!

    I was also terrified of sushi, while growing up. I was terrified of it. Thought it would be slimy, like some sort of weird pickled herring without the pickling. I did not have it for the first time until I was about 24. I am so glad I was wrong!

  15. Mustard greens.

    I thought I hated them because I always had eaten them frozen. You know, the icy green brick chucked into plain boiling water, and fished out only after it’s been thawed and cooked down to a stringy, fibrous mess.

    But last summer I visited a friend’s garden. He insisted I pluck a leaf from his curly mustard and eat it while it was still warm from the sun. Oh. My. It’s spicy!!! It’s got a real kick when it’s raw. It’s great in salads, and when I bought a bag of it in the grocery I found it is incredible when it’s cooked in seasoned broth or wilted in a pan with a little bacon fat. So, I’m definitely a curly mustard fan now!

  16. Oh I do that same thing about a million things. I am constantly the convert, and then annoy people about: OMG. I JUST DISCOVERED THIS, and you WILL NEVER BELIEVE IT. I of course, am completely oblivious to other people’s suggestions or enticements or what have yous about anything. It’s like I have to discover things all on my own.

    My recent Eureka! moment has been about sugar. When I gave up dieting, and turned to intuitive eating, I of course, decided that I would eat whatever I craved, because if I did that, I could stop at say, 1 candy bar (or cookie) instead of like refusing myself those things because they were Bad Foods and then later binge on them because of the deprivation. So I’ve been on a likely sugar overload for a few years now. And also, cookies are like an addiction for me. Seriously. Some people need AA. I need CA. It is truthfully That Bad.

    So my IBS has been wildly out of control and migraines have been added to the mix, so I am bloated and in pain all the time. Seriously Annoying. N says: maybe it’s sugar? Of course, I am unwilling to hear that from her. I start seeing an acupuncturist, who suggests the same thing, so I try pretty much taking out sugary stuff from my diet, and I am like a Born Again Zealot. No Migraines, I enthuse! My belly feels great, I gush!

    N is totally non-plussed: I told you so, she says.

    And here I am again, completely reveling in the fact that I am still without a migraine and my belly’s not rumbly and distended, sharing it all with you!

  17. Mmmm. Spinach salad. Love those. In the summer, I grow my own, and there is nothing like fresh-from-the-back-porch spinach salad damn near every day. So tasty!

    My big life-changing, crow-eating revelation was cell phones. I ranted about those things for yeeeears, talking about how *I* would never attach myself to an electronic leash, and how people get so caught up in the technophilia and that would never be me blah blah blah.

    Switched to a cell phone four years ago (I thought temporarily, for a specific situation), immediately loved it, and cancelled my land line less than a month later when I realized I would never use it again. It’s not hypocrisy, it’s evolution!

  18. I’m totally a salad dodger. And I actually like a lot of salad types and fixins. I think I avoid it because its good for me.

    Oh the shame.

  19. So if i taste something and i don’t like it, it’s probably my body telling me that i shouldn’t be eating it anyways.

    Lindsay, I can relate, though in a slightly different. When I was a child I used to compulsively pick peas out of any food they were in – stew, fried rice, etc. and I had no clue why. Someone asked if I didn’t like peas one time and I sat there dumbfounded because I had no answer. I didn’t dislike the taste, but I hated eating them. Thankfully my parents never forced anything on me, but I still didn’t understand my reaction.

    Flash forward 10 years when I finally realized that peas (and chickpeas and beans and soy) were related to peanuts, which cause me to go into anaphylactic shock, and that I was probably having a mild sensitivity to everything in the family and my body was clearly trying to tell my brain STOP EATING LEGUMES STUPID! That was a good health day.

  20. Uh-oh….I’m pretty stubborn about my land-line. I’ve never had a cell phone. Maybe it’s finally time…. *deep sigh of resignation*

  21. Vegetables. When I was growing up “eat your vegetables” meant choking down overcooked frozen mixed vegetables with the spongy green beans, lima beans that were solidified wallpaper paste, shriveled up peas, and the bane of my existence as a child, carrot jello cubes. No wonder I thought I hated vegetables and anything that was touted as being “good for you”.

    But when we changed our eating style several years ago, it quickly became apparent more vegetables needed to be incorporated. What a difference using fresh vegetables (or the better frozen ones – freezer technology has marched on in the past 30 years!) and some butter and seasonings. Oh, the miracle of baby peas, plump and sweet. Roasted cauliflower. And my own personal epiphany, kale. I had no idea I loved kale so much, especially with sundried tomatoes and feta cheese!

    And olives. I HATED olives, picked them off pizzas and out of any dish they sullied with their presence. Until I tried some Greek green olives and kalamata olives…turns out what I hate are canned black olives because they taste like can and nothing like real olives. They’re now one of my indulgences when I feel like splurging.

    (toggle, what a great idea for mustard greens…they’re looking pretty good in the stores right now!)

    Just because it’s good for you doesn’t mean it has to taste bad.

  22. Growing up I REFUSED to eat Guacamole. It just looked so gross. When I was about 12 I made comment in response to a waitress’s query about my desire for the stuff I said “No, I don’t eat anything with the word Guac in it.” Which of course has lead to much speculation as to where else that word shows up. AAAaaanyway I was a chipotle a year ago and someone handed me a little thing of chips and guacamole and lo and behold I FREAKING LOVE IT. I have YEARS of guacamole eating to catch up on.

    I also used to be really really really pro life and catholic growing up. But now I’m a pro choice athiest. That conversion took a little longer.

    Also, I LOVE spinach salads, but I can never make them as good at home as I find them when I go out to overpriced resturants. It is saddening.

  23. I don’t have any reservations about food. I am pretty open to trying everything at least once. My sister was the one who hated foods and the learned later in life that they were actually good. We all laughed and said “I told you so”.

    Let me tell you that a spinach salad with feta and walnuts, fresh strawberries or crainsins topped with a Paul Newman vinagarette (cranberry or raspberry walnut) is to die for!!! HEAVEN!! I don’t even think that it is diet food because it tastes SO GOOD!

  24. I don’t have a great track record with the whole being-wrong-about-foods thing, because my stomach physically revolts if I try to swallow something I don’t like. Like meatloaf. I cannot eat meatloaf.

    It doesn’t matter how good your meatloaf is, or how you make it different from everybody else’s, or how it contains sixteen of my favorite things and a magic wishing stone. I CANNOT EAT IT. I have a friend who didn’t understand this no matter how many times he tried to explain it, and I ended up having to leave his apartment and throw up in the bushes outside because he kept putting it in my face.

    On the other hand, beer.

    My first experiences with beer were bad, both in terms of the taste and where it led, and for a long time I was on a “beer is nasty” kick. I’ve since discovered just how much variety there is to beer, both in terms of quality and exact flavor, and found many that I’ve liked.

    And spinach rocks, but I never didn’t like it.

    And on a totally non-food-example: Buffy. I didn’t watch it until the fourth season. Despite being a veritable geek oracle and pop culture sponge, I managed to avoid absorbing any knowledge of it by osmosis through sheer force of will and pointed avoidance (which was hard during season three, living in a dorm where all the girls and a number of the guys watched it).

    Then one day early in season four, I was watching whatever sitcom rerun was on my local WB before Buffy and forgot to turn off the TV when it was done.

    Instant hook, and my supernatural powers of cultural assimilation meant that within two weeks nobody would believe I’d never watched it before.

    I was so completely and totally wrong about it. I’d been bashing it all over the place on the assumption that it was derivative (because some soulless hack had clearly taken somebody else’s movie and turned it into a $$$$$ franchise, right?), stupid, utterly demeaning to women, and insulting to the viewer.

    Forgive me Joss, for I knew not what I did.

  25. CARROT JELLO CUBES?! What level of hell did THOSE spawn in?! EW.

    Don’t get me wrong: love jello. Love carrot. But yanno, i also love plaid and leopard print, and you don’t see me putting THOSE together (okay, except for that one time) Bad example, because there was that one time. Long story.

    I like honey-nut cheerios. You are NOT going to find me swapping out milk for ketchup on those cheerios ANY damn time soon. Oh HELL no. Some things are not meant to go together.

  26. My food revelations have included asparagus and yogurt (not together). I hated both as a kid. When I started seeing a nutritionist, she suggested I try yogurt again as a snack food, and lo, I did enjoy it. (The best? Plain greek yogurt with a little bit of honey.) I still can’t eat yogurt with fruit in it, though. Something about the texture skeeves me right out. Asparagus was reintroduced into my diet when I tried an appetizer at an Italian restaurant one day — asparagus gently sauted in olive oil with black olives, capers, and ricotta salata cheese. Delicious!

    I have always loved salads, though. I, luckily, live in a part of the country where salads in restaurants are interesting and varied. Mesclun greens with beets, goat cheese, and walnuts? Very tasty. There’s a place near an old job that used to make a salad with romaine, basil, fresh mozzarella, avocado, tomatoes, and pine nuts with no dressing, just a little salt and pepper. That was one of my favorite lunches.

  27. Shinobi, word. I used to be a fanatic, Bible-thumping, prolife, evangelical, non-denominational Christian teenager. The first time I had sex I thought I was pregnant, and thus ended that phase of my life.

    Also? “Fat people are bad.” Until about six months ago, my life rotated around that particular fulcrum.

  28. Word Phledge me too! Everyone knows that if you’re Christian any contact with sperm AT ALL instantly impregnates you. I felt so guilty over the morning after pill I can’t even tell you, I was just sure I was going to have a baby if I hadn’t taken it.

    Brainwash in warm water to prevent shrinkage.

  29. my food revelation was avocado’s. they always looked so… icky that i never cared to try them.. i cant really remember when exactly, but in the last few years i went from ‘ew, avocado’s look ick’ to ‘OHMYGOODGODICOULDLIVEONTHESE!’

    (which reminds me, i have one in the fridge… avocado on wholegrain toast.. mmmaaarrggglllll)

    my non-food related revelation is a bit more specific. my favourite tv-show at the time (Dark angel) was cancelled, and i knew that it’d been cancelled for another tv show – Joss Whedon’s Firefly. I was livid, so i flatly refused to watch it when the rest of my family were hooked – and i went a YEAR tainting its name every time it came up. There was only ever 13 episodes made because american tv LOOOOVES to cancel the really good stuff, and so when i heard at all these fans campaigning to have more episodes/ a film made i caved in and borrowed a friends copy to watch over the week.

    I had it done and dusted within 24 hours. all 13 episodes, all bonus footage, everything. I wept for the year i wasted hating that programme, it was BATSHIT AMAZING and I still think it is. I promptly bought the film – Serenity- when it came out too and it sits among my favourites with the box-set of the episodes. Its the only series i own and i am constantly lending it out to friends to watch, because i am convinced EVERYONE MUST SEE IT. I argue with anyone who thinks its rubbish and just talking about it now is making me want to sit down and get aquainted with all the characters one more time. Because it’s short, its very re-watchable, but damn why did they cancel it?! WHYYYYY

    firefly. how i love thee.

  30. Pickles. I have no idea why I used to avoid them, but damn, they’re good!

    On a non-food note, I never wore eyeshadow until a couple of years ago, because my oily eyelids ate it. Then I read about the concept of eye primer on MakeupAlley a few years ago, and the heavens opened up, the angels sang, etc. I am now an eyeshadow whore.

    Also, I remember picking an old issue of Ms. magazine out of the donation bin when I was volunteering at the library in junior high. It was like a kick in the head, and I officially became a feminist that day. :)

  31. Oh god, yes, feminism was a HUGE one for me! I was just talking to Sweet Machine about this… I used to think I wasn’t a feminist because I didn’t like how most women acted. Of course the things I didn’t like about how most women acted were things that were inculcated by the patriarchy. Once I got my head straight about that I turned into a huge feminist instantly!

    It makes me a little more indulgent than I otherwise would be when I hear young women saying “I don’t consider myself a feminist.” But I at least have the excuse that there wasn’t a MASSIVE FEMINIST BLOG PRESENCE when I was in high school.

  32. Tomato soup

    One day, after years of hating it, I decided to try it once more at one of the few decent restaurants in the crappy town I used to live in *coughRochesterNYcough* and wow! They put cheddar cheese and artichoke hearts in it!

    I am making some now. Yay lunch.

  33. Escarole. We didn’t have a lot of cooked leafy greens when I was growing up- my mother was all frozen broccoli, frozen cauliflower and frozen green beans, including my nemesis: frozen french cut green beans. Gross!! When I was a teenager, she would occasionally cook escarole for my stepfather and serve him a dish of limp, olive-drab greens in gray broth. I would look at that and think “blergh.” But a few years ago I got an urge to cook some escarole (probably inspired by Dom DeLuise’s _Eat This, It’ll Make You Feel Better_). So I fired up some olive oil and gilded some minced garlic in it. Then dropped in the washed escarole and about a quarter cup of chicken broth, and covered the pot until it collapsed. OMFG! It was so good I was eating it out of the pot, and there wasn’t enough left to toss with pasta and grated pecorino cheese, which had been the original plan.

    One time our neighbors brought over some green beans they had just picked from their garden. They were cooked simply in salt water until just tender and tossed with a little butter. I astonished my mother by asking for a second helping. I got the raised eyebrow and a funny look and she said, “You want *more* green beans?!” Yes, vegetables CAN be delicious.

    Having suffered through idiotic diets as a teenager (and later on), I’m amazed that I still like grapefruit (love it, actually), cottage cheese and even MELBA TOAST. It’s much better homemade, but with something good to top it I’ll even eat the stuff in the box.

  34. I learned that I like asparagus, olives, Brussels sprouts.

    Oh, also when I learned in college that it’s a lot nicer to be open-minded. :-)

  35. I know it’s heresy, but I hated cheese as a kid. Would not eat it in any form whatsoever. Then I worked at a deli and discovered that I actually hated “processed cheese-food”, or as I like to call it, “plasti-cheese”. Now my world is full of feta and havarti (with dill!) and provolone and… well, a lot of real, wonderful, yummy cheese.

    A non-food related one: I always dated tall, dark haired, dark eyed guys until I met my blue-eyed, blonde (quarter Cuban!) husband. He wasn’t my “type”… but then I realized that my “type” were mostly jerks. We’re still newlyweds after 7 years. :)

  36. fillyjonk, seriously. And discovering academic feminist theory in college was another huge step for me. I still remember a hilarious conversation with my then-best friend the summer before; we were both all kinds of annoyed that we were going to be required to take women’s studies courses, as surely we were the most knowlegeable lil’ feminists ever and they certainly couldn’t teach us anything new. Boy, were we wrong!

  37. Well, I thought that I really hated wearing skirts. Ever since maybe late-elementary school I thought that wearing skirts would suck because after I moved from the frills-and-flower-pattern-little-girl-dress phase the dresses I ended up wearing were some frumpy little things that did not look anywhere as good as what every other (usually thinner) female was wearing.
    However a couple of years ago, I think at the end of high school, I started trying on skirts, mostly to find something to wear during work interviews instead of black pants, and I fell in love. It’s hard for me to find affordable pants because I’m so short, and any pants that I find comfortable around the waist I have to hem because someone so short shouldn’t have a waist-size as big as mine(according to pants-makers grr). But a skirt is great since it’s not supposed to go all the way down. Also, I feel so free in skirts.
    Unfortunately it’s been a while since I found some good jean skirts that are above knee-length. Hopefully I’ll have better luck this upcoming Spring.

  38. fillyjonk, that was my experience with that dreaded “feminism” word as well. girls scared me, annoyed me — I’ve never been quite comfortable with women my age, and to this day I’d often rather spend time with men, or older women. a lot of it has to do with my teenaged eating disorder and its climbing vines into adulthood (comparison, competition, etc.), but a lot of it disappeared when I started to recognize what I had considered annoying feminine traits were really traits of trivialized people.

    as for salads, I love spinach leaves with blueberries, sliced or slivered almonds, and feta cheese. and if you mix up olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and a little agave nectar in a squirt bottle, it’s the perfect dressing. adding a little mustard in is yummy, too.

  39. what I had considered annoying feminine traits were really traits of trivialized people.

    That’s beautifully put. I mean, I don’t want to make it sound like I went “oh, women can’t HELP sucking so much! It’s because of the patriarchy, and the poor dears just don’t know any better!” But realizing that what I hated was not their behaviors but the system that imposed and strengthened those behaviors… total revelation.

  40. Actually, the first time I had this revelation, it was sort of in reverse.

    When I was a small child, my mother would serve tripe at least a couple times a month. I detested it. I hated the flavor, the texture, the smell…there was just nothing about it I could stand.

    One day at the tender age of six, I looked at that plate of tripe and pushed it away, announcing I was never going to eat it again. I’ve never looked back. It felt so good to do that.

    Luckily, I was not a picky eater overall, so my mother took my protest seriously and never tried to feed me tripe again.

    OTOH, I had to laugh on my thirteenth birthday. Every year, my mother would ask what I wanted to eat for my birthday. I always requested spinach, fish, and potatoes. That was what I liked. I left it entirely up to her how she prepared them, but I wanted my fish and my spinach and I have always adored potatoes.

    On my thirteenth birthday, my mother went to the grocery store to pick up the makings for my celebratory dinner. While there, she ran into a friend and they started talking. Eventually my mother told her friend she needed to go get the spinach for my birthday dinner. Her friend looked horrified and said: ‘you’re going to make that poor child eat spinach on her BIRTHDAY????’

    We both got a huge laugh out of that.

  41. this thread is making me sad :(
    I love salad. I love greens (kale sauteed in olive oil with lemon, salt and sesame seeds; chard braised with butter and veggie broth, etc.)
    My guts do not love raw vegetables. My guts do not love greens cooked to anything less than a mush (and even that the jury’s still out on).
    So now I can’t have salad. or greens. or just munch on veggies as a snack, or there will be consequences. :(

    It is very hard to do the intuitive eating thing when different parts of your body have very different ideas of what would be good to eat. So frustrating to *crave* salad and veggies and lots of yummy healthy things and *know* that it’s a bad idea. bah fucking IBD.

    OTOH here are a few of my “wait, WTH was I thinking?” food moments: sushi (though that’s iffy too when guts are unhappy), avocados, mulligatawny soup (I generally dislike lentils. for some reason, I love mulligatawny soup, go figure), split pea soup (I think it’s George and Martha‘s fault I thought it’d be gross).

  42. It is very hard to do the intuitive eating thing when different parts of your body have very different ideas of what would be good to eat.

    God, I hear you on that. Yesterday I was SO CERTAIN that I wanted a salad with eggs (which I usually don’t eat). I was all proud because I was like “I must need vitamins and protein!” Then I felt awful and couldn’t eat it at ALL.

    FWIW, my doctor told me to be sparing with raw vegetables because of the fiber, and especially cruciferous vegetables, but that spinach usually doesn’t bother people. The data’s not in on whether my problems are IBD or IBS, though, and she may have been talking about IBS specifically.

  43. Heh, I might possibly have GIVEN some of you complexes about certain foods. I was a wicked child.

    I have always eaten anything that couldn’t run away fast enough (except onions). I grew up with the “no-thank-you-bite” I couldn’t say no-thank-you-I-don’t-like-it until I had tried my no-thank-you bite.

    I remember in the second grade Spanish class, I tried a bite of the guacamole the teacher had brought in. This was in Kentucky in the early 80s. Guacamole was completely foreign.

    I had a brilliant, evil idea.

    I wandered around the class, telling everyone how much the guacamole looked like baby poop.

    I ate that whole bowl of Guacamole, because no one else would touch it after they started thinking about diapers.

    I was an evil child. and used that trick several times on other children to get the really yummy but weird looking food to myself.

    Oh, and Lindsay, I was starting to think I was the only person in the world to whom onions were poisonous. I always reacted to them the same way most people react to chile peppers. They burn so bad. Then about age 24, I started getting blisters on my tongue when I ate them, age 29 was my first anaphylactic reaction.

    Living in the land of amazing Mexican food is kind of painful with an onion allergy.

  44. Thing I was wrong about – The Harry Potter books.

    The Harry Potter series was becoming popular when I was in sixth grade and I absolutely refused to touch it for that reason. I had reached a college reading level in fourth grade, and maybe that has something to do with it, but until that point a book series being popular was a good indication that I wouldn’t like it. Series like Goosebumps and The Babysitter’s Club and the Help! I’m trapped in _______ Body! and so on had all been popular and had all left me unimpressed. So when HP became popular I figured it was another of their ilk.

    Then my mother got me the first three books (the only ones that were out at the time) for Christmas. And for lack of a school library to go to, or public library due to snow, I wound up reading the first one because, well, reading is basically all that I did.

    And I was surprised how much I liked it. By the end of the third one I was so hooked the JK Rowling could have gutted and fried me that night.

    Thanks, Mom!

  45. My revelation was kale. I had never had kale, did not know what it was, how it tasted or anything. But I knew I did not like it. somehow, and I can’t recall when it happened, one of my kids came home, went shopping and came home with it and cooked it with garlic and olive oil. Taste sensation!! Now, it’s definitely an acquired taste, but because of that, when I was offered rappi a year ago by my daughter’s mother in law, I tried it and hey, another new veggie for the table. Another thing is brussels sprouts – I found a recipe for splitting them, sauteing them in a little bit of olive oil on the cut sides, cooking them covered for a little while, and then putting white wine on them and cooking the rest of the way. Great sprouts. Strong tasting veggies + olive oil = yum.

  46. Oh, I totally had the Harry Potter one too! I was so disgusted by it, because I worked in a bookstore, and there were so many spin-off toys and candies and whatnot. I thought it was just preying on kids’ propensity for getting obsessed with something and spending gobs of their parents’ money on it. When I finally read one it was like “well It’s very slow in here and there happens to be one of Those Books sitting behind the counter, maybe I’ll just see how bad it really is” (kind of like why i read The Da Vinci Code, only that one really was bad). And by the time the last one came out, I actually went to a book release party in costume! (Didn’t get a book or anything, though… I came to participate in a one-time cultural experience and eat ice cream, not to stand in line to buy a hardcover!)

  47. Oh, spinach, how I used to love thee. Then, something happened when I became a low-carber, and now all spinach, cooked or raw, turns my mouth into chalk. :( After two bites of raw tomatoes my mouth tastes like blood and copper, cooked tomatoes give me heart palpitations, and in a horrible twist of fate, it kills me since I’m part Sicilian…tomatoes!

    Lindsay, my thoughts exactly on the concept of Jello Carrot Cubes. Or jello with cottage cheese. Or pineapple. Or peaches.

    I always thought I didn’t like beets until I started low-carbing, and then came the revelation. My favorite way to eat them is either raw in a crunchy salad with raw cuke, carrot, and zucchini.

    I hate it, too, when intuitive eating is spoiled by the body disagreeing…

  48. All this hate for iceberg lettuce.

    I love iceberg lettuce, it’s got a crisp, juicy sweetness that just goes down perfectly on hot summer days. That diner salad y’all describe as the worst, with limp iceberg and cherry tomatoes? Replace all those tired, fridge-burned ingredients with quality fresh ones, and it can be really good. Seriously. Try it sometime, with a homemade blue cheese dressing.

    Iceberg lettuce wasn’t my culinary revelation, though. No, that was when I admitted I would never be a great cook, and hey, that’s okay. Good is good enough — I don’t *have* to serve meals with the glossy perfection of food porn, I just need to serve ones my husband and I like.

    It was only when that weight lifted that I realized how heavy it had been, too. And now, I’m gonna go make some banana bread, coz damn, y’all have made me *hungry.*

  49. I feel like I’ve had so many revelations in the past three years, but I guess that’s what happens with a major paradigm change. Probably the thing that had the biggest effect on how I interact with the world was realizing that humans are animals. At that moment, I felt so intensely connected, and at the same time, liberated. I have also come to identify as an anarchist, a feminist, a disabled person, and a bisexual person. I have realized that I am anti-compulsory school and pro-youth rights. I have seen my self worth and realized that my body is beautiful (even if I have a hard time accepting it sometimes). I have begun to eat intuitively. I have come so far in beating my eating disorder. I have joined the fat acceptance movement. I frequently have realizations, and I hope I never stop having them. My most recent one: I can wear whatever I want, no matter how “flattering” people in magazines might say it is.

    However, my most important one: Buffy. I always thought it would be so corny and lame, but behold: it is the BEST. SHOW. EVER. (I mean, apart from Vicar of Dibley). But still . BEST. :)

  50. Broccoli, I tried it the way my husband likes it, mushy and smothered with cheese. Yuck. Then I was out somewhere and had it steamed and it was good. Asparagus, husband likes the canned kind, I think it’s disgusting. Again, tried it at a work dinner where they grilled it with the steaks, very good. Still not crazy about turnips, though.

    I probably would have watched Firefly when it was on if I had ever heard of it. Saw a rerun on the sci fi channel and now own the whole series, including the movie.

  51. Iceberg lettuce is perfect for lettuce wraps. No other lettuce works for them nearly as well, IME. But in salad, I’ll pass. And who says salad has to have lettuce in it, anyway? (Just ask anyone who is on blood thinners and has to avoid leafy greens, lettuceless salad is your friend.)

  52. This doesn’t count as a mind-change, but there are so many good foods being listed that I wanted to add another:

    Fennel.

    Not fennel seeds, but the round, white (heh…) tender stalk-ball or whatever the heck it is. I’d never had it, nor even known what it was, until a friend served me some. Wow. She had removed the green parts and sliced one up across the layers so it came in strips like onion, then baked it in a buttered casserole dish with some fresh-grated parmesan and a few little bits of butter scattered over the top. 1/2 an hour in the oven at 350, uncovered, middle rack. Delish. And don’t forget the parmesan, because it browns up into tiny crispy bits of heaven.

  53. I get that gritty spinach teeth thing too, and I’ve noticed it since I was a kid. Lots of sources attribute it to oxalic acid in the spinach (no guarantees that the rest of that site isn’t crazy inducing, though that page seems to be neutral).

  54. Heh, I totally did the Buffy thing too. I refused to watch it all through college, because I thought the title sounded so stupid, but about 4 years ago a housemate made me watch the musical episode one day when I was bored. I Netflixed the rest. If anyone wants to know, that episode is a really bad place to start. Not that it isn’t good, but it’s got a lot of spoilers for the previous 5 seasons!

    Food…food…food revelation. When I was growing up, my family used to eat whole artichokes every so often. Everyone would get a whole, steamed artichoke and peel off the leaves, dip them in butter, and scrape them with our teeth. This is divine. For some reason, I refused to eat the heart. Maybe it had something to do with having to scrape out the hairy stuff. Oddly enough, no one tried very hard to dissuade me from this irrational hatred, and my parents always made me try things before I decided I didn’t like them. I think they were a bit sad when I finally did try it and discovered that the heart is the best part. After that I ate it myself.

  55. My revelation was squash. Kind of a weird food word to begin with.

    Anyway, my first experience was zucchini raw in a salad; I thought it was cucumber and finding it wasn’t was an unpleasant surprise because I thought the cucumber had gone bad. Later, I found out zucchini wasn’t any better cooked; although I’ll eat it now if it’s in a dish with enough sauce…

    A couple of years ago, my roomate introduced me to yellow summer squash which tastes just like corn. Yum!

  56. Here’s the real mind-change for me, though, since we’re including shifts in faith and cultural understanding. Fat acceptance — I would never have come to it on my own. My girlfriend started working on me when we first were getting to know each other, and, because of her work, I will never see things the same way again.

    Even though most of my female friends either had disordered eating or dieted, or had suffered an out-and-out eating disorder, I never put it together on my own that this was caused by hatred and persecution of fat people, and of women in particular.

    Because she had been exhaustively researching the topic, she was able to talk to me (over dinner) about fat prejudice and the fact that fatness is not a symptom of poor health or impending doom. As a compassionate but rather self-congratulatory natural skinny person, hearing this was a real mind-blower for me. She lent me her copy of “Fatso!” by Marilyn Wann, and I learned not only that fat is _not_ harmful, but that the suffering my friends have been enduring is a symptom of hatred in a cruelly perverse culture.

    And for years I had thought that _fat_ was unhealthy. I am grateful to have had my mind blown successfully.

    It’s an ongoing conversion experience.

  57. Fresh spinach has to be triple washed, or you will get that gritty texture. These days it’s more often sold that way, but if not, you immerse it in water, throw out the water with the grit, rinse and repeat twice.

  58. I can think of three:
    The first time (as an adult) I had really good lox. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.
    Getting my iPod. A personal soundtrack that doesn’t skip and jump every time you take a step, and is *infinitely customizable*! Glee!
    Finding out about Otherkin and finally being able to put a name to what I felt I was.

  59. Oh, talking about Harry Potter… here’s one I would be embarrassed about if I’d ever bothered to voice it aloud: the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane. I didn’t become aware of it until after Pottermania, so I assumed it was some Harry-Come-Lately attempt to milk the same cash cow. Kind of understandable, right?

    Except it’s a series that’s been aroudn since the 80s, could hardly have less in common with Harry Potter premise-wise (it’s much more sci-fantasy), and what’s more, the author has started self-publishing and directly selling books in her side series when publishers said they couldn’t sell them… exactly the same freaking thing I’ve been blogging about more authors needing to do.

    I never actually bashed her, but I dismissed her work on an assumption. I still haven’t read it, but I now respect the hell out of her for making her own game when she didn’t like the rules.

  60. I hate lettuce too! Actually this hatred extends to leaves in general, since my food issues tend to be based on texture, and chewing on leaves squicks me out. My mother has been despairing for years that I will die of cancer if I don’t eat salad ALL THE TIME but when my body does not want a particular food, it really does not want it and I’ll take my mother’s disapproval over regularly coming close to vomiting.
    (I think this is part of why intuitive eating has always been intuitive for me. If I don’t listen to what my body wants, I literally cannot eat.)

    Anyway, I tend to make salads of other vegetables (like a nice pile of bell peppers, cucumber, carrots, olives, red onion, celery, whatever else is around and good raw, topped with cheese and dressing and maybe bacon bits), unless I have access to some really high-quality romaine lettuce. That is acceptable in moderate quantities, added to the pile of non-leafy food.

    As for the question, the only thing that comes to mind that really affected my life was giving in to my father’s insistence that I take a programming class in high school. I was convinced I wasn’t interested and wouldn’t care, but he was always saying he thought it was something I would enjoy.
    Turns out he was totally right and here I am having just submitted my final grad school application in preparation for my hoped-for career of software interface design.

    The number of times my dad has turned out to be totally right about advice I’d mostly ignored is pretty high.

  61. The few times I was taken to a fast food burger place I though I liked the burgers, and then one day I had one when they were out of some of the salad ingredients.

    It wasn’t the burgers I liked, it was the little bits of gherkin they slipped in. It turns out the burgers actually tasted of sweaty, oniony armpit without lots of relish an pickles and other preserves.

    So now I avoid burger places like the plague, and pickle my own hot and crunchy gherkins!

  62. @thought-tracer:

    Hey, I’ve been wondering if I have some kind of sugar sensitivity or allergy. Did you just try stopping the sugar, or did you read some kind of finding about it? Also, did it just cause your stomach to bloat up, or all of you? TIA

  63. “FWIW, my doctor told me to be sparing with raw vegetables because of the fiber, and especially cruciferous vegetables, but that spinach usually doesn’t bother people.”

    yeah, FJ, for me I think it’s pretty much about the whole plant cell walls are all crazy strong thing and my body kinda doesn’t know what to do with them if it doesn’t get some help breaking those walls. BUT, my diagnosis is pretty recent, so I’m definitely still figuring out what works for me or not, and I am looking forward to experimenting more with spinach once I’m out of this horrible flare and can actually tell what effect anything has other than “food=bad, but also no food=bad” which is about where I’ve been for the last few days. grr.

    and with the zucchini /= cucumber thing? my husband had a similar experience. He was a bit, erm, obsessed with cucumbers as a kid (he lived in Israel at the time, whole other kinda cuke I tell ya, ours don’t even deserve the name once you’ve tasted Israeli cukes) and his basic feeling about zucchini was pretty much “WTF?!? stop f-ing tricking me!” (except, yanno, prob without the profanity, given the whole kid thing). So, yeah, he hated zucchini until a few years ago when he finally learned to appreciate it on its own merits.

    We now have a thing about various foods that are perfectly fine as long as you take them on their own merits and don’t expect them to be something they aren’t. (ex. carob is a perfectly fine thing, so long as you don’t ask it to be chocolate; vegan mac’n’cheez with nutritional yeast can be quite yummy, as long as you just think of it as a different kind of sauce, and don’t expect it to be cheese; some Trader Joe’s “sushi” can be yummy, but not if you expect it to be actual sushi; etc. etc.)
    Actually, this could go for stuff that’s not food, too. Nearly anything is diminished by expecting it to be something it’s not. That sound simplistic, but I find it’s a really good thing to remind myself of a lot.

    Also, yeah, obvious, but it should be said: discovering FA=ultimate blowing of mind.

  64. Pirates of the Carob Bean! It’s so brilliant! Why hasn’t anyone done that?!

    Anyway, the first thing I thought when I read the question at the end of the post was, “Oh! That’s easy! I thought I was heterosexual until – ” and then I read all the comments about vegetables, and I was like, “oh. not that kind of thread.”

    But what can I say? I always knew I liked vegetables.

  65. Aubergines (/eggplant if you’re american). I used to hate them because of the way they looked and the consistency. I have since come to realise they are delicious, especially when rolled round a piece of feta cheese and oven roasted.

    Also, I used to think I was hideous and ugly and disgusting and no one would ever love me. Then I realised that I was fine the way I was, and it didn’t really matter in the long run and I had wasted half my life on something as stupid as hating myself. Which is another version of the ‘how did you come to read shapely prose’

  66. I LOVE brussel sprouts roasted with a touch of olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar and some sliced almonds. I only realized this year that I can’t get enough! I hated veggies like this as a kid, but now, mmmmmm.

  67. I still haven’t been convinced on the whole Harry Potter thing. Haven’t read the books; have seen one or two of the movies – was not impressed. Part of that may be that when it first came out, i was involved in the pagan community, and all of a sudden everyone who didn’t agree with you was deemed a muggle. Yeesh.

    And Orodemniades, there are only two things that are acceptable to mix with jello: ice cream and cool whip.

    Okay, i lied, three: babies. Yes, baby flavoured jello is certainly Where It’s AT.

  68. For me, it was a style of music. Post-hardcore/screamo/emocore/loud, fast screaming rock with vocalists who can’t decide whether to sing or scream. I always said “Oh I can’t stand music with a lot of screaming in it.” Then I discovered The Fall of Troy. Thankfully, the first song I heard was mostly sung, otherwise, I never would have given this stuff a chance. I then went on to a slightly harder song, and then more crazy screaming stuff. The screaming hurt my ears at first, but the actual music was just so awesome, which enabled me to keep trying.

    Now? My favorite songs by this particular group are ones with the most screaming. I’ve discovered other, somewhat similar bands (well, they at least have the alternating singing/screaming thing going on), and I don’t mind the screaming in the least bit anymore.

    It’s opened a new world of music to me (or rather, other types of rock :P). And I think I’m a bit more openminded with my tastes in other types of music too. No more “I can’t listen to ___ music” statements for me.

  69. Two things: sci-fi and cabbage.

    I avoided sci-fi like the plague throughout grade school and high school, and even college because, ya know, only dorks watch sci-fi. Then I was bored one summer and started watching Buffy. I got hooked, bought the series, and mainlined all seven seasons in about a month. This led me to Firefly. A few years ago, I was persuaded to watch Doctor Who, which I fell in love with, which led me to Torchwood, and now I also love Battlestar Galactica. At some point in time I’m going to get around to Stargate SG:1 and Farscape.

    Cabbage: I always hated cabbage, but the only experience I had was with my grandmother’s cabbage rolls. Then I moved to Hong Kong, where cabbage is in nearly everything, and I actually like it when it’s cooked well. (Sorry, Grandma. Your other food is good.)

  70. @Lindsay: Oh dear goth in heathen, I was in a pagan chatroom when somebody said… and this is a direct quote…

    I think Harry Potter does a good job of showing the reality of our community, except for implying that we live separately from the muggles/cowans.

  71. I am so happy to see all this Joss Whedon love. Firefly turned me around on Buffy, too — I mean, I liked Buffy before but didn’t see why everyone was all obsessed with it until I watched Firefly and had my mind completely blown. I mean, Firefly is one of the best-written things in any media ever. And now my partner and I are huge Joss fans, and we proselytize. In fact, just today I witnessed a friend that we converted lending season 1 of Buffy out to a student of his… And the cycle of life continues!

    I was completely, completely wrong about thinking I was fat in high school, which used to make me really sad but doesn’t now that I’m all FA kung fu master. (As in, I used to think, “My god! I wasted all that time thinking I was fat, but I totally was thin! What a waste of my thin years!” Now, I think, “If only I hadn’t been methodically taught to redirect my anger towards the patriarchy toward my own body! What a waste of my angry years!”)

  72. Me and my little brother were always those strange kids that actually preferred vegetables for a snack over junk food. We were lucky and grew up with grandparents that had great gardens that provided us with fresh vegies that were not abused by the food industry.

    My realization has only come with the last few months. I have always hated eating fish. But i have decided that i should at least try to find some fish that i enjoy eating because it can’t be all that bad. So last month i had some Talapia that was really good, and last weekend i had some Tuna at a restaurant that was amazing. That canned tuna stuff still makes me gag though.

  73. Mmmm, spinach salad. We also make a lot of tomato based salads – tomato and avocado, tomato and red onion and rocket (I think you call it arugula?), tomato and bocconcini and basil, tomato and mango and red grapefruit. Always with extra virgin olive oil and fresh pepper.

    My kid tasted iceberg lettuce the other day. He thought about it carefully, then said: “It tastes like water. Only slightly crunchy.”

  74. “*coughRochesterNYcough*”

    I like it here. :( (Note: May be biased, as I’m from Nebraska.)

    Anyway, my food revelation would probably be feta cheese. Hell, Greek food in general. It always grossed me out as a kid, but when I was sixteen, I met this fabulous, amazing girl who happened to be Greek. We sort of became fast friends, she attended my birthday party where she had her first taste of “American” food in five years (her dad’s military, they’d been living in England, and I think actually in Greece before that), and I attended her party two weeks later and there was this HUGE Greek salad with fresh veggies and amazing dressing and feta cheese and OMGYUM. Whole milk too, but that upsets my tummy so I can’t have it often. :(

    I have friends who are big fans of chicken and salmon. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was a kid, but the way they cook it smells so delicious, but I can’t get past the idea that I’m eating a dead animal in order to try it, unfortunately. Too much of a gross-out.

  75. Also, vodka. (I was in Canada at the time, it was perfectly legal!) The only time I’d ever been exposed to vodka before, it was nasty smelling stuff strong enough to burn your face off, and it made the people around me who drank it mean. Went out with my friends for Thanksgiving dinner, they insisted I at least TRY something, and since I didn’t know what to get, they ordered me a vodka with passionfruit juice. Tasty stuff, that.

  76. (As in, I used to think, “My god! I wasted all that time thinking I was fat, but I totally was thin! What a waste of my thin years!” Now, I think, “If only I hadn’t been methodically taught to redirect my anger towards the patriarchy toward my own body! What a waste of my angry years!”)

    Oh my god, that’s awesome. You don’t know how much I needed that today. I’ve been stuck with the first obsession. The second is so much better!

    Re: Joss Love – YES! Just this afternoon, I tried to supplant my melancholy obsession with my Buffy obsession. I watched the episode where Johnathan is The Most Awesome Human Alive, and this, I have to say, was an entirely effective anti-melancholic tactic.

  77. I used to go to this restaurant for lunch every day and have soup and salad. Except on Thursdays, when the soup was peanut butter. I couln’t imagine such a thing and that day I had something else. Finally, after about six months, I tried the peanut butter soup and it was by far my favorite!

    I love it to this day and make a good pot of it. In fact, I think I’ll do so this week.

  78. I watched the episode where Johnathan is The Most Awesome Human Alive, and this, I have to say, was an entirely effective anti-melancholic tactic.

    That episode is so amazing. I imagine it would cure more than melancholy — I’m thinking warts, minor colds, panic attacks, etc.

  79. Oooh, peanut butter soup sounds interesting. I’ve had Shanghainese peanut soup and that’s really good. Does it have a little bit of chilli in it?

  80. “Firefly” and “Farscape”. I always hated Star Trekky sci-fi TV when I was younger, and would tell my husband to go away when he would try and get me to watch Firefly or Farscape. Now I’ve watched both shows in their all-too-short entirety on DVD and regret not catching on sooner.

    Brussels sprouts. IMO they’re disgusting when boiled and mushy, but when they’re tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted in the oven until brown on the outside and soft inside, they’re quite amazing.

    Seafood. My only experience with fish when I was a child was some really stinky variety that my parents would consume 3 or more times per week while on one of their never-ending fad diets (I’m not sure if the fish was better or worse than the cabbage soup diet- it might be a draw). I refused to eat it and for a good 15 years after refused all seafood. That changed during undergrad when I got a job waiting tables at an upscale seafood restaurant. Part of our training was tasting all of the dishes on the menu. It was quite a revelation to have fish that didn’t smell awful, and to realize that crab cakes are one of my absolute favorite foods.

  81. When I was about twelve, I all of a sudden started liking things like bell peppers and tomatoes. I’m still iffy on things like mushrooms and olives, but if you bury them in a casserole or on pizza, I’ll eat them. So, not a real revelation, unfortunately.

    Slightly OT: I’m not a picky eater by any means, but there are exactly two kinds of cheese I can’t stand: swiss and provolone. I still can’t stand them, but they’re the two most common types of cheese in restaurants, as far as I can tell, so I always look like I’m picky, revamping my sandwiches.

    Back to revelations: I had the Harry Potter thing, too. *sigh* I didn’t read them until after book 4 came out, because I thought, “been there, done that, already read the book when it was written by Diana Wynne Jones, and I bet hers was better.” Well, DWJ’s was better, but I still really enjoyed the HP books.

  82. I’ve been a fool about my hometown, the city of Philadelphia. I hated it all my life. At the age of 20 I was convinced that Philadelphia was the source of all my problems: it was depressing me and holding me back. I really hated everything about it, and became convinced that I must really be a small town girl and big cities suck.

    Then a couple of years of go I decided to visit every library branch in the city because I love libraries. There are 58 branches. Since I don’t drive (a luxury of living in the city that I now wholeheartedly appreciate) I had to take the bus to every branch. I haven’t finished yet, but exploring every part of the city has really changed my mind. There is so much I love about Philadelphia now. I still plan to move someday, just to live in different places, but I really love living in the big city and I especially like this one.

  83. I had a very limited list of “acceptable” vegetables when I was a kid. Since becoming a vegetarian in college, I have learned to like zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, onions, cooked leafy greens, brussel sprouts, cabbage, parsnips and beets. I still don’t really like turnips very much, though.

  84. Count me in on the brussel sprouts aversion. I HAAAATED them when my mom would make them when I was a kid (from the can). I had them last year, split down the middle and roasted in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper and I fell in love. When I used to think of them as slimy green balls of death, they have now become adorable tiny cabbage lookalikes.

    I also always thought I hated raw tomatoes until recently. They’re pretty much fabulous in a salad with chunks of mozzarella, whole basil leaves and olive oil.

    Lastly, referring back a couple weeks to the exercise post – due to the President’s Physical Fitness Tests in PE as a kid, I always thought I hated exercise. I didn’t realize until I was much older that it doesn’t have to be torture, and its also a great depression reliever.

  85. Kitty:
    I went to the University of Rochester, and then lived and worked in Rochester for a year after I graduated. I LOVE Rochester, miss it every day, and want to move back as soon as I’m done with law school. I’ve never understood why people hate Rochester.

    My food revelation was onions. Thought I hated them for years, but now I love them.

  86. Having just finished a lovely bowl of oatmeal with maple syrup, sliced almonds, and sliced banana, I can tell you that when I was a kid, I couldn’t get oatmeal down. The slimy texture was just gag-inducing.

    I tried oatmeal again about a year ago because it’s good for reducing cholesterol, and found that as long as you stick with the whole oats, not the quick-cook, and just give them 2 minutes in the microwave so they still have some bite to them, and if you add something with some flavor (dried cranberries work well too), it’s a lovely cold-day breakfast.

    As for salads, well, those of you who hate salads, if you ever find yourself in Naples, Florida, go to the Turtle Club at the Vanderbilt Beach Resort for lunch. Ask to sit outside. Then order the grilled salmon salad. It’s a massive bowl of greens, chopped tomato and bell pepper, gorgeous berries, (straw-, rasp-, and black- )and a generous piece of perfectly grilled salmon in a citrus dressing. Absolutely delicious. You’ll never think the same way about salads again.

  87. I used to hate green bell peppers. All of a sudden, I like them. Weird. My husband even commented — why is there a green bell pepper in the fridge? He had been conditioned not to buy them.
    Otherwise, me and most vegetables are good friends. Well, in the sense that I like and eat them. So, maybe from the vegetable’s perspective, I’m not such a good friend.

  88. Brussel Sprouts! It turned out that I actually love them when they start out fresh and are prepared with grace and skill. I had only ever had them previously frozen, over-steamed, and drenched in butter. They were bitter, slimy, and disgusting.

    However, fresh brussel sprouts sauteed lightly in butter and garlic with a little bit of salt is delightful. The opposite of what I expected in every respect.

  89. Beetroot. I hated it on sight, but I ate lunch enough times with a friend who used to get it in her sandwiches that I wound up trying it…love at first bite.

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