Look, I understand that it’s impossible to like everything that you taste. There are plenty of things that I don’t like. I get it. But there are some things that many people don’t like that just baffle me. It makes sense to me that you might not like bananas. They smell weird, bruise easily and feel like you are eating poo. Well, I would imagine that’s what eating poo is like. What? I don’t want to talk about it ok! If you tell me you don’t like cilantro I can follow you. For as much as I love it I can see that it is a bold taste that can overpower a dish and it isn’t for everybody. It might be the most polarizing herb I know. You don’t like pears? I agree. Chewing them feels like you are eating an apple that rolled around in sand. But if you love food and love to cook and you tell me you don’t like any of the below things? Well then I may consider you to be an untrustworthy spy.
Brussel Sprouts- I can get it if you are a little kid and you’re afraid to try these because they look freaky and smell weird whilst they cook. But you aren’t a little kid so what the heck are you afeared of? No adult, barring allergies, should refuse to try a food. Ok, well maybe except for that grotesque pickled duck embryo thing they eat in the Phillippines. Seriously, that’s a thing. Google it.
I warn you now. If I cook for you and you tell me you don’t like something chances are I will test that theory. If you tell me you don’t like something but also admit you’ve never tried it? Guess what? You’re trying it now. Shocking? Upsetting? Are you reading this thinking man this Phatguy is a real jerk? I accept all that. When have I ever claimed I’m not a jerk? But listen, growing up there was a ton of things I never tried. I could have easily gone on like that as I got older but what’s the fun in that? The first time I ever tried roast beef cooked medium was when I was 16 freaking years old. And to tell you the truth I was sure I was going to hate it. I almost didn’t want to even taste it. Up until that point all meat was supposed to be well done in my brain. That first bite of that roast may possibly have changed the course of the rest of my life.
So if you claim to not like these but haven’t had them in ages I beg you to have another go at them. I like to just steam mine and then toss in some salt, pepper and garlic butter when I am in a rush. If I have a bit of extra time I absolutely love braising these babies with some worchestershirefordstonstead sauce, some chicken stock and some crispy cubes of pancetta. Try that. If you still hate them I will know that you are here on a mission to gather information for your overlords so they can later destroy us.
Fennel- It took me years before I ever even knew what the hell these things were. It took me even longer to muster up the courage to try them because I knew they
were the source of the dreaded, evil black licorice flavor. But then I kept seeing it pop up on TV and in my recipe books more and more.
But it’s just such a pretty plant. How could I continue to reject it? Take a whiff of it in the grocery store and your brain will automatically start thinking of ways you can use it. It is nowhere near as intense a fragrance or flavor as black licorice. It lends a fresh, crispy spiciness to dishes that I just don’t think any other vegetable can. It pairs fantastically with any type of citrus fruit for some sexy takes on a salad.
It’s really become one of the funnest ingredients to work with in the kitchen. I love me some Osso Buco and have always stuck with the traditional Italian style preparation but then I stumbled upon a recipe for it with an apple and fennel sauce. WOW! I used pork shank instead of veal for cost purposes plus I love pork. Like, really love it. I write poems to it and serenade bacon with the fridge door open sometimes when(hopefully) no one can see me. So if you’re not sure how to use this and you’ve always been curious or if you find it overpowering in a salad, try it with meat. You will be pleasantly surprised how well it works with meat. And don’t even get me started on how sexy fennel seeds are to work with.
Mushrooms- Just the variety of flavors in this family alone is amazing. There are figuratively like over 17 million kinds of mushrooms and I want to try them all. My heart bleeds for anyone who is allergic to these. Mushrooms transform a dish from something great to something spectacular. Even something as simple as a cream of mushroom soup. What would it be without mushrooms? Warm cream? Who, besides a Kardashian, would like that?
To those allergic you really do have my sympathy. But if you tell me you don’t like these? I mistrust you immediately, like a John with no “H” in his name. There are no trustworthy Jons. The possibilities with mushrooms are endless and let’s not forget one of the most prized ingredients in all the world of cuisine: the truffle. One single truffle mushroom, shaved and inserted throughout the skin of a duck, will blow you away. It changes the essence of the dish entirely. Those drippings will make for the greatest sauce you will ever make in your life. So what if they grow in poo. Wow, I must be the first food writer to ever use poo twice in the same article. I am standing by for my Pullitzer Prize. But seriously, eat mushrooms over and over if you have to until you like them. They just take cooking to another level. They’re magical and transport you to another dimension. What? Those ones are illegal? How can something that grows in the earth naturally be illegal? Anyway….(that sexy photo is from http://www.100mushroomsvancouverisland.blogspot.com, I normally post that under the image but it messed up the layout!)
Onions- So, you don’t like onions? I can only assume you also hate the laughter of children? The sight of a puppy hopping around in the snow? The smell of flowers in a dewy spring meadow? Salt and pepper are two of the most basic must have things in the kitchen. Can onions really be that far off? They are part of the base of virtually every bloody dish around.
Ok so maybe you can eat them cooked but can’t stand the fierce bite of some raw onion on your burger or in your salad. I still think that’s crazy talk but ok fine. Have you tried to pickle some? Say with some habanero peppers? Put that on a burger and tell me that doesn’t get your juices flowing. When I see someone prepping a roast and NOT quartering up some onions and putting them in the roasting pan I weep for humanity. And like garlic they are really good for you. Is there any greater comfort food in the world on a frigid day than French Onion Soup? IS THERE?!?!? No. There is not.
Maybe I am just a crazy jerk that can’t understand that people have different tastes but I just feel that if you aren’t eating any of these things then you are missing out.
Categories: Phood Philosophies