Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Good, The Bad and The Unknown

My favorite person I have met over the past few years is my friend Martin. He is 87 years old, and a force to be reckoned with! About a year ago, we went out on a dinner date. I ate spaghetti with tomato sauce, he ate lamb with mint jelly. When I told him that I had, in fact, never eaten a lamb, his response was, "I pity you." I told him I didn't need pity, that I was ok with never having eaten a lamb, because I don't WANT to eat a lamb, but he insisted that I was going through life with "too many hang-ups."

In a way, I suppose he had a point. I'll be honest with you. The #1 reason I don't eat meat is that I am frankly revolted by the idea of putting a filthy, rotting corpse in my mouth. I'd have an easier time eating a vegan poop than a Chicken McNugget. Obviously, I didn't start out life with this feeling. I didn't acquire it until I had been a vegetarian for close to a decade. And I recognize that I am in a very small minority on this Earth. Most people think nothing of tossing down bacon, and don't feel disgusted about eating the dead body of a pig. So, does my distaste count as a "hang up"? I suppose it does. That said, it is a hang up I don't wish to change. I'm glad I have it, because I honestly believe it is not good for the body, the soul, or the Earth to eat meat, and I know as long as I have the gut feeling of disgust, I will not fall off the Vegan Wagon into a kettle of fish, the way oh so many of my former vegan or vegetarian friends have done.

However, I can 100% identify with having many food "hang ups" over my life, and they are what I am trying to conquer in this experiment. I set my mind to learning to like foods I thought I hated several years back, and I'm a better person for it. I now wonder, how on Earth did I live without vinegar? Or heirloom tomatoes? Or bourbon?!? I had "hang ups" about all of these things for most of my life, and looking back, I do wonder how I went so long being so close minded that I spent almost 3 decades eating plain salads and leaving a lonely tomato slice on the side of my plate every time I got a veggie burger. If I feel my life has improved by embracing some of these new foods, what more do I have to gain by getting rid of even yet still more of my food "hang ups"?

So, here is a small outline of some of my food successes and food "hang ups", just to set the stage of what I have done, and what I am trying to do now.

Success Stories!

Here are some examples of foods I would not have touched 10 years ago, but I now either love (Fennel!) or at least can tolerate enough to eat (Kale!).

* Vinegar (from Balsamic to Malt Vinegar, I now love them all)
* Whiskey (Scotch, Bourbon, Sour Mash, I taught myself to love it all.... perhaps TOO much!)
* Ketchup
* Pickles
* Mustard
* Kale
* Fennel
* Beets
* Asparagus
* Tomatoes
* Cabbage
* Coffee
* Squash
* Zucchini
* Chard
* Carbonated Beverages (I drank soda as a child, but lost tolerance for it between the ages of 15 and 30)
* Green Onions
* Gin
* Eggplant
* Cooked Onions
* Ginger Ale

So, since I have mastered all of those things, here is a list of foods I either dislike or HATE that I am going to tackle and see if I can learn to like, through repetition. I'll try and list them from Most Hated to Least Hated:

* Raw Onions
* Grapefruit
* Tonic Water
* Radishes
* Ginger Beer
* Dried Seaweed (not what you'd get in maki, but the seaweed snack type stuff)
* Radicchio
* Beer
* Green Tea Flavored treats
* Baklava
* Mole
* Cranberries / Cranberry Juice
* Tabbouleh
* White Wine
* Earl Grey Tea
* Tiramisu
* Champagne
* Pickled Ginger
* Broccoli Raab
* Mineral Water

I'm sure I'll think of more as time goes by...

And for fun, here are a few things I have never had, that I don't know for a fact that I dislike, but I feel like I probably hate them by default.

* Endive
* Parsnips
* Spaghetti Squash
* Kohlrabi
* Turnips
* Chicory

Basically, my goal is not to be some annoying Picky Pants who will refuse to eat anything vegan, due to some "hang up." WISH ME LUCK! Because I truly cannot imagine willingly eating a raw onion!!!

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