Sunday, April 8, 2012

Da Plain! Da Plain!

I've come a very long way from the ridiculous amount of food "hang ups" I had as a little girl. In retrospect, I am regretful that I missed out on so many food experiences growing up, because of my main childhood eating preference: Everything Must Be Plain. Now, I admit that I do consider it to be a Vegan Badge of Honor that I have NEVER eaten a Big Mac, but that's not typical of a normal American. But I never ate one, because I refused to eat anything with condiments on it. I rejected the #1 Childhood Sandwich, the PB & J, because I refused to mix the two, and would only eat, "plain jelly sandwiches." And even more tragic, I grew up in NJ, but I refused to eat pizza until I was in high school, because I wouldn't eat tomato sauce! Yes, I was the only child in the history of NJ who didn't like pizza! Nor would I eat a famous NJ Sub Sandwich, because I wouldn't eat the vinegary dressing or any of the other condiments. And I look back on all of those plates of spaghetti, with nothing but butter on them, and I realize what a shameful waste I made of my youth surrounded by all of that Italian American food! 

Even though I now embrace all manner of sauces, dressings and condiments, I can still see a bit of that Little Miss Plain in myself to this day. Guess what kind of bagel I eat 99% of the time? Plain. And all of the exciting flavors of potato chips around these days? I prefer plain. Heck, I even always choose plain hummus to the roasted garlic / roasted red pepper / whatever else varieties! I'm happiest with plain vanilla soy yogurt. Plain vegan cream cheese is fine, none of that herb stuff. And I would always prefer my pie plain, not a la mode. These days, I'll even take my whiskey plain! ;-)
Here I am, ordering a bagel.
For about as long as I've been married, I've been stuck on the same snack. I'm not really a big snacker, but I've gotten into the habit of having a handful of Trader Joe's Pretzel Slims in the evenings that we watch a DVD. It's gotten to be a joke between my husband and I. Trader Joes's obviously has a huge variety of crunchy snacks. And every week, year after year, I go and get another bag of Pretzel Slims. Yes, the plain ones. But this week, I did the wildest thing I've ever done.... I picked out the bag of Trader Joe's Pretzel Slims With Everything!

It may not seem like a big deal, but for Little Miss Plain, it really is! I have *never* before eaten anything that boasted having "everything"  or "the works." No Everything Bagel. No Everything Pizza. No Everything Sundae. That bag of Everything Pretzel Slims was actually a huge milestone for me!
There's a first time for Everything!
 Obviously, I liked them just fine. I'm not saying that I am going to only buy them from now on.... I still probably like the plain slims better.... but they serve as a good reminder to make an effort not to get stuck in a rut.... and not to be closed off to so many different food experiences, because I still automatically default to Plain.
I also made an attempt to embrace water that isn't plain. I'm no great fan of flavored water (and I now realize that I probably need to add flavored water to my List of Hated Foods)... so much so that whenever I get water in a restaurant, the first thing I do is frantically rid myself of the ubiquitous, pesky lemon slice, before it sullies my water! But the water I'm talking about is the one perfecto item you need to include if you're faking a homosexual suicide pact in Sherwood, OH in 1988.... Mineral Water. 

I don't have a lot of experience with Mineral Water. Obviously, I wouldn't touch the stuff when I was younger, as I had those issues with carbonated beverages (I know, I know, was there ANYTHING I liked, pre-2000?!? The answer is: No.). I did have a few run-ins with Mineral Water when I was in Germany 10 or so years ago. I swear, I always asked for "Stilles Wasser," but I gather the Germans found it funny to constantly give me "unstill" water instead. Needless to say, I spent most of my time in Germany being thirsty.... but hey, that worked out ok for me, since it meant fewer trips to their creepy toilets that have the shelves inside the bowl, to catch everything

Anyway, I figured that Mineral Water would be a no brainer for me now. I have no problem drinking carbonated beverages anymore. I was sure I would like it just fine! Which was not the case! Yuck! What the heck is wrong with that stuff?!? How it is possibly possible to make water taste that bad?!? Apparently, I need to spend some more time with Mineral Water, because it sure gave me a tough time!

However, this tale has a happy ending... and one that may stun you. A friend, who knew of my Grapefruit Quest and fondness for gin, randomly spotted a recipe for a drink called a "Kitten's Whiskers". This drink calls for Gin, Grapefruit Juice, Grenadine... and a splash of soda water. Now, of course I didn't have any soda water on hand, but I did have the rest of the Mineral Water (I couldn't manage to drink it all, unadorned). I used it in the cocktail. And I must confess that it was the best Grapefruit Juice cocktail that I have tried thus far! It was GOOD! Grapefruit Juice, Mineral Water and all! I can only assume that the Grenadine worked some kind of miracle! So, I happily drank of the rest of my Mineral Water in the form of a Kitten's Whisker.

Oh..... no progress on the seaweed snacks.... I'm still so very afraid of them..... :-/

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