Do you like spicy foods such as curries and chillies or prefer to stick to what might be called simple foods? Similarly, do you enjoy eating various types of fruits, vegetables, meat etc; and do you tend to choose one kind of drink (whether alcoholic or not) over another?
All our tastes in the foods we eat are extremely personal to each of us and develop from a very early age. In fact, scientists say that it starts in the womb as an unborn baby experiences tastes of foods consumed by the mother.
Be that as it may, many of my tastes have changed over years while others are much the same today as they have always been.
The most notable changes have occurred in the last few years, since my second marriage, this time to Lisa who is American but whose parents were 100% Norwegian (her dad) and 100% Sicilian (mum). Doubters predicted that I’d be eating a lot of pasta but, in fact, it is quite rare that it features on our table. You see, while I don’t hate pasta, it is certainly not one of my favourites – and Lisa, who is a great cook, knows this.
Actually, her cooking ability is outstanding when compared to my ex-wife. Lisa prepares everything herself, including the sauce for any meal, plus pastry, the list is never ending. On the other hand, my ex’s version of a ‘homemade’ apple pie was to use shop-bought frozen pastry and pie filling; while for curries and spaghetti bolognaise she relied on jars or cans of supermarket sauce.
I have always told Lisa that I am willing to try new dishes but that I cannot guarantee to like them. This is understood and there have been some tries that won’t be repeated. However, others have gone down well (pun intended!) and have already been repeated.
Fruit is something that I have always been difficult about; I dislike more than I like. Generally, I will eat all the berries, oranges and apples but little else. My pet hates have always included bananas, apricots, grapefruit, pineapples and peaches – to name but a few. But that changed at the end of 2014 during a holiday in Hawaii when we toured a pineapple plantation. We were offered free tastes of their home-grown pineapples and, to my complete surprise, I found the taste to be so good that I went back for another. I now like fresh pineapple’s soft and juiciest parts but you can forget the canned varieties.
One area of conflict has for many years been curries and chillies. A mild to medium curry has been a favourite – indeed, for the four years from 2008 to 2011, I was a North Wales regional judge of the annual Welsh Curry House of the Year competition. Chillies, on the other hand, were a real ‘no-no’.
That changed in early 2015 when my beloved made me a mild chilli, and I enjoyed it. Since then she has made more chillies but has been gradually increasing the spiciness. So far, these have all been great, so it seems I now like chillies.
Like fruits, I am finicky with vegetables. Cauliflower, broccoli, runner beans, sweetcorn, onions, peas and Brussel sprouts are all ok but cabbage (except in ‘bubble and squeak’) and spinach are definitely out while I am reluctant to explore more exotic vegetables.
Sweet potato, mashed with butter, is a vegetable that I do like and butternut squash is a relatively new addition, thanks to Lisa, to my lengthening list of ‘likes’.
Thinking about drinks, despite a childhood aversion to coffee, I can now drink a mild coffee but prefer a cup of tea. Conversely, I absolutely love the Spanish cortado that is described as “a strong dark coffee but with a small drop of milk”. Strange.
Now living in southern Spain, I can say that paella, cortado coffee and the alcoholic Sangria are all among my favourites – along with many other things including white and milk chocolate, with white being preferred, but most definitely not the dark, plain variety.
It’s funny how some tastes change and develop over the years but others steadfastly remain the same.
Pictures, from the top: Seafood Paella, Fresh Pineapple, Chilli, Cortado and Sangria.