…from the California Kitchen
How you doin’? Since Covid-19 broke out I’ve been watching a lot of TV—old TV on ME-TV. Series like Perry Mason, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mission Impossible and even Leave it to Beaver. After watching the “Beave” this morning get into a dispute about what green vegetables he didn’t want to eat it made me think about how many childhood memories we have that relate to food—both positive and negative.
My earliest food memory goes back to when I was 9 months old (my brother confirmed it). I was sitting in a highchair with a bowl of mashed bananas and cottage cheese—yuk! My mother was insistent that I eat it and I was equally insistent I wasn’t going to. I threw a handful of the muck at her and she took the whole bowl and emptied on to my head. Yes, I really do remember it. She made me sit in the highchair for what seemed like hours. Do you know I have never eaten bananas or cottage cheese since?
There are certain flavors and aromas that are just repugnant to some children. Parents who love Brussels sprouts think their kids ought to love them too without realizing the sensitivity in children’s tastebuds—there is a difference in child and adult taste receptors. Young children have as many as 8,500 taste “buds” in their mouths—tongue, side of mouth and near the throat. Adults have around 1,800 taste receptors left after burning their tongues and biting their cheeks—they simply are damaged and no longer function so intensely.
Think about why children don’t like their foods as hot and spicy as their elders. When you hear the comment, “they will learn to like it,” they may grow out of it, but it may take a while. So, there is no reason to have a fight at the dinner table.
This situation reminds me of a friend who used to invite me over for dinner. She had two young children—eight and four—who were very picker eaters… one wouldn’t eat anything red and the other wouldn’t eat anything green. There was a dining table insurrection at almost every meal in that house. I hope that now that they’re in their 30’s they’ve gotten past their food foibles. It is true that when children get hungry, they’ll eat, but still, there’s no reason to fight about every meal. Kids really do know what they like and don’t like and since foods are an important part of memories, why not make them all great.
My hit parade on positive food memories are my cowboy corndog birthday party and my cupcake birthday party—great food memories, but I still will never get over the cottage cheese and banana incident.
Now I know some adults who still haven’t grown to appreciate Brussels sprouts so here is a quick recipe that even the “Beave” would like. Try it on your friends at your next dinner party. If they balk and tell you they don’t like Brussels sprouts—just ask them to give one a try.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: microwave 5 minutes / oven 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
1 pound Brussels sprouts
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons chopped cooked bacon
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
ChefSecret: The double cooking process removes most of the objectionable “cabbagy” smell and flavor out of the Brussels sprouts. The smell comes from sulfur compounds that are released from cabbage during the initial cooking process.
Covid-19 Quip of the Day: “Food for thought—Wouldn’t it be a little ironic if Popeye’s Chicken was fried in olive oil?”
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To you and everyone dear to you, be strong and positive, stay well and safe and be kind to others. If you have a little extra in your pockets to share with others at this difficult time, please consider donating to Feeding America. Thanks for reading.
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