I lived in one of those households where you stayed at the table until you finished everything on your plate. Calf liver nights were especially long, punctuated with spurts of frantic creative problem solving. My basic technique involved putting pieces of liver into my pocket and then slinking off to the bathroom to flush them down the toilet. Once we had a dog, things were much easier.
Throughout my childhood, my mom would roast an extra large Butterball turkey every year for Thanksgiving, rubbed with salt and toasted peppercorns, and placed in the oven for an offensively long time. After dinner, my mom would store the leftover turkey meat in neat, little aluminum packets, and place them in the freezer. Throughout the next few months, my mom would take out a packet every week and throw it into rice steamer, to be eaten as part of our breakfast. FYI, steamed overcooked turkey smells like feet. Just in case you were ever tempted to give it a whirl.
In kindergarten, after watching a Jif commercial on TV, all I wanted was for my mom to make me peanut butter sandwiches with a heart drawn in the middle. Fast forward to high school, when I went on a week long trip aboard a ship on Cape Cod, where all we ate were peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, day and night. Proffered peanut butter and jelly sandwiches make me feel like there is a small smelly hamster in my brain scrabbling frantically to get out. Its claws make a rasping, scraping noise.
When I turned 16, I would stay over at my aunt and uncle’s place up in Scarsdale on the weekends, so I could practice driving with my uncle early in the morning while the roads were still relatively empty. For breakfast, I’d have a dry bagel and a glass of orange juice, followed by a nerve racking drive through winding narrow roads, being tailed by honking cars. Looking at glasses of orange juice still makes me gag. Most of the time, this is internal.
I’m not completely sure what I’m trying to say. It took me a very long time to come around to turkey. And salmon. And asparagus. Once I realized what they tasted like when they weren’t steamed to death, AND had just a smidge of salt, the world became a much less scary place. As someone who likes to consider herself a very good and open minded eater, there are some lines I just can’t quite bring myself cross. It has nothing to do with taste, and everything to do with memory. Maybe I’m just trying to say, isn’t that funny? Or maybe it’s something about how arbitrary our habits are, accumulated over time. I think it’s both, and just a little something else.
Am I the only one? Are there foods that give you the heebies?