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Food memories: when did you first discover ***** and find a new food love?


Smithy

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There have been so many food discoveries that it's hard to choose just one. Snails, what a friend described as "an excuse to have garlic butter"; avocados, which my parents thought tasted like soap; artichokes, already mentioned; Chinese food, especially Sichuan; Mexican food from all parts of the country, though my first experience at age 10 was tacos at a small restaurant somewhere in Arizona; the many varieties of "International" foods changed my palate forever.

 

But if I have to choose just one, it would have to be rare beef. My parents were from Chicago and the tiniest hint of pink meant the meat wasn't "done." So in place of dry, chewy, tasteless lumps of coal I learned how beef was supposed to taste. (By the way, I quit cigarettes in 1977, on a trip to Scotland, and that improved my ability to enjoy my food. Though I never could cozy up to haggis.)

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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When I was about a year old, my mom and dad were having shrimp salads and apparently, I kept reaching toward their plates so they gave a shrimp (small salad shrimp) and I demanded more. They thought it was so cute that I like them so much so kept giving me more. Not so cute when I upchucked them all. Fortunately that didn't sour my taste for shrimp. to this day, some 60 years later, shrimp/prawns are one of my favourite things. Beef cooked anything other than well done was a revalation to me when I was about 18.

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Passion fruit.

I was learning the ropes in a bakery in San Diego and there was passion fruit buttercream in one of the cakes being made.  I'd never had it before.  The plain juice was nothing special but made into passion curd?  Swoon!  Passion butterecream! And then I couldn't get enough of the stuff - passion mousse, passion bavarian, a ricotta pound cake with passion syrup.....

when I returned and opened my own place, passion fruit was one of the first flavors listed on my cake menu.  At the time I was the only place who offered it; no one in this area had much experience with it.  I had to buy whole cases of the frozen puree (they wouldn't break cases back then) and I offered it to every couple who came in for tastings.  Converted a lot of people that way!  And  then one of the juice companies started making a passion juice blend and now people are much more familiar with it.  Twenty years later, it's still my favorite and I'm not tired of it.

 

 

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I never cared for spicy food until I had homemade tacos made by a then boyfriend and seasoned with Pico Pico sauce.  It was love in capital letters. After that there was no turning back...now I can't get enough spice/heat.

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13 hours ago, JeanneCake said:

And then I couldn't get enough of the stuff

I had never tasted it until I came to Costa Rica. It is definitely a unique flavor. I'm never without several of these packages in my refrigerator.

20221231_082257.thumb.jpg.9811157730190554168d2f67d62506ad.jpg

A quick fruit drink, thicken it for a sauce or Incorporate it in any number of desserts.

It's very quickly became my favorite fruit.

Edited by Tropicalsenior (log)
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On 12/29/2022 at 8:37 PM, weinoo said:

Anyway, they were great coffee drinkers and smokers back in the day;

God.  My mother's face got dreamy at the mere mention of "coffee and cigarettes".  She eventually had to give up both.  Every now and then, I would make her a cup of full-caf coffee; I really don't have words for how glad I am that I did that, actually broke an actual rule.  

 

Meanwhile.  I can still summon my first piece of cheese that you cut with a knife.  It was at the neighbors, a place I came to hang around often.  

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Two come to mind - bone marrow - first had at Joe Beef in Montreal. Fatty and beefy, nice pickled something with it - I recall mustard seed, the perfect toasted bread. 

 

 

Pan seared foie gras - cooked outside on cast iron pans at the Good Earth Winery in Niagara region. Must be the fat!

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The first real pizza parlor pizza I ever had. Pizza had been limited to the Chef Boyardee kit-in-a-box, and later, Pizza Inn or Pizza Hut. When I was in junior high, a new family moved to town from somewhere in the New York area. Kid was my age. We all went to his house one night to watch movies, and his dad brought in three boxes of pizza from the restaurant he'd just opened. It was a revelation.

 

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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19 hours ago, kayb said:

The first real pizza parlor pizza I ever had. Pizza had been limited to the Chef Boyardee kit-in-a-box, and later, Pizza Inn or Pizza Hut. When I was in junior high, a new family moved to town from somewhere in the New York area. Kid was my age. We all went to his house one night to watch movies, and his dad brought in three boxes of pizza from the restaurant he'd just opened. It was a revelation.

 

 

 

I had a similar enlightenment. Based on my limited experience as a kid, I thought I hated pizza or any kind, and I don't think I was big on spicy food. Then came the evening my freshman year on high school when my friends wanted to go out for pizza. I went for the fun of their company. The restaurant was an old-style family Italian restaurant in town. Yowza, what great food! Pizza became a favorite after that, and later I learned that Italian food is much, much more than spaghetti and meatballs.

 

Wow. That restaurant is still in business:x

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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We were doing a Winnebago "camping" trip and stopped in San Louis Obispo to say hi to a guy my dad knew in the meat biz. He gave us big brown paper bag of his beef jerky. Oh my! My sis and I sat in the back sneaking out pieces.  I've loved it ever since. My dad called him to get directions so he could replicate it at home. Dad's seasoning skills were primo since he'd been a sauage maker in Austria. He marinated and drped on the oven racks, on very low, overnight. I could smell it all the way in back  of house where bedrooms were. He even bought a meat slicer. Of course mom had to clean oven & racks.

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25 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

My father used to be amused to share (Wilson's brand) jarred pickled pigs' feet with me when I was about 4 years old.   To this day, I love pickled meat products: fromage de tete, tongue, cold meat in vinaigrette.

A couple of years ago in my local Costco I passed a booth where a dejected-looking kid was offering samples of pickled pigs' tongues to horrified passers-by. I enjoyed the sample, though I didn't find the opportunity to actually buy a jar while they were available.

 

As someone who'd spent years in sales, I'd like to meet whoever successfully got those into Costco. :)

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Possibly happening in real time... IMG_20230107_011136.thumb.jpg.f8a055fc2982fff93d46503accf1696d.jpg
Century egg number three in a box of six. Ive had them before in congee and something Hunanese, but never just in whole eggs. For me, definitely more palatable with a spoonful of some sort of chilli, definitely more intriguing naked.

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3 hours ago, Kerala said:

Century egg number three in a box of six. Ive had them before in congee and something Hunanese, but never just in whole eggs. For me, definitely more palatable with a spoonful of some sort of chilli, definitely more intriguing naked.

 

I get through a lot of these - on average ten a week; I have home made 皮蛋瘦肉粥 (pí dàn shòu ròu yù) - Century egg and Pork Congee for breakfast several times a week. I tend to agree with you though; they are best served with a chilli sauce (and a soy dip). They are often served that way as an appetiser in restaurants.

 

629742167_pidan2019(1).thumb.jpg.16fc93c204759c329be9acf3a343c9db.jpg

 

I was apprehensive the first time I ate one all those years ago, but  really they just taste like very eggy eggs. A lot of the reports are highly coloured by their visual appearance and people forget to describe the taste.

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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After reading through the topic, and sharing many of the above food discoveries, I would have to say my most memorable would be my first experience with sushi.

Back in grad school I was part of the U. of T. Kendo club.

We were affiliated and practiced with Toronto's Japanese Cultural Center.

After a tournament at the Center we were hosted to a lunch which featured sushi. At that time the idea of eating raw fish was, to me, bizarre.

Since not trying would be considered insulting to our hosts I took the plunge. 

Wow! Never looked back and to this day is still one of my favorites.

 

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'A drink to the livin', a toast to the dead' Gordon Lightfoot

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Years ago when Sushi first came to the Seattle area, it took a while for the people to get used to the idea of eating raw fish. One night when we went to our favorite steakhouse, The Refectory, we found out that it was now The Shogun. Not wanting to look for another place to eat, we decided to give it a try. We were the only ones in the place and we went to the sushi bar. The sushi chef was wonderful. He gave us a complete education that night in sushi. The different types, the preparation, and the etiquette. We left that night completely stuffed and completely hooked. I've had sushi from Canada to Argentina and that is still my favorite experience.

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Can I be briefly pedantic and ask that we get the terminology right? Sushi isn't raw fish!

 

A lot of sushi ingredients are cooked and the key ingredient always is - the rice! Sushi is, at heart, vinegared rice with toppings - sometimes raw; sometimes not.

 

If you just want raw fish, that is sashimi.

 

/endrant

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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May I be pedantic as well ?

 

At what point was it implied that all sushi is raw fish ? @Tropicalsenior reported that with the introduction of sushi people were for the first time confronted with eating raw fish, because - well - some of it is and the chances of crossing a piece of raw fish in a sushi shop are rather high. 
 

Sashimi isn’t raw fish, either*. Raw fish is raw fish. If we are pedantic …

 

—-

*Sashimi can be made from raw fish, seared fish (tataki), boiled seafood (cephalopods), raw meat (any), seared meat (horse, beef), braised meat (boar, chicken), tofu products (yuba), vegetables (young bamboo), …

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On 1/3/2023 at 8:38 AM, Smithy said:

The restaurant was an old-style family Italian restaurant in town. Yowza, what great food! Pizza became a favorite after that, and later I learned that Italian food is much, much more than spaghetti and meatballs.

There was The Blue Parrot, a restaurant I used to go to many years ago in Louisville, CO (louis-ville not looeyville) where my favorite was thick spaghetti with red sauce and a sausage patty. Not fancy, but a family place where old Italian miners used to come to drink grappa in a corner booth, eat the food of their youth, play dominos and argue. I'm afraid the old joint, if it still existed after all these years, burned in the Marshall fire a year ago. So much of that town burned, but perhaps the center was spared. I sure hope so. I could go for some thick spaghetti with red sauce and a sausage patty right now, but unfortunately I'm over 1,500 miles away. (Actually, there were 2 Italian restaurants in town, probably owned by members of the same family. The other one was, I think, named Colacci's. Both are probably gone now, either overcome by the newer ways of cooking, or buned.)

 

What is the name of that thick spaghetti? I'm sure the shape has a name--they all do.

Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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I'll briefly address the brief pedantry.

By my mid-twenties, at the time of my first encounter with sushi, I had been fishing for almost twenty years and I knew a bit about fish.

In addition our hosts graciously  explained exactly what we were being served and how to enjoy it.

So the fish was raw which was the point of the post.

 

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'A drink to the livin', a toast to the dead' Gordon Lightfoot

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