Yesterday B sent me up to the store with a short shopping list. I thought I knew all her preferences. Tropicana orange juice with no pulp. Twinings tea, not Lipton; decaffeinated. And we both drink only 1% milk.
But I made a mistake. I brought home Hunt's ketchup instead of Heinz.
"Well, what's wrong with Hunt's?" I asked. "Besides, you didn't specify Heinz."
"You never looked in the refrigerator, and noticed what kind of ketchup we have?"
"Um, I guess not," I confessed.
So do you have your favorite foods, and your favorite brands? And the ones you simply cannot tolerate? It seems silly. What's the difference between Hunt's and Heinz? And yet, I know, Coke and Pepsi are essentially the same thing -- sugar water with food coloring. But I like Coke, not Pepsi.
When I was a kid, each of us was allowed to "reject" one food that we didn't like. If my mom served it, we didn't have to eat it. But otherwise, we were expected to eat what was served to us . . . because, you know there were people starving in China. My parents were children of the Depression. And they did not like to waste food, or anything else.
I rejected broccoli. But when my mother served cauliflower, I would claim that, no, it wasn't broccoli I'd rejected, it was cauliflower. No, not broccoli, cauliflower!
But now, ironically, I actually like both broccoli and cauliflower.
Today, there are a lot of cheeses I do not like. Blue cheese, for example, and Parmesan. And I do not like goat cheese. B and I were out the other evening, and we split a sandwich. B asked me if I liked it. "Yeah, it was pretty good," I replied.
"It had goat cheese in it," she said.
"It did?" I replied, startled. "No, it didn't. I didn't taste any goat cheese."
"I'm pretty sure it did." She was enjoying this . . . maybe she thinks I'm a finicky eater. I swore off red meat a few years ago. I don't like garlic. I don't like a lot of New Agey stuff like couscous and hummus.
I couldn't believe there was goat cheese on the sandwich. Goat cheese has such a distinctive flavor -- it tastes like a barnyard. I would have noticed it. So I asked the server. And he informed me that, yes, the sandwich did indeed have goat cheese in it.
So don't tell us your favorite food -- it's always chocolate, right? Don't tell us what you're allergic to -- like gluten or peanuts. Tell us: What foods do you just not like? The foods you cannot stomach. I do not like foods that stink (like goat cheese or blue cheese). I do not like croutons in my salad or soup. (Why would you put toast in your soup?!?)
And despite what B thinks, I believe I'm being perfectly reasonable -- not like, you know, making a big deal out of ketchup.
Anyway, I guess the French have a phrase for it: a chacun son gout. But I have a new theory -- I think that goat cheese gave me bad dreams the other night!