Someone once told me, in reference to fashion, that “that lady’s taste was all in her mouth.” Pretty rude comment, if you ask me, especially because the first part of my professional career was spent in sales in the apparel industry, and “that lady” was one of the designers for whom I worked!
That being said, I tend to be more literal in my old age, and I do believe that taste really is mostly in your mouth… with a little help from your nose. The smell of my mother’s kitchen on the morning of Thanksgiving of onions sautéing, or the aroma of cookies baking heralding an afternoon or late night snack with a glass of cold milk.
I happen to be one of the adventurous types, and am willing to taste just about anything once. Some of the things I’ve eaten, I’ve had three times: first, last and only. Like octopus. That was one of those foods that was prepared ever so delightfully, but no matter how long I chewed, I couldn’t bring myself to swallow it.
I was raised on “no-thank-you portions.” We would sit at the table, and be coerced to put a small portion of everything that was served on our plates, and then have to sit there until our plates were cleaned. I figured out early on, that my napkin could be a good friend. Many times, I wiped my mouth free of a mouth full of creamed spinach, excused myself, and then flushed it down the guest bathroom toilet. I thought I was being so clever.
We came to find out later on that my father, in his efforts to present a united front in parenting with my mother, was a very good sport. One evening, during a family dinner, with all of his adult children seated around the table (a very rare occurrence), my father finally, after thirty years of marriage, balked when the broccoli was passed to him. “I don’t care for any,” he declared.
“Why not?” my mother asked.
“”I hate broccoli. I’ve been eating it for 30 years to set a good example for the kids,” he lamented. “They’re grown now, and I’m never eating it again.”
Years later, although my rules at the table were a little more lax, a similar ruse was played upon me. Our table rules never included cleaning your plate. At our table, you were only requested to taste everything that served, and if you didn’t care for it, you didn’t have to eat it. (I may have served the same thing many times, and my kids had to “taste it” many times, but they were never forced to eat more than one mouthful). Consequently, they grew up with, I believe, healthier eating habits. I did, however, find out that my daughter used the same napkin deception to rid her plate of that lone standing Brussel Sprout, every time I served them.
Today, both of my kids eat mostly everything. They’re slim and trim, and healthy. I, however, could stand to eat a little less. But I have good taste!