“Italian, Italian, anything with noodles, spaghetti!!”, I’d yell while my sister yelled back “Mexican, guacamole tostadas, Mexican!”. My parents would indulge us both, allowing us to think that our opinions were being heavily weighed when, in all reality, they already knew where we were going.
For the majority of my childhood macaroni and cheese graced the top of my all time food favorites list, and if I was lucky enough to get Kraft Blue Box delivered from the kids menu at a restaurant… it was like I’d hit the jackpot. The golden, creamy, fake cheesy jackpot. This absolutely, consuming love of pasta continued for years as I made it my mission to create the very best spaghetti sauce on the planet. Pot after pot of tomato-y, meaty, deliciousness simmering away on the stove.
Side note, because if we were talking in real life I’d say: During my senior year of college I was simmering one of said pots of sauce and studying for a test down in my room. My roommate came wandering in, after her night class, only to announce that she’d spent the last 15 minutes, uncontrollably, spooning the sauce into her mouth. To this day it was one of the most flattering cooking compliments I’ve ever received.
Once I’d mastered that, Christian set me to task developing the ultimate homemade mac ‘n cheese. I tried pancetta, 6-cheese, carmelized onions, garlic, beer… all of which were delicious… only to fall back on good ‘ol cheddar as my favorite.
Then, the unthinkable happened. Last year, on the cruise we took to the Caribbean I contracted the stomach flu after eating a, most delicious, pasta dinner. After spending hour upon hour either in the bathroom or hugging the toilet (all the while praying that the sewage drain in our bathroom didn’t back up while I pathetically hovered above it) I was over pasta. I was over tomato sauce. I was over noodles.
I wanted nothing to do with them, the sight, the smell – the everything made my stomach roil in rebellion. And, to a certain extent it still does. Obviously in the past 1.5 years I’ve had my plate loaded with cheesy rigatoni or saucy angel hair, but not even one meal hit the proverbial spot. Not a one.
It feels like the end of an era.
These days you’ll find me pining over any kind of potato I can get my grubby little mitts on. Also, organic strawberries, where have you been all my life? If I had my pick of what I would shout on the way to dinner tonight? It’d probably be Mexican, just like my sister — or at least some sort of Southwest fusion restaurant. Or, ahem, pizza – which I’ll love until my dying breath.
It’s fascinating to me how our taste buds evolve, change, mature if you will. 10 years ago you’d never see me with a cucumber in my grocery cart or with a salad packed full of greens + peppers for lunch. I never would have guessed that I would choose a fresh-cut farmers market watermelon over almost any gooey brownie you put in front of me. But here I am, guilty (in a good way) of both. What’s next? Conquering raw tomatoes or mushrooms? I doubt it.
*Image source: Max Straeten