Can a picky eater overcome a lifelong aversion to "branching out"?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Fish: A Hit and a Miss

Today my husband and I went out for a late lunch.  My new philosophy for eating out is that I have to get something that I wouldn't normally get.  However I make that happen is up to me and up to how I am feeling that day, but I need to make some sort of effort.  Today I decided that I would get an adventurous appetizer and would take a taste of my husband's meal but would be able to then sit back an enjoy my choice of Shrimp Alfredo.  Yummy!!!

So the appetizer.  We decided we would go for the Crab and Salmon Cakes.  They definitely fell into my no-no range, but were something that I was willing to give a try!

I started with the crab cake.  It was okay.  I thought it was kind of bland, but I didn't hate it.  I had my instant texture related "ick" moment, but I held on, and moved through it and came out the other side.  I ended up not minding it!  As I said, bland, but that is more the fault of the restaurant than the food itself.  Then it was on to the salmon cake.  As soon as I cut into it, I knew we were going to have a problem.  I could smell the fish smell before I even got it on my fork.  I dipped it in the sauce and took a bite and......ew.  Ew ew ew ew ew.  I hated the texture of the fish.  I hate the smell of the fish.  I hated the taste of the fish.  I wanted to spit out.  However, I retained a modicum of self-respect and kept from spitting it out.  I swallowed it.  And stared at the salmon cake.  Because I knew what was coming next, and I was dreading it.  I knew what I would have to do.  I would have to take another bite.  I so very much didn't want to, but I know myself well enough to know that sometimes my first reaction isn't very reliable.  So I took a breath, put extra dipping sauce on the cake, and took a bite.  And it was official.  I hated it.  I can now say with a high degree of certainty that I.  Hate.  Salmon.  It was horrible.  Luckily I am married to the human garbage disposal, so he was more than happy to finish off the last of my salmon cake.

The next hurdle was tasting my husband's food.  He ordered the seared Ahi with mashed yams.

I tried the yams first.  Those seemed easier.  I still approached it with some trepidation given my recent brush with Salmon.  But it wasn't that bad!  I still hate the fact that it manages to be both mushy AND stringy, but once I got past that it was okay.  I thought it could have used some more butter and a hint of sweetness, but again, I can't fault the food for the restaurant's choices.  Then I had to try the Ahi.  I was not looking forward to this.  I had already had one horrific fish experience today and here I was, setting myself up for another one.  But I closed my eyes and scrunched up my nose and took the bite my husband offered me.  And.....oh my god!  I liked it!  It was like a fish version of steak!  And I LOVE steak!!  I took a second bite.  And I STILL liked it!  I got a bit more of the fish flavor this time and a bit more of the fishy texture, but I still enjoyed it.  I could definitely see myself making it at home and actually eating it!

I don't know that I can explain what a huge step this is for me.  I have never liked fish.  Ever.  And I come from a fish-o-centric family.  So despite having had to eat many different types of fish cooked many different ways over the years, I have only had two experiences with fish that I liked.  One is eating smoked salmon.  And that is only because smoked salmon has neither the taste nor the texture of actual salmon.  And even then I am hugely picky about it.  It has to be just right or I will refuse to eat it.  The other experience was one time when my Aunt Sandra and Uncle Johnny were visiting.  My Aunt Sandra grilled fish that night and managed to get me to try it (Aunt Sandra is an amazingly convincing woman).  I loved it.  However, I have no idea what type of fish it was or what sort of recipe she used so I have no way to duplicate that experience.  And that has been it in terms of positive fish experiences.  Until today.  And this is why I decided to undertake this experiment.  Because if I hadn't, I would have missed out on opportunities like this.

1 comment:

  1. I have similar experiences with seafood. And the one time I ever had seared tuna I too liked it. However, I have not been able to make myself try it again as the THOUGHT of not fully cooked fish is a greater hurdle for me to overcome than the actual tuna taste. LOL! I too hate salmon, although a well smoked (e.g. hard as a rock) salmon is something I can eat... sometimes. I do not eat shellfish of any kind. And even though I hide behind the banner of "it isn't kosher" I can assure you I didn't eat it before I ate kosher! I do, however like mild white fish. Things like halibut, and cod and tilapia (if it from a well mantained fish farm) so perhaps, trying a white fish might be up your alley. And halibut can be very steak-like. Anyway, thanks for sharing your experiences, I'm thoroughly enjoying them.