Nature versus Nurture [moved from General Chowhounding Topics]
Are you from a family of Hounds or are you the odd one out?
I am a Hound whose quest for deliciousness evolved (and it still evolving) in the last 10 years. I grew up in a family that goes oversees and searches out the nearest McDonald's. Seriously, my Dad called me about three years ago to share the exciting news that he started putting onions on his BBQ sandwiches and they were "not bad".
How about you? Are you from a Hound Family or does you family of origin think your food preferences are odd?
Nope, didn't grow up in a Houndish family. My mother was visiting me and my wife the other day and commented that she has no idea how I've developed the tastes and likes that I have now (although she's often game to try new things when she's with us). My Dad has developed into quite the hound himself since he and my mom split.
So, my family is not one that was houndish when I was growing up, but none think my food prefs are odd, though no one is sure where they came from.
My parents are Home-cooking Hounds but don't have the means to be Restaurant Hounds to the extent that my husband's family and sometimes we are able to be.
My home-cooking skills & curiosity were definitely cultivated by them!
Haven't had much time to "play" on CH lately (5 month old baby) but just caught this thread and had to write.
I grew up in a family of eaters and hounds. My mother was a wonderful cook, as was/is her sister. She was of jewish heritage and her cooking showed it but she could make the meanest eggplant parmagiana and corned beef and cabbage, etc. You get the idea. We also ate out 2-3 times a week since we were very young, not McD's but NYC restaurants - Spanish/Italian/French. I thought a shirley temple was called an "on the house" for years since that is what the owners of our usual haunts used to say as they placed them in front of my brother and me. :-)
Anyway, my father is remarried and his wife is not a cook (though she thinks she is), to put it kindly. We suffer through holiday meals as my dad oohs and aahs. I wonder if he is faking it but it sounds pretty genuine. So, I also wonder if it is his age or if he never was a hound and just went through the motions. My mother and I could and would eat practically anything as long as it was "worthy". A hotdog with mustard and sauerkraut, crispy from the kosher delli could be heaven on earth. :-) My mothers famous brisket recipe lives on at holiday time (I miss her so much).
So, to answer the quesiton, it appears to be nurture with my brother and me, though he cooks differently than I do, he cooks. We are both very concerned with what we eat and it seems to spill over onto others around us.
So, though nature must have a little something to do with it, I am going with nurture. My hubby LOVES to eat and can cook a mean breakfast but his mom is not a very good cook (though she tries very hard) and his cooking is very simple and limited but oh so appreciated by this tired mom..
My mom and dad are both 'hounds and have belonged to a gourmet group for at least twenty years. They're always searching out good food. My mom is a great cook who taught me a lot.
Grandparents on both sides are not such 'hounds. My dad's mom eats a lot of takeout. She enjoys food, but is not quite a 'hound. Same with my mom's mom. She has a few dishes she does well, but doesn't branch out from them and really doesn't know how to cook past those dishes. She likes certain foods, but definitely is not adventurous with her palate and doesn't feel the need to search for "heaven on a plate", like I am.
My mom cooks just like her mom (came over from Ireland) - boiled canned or frozen veggies, large hunks of salty meat, and parsley potatoes. Our mac 'n cheese was boxed. We almost never ate out. When it was her bday, dad would sometimes take us to Red Lobster. After my parents divorced, my mom moved to the shore where she discovered good seafood. Then she got a job in a restaurant and learned more about fresh ingredients and ethnic foods. She's still shocked when I cook for her, though. One time she asked me what was in the stirfry even though she'd had asparagus a million times. When I told her what it was, she said "what brand?" Had only had canned before.
I think my houndishness came from my years working in restaurants. I'll never forget working in a Mexican place where the food was your basic Americanized stuff. Then the kitchen guys would cook something different for the staff, and it was always so much better.