HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Discussion

"gourmet" foods you liked as a kid

so what did you like growing up that probably wouldn't and didn't appeal to a typical american kid's palate? I don't want to turn this into an indictment against picky eaters or stressed parents (are there any other kind?) who rely on hot dogs, nuggets, mac and cheese, and pizza (we ate and enjoyed all those things growing up, too!) to get food into young bellies. I'm just wondering what you ate growing up that your friends thought was gross!

I loved stuffed artichokes. My friends thought they were too weird to even contemplate eating.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Oooh, good topic. I liked Indian food. My grandparents were missionaries in India, so my dad grew up there, and he was constantly looking for curries and things. My mom learned to make lots of Indian things, which my sister and I ate from a really young age. I remember when I was really small, my mom would make this potato curry and would put some of the potato dumpling things on our plates, along with some grilled chicken and macaroni and cheese. When we got to about school-age, we started eating the curry and other dishes. My friends couldn't hack it.

    6 Replies
    1. re: alysonlaurel

      My family is from East Texas and paired with my parents being adults in the 70's~ well the food wasn't that gourmet. My daddy's idea of eating good was having pinto beans made in the crock pot. My mother really rebelled against her upbringing when it came to the kitchen.. she didn't like to cook all the country food she grew up with.. she loved electric stoves, she turned her nose up at the mention of gas which is what she grew up with, she wouldn't own a iron skillet, she loved some canned vegetables and hamburger helper and hot dogs were a fixation every week on the table. She loved using Campbell's soups over food. Flounder with Cream of Mushroom, her pork chop bake included Cream of Mushroom and so did her tuna casserole which she also made with Lays potato chips. White rice with cream of chicken soup seemed to be a staple in our home too.. she told me she doesn't understand why I don't cook with those things now. LOL.. she swears I was her biggest fan when she was in the kitchen.. The do remember fondly the garden my parents planted every year in our back yard. We did have a huge surplus of green beans, tomatoes, corn and squash that I remember. My parents would say it tasted better than what you got at the store. They were right. It all tasted delicious. I really enjoyed eating salted fresh sliced tomatoes as a kid that my daddy just picked. I also liked the way my mom made zuchinni.
      We also had sweet tea every day due to our southern roots and sliced white bread on a plate with a stick of margerine by it that my daddy called Oleo.
      I do remember the one time mama ever fried chicken and she vowed to never do it again, she just couldn't understand how her mama did it once a week.. needless to say it took too long for her when she had just got off her job.. I can also remember the time she made spaghetti with white wine and pimentos..with chicken breast cooked and douced in the wine sauce... it was probably the only gourmet dish she ever made and I loved it. . ..

      So I would say I loved eating my moms chicken douced in white wine and pimentos, served over spaghetti.. That was truly good! Yummy I am hungry now. :)

      When I got old enough to cook, she handed over the spatula to me and I started to cook. From the time I was 14 till I left the house, I cooked every meal for the family. Cooking wasn't her passion. It though is mine.

      1. re: mama who loves to cook

        Smoked kippers, pickled herring in sour cream, sardines and hot peppers on black rye, smoked chubb. Everyone else was eating pb&j and bologna sandwiches. I'd whip this stuff out at lunch and the other kids would freak.

        1. re: flavrmeistr

          I was also a kippers guy. Liverwurst on pumpernickel was another lunch time favorite... all of it washed down with a can or two of V-8.

          1. re: misterkot

            I used to love Liverwurst too! I need to try it again.

              1. re: misterkot

                Smoked kippers (in lemon juice and vinegar) and liverwurst on pumpernickel were some of my favs too. I didn't even mention to friends because they were grossed out.

        2. I was introduced to interesting food at an early age and found that I really loved roasted veal marrow bones. Also, all the bagged bits & pieces that were included with whole turkeys and chickens and either roasted or simmered in broth. And, I must include fried smelts.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Gio

            i saw you said you were 'very italian' below (as am i!), and your including fried smelts definitely reminds me of childhood.

            as well as sardines! i ate those on a lot of things (and still do to this day)
            *edit: anchovies, as well*

            1. re: CPunches

              Oh absolutely sardines and anchovies. You must have had tripe in tomato sauce and eel in vinaigrette too.

              1. re: Gio

                ah yes! it was rare, but eel was something my grandmother made and never told me it was eel until i was a lot older! haha

          2. I don't remember friends saying anything was gross, but I grew up in NJ with parents of Hungarian descent. Some of our regular dishes, such as chicken paprikash with homemade galuska or authentic goulash were considered "wierd". (I was a teenagers in the 1970's) I also grew up knowing what kohlrabi is - my father grew it in the garden and we ate it as a side dish and as an addition to soups and stews.

            One of the strangest things we had is something I am not even sure how to describe. We had a big "Family Picnic" each summer - my father had 13 siblings so there were large gatherings. The "Picnic" was the only time they made this particular thing. I do not even remember what they called it - they probably used a Hungarian name. I think the English translation was either "salt pork" or "slab pork". It was basically a hunk of fat that was rendered over a grill and laid on top of some good quality rye bread. You did not actually eat the meat/fat, but just the bread covered with the drippings. Does anybody remember this?

            14 Replies
            1. re: Springhaze2

              LOL - I am Italian, but married a Hungarian woman in 1979 (divorced 20 yrs later tho) - but I digress .... the first time I was at her house, to meet her prents - we had this picnic - all the talk was about this surprise they had for me and how delicious it was . Well, pretty soon, out came the long sticks and the pork fat (bacon, they called it) slabs. They slathered it - the chunk of "bacon' was like 4" square - with paprika (naturally) and God knows what else - garlic and black pepper ,I think. then grilled it and watched the fat drip and - omg , then cut lil pieces off it and gobbled it down. Then back over the fire to cook the next layer and repeated till all was gone. I think I kept a smirk for about 3 weeks , rememebering that display. I forget what they called it and I nevr want to remember it , either.

              1. re: dibob817

                I know of this dish. My friend Kathy, whose parents immigrated to the US from Hungary, makes this dish for breakfast--a thick chewy slab of bread toasted in an iron skillet, then rubbed with a clove of garlic and spread with hot lard (she renders her own) then sprinkled with paprika. She simply calls it "lard toast"--I don't know if there's a specific hungarian name. This is usually eaten with strong hot tea with lemon, sugar, and bit of whisky or dark rum.

                1. re: antrobin

                  Your friend Kathy's lard bread is called zsiros kenyer - beloved Hungarian breakfast, especially with some white onions, a pint of beer and a shot of palinka (the local firewater). The ultra-fatty bacon is szalonna, and the ceremonial roasting of the fat is called a szalonna-sutes.

                  Interestingly enough, guanciale - which is just szalonna by another name - seems to be having a fierce comeback in the US, so don't count hog jowl out entirely.

                  1. re: plum

                    Sounds delicious to me! My mom grew up in a recent-immigrant family, with relatives hailing variously from Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Russia, and Germany. She has fond childhood memories of things like blood soup, her grandma's tiny "pinched" dumplings, and the fact that her grandmother always had some sort of goose or duck that she force-fed to make whatever people in that part of the world call foie gras. "Oh, yeah, she always had some poor unfortunate creature under her arm, tucking corn into it's gullet. THose birds LOVED her!"

                    I wish some of those folks had lived into my childhood so that I could have witnessed some of these food traditions first-hand. I think some of their tastes got filtered down through my mom to me, though, because I LOVED things like liverwurst and bone marrow as a kid, despite being a total fussbudget about vegetables and such. Some things can only be explained via genetics. ;)

                    1. re: dingey

                      Goose grease on toast, with a bit of garlic rubbed on!

              2. re: Springhaze2

                I've never met anyone outside my immediate family who has heard of kohlrabi (well, in America, anyway). I LOVED it as a child.

                1. re: marmite

                  I, too, ate kohlrabi as a child. Just peeled, sliced, and salted. I rarely see it these days.

                  1. re: marmite

                    My Russian grandfather grew kohlrabi in his garden. He'd pull it, wash it and slice it fresh for us kids. We loved it. My grandmother was Hungarian, so we also had lots of Eastern European peasant food. He and my Dad loved head cheese and pigs feet. Mom and I boycotted it but loved potato pancakes, babka, paprikas and pierogis. I suppose some of it could be considered "gourmet" now. Back then it was just for poor folks.

                    1. re: marmite

                      We lived in a small Canadian prairie town where my Chinese immigrant parents grew kohlrabi in the garden every summer. My mother would slice it up to add to stir fries (which was nice and crispy) or to her soups. I honestly thought it was another run-of-the-mill vegetable (like carrots, peas, turnips, green beans, etc.) until I started reading Chowhound!

                      What I loved to eat as a child, if I could get it, was fresh water chestnuts, peeled. Sweet and crunchy when eaten raw, but was only allowed to eat a slice or two from one water chestnut.

                      1. re: marmite

                        My Exs grandma grew this stuff in her garden in Edmonton. It was great

                        1. re: marmite

                          My favorite!! I grew up in a lily-white suburb of Cleveland, OH, eating lots of crappy canned vegetables and cheap cuts of meat, but for some reason fresh kohlrabi made it into my diet. I recall my folks had some in the garden--the smaller the better. Peeled and sliced. Mmmm!

                          In a pinch small purple-top turnips will do, but they're just not the same.

                          1. re: marmite

                            My mom grew kohlrabi in the garden, too! I think it's making a comeback. When I was part of a CSA, it was a regular visitor in our box when in-season....

                            1. re: dingey

                              Plus kohlrabi looks very cool, like spaceships!

                          2. re: Springhaze2

                            I totally remember that! My (Russian) grandfather would make it at the picnics (outside Pittburgh -- we aren't related, are we?) He would stick it on a big long-handled fork and grill it over the wood fire burning in the outdoor fireplace he had made. Maybe it was to please my Hungarian grandmother and her siblings. Come to think of it, these gatherings involved my grandmother's family and not my grandfather's . . . why was that .. murky family stuff going on . .
                            Anyway, I just made chicken paprikash for my mother! We use egg barley (tarhonya) (not sure of the spelling) -- is that what yo umean by galuska? My grandmother used to make little dumplings that she would cut off a larger piece with a knife on a board and drop into boiling salted water. Is that what they are? and how about plum dumplings. And herring with sour cream and onions? I still love it but no one in my family will eat it with me. And dobos torte, of course, on special occasions. And honey cake!

                          3. Escargot. I had it at a restaurant my parents dragged me to (OK - dragged is an overstatement). Butter, garlic, cheese preparation - what isn't to like?

                            Other than that - we were meat and potatoes family so I didn't have much exposure to other things. But I did love pepper crusted steak and always opted for the black pepper jerky. Also we grew lots of our own veggies and fruit and canned our own fruit. I became a snob about these things at a very young age - what a shock it was the first time I was babysitting and had a store-bought tomato that someone had stored in the fridge - YUK!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: jsaimd

                              My siblings and I loved escargot as kids. We also ate cavier and frog legs. Mom used to cook them along side chicken in the oven.

                              1. re: jsaimd

                                My mother was very disappointed when she discovered how much my brother and I enjoyed escargot. She ordered it as an app. in Paris and let us taste it. Before she knew it I had eaten all the escargot and my brother ate all the bread dipping it in the butter.

                                1. re: viperlush

                                  Oh, definitely escargot. The restaurant we frequented would serve it on a bed of garlic butter-soaked mashed potatoes. Absolutely to die for.

                                  Add to my list: anchovies, spinach, and liver.

                                  1. re: Michelly

                                    That sounds incredible!!! Do you remember the name and city of the restaurant and do you know if it is still in business? Their food sensibilities sound like I would love them. Although you sent your comments about food of childhood memories in 2009 I hope that this reaches you and that you will reply...and thank you...

                              2. I don't remember getting -- or caring about -- my friends' opinions of what I ate, but I got hooked on capers and olives at a very early age. My father taught me to put capers on pizza. As for olives, I was heavily into cream cheese and olive sandwiches (green olives more than black for those), as well as olives on pizza.

                                My mother occasionally packed pickled watermelon rind in my lunch.

                                Also big into fresh apricots. Kids today eat much more fresh fruit than they did back in the 60s, but I suspect they still don't eat apricots.

                                One more: dark chocolate. I became a chocolate snob at a very early age.

                                Conversely, I did not like peanut butter and to this day have never eaten a peanut butter sandwich.

                                My 3.5 year-old daughter loves olives too, as well as artichokes and other veggies. Her twin brother, not so much.

                                1. growing up korean, i began eating kimchee as soon as i could chew..usually the white, non-spicy kind, but also the spicy kind rinsed in a little water to eat with rice and nori. one of my favorite things was a bowl of hot steamed rice w/ a raw egg and soy sauce mixed in. yum...

                                  and i'm sure my friends would have thought it was weird that whenever we went fishing, we'd always eat the fish raw and dipped in a little spicy sauce.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: soypower

                                    While I did not start eating raw fish until I was an adult and discovered sushi, I can still relate to your story. I loved going fishing with my father in the lakes and ponds of NJ. If we were successful in our day out and caught a fish (usually trout), my father would gut and clean it and we cooked it on the grill with just a bit of salt and pepper. My mother hated the smell of fish in the house, so we would sit outside on the "wall" and eat it from our hands - no knives or forks allowed. No sauces needed. The super fresh fish was enough. Too bad you cannot eat the fish caught in NJ any more.

                                    1. re: Springhaze2

                                      There was a Japanese family two doors down from us in suburban Toronto, and they would throw an annual party where we treated to sushi, octopus, and the like. This was in the 1960's, when sushi places weren't on every block, as they are now. (Funny, most of them seem to be run by Koreans!)

                                      My parents were also members of a dining club, which would provide us with 2-for-1 dinners each month, so we were exposed to a wide variety of food as kids. Back in the 60's, most restaurants in Toronto were meat, potato, and 2 veg joints, but we ate French, Italian, Greek, Chinese. Hard to imagine now, but sweet and sour chicken was considered "exotic" in those days.

                                  2. As kids, we loved asparagas, artichokes, sushi, sashimi, ... but then we were Japanese in the 50s and 60s in the Central valley of California.

                                    Unfortunately all things Japanese were seen as weird in post WWII. We had the "fishman" from the Japanese market "Central Fish" come by once a week to bring different kinds of sashimi and Japanese goods. All scorned by the surrounding hakujins at the time.

                                    Our familes never ate processed, fast, or junk foods. So we grew up eating the best of Japanese, Mexican, Chinese, Armenian, and others. All forms of Japanese dishes now popular in the US, and some that aren't by virtue of being too down home. Home made tamales and other Mexican dishes by a lady from Oaxaca or Chiapas during peach harvest. We had asparagus, pomegranites, oranges, grapefuit, grapes, walnuts, Japanese pears, kumquats, and pecans in the back yard. Mom's dishes even included Swedish meatballs, kimchee, filipino adobo, evry kind of cake imaginable plus her famous creampuffs. And on and...

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                      But Sam - we also, in my very Italian family, loved asparagus and artichokes.
                                      Also kumquats, various varieties of grapes, pomegranates. My mother and father were uniquely acquainted with food stuffs from various parts of the world.

                                      Are we related? J/W LOL

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        Course we're related.

                                        But let me add a bit more. My parents and aunts and uncles loved to go clamming (Pismo) and to get abalone (Cayucos). We would always get motel rooms with kitchens and cook and eat after getting the llimits. Later the cousins and I were heavily into hunting--ducks, geese, dove, and pheasant--and fishing--trout, bass...all eaten with gusto.

                                    2. Not exactly gourmet, but definitely atypical - I was a kefir fiend! Recently got back into it since Trader Joes carries the rebranded Lifeway brand.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Prav

                                        Seconding kefir. Mom used to buy it for me at the Russian open air market for a treat after ballet class =).

                                      2. Chopped Chicken Livers from Waldbaums Supermarket - Trumbull, CT (Hawley Lane Mall I think). I could eat that stuff all day every day. I miss it.

                                        12 Replies
                                        1. re: HunterJay

                                          Oh, how could I forget chopped liver (but only homemade by Great-Aunt Pearl, of course; I've never had store-bought that comes close). And also creamed herring.

                                          1. re: Bob W

                                            I never thought of chopped liver as odd. My grandmother made it all the time and it's still my idea of comfort food. However, she always saved the "pupik" (bellybutton) from the chicken innards for me. That was the best part. I can't eat it these days, though. Don't know why.

                                            I also loved lima beans and sauteed liver. I still love the lima beans but not the liver.

                                            1. re: rockycat

                                              We got "pipiks" in chicken soup. Not something I crave.

                                              I never ate liver (non-chopped) as a kid and certainly won't now.

                                              1. re: rockycat

                                                What anatomically, actually, is a pupik?

                                                1. re: OCEllen

                                                  A pupik is actually your belly button.

                                                  But since a chicken has none, there is some differences in what people refer to as the chicken's pupik.

                                                  In my house it was the gizzard, but for some it's what is also referred to as "the popes nose" or less delicately: the butt.

                                                  1. re: Jennalynn

                                                    There is something ultimately repellant about the thought of eating my belly button. But I absolutely LOVE the part that goes over the fence last.

                                                    1. re: Jennalynn

                                                      My C of E relatives call it the popes nose, and my Catholic relatives call it the parson's nose ;)

                                                      1. re: purple goddess

                                                        Yep, my very English grandmother used the same term! Never quite got the reference as a kid; finally dawned on me in my 20's.

                                                        1. re: KevinB

                                                          Oh. My. God. I didn't get it until RIGHT NOW. I'm 29.

                                                        1. re: Jennalynn

                                                          My dad liked the Pope's nose, I like the gizzard, DH likes the neck. My dad's dead now but his grilling skills live on. I never realized how precise his grilling skills were until I started cooking.

                                                        2. re: OCEllen

                                                          My russian grandma always called it popka (which is ...butt in russian) but pupok means belly button so i guess it could be either one o_O

                                                  2. As a kid I loved sliced raw liver with a little bit of salt. I still do. Also, canned silkworms. Can't do the silkworms anymore.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: Cinemaverite1

                                                      interesting. may i ask what cultural background the raw liver consumption springs from? the only cultures that i know of that eat raw liver are first nation. you have to get it really, really fresh for it to taste good.

                                                      1. re: cimui

                                                        I'm korean, but I'm not so sure if eating raw liver is particularly a korean thing. I remember my mom got her liver from a small butcher shop that was attached to a large korean market in la, but I can't recall whether it was spectacularly fresh. But with a little kosher salt, black pepper, and sesame oil, I DO remember it was absolutely delicious.

                                                        1. re: Cinemaverite1

                                                          This is a friend's funny story. When she was young her mother got married to a German man, went to live in Germany, got divorced, and was raising her daughter (my friend) alone with very little money and very little German. She went to a butcher to ask for a piece of meat and apparently got the name wrong because when she got home and unwrapped the meat to cook it, it was an udder! Yes, really!

                                                          1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                                                            Wow- I just love it (sorry for the woman, though)

                                                    2. My parents, being good NY Jews, started us all on Chinatown Chinese food early.

                                                      I can remember eating Sam Wo's Clams in Black Bean Sauce pre-kindergarten.

                                                      And also frequent trips to 6th St. Indian restaurants for samosas, tandoori and curry.

                                                      Fried Calamari from the Long Beach fish houses... and Mousakka, Feta and dolmades from the local Greek diners.

                                                      I didn't consider Blintzes, Chopped Liver or Gefilte fish "gourmet"... but yum.

                                                      My family got around ; )

                                                      1. Loved shrimp from the first time I tried it and adored chines food. Not a lot I didn't like as a kid though: liver and eggplant are the only two things I remember spitting out - (like them both now.) My little sister had a thing for steamed clams starting at about age two - she'd ask for them at every restaurant we went to, raising many an eyebrow from the waitstaff and friends of the family.

                                                        1. Snails, had them in a Chicago Italian restaurant, Club El Bianco, early '60's. Frog legs from a restaurant that specialized in them in Colfax IN. Any type and preparation of shrimp ordinary or exotic.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: OCEllen

                                                            Although not gourmet, I loved Souvlaki and Eggs Benedict with real Bernaise sauce as a youngster...

                                                            1. re: Sean

                                                              I used to love Eggs Benedict as a kid too. And Eggs Florentine. Always loved spinach. I was the kid who actually ate and liked her veggies!

                                                            2. re: OCEllen

                                                              Oh, and smoked oysters and sardines!

                                                              1. re: OCEllen

                                                                I went to Boy Scout camp in Northern Ontario in 1968, and when we went on our overnight canoe trip (which included a portage across a bog filled with the thickest, blackest, stickiest mud you've ever seen, and most of us came out with leeches all over our legs - yuck!), one of the troop leaders got some of us to help catch bullfrogs, which were huge. We took the legs off, fried them in a little butter, and (after 8 hours of paddling a canoe and setting up tents, etc.), I thought they were absolutely delicious. But, even in French restaurants, I hardly see them on a menu these days.

                                                              2. Coming from a multi-ethnic background, I was exposed to many different flavors and textures from an early age and also inherited my mother's love of variety. And while my brother was content to live on a diet solely of chicken fingers throughout most of his toddler years, both of us would come together when visiting Chinatown over bowls of thick and slimy Bird's Nest Soup. Lox was another favorite treat along with feta and most every other salty food. And being somewhat the foodsnob, I recall around primary school asking my mother to buy jars of Smirnoff caviar (I didn't know any better at the time) and whilst other children came home to milk and cookies, I would aspire to foodiedom and snack happily on caviar canapes.

                                                                1. My family was strictly blue collar but we were invited to an open house at our doctor's house one New Year's Day when I was about six. There weren't any kids my age so I explored the buffet table and discovered....caviar.

                                                                  I stood in front of the serving dish scooping caviar into my little mouth. Our hostess kept coming over and guiding me towards the dessert table, but I kept coming back for more of the caviar.

                                                                  It was our first and last invitation to see how the other side eats.

                                                                  1. Brain, caviar, liver (chicken and beef), scallops, bone marrow, sardines, and all sorts of fruits and veggies. I don't remember having a limited "kid" diet as a child.

                                                                    1. Though my parents were both good cooks, we ate out a lot, much more than most of my friends. One of my favorites was Rudy's, a fish restaurant in Oceanside LI. Every week I'd eat a cup of clam chowder and an order of fried shrimp. This was accompanied by bottles of orange soda (forgot the brand) poured into a paper cone held up by an aluminum base. Eventually I got adventurous and switched to fried clams.

                                                                      One Saturday my dad took my sister and me to try clams on the half shell. He felt that living near the beach, we should experience them (and my mother wasn't there that day). I never loved them enough to replace the fried clams with raw, but they weren't bad.

                                                                      After they closed I think in the 1980's, I never had fried shrimp or clams, or clam chowder nearly as good.

                                                                      1. Spinach has been my favorite vegetable as long as I can remember. People used to look at the 3-year-old me telling them it was my favorite as tho I had two heads!

                                                                        Also lobster, asparagus, liver, -- it's hard for me to think of things, because I don't (and never did) consider food weird. I'd try anything once. Still will, pretty much. (except for that maggoty cheese from Sardinia!)

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                          Spinach has always been a favorite of mine, too. Some friends of my parents still tell the story (almost 30 years later) of offering 3 year old me some ice cream and me asking if they had spinach instead.

                                                                          1. re: Hunicsz

                                                                            That would be my son. When he was around 3-5 years old, he would beg for spinach. In the grocery store, if he saw a can of spinach, he'd go nuts and people would watch in awe as he begged for it like any other child would beg for candy. He would never eat raw spinach, only cooked, plain, with a little butter and salt. Then the big e.coli recall of spinach was on the news and he heard it. He refuses to eat spinach to this day and he's 9 now.

                                                                        2. In addition to yodels and twinkies and chocolate chip cookies, we snacked on raw fruit & veggies. Mom would cut us a hunk of cabbage, or peel a kohlrabi to nosh on. A pomagranite(sp?) was a special treat. She would make us peel and eat it outside, so we wouldn't get her kitchen all red.

                                                                          My Russian/Jewish grandma introduced us to chicken offal - I still love pupik & neck & liver. Fees (feet) helped make the best chicken soup. Grandma also made something called helzel - I think Yiddish for neck. She stuffed the neck skin - like stuffed derma. Her kreplach were the best.

                                                                          My mom cooked more American than Grandma. She did keep making soup - every Friday night for Shabbas, but she never made the complicated stuff.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: amymsmom

                                                                            "Mom would cut us a hunk of cabbage, or peel a kohlrabi to nosh on."

                                                                            I am pretty certain that's the first time those words have been put together in that particular order in the history of the English language. Kudos to your mom!

                                                                            We got pomegranates too; I think we just ate them over the sink.

                                                                            1. re: Bob W

                                                                              Thanks, I'll have to tell her.

                                                                              You know what's ironic about this, in spite of our parents' interesting food influences on my sister and me, our kids eat just like everyone else (especially our teenage daughters) - pizza, macaroni & cheese, and fast foods. Her boys are a bit more adventurous than the girls - they eat fruit and vegetables.

                                                                              1. re: Bob W

                                                                                Sardines; I would eat them out of the tin like candy.
                                                                                And lobster. Our folks got us used to the good stuff early in life!!!
                                                                                ; )

                                                                                1. re: Bob W

                                                                                  After we stole the pomegranates off the Hinchees' trees, we would smack them on the street curbs to break them and open them up, chew them up in big mouthfuls, and when the pulp was gone, spit the seeds at each other. Great fun. My husband and I did this also in our back yard as newlyweds, only we had our own tree so we didn't have to steal them from the Hinchees (who, as it turns out, lived only a mile and a half away from where we are now, so we possibly could have).

                                                                              2. Salmon Roe and other fish roe. We used to be able to buy them by the bucket at the fisherman's wharf here for a couple of dollars a bucket (this was before they discovered they can brine them and export them to Japan). My mom used to make omelettes with them or she would simply fry them in some oil.

                                                                                1. I've chronicled my introduction to smoked oysters too many times to repeat it yet again, but the short version is that I (at age 9 or so) said, "What are those things?" and my grandpa said, "Smoked oysters." I said, "May I try one?" Grandpa said, "Sure, but they're an acquired taste." Took me about two seconds to acquire it...

                                                                                  We were pretty poor, but my parents were fairly adventurous eaters within their very narrow range of possibilities. Aside from the braised squirrel and the hasenpfeffer my mom made from what Dad shot in the woods, we'd sometimes try new kinds of "exotic" canned soups, live lobster when we could get it, and whatever new vegetable my Grandpa Owen was growing. And whenever I'd go on a Boy Scout overnighter, instead of regular Oscar Mayer hot dogs I'd bring fat natural-casing garlic sausages that our local butcher made for a small clientele, and have to deal with the scorn heaped on my "weird food."

                                                                                  1. I was a picky kid (eg.hated lettuce, onions), but loved geoduck, tripe, tongue, liver, fermented black bean paste, dried squid and dried anchovies.

                                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                      My grandmother made the most delicious sauteed mushrooms with shallots, thyme, and butter. It wasn't until I was an adult and in culinary school that I realized she was in fact making duxelle, which she would serve atop steaks. Truthfully I was uninterested in the steaks but if I wasn't watching myself, I could knock out that whole pan of those delicious mushrooms. I think watching then understanding her process of sweating down the shallots, adding the chopped mushrooms and fresh thyme, deglazing with white wine then cooking it all down with cream . . . that I became so interested in serious and professional cooking. I attribute my own passions now to those very simple and sacred memories.

                                                                                      R. Jason Coulston

                                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                        After reading George Orwell's "The Road to Wigan Pier", I could never - you should excuse the expression - stomach tripe.

                                                                                        1. re: KevinB

                                                                                          Anthony Bourdain's credibility and sensibilities went shooting up in my book when he said on a recent show, "I can cook tripe very well, but I don't like to eat it." Intelligent man! I don't even cook it. It smells like cow spit.

                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                            Ummm...neglected to mention that one of my favorite soups when I was a kid was Campbell's Pepper Pot, which at that time had lots of nice big dice-sized chunks of tripe in it, unlike today's much less hearty version. That got me interested in tripe, which I have pursued and eaten in France, Italy and in my favorite San Gabriel Valley dim sum palace.

                                                                                            Poor Tony...but then one of the best meat-preparing chefs I know is a vegetarian.

                                                                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                              And there's a fascinating topic for 'Hounds: How many of us taste while cooking and how many don't? I've known cooks who don't taste until the food is on the table and everyone is seated. Not me! I cannot "fine tune" a dish without tasting. And I'm not really sure I trust a chef who doesn't taste...

                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                How else can one know and balance!

                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                  I generally taste while cooking except when fasting. I cook for my husband and will do it blind. About 90% of the time it works.

                                                                                                  I'm trying to learn how to cook without tasting as much. I find that the first bite tends to be so much better that way.

                                                                                              2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                I can see how if you didn't grow up with it, it may hard to "stomach." It would be difficult to eat it straight up dipped in salt (which is the way I used to eat it as a kid). But if you find the right dish, I think tripe is marvelous. I think most chefs don't cook it properly. In the Zuni Cafe cookbook, there's this awesome recipe for tripe involving a first boiling of tripe in vinegar water to get rid of the smell. It's then combined with pancetta, tomato and onions and topped with poached eggs.

                                                                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                  I've told my sad childhood tale on these boards once before, but I *think* my aversion to tripe comes from a childhood incident. My best friend's parents owned the largest dairy in southern California, and Marcella and I loved playing with the new calves. On day, the mother was standing close to the one I was cuddling and reached over and licked me from chin to... well, to cowlick, except I didn't have a hair problem. But boy, did I get a cow lick! And got cow spit up my nose. And it was super super super disgusting. And tripe, no matter how well prepared, tastes exactly like getting licked in the face by a drooling cow. I have tried some of the most "exquisite" tripe dishes prepared by some of the world's most accomplished chefs and home cooks, and I can never get the stuff actually off of the spoon and into my mouth. Some things you just gotta learn to live with... '-)

                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                    Ha! I just got my arm licked over and over by a cow (her tounge the whole length of my arm) at the L.A. County Fair.
                                                                                                    Some people watching me thought I was seeming so tasty, that I was going to get eaten.
                                                                                                    : (

                                                                                                2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                  I wouldn't cook with it either, but I sure do love eating a nice bowl of menudo (white, of course) with lemon, gren onions, and cilantro.

                                                                                                3. re: KevinB

                                                                                                  When I was ~very~ small (2 or 3?) I loved canned tripe, those tiny cans with tripe and a couple of chopped veggies. I haven't eaten any meat except fish for 25 years...coincidence?

                                                                                                  Also loved pearl barley, hot, with margarine (what my mother called 'oleo') melted on top.

                                                                                                  1. re: Kinnexa

                                                                                                    Forgot about barley. Loved barley soup! But my biggest love was for large tapioca. Called it "fish eyes." Took a loooong time to cook, as I recall, but having a doting grandmother helped.

                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                      I always loved tapioca pudding and it was one of the first things I learned to cook! I wanted my mother to buy the 'big kind' and she never would - it was a bit of a revelation when I finally made it myself!

                                                                                              3. Caviar. There used to be (still is?) a place on the north shore of Chicago called Ritz That's It that had cheap black caviar on the salad bar. I used to beg my parents to go there so I could have plates of caviar (eaten by the spoonful) and a chocolate phosphate.

                                                                                                I know I baffled the waitstaff on the rare occasions when they were out of caviar on the salad bar and I would very politely ask if they thought they might have more in, say, the next 15 min, or should I order something else for dinner?

                                                                                                I baffled my grandfather who hadn't accounted for one bold and ravenous child eating all the marinated octopus he'd caught that morning.

                                                                                                I also irked my parents when they discovered that my 4-year-old self fully planned on eating the sushi they'd ordered for themselves. Or when as a 7 year old, I fully intended on eating the raw oysters and steamed lobster they'd ordered for themselves on our family trip to Boston, traveling from the midwest. I was an expensive child.

                                                                                                Oh yeah, I also loved pricey sherry.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: litchick

                                                                                                  i love raw oyster and sahimi and can finish a dozen in just a few minutes. the other day i took shot after shot of the brining liquid of pickled jalepenos. if youre woudering why im saying a few days ago instead of when i was a kid its because im only 14

                                                                                                2. Growing up in South Carolina, bagels were something you could not buy here (not Charleston). My mother's sister lived in a Jewish area of Pittsburgh and I loved going there and eating bagles and lox. We'd bring dozens of bagels back to South Carolina with us and my friends would refer to them as 'nasty donuts'.

                                                                                                  1. My strongest memory is not something I liked but something I didn't, which was steak. I refused to eat it and my mother had to make something else for me whenever we had it. Later, I came to understand that the reason I didn't like it was that my folks cooked it to death and it was probably like the proverbial shoe leather. Maybe it was the earliest stirrings of chowhoundism in me. When I finally had well prepared steak after leaving home it was a revelation.

                                                                                                    The positive things I remember are mom's hash, and the morels we got in the Spring. Also squirrel, which was either stewed or fried in my home--I preferred stewed.

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: johnb

                                                                                                      With me, it was eggs. My mother was a great cook, but couldn't fry an egg. They were nasty and rubbery and difficult to face first thing in the morning. I never ordered breakfast in a restaurant until I was in my early twenties. Just couldn't do it. Now I love 'em.

                                                                                                      1. re: johnb

                                                                                                        It is so hard to find people online who enjoy squirrel!
                                                                                                        I'm in the Ozarks and I miss squirrel so very much. I hate to hunt, and my Grandma Jennings who used to get them for me has been dead for years now. I wish I had someone to hunt me up some squirrel to fry (then bake it in a 200 deg. oven for a couple hours).
                                                                                                        With a side of morel mushrooms, rolled in cornmeal and fried!

                                                                                                        1. re: weewah

                                                                                                          That sounds wonderful. I hope you find somebody to make squirrel for you.

                                                                                                      2. maybe not gourmet, but I remember liking a lot of foods other kids wouldn't touch- calamari, pate, sardines, smoked oysters, manhattan clam chowder, stuffed grapeleaves, giblets, tongue, duck, goose, spinach, consomme

                                                                                                        1. mine was a long red whole cayenne pepper - fried in a little bit of olive oil in a cast iron skillet - then the 2 eggs added - and (with toast)- that was my breakfast - from when I was like 6 yrs old. No one could believe i could eat that pepper, but i loved the mdearly - and still do.

                                                                                                          1. Pretty much everything I ate was "weird" - we had hummus, pita with zaatar, baklava, bocconcini, pesto, eggplant, real bread, vine leaves, arancini, etc, before it all became commonplace.

                                                                                                            I particularly loved bagna cauda (before I became veg).

                                                                                                            1. My parents were terrible cooks, but also terrible snobs, so we ate out A LOT. And even back in the 60's in Australia, I was a sucker for blue cheese, olives, pippies, sardines.

                                                                                                              And we traveled a lot, so I was exposed to sushi, kimchi, thai chilli rice porridge, scampi, pork pies, pickled eggs, herring, brains, paella and such, by the time I was 12.

                                                                                                              Not many kids in Melbourne, Australia were craving Stilton or kinchi in 1965!!!

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. Nutella is one example for me. It might not sound weird to some, but to Ohio kids, everything not made with corn seemed to be considered weird whan I was in growing up. My buddy in high school thought I was crazy when I put the stuff on a croissant. "It's chocolate and nuts for Christ's sake! Go eat your oreos."

                                                                                                                1. The "gourmet food" I liked as a kid was Kahlua. I grew up in San Diego (Chula Vista), and when I was a little kid, my mother did a lot of shopping in Tijuana. During the summer, that meant dragging my brother and me along with her. After or before shopping, depending on whether anything had to be rushed home to regriferation, she would take us to lunch in this gorgeous old Victorian mansion that had been converted into a restaurant. The food was fantastic, and it was a prix fixe menu. When it came time for dessert, there was always a choice between flan and Kahlua Alexanders. My mother always always always ordered the flan. And I always always always ordered the Kahlua Alexander. I don't use the word often, but it was truly "yummy." Two or three blissful summers passed before my mother discovered what Kahlua is. '-)

                                                                                                                  1. How fun...Mussels, buckets of clams, Liver and onions, and artichokes. Duck with Raspberry sauce, beets and olive salad. Vinegar marinated cucumbers. YUM.

                                                                                                                    1. I loved tongue. Friends thought that was weird, along with my love of cottage cheese and black olives. But I was picky about other things (wasn't a fan of raw veggies but loved them cooked). I also had an early love of dark chocolate. I remember when my mom was baking once I asked if I could have a bit of cocoa powder. She said I wouldn't like it, that it wasn't sweet like chocolate. I didn't mind it.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: Blush

                                                                                                                        Oh, I forgot about tongue! I used to beg for tongue sandwiches on rye. (tongue sandwich... sounds kinda dirty now.)

                                                                                                                      2. Living in the Caribbean as a kid, of Norwegian, Chinese,and Portugese parents, It was common to have Fresh Oysters,Blue as well as mangrove crabs, Snapper, Grouper, Shark. All pretty much from our back yard. On sundays we would have Black Pudding or White Pudding { Blood sausage stuffed either with rice or potatos, and lots of pepper} as well as Danish fish balls and Blue cheese. Christmas, Garlic pork with clams , chorizo and port gravy. And Rum cake. At the time I did not even know what Gourmet foods were. Now I do and only wish I could afford to enjoy all the foods I took for granted when I was a kid.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: currymouth

                                                                                                                          That is a beautiful culinary upbringing, currymouth. I envy you and wish you well in your pursuit of such delights in the future!

                                                                                                                        2. Most have already been mentioned- smoked oysters, pomegranties, artichokes, crab legs, and creamed spinach. My mom likes to tell a story about how my pre-school class went around the room sharing favorite foods, and all the other kids said the typical "hot dogs, pizza, mac and cheese, etc." and when it came to me I said "crab legs." Apparently some of the kids went home and asked their moms about it who then told my mom. Apparently 5 year olds eating crab legs in central Texas wasn't all that common.

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Royale

                                                                                                                            We live in Central TX and my 3 year old favorite foods are squid salad, sushi of most any type and lobster all of which he will order for himself when we are ot to eat.

                                                                                                                            As a small child I was known to order filet mignon which freaked waiters out.

                                                                                                                            1. re: pickychicky1979

                                                                                                                              YES, avacodo's, I was introduced and fell in love with this fruit at a very young age, particularly when it was turned into a Guacamole...

                                                                                                                          2. another thread on this board reminded me of another of my favorites: nice, ripe avocados. credit again goes to Great-Aunt Pearl.

                                                                                                                            1. I really liked beets (still do), blue cheese, and I remember begging my Mom to buy whole wheat bread after having it at a friend's house (we usually had white).

                                                                                                                              1. I'm not sure whether it's considered gourmet, but I've always like slimy foods -- including natto. I think I had it for the first time when I was five and have liked it ever since.

                                                                                                                                I also liked plain, fresh tofu with chives and soy sauce, curry puffs, egg custard tarts, nori maki, durian, stinky tofu, 100 year eggs, dou jiang... I could go on!

                                                                                                                                On the other hand, I also begged my mom to make me bologna and white bread sandwiches like my best friend got in HIS lunch box and buy me fruit roll ups. She refused, so that kind of thing always seemed to me the epitome of gourmet. Even white bread, that soft, squishy, delectable stuff -- such a far cry from my mother's homemade whole wheat loaves with icky sunflower seeds on top -- seemed to me the definition of inaccessible luxury, esp. when spread with marshmallow fluff. :)

                                                                                                                                1. Like a lot of others, I LOVED artichokes...steamed, no accoutrements... and I always wanted to order them in restaurants even at 6 or 7 bucks a pop... Silly mom, you introduced me to them!

                                                                                                                                  I always loved lobster, particularly the claws; as today, I could take or leave the tail, preferrably leave it.

                                                                                                                                  I was a huge fan of eggplant, particularly that eggplant salad that was made by Koo Koo Roo years ago (wish I could get *that* recipe)!

                                                                                                                                  I also was a picky apple eater... only Fujis for me thanks.

                                                                                                                                  I definitely didn't have a sweet tooth, but loved to order Creme Caramel, and eat of it what I could. That was one of my big joys in France, especially when Mom and I went on a cruise, which stopped in Monaco, and we couldn't (or she couldn't because she was stuck with me) go into the casino, so we sat out at a cafe and ordered Creme Caramel. And my other dessert liking was a good souffle, introduced to me on cruise ships... particularly I like vanilla souffle with vanilla bean sauce.

                                                                                                                                  I HATED and still do... sandwiches, so I always took thermoses to school for lunch... enjoyed leftover chinese food, Gelson's drummettes, mashed potatoes... I also didn't care for fast food. Give me a chicken breast, some broccoli and lima beans with a little parm and I was content.

                                                                                                                                  I also was a fan of knishes.

                                                                                                                                  Oddly, I also like plain yogurt with applesauce, rather than that sugar laden crap that's out there today. Not gourmet per se, but more refined taste buds.

                                                                                                                                  1. I raised my daughter to be a Food Adventurer and so, together, we were always trying new things. One of our favorites was chicken salad made with mayo, apples, raisins, pecans, and curry powder. We just loved it! In fact we loved it so much I sent her to school with a curry chicken salad sandwich one day. Curry turns mayonnaise green and, of course, it smells funky...especially to junior high school kids. My daughter came home that day reallllllly not happy with me for sending that sandwich in her lunch bag as she got to be "freak of the day" at school that day! One day she'll be in therapy talking about the trauma of what her mom used to make for her school lunches. :-)

                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: sharon08742

                                                                                                                                      I can relate to the school sandwich. One morn I was making lunches for the two of us and she by mistake went off with my liverworst and raw onion sandwich. When she got to school she could have died. Would not eat it and wound up borrowing money from one of the lunch aids so she could have lunch.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Barbarella

                                                                                                                                        LOL! Reminds me of my son's liver incident in Mexico. When he was around nineteen, he was invited to participate in a big international bicycle race, El Tour de Chihuahua. In Mexico, the promoters supply both lodging and food for the elite cyclists, and when they got up one morning, with a 120 mile road race ahead of them, they were served huge slabs of beef liver for breakfast! John refused to eat. Everyone said, "You can't race on an empty stomach. You'll pass out!" He won the race. Someone asked him how he sdid it. "Simple. I was hungry." Honest to god true story.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: sharon08742

                                                                                                                                        This reminds me of the lunchroom scene in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," variations of which were a common occurrence in my lunchroom, especially in middle school: "eeww - moose ka ka!" As a result, I learned to love nacho cheese combo's and rectangular cafeteria pizza. I should have just eaten my food from home, but peer pressure's tough.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: madgreek

                                                                                                                                          The madgreek moussaka reference reminded me of mum's. She made a really great one with the then-exotic-to-my-circle eggplants. She also made guacamole which I loved (only learned to like avocados plain as an adult though). And Spanish dishes, and Hungarian goulash and of course we went for dim sum regularly, although that was more dad's influence. The weird thing is that my parents are both from middle class, Brit-descended backgrounds (Canadian prairies) and should by rights have been eating lotsa meat and two veg. Maybe it was a reaction to eating that all their lives but at any rate my brother and I certainly benefited from it. Not that I didn't eat my fair share of peanut butter and honey sandwiches for lunch :-).

                                                                                                                                        2. re: sharon08742

                                                                                                                                          That sounds like coronation chicken to me (invented for the Queen's coronation in 1952). It's relatively common as a sandwich filling in the UK.

                                                                                                                                        3. Let's see. "Gourmet" foods I liked as a kid: trout/salmon caviar, lobster, shrimp, salmon, escargots, sweetbreads, calf's liver & brains, kidneys.

                                                                                                                                          Food kids don't tend to like (or aren't _supposed_ to like): veggies of all kinds (my favorite hands down being spinach), salads, avocado. Lots of ethnic foods (Greek, Middle Eastern & Chinese mostly), all heavy on garlic.

                                                                                                                                          I was an adventurous eater from an early age on, and think I have my mom to thank as well as my own curiosity...

                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                            Garlic bread was one of my favourites as a little kid, as well as French Onion soup, but then again, I guess I am ethnic;) But aren't we all ethnic, depending on what side of the fence you're standing on?

                                                                                                                                            The one food I would not eat as a kid was meatloaf...I even remember telling a camp counsellor, "I'm sorry but we don't eat that in my family. I can't eat it." I had been warned that some restaurants used up old meat in their meatloaf, so I was terrified to eat it. So I guess some ethnic kids don't tend to like some things the non-ethnic kids are supposed to love...

                                                                                                                                            1. re: phoenikia

                                                                                                                                              Granted -- kids of one ethnic group (such as Greek, Turkish, Chinese, etc) wouldn't consider their home-cooked meals as ethnic. But the question was about "foods that wouldn't appeal to your typical American >fill in German here< kid". Most German kids I knew didn't nearly eat as interesting as my family did....for them, it was mostly sandwiches w/cold cuts or cheese for dinner, and the traditional German Sunday (lunch!! we never had lunch on the weekends) roast.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                Ok, fair enough. Actually, here in Canada, things like sauerbraten, obatzda and spaetzle are seen as something pretty exotic;) I served them at a dinner party last year to about 6 people who had never tried any of them before. Abendbrot would be a novel concept for most Canadians who are used to a hot dinner each night!
                                                                                                                                                Growing up in a family with Eastern European, German and Greek cooking traditions meant the food in my house was usually more interesting than the meatloaf next door, imo;) But then again, I didn't try the meatloaf.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: phoenikia

                                                                                                                                                  Actually, there are a number of Mennonites in Canada who still serve buns with cold cuts, cheese, and pickles as an early supper (known as "faspa"). It's done when there are large groups meeting (eg. church) or lots of guests at one's home. It's quite easy to do if you have a large group to feed.

                                                                                                                                          2. my father was a restaunteur, and there were no limits to what i could eat as a kid. i always ordered like an adult when dining out. many things i ate sure didn't appeal to my schoolmates.
                                                                                                                                            some favorites: liver, spinach, tongue, fried chicken gizzards and turkey nuts, and the like i don't consider to be gourmet, just good food. but lobster, fried morel mushrooms, caviar, sweetbreads, all things that i loved were, and are today, probably "gourmet". great thread!

                                                                                                                                            1. I remember being in fifth grade and filling out a worksheet about my favorite things, including a question about my favorite food. My teacher looked puzzled when I asked, "how do you spell chateau briand?" Not that exotic because it is only beef, but not words you typically hear from 5th graders.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Honey Bee

                                                                                                                                                I remember in 4th grade filling out the "Classmate of the Week" questionnaire and coming across the question "What is your favorite food." Earlier in the week my mother had prepared a dinner that had really hit home for me and I decided it was my new favorite food.

                                                                                                                                                My teacher asked, "Oh, do you like escargots?" I said, "No. I just like boiled snails." I was never asked to do classmate of the week again.

                                                                                                                                              2. When I was a kid our family had Korean friends, so I've been eating jap chae since I was about nine or ten. They once made some kind of dish that involved abalone. Couldn't handle that one.

                                                                                                                                                There was a place just across the state line from us, in Oklahoma, in the days before liquor by the drink. It was a "private club," to get around the liquor laws, but pretty much everyone was a member. (And since they were already breaking the law, they were pretty loose about making sure they checked IDs to keep from serving minors.)

                                                                                                                                                But I digress. When we'd go down there to eat, they'd bring out a little dish of something to snack on, like you get chips and salsa in a Mexican place. It was some kind of odd-flavored dip, with vegetables and little bits of bread to dip in it. I absolutely loved that dip. I'd have skipped the main meal and just eaten it some nights. Wasn't until much later that I realized that dip was hummus.

                                                                                                                                                1. I longed for Rice-a-roni as a child, It was so exotic...a San Francisco treat! in the hinterlands of Ga, it seemed like a food item that would change your life. I begged my mother to buy it,and finally she did. Well, you can guess the rest. Marketing only gets you so far.

                                                                                                                                                  1. What a fun topic! My parents were vegetarians when I was born, and extremely health-conscious. I was therefore raised on health food, heavy on the leafy greens and soy-based products. We're also a pretty culturally-diverse family and my mom made everything from stroganoff to doro wat subbing tofu for meat. It was all absolutely delicious, but my friends never wanted to come over for dinner!

                                                                                                                                                    1. My mom loves to tell the story of how my dad would take me out to the garden to pick vegetables when I was about two. I would pull scallions out of the ground and eat piles of them, and then go in and wake up my mom with my onion breath. Not terribly gourmet but a funny story still. :)

                                                                                                                                                      I loved zucchini and tomatoes (from the garden) sauteed together. My friends said it looked like glop, but it is SOOOOO good. Still something I really love.

                                                                                                                                                      1. My dad was a pretty adventerous eater, so I always wanted whatever he was eating and was rarely denied it. My mom tells me that before I can even remember I was eating pickled green tomatoes, and stuffed hot cherry peppers. I also grew up eating squid, which was never fried, and never called calamari. I'd also eat any italian "delicacy" that my grandmother served. It wasn't gourmet or exotic to me, it was just the way we ate, and I knew that most of my friends didn't eat that way, nor did my mom's family.

                                                                                                                                                        None of those are terribly gourmet, but they weren't everyday things either. We hope to feed our children the same way.

                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: irishnyc

                                                                                                                                                          I was also exposed to a lot of interesting foods growing up. I remember being 5 years old and going to see my grandmother and indulging in chopped liver and caviar. Then...I would go home and eat lots of chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                        2. I had a bit of a strange culinary mixture..mother's family was Ashekenazi heritage but had been in Palestine for generations, then we moved to Kingston (Jamaica) when I was 6. Some things that my mother ate I didn't like...pipiks (gizzards), chopped liver, fish eyes and smoked fish. But I did like eggplant, okra,hummus, pickled herring, boiled tongue, and one of my bubbies dishes..blackeyed peas with cinnamon and sugar. We also ate kohlrabi as a vegetable. In Jamaica we had a housekeeper who cooked. I liked everyting spicy, curried goat, patties, chargrilled lamb, plaintain tarts, fried plantains, saltfish and ackee, "rice and peas", and cassava cakes. I didn't like boiled green bananas or callaloo. We had a few mango trees and a huge avocado tree. We ate just about every tropical fruit that you could find including some odd ones like guineps, custard apples and others that you almost never see sold commercially. There were alot of Chinese Jamaicans so cashew chicken was the favorite takeout food. I was always an adventurous eater. Although I never had an artichoke, Mexican or Japanese food until I moved to California to go to college.

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mlgb

                                                                                                                                                            Oh yes, I forgot about the green leafy vegetables. Swiss chard, escarole and chickory were also served frequently. We also ate artichokes and all kinds of squashes, Actually, there were really all kinds of veggies served in abundance. I guess this is why I find it strange that people don't feed their kids vegetables.

                                                                                                                                                          2. Gotta throw something in here about my grand kids. They are not your typical 7 and 11 year olds. Some of their favorite foods consist of clams, calamari, snails and soft crabs. While they are chowing down on these, their friends are still stuck on PB and J and chicken fingers!! SO sad.!!

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Barbarella

                                                                                                                                                              I hated red meat as a kid, but loved fish and seafood (especially shellfish such as crab, clams, prawns), this was not great growing up in beef country (Alberta). When we would go out for our fancy bday dinner, I always chose somewhere with seafood, and begged to have the seafood platter or King Crab legs. I also loved lamb with mint sauce. Escargot was a favorite. My best memory is of our special 'babysitter is coming over food' steamed artichoke with lemon butter....my brother & I used to fight over the heart!

                                                                                                                                                            2. Crab legs with butter was a treat growing up. Sardines (on saltines, so not that gourmet). Mushroom strogonoff was another favorite. With egg noodles though, so again, not as gourmet! Liverwurst pate. Filet mignon. Anything with sauerkraut I also loved (not sure that's gourmet, but certainly not your 'typical' American kid's diet). I had a lot of cultural influences growing up as my father's family were German/Dutch extraction and my mom's family were Mexican, but my aunt was also a foodie, so she used to cook things like beef Bourguignon. I was never a picky eater, I was taught to enjoy trying new things, so I often enjoyed the more gourmet types of dishes along with things like meatloaf and tuna casserole, which was more my mom's and grandma's taste.

                                                                                                                                                                1. NOTHING! I was so incredibly picky, I'm still amazed. Was it coming from a Russian immigrant family in the post McCarthy era and so wanting to be American and fit in w/ my WASP friends? But I wouldn't even eat a hot dog!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. The first thing that comes to mind is squid and conch stew. But also: black licorice; smoked salmon; herring; sauteed chicken liver in marsala (anything in a wine sauce, really); lamb chops; osso buco; tiramisu; lobster tails; paella with chicken, peppers, mussels and crawfish; marzipan... of course, as I write this, I am realizing that many of these foods would not be considered "gourmet" in the countries where I was eating them, or by the cultures that introduced them to me.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. As a kid I grew up in Half Moon Bay in the 60's with East european parents. Lots of good things grew there and I loved asparagas and artichokes. Also lots of fish and shelfish - we caught rock cod, salmon and flounder, and gathered abalone and and mussels and trapped crabs. My dad would fry salmon sperm sacks. Also loved canned sardines. Would not eat steak, however. Always had lamb chops, which I loved, when my folks had steak.

                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Rene Erm

                                                                                                                                                                        Growing up in an Italian Family on Long Island, we ate ALOT of fish.. I cannot remember when I didn't eat lobster, crabs, shrimp calamari, clams etc. I was eating raw Blue Point and Flowers oysters on 1/2 shell before I was 10 Shrimp in Lobster Sauce was my favorite Chinese food as a kid.The only fish i refused to eat and still won't eat is eel. My mother would make it 1-2 times a year around holidays. She would bread it, fry it and then pickle it in vinegar. It smelled something awful and the house would stink for days after. When Mom moved in with us a few years ago, I told her she could do anything she wanted except cook eel. She's asked me a couple of times to get her one, I just give her the "Look" and she says "Aw Alright" and walks away. I could probably deal with the smell but my kids would be gagging for weeks.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Well, growing with a Jewish Dad and a Southern Mom, I grew up enjoying lox, calves liver, chicken liver, gefillte fish with hot horseradish, tongue, liverwurst and onion sandwiches....but then I also loved raw oysters and clams, shrimp, lobster, both hard and soft shelled crabs(a particular favorite of my moms'), roasted leg of lamb, filet mignon, asparagus, osso buco, miso soup, French onion soup(my elementary school classmates who were also learning French at the time wouldn't try it), grasshopper pie..my parents and I would go to restaurants where there was a childrens menu however I generally ordered from the regular menu....but we also loved simple normal foods too such as Southern fried chicken with collard greens and butter beans; Chili; Split Pea Soup;

                                                                                                                                                                        1. We didn't exactly eat gourmet in my family, but I did like both black olives and blue cheese. I remember those being unusual among my friends.

                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mercyteapot

                                                                                                                                                                            Me too. At parties, my mom always brought out the jumbo black olives, and I was the only kid who'd eat these (along with the pickes).

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: FoodieKat

                                                                                                                                                                              First you put them on your fingers, and then you eat them.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. My mom used to put caviar in baked potatoes when I was a kid. Probably something she picked up from Sunset magazine. I thought it was really good and would ask for it. I had to be persuaded to try it the first time though.

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bananna slug

                                                                                                                                                                              Glad you brought up Sunset magazine. I occasionally thumb thru the really old 70's ones in my dad's study. Were they ahead of the game or what?

                                                                                                                                                                            2. My favorite foods were so far off the grid that they made me a pariah in the neighborhood. I loved tripe soup and homegrown snails and pigs trotters and homemade head cheese. When we moved far away I learned to keep my culinary preferences to myself! When friends visited for dinner my mother would trot out her pot roast or spaghetti instead of Siberian tripe soup with oxtails and pig feet.. phew.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. How about a peanutbutter and mint jelly sandwich or pb and bread and butter pickles.

                                                                                                                                                                                Being a military brat and being exposed to many different foods and cultures I'm sure I ate a many things that some of my non-military friends would have touched. Luckily my parents were adventurous diners so exposure started early.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Brocolli rabe, stuffed eggplant, pickled cherry peppers (home made, of course) and other pickled veggies, olives, stuffed breast of veal, veal stew with peppers, omelettes with asparagus, peppers and/or potatoes, clam sauces over pasta, roast lamb chops with garlic, pastas with peas or beans. Most of my friends wouldn't touch the stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Any chance that I have given away that I am Italian?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I can only think of NOT liking black spaghetti. My parents were very good about letting me order and taste different things. If I didn't like what I ate one of them would switch plates with me. Though the black spaghetti my mother still won't let me forget.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Had my first escargot in Paris and loved it. A friend of my parents introduced me to fish cheeks and eyeballs. Had pickled herring and fried bite size whole fish in Holland, loved them. Still remember the horrified/shocked looks of the waiters at a restaurant in London when I (aged 7) filled my plate brunch buffet) with oysters on the half shell and caviar. Loved sucking on the heads of prawns with waiting for my fish and chips. And my favorite Chinese dish was fried seaweed (or cabbage).

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Marinated artichoke hearts. They were such a rare treat that we received them as stocking stuffers. Artichokes in any form were really wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I used to eat avocado for breakfast with salt and pepper.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Olives. I loved green and black olives.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Rhubarb. I ate an entire stick with a bowl of sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Borscht. Smoked oysters. Sardines-loved soaking bread with the oil.

                                                                                                                                                                                        My Dad spent his early years in Ecuador (he's Canadian, but his Dad worked for an oil company) so we exposed us to food he grew up with. My Mom is Ukrainian so I developed a taste for pickled and tart food (hello, sour cream!)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. My grandfather liked some really interesting foods, so I started eating them with him as a kid:

                                                                                                                                                                                          beef tongue
                                                                                                                                                                                          limburger cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                          frizzled chicken
                                                                                                                                                                                          pickled watermelon rind

                                                                                                                                                                                          Still crave the chicken and watermelon rind on occasion, not so much the tongue and limburger.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. My parents moved to Iran when I was five, and my father traveled in his job. Each time we would take him to the airport, my Mom and I would by a pound tin of Beluga caviar, head home and pig out. In rials it only cost about 5 bucks then (sigh)...we lived there two years. Upon returning, since I was an only child, I was often allowed out with my parents for dinner...got to love raw clams, lobster, escargot...Wish I didn't love them all so much now! The only thing I've never liked was liver...any kind, from chopped, to liverwurst. I will always try it, but still don't like it. Each time my Mom made liver and onions, I got a Swanson fried chicken TV dinner...used to LOVE when they had liver!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I grew up in a farm town in the Midwest USA. Some of you will no doubt look down upon my idea of gourmet fare with all the disdain a food snob can muster.

                                                                                                                                                                                              We raised our own cattle, hogs, turkeys, chickens, corn, potatoes, lots of other garden truck, along with apples, peaches, watermelons, muskmelons, strawberries, and cherries. We gathered food from the woods in season, (nuts, blackberries, and black raspberries) and put everything we could into the freezer or mason jars. We got our milk from the dairy farm next door while it was still warm in the milking tank. Hand-skimmed cream went into our coffee and tea, and occasionally was whipped for a treat. We made our own maple syrup and sorghum molasses, and kept bees.

                                                                                                                                                                                              This means my childhood favorite foods were better quality than can be bought in any grocery: porterhouse steaks, pork chops, huge baked potatoes, fresh wild asparagus, homemade bacon (smoked black over hickory), pinto bean soup with corn bread made with our own cornmeal, turnips (raw as "relish" or cooked), sweet green onions just pulled from the dirt, home-grown tomatoes (an heirloom variety we still have 35 years later), homemade black walnut ice cream with mashed black raspberries poured on the top, hickory nut maple pie. My Mom canned tomato jelly, cucumber pickles, watermelon rind pickles, fermented hot kraut with banana peppers (much like kimchee without garlic), applesauce, and grape juice made by boiling warden grapes in a mason jar. Once in a while she would make homemade pizza with cheese from a nearby factory and yeast dough, with homemade tomato sauce (anybody remember the "Squeezo Strainer"?). About the only things we had to buy most years were coffee, tea, white flour, sugar, and whatever candy us kids just had to have.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Even though I make over 6 figures now, I can't afford to eat as well as I did growing up.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: vtnewbie

                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow!! I really envy you. Everything you describe, sounds absolutely gourmet to me. By contrast, I'm a real piker. I live in California, just outside Los Angeles, and it's really hard to get fresh stuff, other than farmer's markets. I do manage to get fresh eggs from an egg farm in Chino, but I would LOVE to be able to find a source of FRESH milk around here!
                                                                                                                                                                                                Lucky dog!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: aurora50

                                                                                                                                                                                                  vtnewbie -- I envy you too! That's a good life with good food, I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Coffee Frappe's - My mother couldn't get me to drink straight milk, but I could suck down all of her frappe!
                                                                                                                                                                                                Asparagus
                                                                                                                                                                                                Lobster, Steamers and Whole Belly Clams - Can you tell I'm a New England girl?
                                                                                                                                                                                                Artichokes dipped in red wine vinegar

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Hi. ::raises hand:: I grew up Chinese. Stereotypes aside, I did grew up eating animals, animal parts, half rotted things, weird fungal things, all things pungent and preserved etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I loved and still love pig offal (pig intestine, kidneys in particular), pig ear, chicken gizzards, pig blood, duck blood, chicken or duck intestines if they can be found, fish gizzards, fish sperm, "snow frog" (described as the fatty lining of a female frog's reproductive organs), cordyceps (that fungus that invades the bodies of caterpillers and eats them from the inside out).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm a big fan of crab fat and roe, shrimp heads, snails, primordial sea critters, fermented shrimp paste, fried whole fish roe sacs were a treat to be fought over at the table. Chinese style blood and liver sausage, duck tongues, the feet of any and all animals, the frogs they sell in buckets in Chinatown, salted and preserved eggs

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I rarely eat these things in front of friends, since they're mostly eaten with Chinese family, but there is a Korean restaurant my friends and I often go to, and because we usually have a big party, the restaurant will usually send over some free food, usually some really perfect, fresh grilled fish. Most of my friends don't know what to do with it and I feel kinda awkward snaffling the whole plate down myself and picking under the gills with my chopsticks for the sweet cheek morsels, but stuff like that cannot be wasted! A fun (okay, maybe only to me...) party talent: I can stuff a whole (small) fish into my mouth and spit it out a little while later with the meat stripped from the bones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. i grew up in a jewish home in Jersey, so a lot of the things i thought of as "normal" were exotic or weird to my gentile friends, like smoked fish, pickled herring, chopped liver, and all those other "appetizing" goodies. and i always thought of it as a special treat when dad would give me some of his canned sardines. i was an easy, adventurous eater as a kid. never met a fruit or vegetable i didn't like [brussels sprouts, asparagus, fennel, beets, pomegranates, kumquats, you name it, i ate it willingly]. cheese was another big one for me. and not the processed "American" singles. *real* cheese. blue, gorgonzola, chevre, smoked gouda, sharp cheddar, feta...i loved it all, and i still do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    i always ate whatever mom prepared for dinner, but she wasn't a particularly talented or adventurous cook, so any "gourmet" foods i tried were discovered outside the home. artichokes, lobster, crab legs, creme brulée, soufflé...but the one that really stuck out in my memory when i read the OP was escargot. we were at the rehearsal dinner for my cousin's wedding, and my aunt ordered them. she asked me if i wanted to try them - i liked them so much we ended up ordering another serving because she didn't want me to eat all of hers! my sister was horrified, but really, what wouldn't taste good drowned in all that garlic butter?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Durians, well they're not gourmet but for people seem to hate them, for the life of me I just don't see how they can't like this wonderful fruit. It's like a totally unique flavor and texture that is just indescribable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I loved oysters, anything that can be eaten raw actually. Shark fin soup was yummy, lamb...

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I grew up eating ethnic food, so I don't think I ever had the opportunity to try gourmet food. I'm actually still woefully ignorant about gourmet food, which is why I'm learning and exploring with Chowhound these days :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        In my defense, I was exposed to a huge variety of vegetables and spices as a kid, so I've always been really open to eating my veggies and experimenting with bold flavors. My favorite vegetables since childhood have been eggplants, lima beans, spinach, broccoli, beets, okra, and pretty much any gourd.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Okay, this is going to sound funny. Date nut roll sliced with cream cheese on top of it. When I was a kid I thought it was some kind of special "party" food and I thought it was fancy. It was so different from anything my parents fixed for meals. My friends didn't like it at all because of the dates and the nuts. When I was a teenager I learned that the date nut roll came in a can! I remember laughing about it. I still like a slice of date nut bread with cream cheese smeared on top of it but I've not purchased the one in the can in a long time. Hmmm....wonder if they still make it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I have always been an adventurous eater. Growing up, I ate almost anything that was put in front of me. The only exceptions I can think of are beets and liver.......both of which I love now. Crab legs were my favorite.....still are. I rarely ordered from the child's menu when we went out which really seemed to confuse some wait staff at restaurants. I always wanted a salad to start a meal, usually with blue cheese dressing. I've always loved vegetables.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. growing up food wan't made to be a big deal i ate everything and because my family travelled all over the world for my dads job (he was a specialist surgeon for the army) i ate the food of every culture we visited which included middle eastern indian almost the entire asian continent kenya remote parts of Africa, and i still to this day haven't eaten mcdonalds the only thing i do confess to loving as a child that wasn't gourmet is vegimite but being ausssie that is just a given (although i did have it on a whole wheat pita as mum and dad were very health concious)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I have loved garlic and spicy food from a very young age.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                My mom has told me that when I was really little, we were at a mexican restaraunt where my grandmother had ordered some very spicy corn chowder. I apparently bugged them enough to get a bite, though mom was worried it may be a little hot for me, in that I'd not like the heat. Well, after that first taste I couldn't (and still can't) get enough spicy (hot) food :D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Hmm, that's a good topic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Don't think I was a pickey eater, I think the only thing that I disliked was salami because I didn't like the chilled white bits in it (Fat?) now I love it. I also didn't like fats which were common where I grew up, they'd buy the sheeps tail (floppy fat), cut it in cubes fry it (which looked like fried potato cubes) and mix it in with the rice. Thinking it was a potato and biting into one of those is not one of my best memories.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Foods I loved were:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Okra
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Lamb testicles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  beef liver, kidney, heart with lots of onions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  chicken gizzards and liver
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  pickled herring
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sardines
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cilantro, green onions accompanying foods
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Spice and chilis were fine
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  any ethnic food I've been introduced to was lovely

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was introduced to different foods at different stages in my life because not every country had the same ingredients. Whenever I tried something I loved it. Pretty much everything I eat now I ate back then and didn't have any issues with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Things like broccoli were introduced to me at 12 and it was all great, loved spinach and cauliflower from an early age so it was something different.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Never had the stalky celery though and I still find it a bit strong and stringy (but it's good for cooking) so it's something I'm still getting used to. Italian Parsley on the other hand is great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: BamiaWruz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Is your background Middle Eastern? Between the references to sheep's tail fat (really funny story about the Spouse inadvertently ordering that in a steakiya in J'salem), your screen name indicating your love of okra, and the few Eastern European delicacies that really stand out in your list, your favorites sound like an Israeli shopping list. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rockycat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yep, kurdish and a bit of european to be exact. I have to say I hate the sheep fat though, and don't know why or how family members back home can eat it. Yuck!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My mother grew up in the west and does not approve of that sort of thing, so we always ate super lean meats at home. I'm only starting to love lamb now because the smell of it brings back those horrible childhood memories of fat floating on soups and stews and everything smelling like a barn.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Love okra and love putting a twist on traditional foods to enjoy them my way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As far as I know most middle eastern and african kids eat whatever they're parents eat from a young age, sometimes as soon as they can chew (with or without teeth)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Kids seem pickier in the western countries, not sure why, but so many parents I know seem to panic and try to slowly introduce the kids to foods at stages so even at 6 they eat a more "kid friendly diet" (fish sticks, mac and cheese)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I was watching a program the other day where they were showing "gourmet child friendly" lunch box solutions. The whole concept seemed odd to me. My parents never did this and I think I turned out just fine, my siblings are a little more pickey (one dislikes onions, one seafood and rice - kind of odd for a middle eastern, though even an aunt back home turns her nose up at rice and prefers bulgur.) but they turned out just fine and eat most things finky-eater adults won't eat here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. A second entry to this thread in tribute to my folks:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Young, tender asparagus from the patch in the backyard
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Artichokes from Watsonville
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Sashimi of different types plus squid & octopus from Central Fish
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4. Clams dug up in Pismo & abalone from along the coast (before my allergies)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5. Real homecooked Japanese food all of the time
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    6. Good homecooked Mexican, German, Italian, Armenian, French, Chinese, and more
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    7. Authentic Chinese, Mexican, Armenian, Basque at restaurants in the 50s and 60s in Fresno
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    8. Home canned peaches, apricots, nectarines, pickles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    9. Poi, laulau, & Kailua pork brought from Hawaii
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    10. Dishes of all organ meats from around the globe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Russian- American family: homemade saurkraut (kapusta), kolabasi, horse radish, soups. blini (sirnikki), kvas, beets in everything, ribs cooked in kapusta, cucumber, onion and sour cream salads. Picking wild mushrooms w/ my grandfather, uncles, dad, and brothers, which I continue to do. Making kausta this weekend. Next snow storm, will make kolbasa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. growing up I didn't know everyone didn't eat pheasant and squab. My Dad hunted to put food on the table during the depression. who would know how privledged I was!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I grew up in Louisiana eating fresh garden veggies, all kinds of seafood (oysters on the half shell, Creole shrimp, boiled shrimp, etoufee, Oysters Bienville, soft shell crab, stuffed crab, crab claws, boiled crawfish), cafe au lait, demi cups of French coffee made in a biggin (yes, children drank coffee then), Eggs Sardou, Eggs Hussarde, omelettes, caramel cup custard (a la Antoines), floating island custard, quail, doves, homemade chilies rellenos, and probably a host of other things I don't recall at the moment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Well, I'm from Chicago and that gives me a BIG heads-up. We always had very excellent seafood at the Well of the Sea in the Sherman Hotel. Once after complaining about the small portion of trout, my mother told me i could have another if i finished the first. I was 9 years old and had TWO (2) trout! We also had INCREDIBLE sirloin steaks at the International House at the Drake Hotel, and homey chowder at the Cape Cod Room downstairs! I loved it all! Then we would go to the (modest) neighborhood corner Tavern for fish every Friday. I usually had Frog Legs which my mother told me was 'just like chickie!' UuuummmmmmmmnnnnnN!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            All of it gourmet. And my Mother was marinating in soy, ginger and garlic 60 YRS AGO!!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And walking into small town grocery stores asking for the 'undeev" LOL! endive! No one knew ?WHAT she was talkin' about. Embarrassed? Not much. She sure could cook!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. My mother spent 5 years in NYC, then return home to Georgia. There's nothing like going to the store in the hood and asking for Matzo ball soup and Gefilte fish...You would have thought I walked in to the store with three horns in the middle of my forehead. My great aunt fussed because my mom ate "strange stuff". Never mind the poke salad (poisonous) that she fixed or the special stew she used to make...with bird and chitlins (yeah them) ugh.....poke salad wasn't too bad..but that stew...ewww....that one I couldn't hack....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. My grandparents were the offspring of Italian immigrants, so I grew up eating a lot of different things than my Mormon friends. I remember my godfather bringing fresh ricotta over to the house; that was so good. I loved it with lots of pepper and salt on crackers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I could say everything. I liked Escargot, Clams, Scallops, Sushi, Mussels, some types of Caviar, Lamb, Boudin Blanc, Fine Wines (yes it was OK back then), Kiwis, Lychees (don't love them now). The list could go on forever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Chopped chicken liver on matzoh, which I discovered at age 4, when my Christian nursery school was invited to a Seder (?) meal at the local synogogue. I still love it. In fifth grade, I remember an ice breaker game where all the kids in the class said their name and favorite food - mine was "eggplan parmesan." I remember this because the teacher made a big deal out of a kid being so "sophisticated" and not picking pizza or ice cream!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: grlwhoeats

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yep, chopped chicken livers with gribenes (cracklings) was another favorite that people just couldn't believe I was loving as soon as I could gum it...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        One of my fondest memories is of my grandmother making chopped liver in her big wooden bowl. It just about kills me that my child won't even taste it. And she'll try nearly anything at least once. At least we got her to finally try gribenes recently. I'm almost sorry she decided she likes them. Now we have to share.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I loved marinated artichokes, asparagus and fondue by the time I was six.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Botched the editing on this post and for some reason I COULDN'T fix it despite multiple attempts. I'll try again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Short answer? My mother's cooking. She was an enthusiastic collector of cookbooks, cross-referencer (and user) of Gourmet Magazine recipes, and shopper at the neighborhood boutique grocery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But specific dishes that most kids wouldn't have eaten? I don't remember anything "weird" or too sophisticated for a kid's palate, but it certainly was "gourmet" - you could still say that word unironically then :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, wait, sweetbreads as they were served at Eugene's in Reno, Nevada - referenced on the "Worst Food You Had to Eat as a Kid" thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And when I was two or three, my father used cook us pearl onions simmered in butter - at that tender age I had never had anything so luxurious. No idea how many 3-year-olds would have eaten that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And about the same age -- no, YOUNGER, because I wasn't speaking in complete sentences, as my parents told this story -- I begged dad for one of the peperoncinis he snacked on. So he gave me one. I popped it into my mouth and showed every sign of capsaicin distress. But I swallowed it, and then said: "More?" That didn't last, though; I haven't really been able to relish real hot peppers until the past couple years. So, yeah, a 50-year gap in hot-pepper appreciation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They tell me I also relished the occasional sip of beer at that age. My sister did, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I was very lucky to be raised in house were food was ever changing and nothing was normal for a 10 year old so needless to say I did not have many friends eating dinner at my house. I was known as the girl who ate weird food, I was just years a head of them ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Venison and Fried Rabbit were staples along with frog legs (loved them fried and covered in a white wine sauce my mom use to do) Poppy use to make his own sausages (which I still use the recipes to this day) Stewed Octopus, shrimp in a lovely paprika sauce with lemon, spices, Oysters from Apalachicola, I remember going camping every year there and we would sit with a bushel and shuck and eat, shuck and eat... Loved Chinese New Year’s Dinner with family friends ...I really could go on and on

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was very lucky to have eaten as well as I did and still do!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Hard to believe how many of these I liked and was exposed to as a kid of adventurous parents. I ate and enjoyed liver, tongue, sardines, pickled herring in sour cream, tripe (in menudo), brains (in burritos at Taqueria La Cumbre in San Francisco), rumaki (chicken livers and water chestnuts marinated in teriyaki, then wrapped in bacon and baked or grilled), smoked oysters, liverwurst, limburger cheese, and all sorts of vegetables. No one ever hid vegetables in anything, which wasn't a problem for me at all because I liked all of them except brussels sprouts (until I started eating them the way we learned from our French friend in Germany, cooked until soft -- none of this "crisp-tender" nonsense -- and then buttered and served with fresh nutmeg). Also loved all sorts of custards, flan, tapioca pudding. I remember fondly a meal my mom called "Nicaraguan sh*t": thinly sliced beef browned in a skillet and served with rice, a plain tomato sauce, and fried bananas. I didn't try sushi until I was 18 and then fell hard for it. The foods that seemed exotic to me when I was a kid were macaroni and cheese and other foods from a box, and sugary cereals; I was the only person I knew who liked the taste of the canned spinach in school lunches. But we had a family friend who, when I came to their house for a sleepover with her daughters, would eat steak and baked potatoes and broccoli and serve us kids hot dogs and mac and cheese. Even back then that made me mad -- I knew we were getting the short end of that stick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Black olives. They used to be a regular part of the school lunch menu, and my best friend and I would collect piles of them from all the other children who couldn't believe we were going to eat them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. On holidays my mom would put out canned smoked oysters on pumpernickel bread. I loved that, but just mentioning it to friends freaked them out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I was a lucky child. I cannot even think of something that I have now that I didn't have as a child. I mean, pheasant, shark fin, abalone, oyster, smoked oyster, smoked salmon, veal cold cuts, bird's nest, duck, goose, quail, matsutake, Italian cured meats....... I was not picky but I could always tell when a dish or an ingredient was extraordinary and would remember the taste extremely well even years and years later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. offal, fine dining, really just anything that tastes good...but im different lol
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://teenchefteddy.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I remember having lunch with my mom and her brother and ordering escargot...to me it tasted like fresh mown grass seasoned w/ wonderful garlic and butter!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. My parents were all about convenience foods and shortcuts when it came to getting dinner on the table after both of them got home from work. Not very much that I thought of as gourmet at any point in my life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I did however dearly love those prefab shrimp cocktails that came in their own little cocktail-sauce filled glass jars. Eat the shrimp and all the sauce, and after a trip through the dishwasher, the glasses were the perfect size for your four servings that came from one box of Jello instant pudding. (I made the instant if I was cooking for myself, and loved the times when I could talk Dad into making the far superior stovetop version)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. great thread btw. I was fortunate enough to have a lot of good food influences from the beginning. Some of my "gourmet" or more outlandish food memories of childhood are: getting a ride back to our family's town in a truck with my aunt who sold fish and eating chubs with my bare hands at 3 am (was maybe 5 years old).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cleaning out the raw bar at my uncle's wedding at 3 years old.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            my parents claim that for my 2nd birthday they asked me whether i wanted lobster or hot dog at the state fair and i said lobster.