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What foods have you introduced your parents to?

Back when I was young(er) my parents were taking me out for a meal to celebrate a personal achievement and said I could pick anywhere I liked ot eat - so I picked the best curry restaurant in town. My parents had never eaten curry that wasn't out of a packet and cooked with raisins, and thought that Indian restaurants were very low sorts of places. They tried to talk me into dining somewhere 'better' (ie more expensive) but I stuck to my guns. When we got to the restaurant my father made rude comments about the 'low tone' of the place and I cringed in embarrassment, but still insisted we ate there.
Following that meal my parents took to dining at Indian restauants regularly, and my mother purchased several Indian cookbooks and enlarged her cooking repertoire accordingly.

Have you ever introduced your parents to something they had previously not tried?

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  1. for my parents: sushi, pork belly, epoisses, greek yogurt (and really any cheese that comes from somewhere other than the supermarket)...

    while visiting my brother in chicago this summer, he was a good sport and tried corned beef tongue, pate, oysters, foie gras mousse and the pork rinds at publican. I could not get him to try headcheese, but my 2 and 1/2 year old niece tried lamb, the pork rinds and corned beef tongue and also loved them.

    1. Banh mi and brown rice. Not in the same meal!

      1. I remember the first Christmas I was out of college and working, I was learning a lot about cooking and gourmet food through my job at a PR firm that specialized in restaurant public relations. I was so inspired and excited. I got my meat-and-potatoes parents some sort of dinner collection from D'Artagnan that included duck confit, foie gras, cornichons, and I can't remember what else. I thought they would love it. They didn't.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JenBoes

          This could have been me, except I would have known my meat-and-potatoes parents wouldn't have loved it. My parents now have the resources (time and money) to eat out a lot more than they did when I was growing up, and my dad was working two jobs to pay the bills. As a result, they eat a lot of things now, that I never thought they would, but their tastes are still pretty basic. By far the most adventurous thing I've introduced them to is crawfish, and yes, they hated it.

        2. Grilling. My mom, a single mother for 25 of my youth years, was so afraid of fire she refused to bbq at home. I bought her a small hibatchi and it sat in the basement for a time until I literally took her step by step thru the setup and safety (of course) method.

          Now she grills everything. When I turned her onto grilled fruit, she loves grilled pineapple, she went out and bought a new grill just for that purpose.

          Yup, grilling was her food phobia for quite some time.

          1. Where do I begin??? lol They now love, due to their loving son, Vietnamese, Korean, Greek, Mex Mex, Middle Eastern, Spanish (yum tapas) Indian, Thai, homemade cheeses, good Chinese including dim sum, deli food including matzo ball soup, rugelach, kreplach, knish and others, and French. They were well versed in pot roasts, meatloafs and briskets and all forms of potatoes except pommes fritas Arnuads style (crispy puffed fingerlings).

            When I was quite young I would explore various methods and ethnicities of cooking and they indulged me.

            They also do Swedish, Dutch and Irish quite well and before my existense, but they have come a long way and are always open to my suggestions. Love 'em.

            1. Nope. My father did a lot of business traveling with his job. Instead of eat just "safe food" (ie hotel) he would go out on his own to explore or have a "native" co worker bring him to their favorite places where he would ask for local (non tourist) seasonings/dishes. He is a PITA when he is in a "I want authentic XYZ" kick. My mom loves to read cookbooks, food mags, and other food (and non food) related books. I get phone calls from her (in NoVA) "I just read about XYZ in Boston, have you been there /had it yet?" But I have used Chowhound to find restaurants, cookbooks, etc. to recommend to her. So I guess that is how I've "introduced" food to a parent.

              1. I introduced my mother to Indian food, which she has now acquired a taste for, although she doesn't like eating thali-style. I also talked her into giving Chinese food a second chance (she was convinced that she didn't like it) and she was surprised to discover that she enjoyed it after all. Next step is Thai food. The big challenge I have with my mother is that she doesn't like chicken (unless it's KFC) and that poses all sorts of limitations on tasty possibilities.

                1. When in college in the midwest, I introduced my parents to hummus.

                  1. Very little: My parents were hugely food literate, food explorers, and internationally oriented food-wise. My aunts and most of my cousins are/were great international cooks. I did get to intoduce my Dad to Bolivian dishes when he came down to visit me and my first wife in Southern Bolivia in about 1976.

                    1. Gnocci, risotto, soups/stalks from scratch, veggies on the grill, the wonders of fresh herbs, eating more as omnivores and not carnivores only (though they don't eat it often, they occasionally eat tofu). My mom still kills my pie crust though - not even close.

                      1. Nachos.

                        I think I created a monster ... she can't get enough of the stuff now.

                        1. I've tried, but it REALLY doesn't take :( I'm a big fan of Asian food, which my mom refuses to eat and my dad will only eat grudgingly. I've tried introducing my dad to Thai...didn't work. I took him to an amazing dumpling place that's gotten rave reviews from everyone I know...he hated it. Authentic Szechuan? He'd prefer General Tao.

                          And yeah, my dad makes rude comments as well. He thinks it's hilarious to intentionally confuse "Thai food" and "Taiwanese food", for instance, or just generally to mispronounce things on purpose (I think his favorite is calling Indian dishes some variation on chicken tikki shicky or whatever :S). If I take him to an ethnic restaurant, he spends the entire time sharing various stereotypes about the owners/patrons.

                          And yeah, again, the only way my parents know how to celebrate, food-wise, is with a steak dinner. There are few things I find more boring than steak. I'd rather celebrate with a 10-20$ meal at an ethnic place, but they don't understand.

                          Oh well. They are good people, really. Just...not terribly adventurous.

                          1. Indian and Sichuan. The latter is pretty funny, as we are Chinese but Pernakan/Teochew.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jadec

                              Bet you grew up with some mighty tasty food to begin with!

                            2. real Mexican (all kinds), Lao, Indonesian, Sichuan, all kinds of Latin American, and a lot of other stuff i'm forgetting

                              My family is Indian, Filipino, and Puerto Rican so all these flavors were familiar and not hard for them to get used to.

                              1. Interesting topic - my mom made her own bread, pie crusts, sauerkraut, butter, jam, pickles, etc. I grew up and could not and have not been able to do any of those. Big time meat, potato family in Montana.

                                I live in USA SW and went to visit folks one summer and introduced them to "Gringo" Mexican - salsa (why isn't it cooked?), guacamole (what's that green stuff?), refried beans (we don't cook beans that way!). They ate it up, but I'm sure they don't cook that way at all. It was a good meal, if I do say so myself!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: JerryMe

                                  I owe my willingness to try new things to my parents who are very food literate as Sam puts it but I have introduced them to Vietnamese of various stripes. Still working on their irrational dislike of Cantonese-style Chinese (comes from "Chinese-Canadian" being all they could get when they were younger I think). Hoping to introduce them to Burmese cooking this spring in San Francisco...

                                2. Indian food
                                  vegetarian Buddhist Chinese food
                                  Ethiopian food
                                  Thai food
                                  hummous and tzatziki
                                  liquid smoke
                                  many Mexican ingredients: from corn tortillas to cilantro to chipolte peppers to huitlacoche

                                  ... and tons more, I'm sure. It's not hard: my parents aren't exactly adventurous eaters!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Jetgirly

                                    Also, I told my mom to add some flax oil to her smoothies to get more Omega-3s, and a few months later she reported that her knees don't creak when she goes up and down stairs anymore. I'm not sure the two are connected, but she is totally convinced!

                                  2. All my basic cooking skills came from my dad, and I became a more adventurous eater/cook when I was about 19. Let's see . . . I've introduced them to Greek, Thai, Vietnamese, Sushi, pasta dishes other than spaghetti with meat sauce, and hummus. They loved the hummus so much that one year they bought me a replacement food processor so I could keep making it for them. My mom would call me up and say "I bought some chick peas, if I bring them to you will you PLEASE make hummus for me?!?!"
                                    They're really sad that I moved to another state, but they still go to my favorite Thai place back home. And every time they come visit me in Austin, I try to take them somewhere new.

                                    1. The first time I saw my late father eat a piece of sushi - it was a piece of tuna roll - I thought I was hallucinating. I'd stopped asking him if he wanted to try sushi, but there'd invariably be some at the table whenever I took dad and mom to the Japanese restaurant.

                                      Dad *loved* the tuna sushi, and soon he was ordering all sorts of fish, raw and cooked.

                                      Dad's appreciation of all things "foodie" was very, very limited. For example, until the sushi revelation mentioned above, dad didn't even care for *cooked* fish at all. Basically meat and potatoes.

                                      I think the best thing I ever did for dad and mom was to teach them all about how to use garlic - mellowing it if it's going into dressings/mayonnaise, etc. They'd never eaten much garlic at all, but fell in love with putting it in everything except dessert.

                                      I recall a New Year's Eve party at my house in New York. I served caviar. Poor mom and dad didn't know what to do. They *wanted* to be "in on the fun," but couldn't bring themselves to try caviar until I got 'em both a bit tipsy. Mom spit it out. My (fish-hating) father ate his one cracker with caviar but said in no uncertain terms, "never again."

                                      1. Thai food, lamb curry, Italian cuisine besides that from Naples where most of the Italians were from in my home town.