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Mar 19, 2011 07:37 AM

Food loves & hates of your parents, maybe passed on to you.

I recently had a freak craving for a sardine & onion sandwich. It hit me how disgusting and weird this must be to my kids, their friends, and maybe most other folks. (canned sardines on rye, thick slab of Spanish onion, mustard...Mmmm). The concoction brought back many vivid memories of eating these with my father in Northern Michigan as a kid through the 60's. To his tastes food just didn't get any better.

He and his twin were born in 1921 ( both still in great health!! ) into an immigrant Polish family of 9 kids in a 3 room shack. The only meat he had until he was drafted in 1942 was something you caught yourself. Whether it was pheasant, deer, turtles, or frogs. Growing up in the 30's he had never tasted citrus or bananas until he was in his 20's.

Flash forward to the his 3 baby boomers and life in the 60's. We were raised with his ideals of gourmet ecstasy...sardines sandwiches, canned mushrooms-simply drained and eaten from the can, blue cheese--hard to find then and pretty poor stuff compared to what you find even in a 7-11 today, fried balogna was saved for weekend treats, and the kids favorite, sliced dill pickles sprinkled with extra salt only to be eaten during Disney on Sunday nights. (Don't call the sodium police!! ) And while in boot camp in Louisiana he somehow developed a taste for menudo...something he has spent 60 years tracking down for the best bowl.

Passed on to me is a hatred of orange marmalade. Why? While on the transport to England in 1943, the land loving soldiers were puking up everything down to their toenails during the 2 week trip (his words--I'm sure the constant threat of being torpedoed didn't help). The only food they were given was crackers and marmalade. He left the service in 1946 with such a hatred of the stuff I don't think at 54 yrs old I've even tasted it and probably never will.

I'd love to hear other stories of tastes passed on to chow hounders that you might hold dear but other readers might find strange.

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  1. When it came to food, my parents were at opposite ends. My father grew up poor so he was never picky about food--he called himself a "common sewer"--yes a play on connoisseur! But he loved all the odd parts of meat, including turkey necks, brains, liver, heart, sweetbreads etc. My mother, on the other hand, liked none of those things and also disliked duck, goose and lamb. So my mother won that battle and I grew up never eating those things. Now, as an adult, I still don't like organ meats but love duck, goose and lamb. My sister has followed my mother's preferences completely, and goes "yuck" every time I mention having had wonderful lamb chops or duck confit. To each his on, I just wish she'd stop yucking my yumm.

    2 Replies
    1. re: escondido123

      My Dad loved anything salty, especially anchovies. If he and I would go to the store, we always ate a can of anchovies on the way home. Made Mom mad (guess we got a bit of grease on the other things). I always ask for anchovies on my Ceasar salad. The other thing was bread fried in bacon grease. I don't do that any more since it's pretty unhealthy, but did relent a few years back at a B& B in Bath, UK. We all loved black pudding too.

      1. re: escondido123

        My Dad was from a very poor and very large family, so whoever ate the fastest got the most food. I eat fast, too, so I guess I inherited that from him (but I'm much pickier than he ever was!)

      2. my mom and i have opposite taste palates. chances are, if she likes something, i don't, and often vice versa. i call hers the mediterranean palate - loves olives, feta, tabbouleh, etc. she hates scallops, won't touch sashimi, and generally shies away from trying new things, particularly fruits and vegetables. she begrudgingly tried chayote squash only because i had her over for dinner and served her some. she liked it. me on the other hand, new things, yippee, sashimi and sushi, i'm in heaven.

        the one thing we do share is (and sadly something i can no longer eat), cooked chicken (preferably from making chicken soup, dipped in mayonnaise. . i'm sure it sounds horrid if you didn't grown up with it, but that's just what we did!

        7 Replies
        1. re: Emme

          i'm sure it sounds horrid if you didn't grown up with it
          why? you use leftover chicken to make chicken salad, and mayonnaise is the most common dressing/binder for it...makes perfect sense! ;)

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            oh i understand that... others don't seem to... they used to get horrified when i'd pull out chicken, then glop some mayo on the plate next to it and dip...

            1. re: Emme

              well i'm not a huge mayo fan so i might have had a bit of difficulty watching you dip *anything* directly into it...but i totally get the combination.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I love chicken dipped in mayo, it makes a great midnight snack!

                1. re: JEN10

                  Back when I was apparently trying to get fat, my secret favorite snack was chicken (or almost anything else, such as chunks of mozzarella) dunked in mayonnaise. Wouldn't even use a plate - just speared the item on an old three-tine kitchen fork and dipped it right into the jar. Now that I have succeeded in getting fat, I don't do that any more, and am trying very hard to pretend that the very notion disgusts me utterly. Yuck patooey! (whimper).

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    Back when I was apparently trying to get fat
                    ok, anyone who's had weight struggles of any sort knows it's no laughing matter...but that's pretty darned funny :)

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      I actually could NOT get fat until sometime after I turned 30, by which time my voracious appetite was well established. Makes the ensuing struggle that much harder: "This is SOOOOOOOO unfair!"

        2. my mother was so scared of me choking on any kind of nuts she would never let me have any as a for some reason i grew up not liking nuts...peanuts,almonds..any kind...i think she would tell me they were bad or yucky or something to keep me from eating them...
          it wasnt until my late 20s i discovered i actually like nuts...well..some of them anyway...

          1 Reply
          1. re: srsone

            Same exact thing happened to me. My mom (who loves nuts) was afraid I'd choke on them, so never let me have any. I'm almost 50 and still don't like nuts!! I love the flavor of them (hazelnut coffee, creamy PB, almond paste, etc), but just not the nut itself. I know. Weird. Of course, it may have something to do with all the added sugar in those products... I am even a pro at deftly cracking the candy shell of a peanut M&M so that it breaks in half revealing the peanut, which slides out clean as a whistle and goes to my husband. :)

          2. My mother and I are so different (thank heavens) that I sometimes wonder if we are related. Except...we both gag on vinegar and we don't like ice cream. But the woman eats her steak burnt and doesn't drink there's a limit to the similarities.

            1. we've talked about this in regards to ancestral preferences -- I'm of German heritage, so I love sauerkraut, dumplings, and German breakfast (sliced cured meats and fresh breads)

              My mom, who has zero German ancestry, can't stand the breakfasts when she travels in Germany and wouldn't eat sauerkraut or knudel on a bet...and she swears it's ingrained from the ancestors (My dad, who's of Welsh and German descent, also enjoys a German breakfast -- and a proper fryup when in the British Isles!)