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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 child..so 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 beer...so 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!)

              1. My dad's families had both migrated over the Cumberland Gap in the early 1800s - a great-grandfather of his mom's was born in Nashville in 1812 - and my mom's people were a melding of Scottish/English on the maternal side and unalloyed German Mennonite on her dad's. So it was all Illinois cooking, just with different influences, and I got to enjoy all of it! Dad's tastes were more "country", in that he liked snacks like bread and gravy, loved hominy (which Mom barely tolerated), and happily ate with his hands whatever was just too much work for utensils. Mom brought the wilted-lettuce salad and the hasenpfeffer into the mix, and of course they agreed on such things as chicken and dumplings, spareribs and sauerkraut, round steak pounded with flour and fried, with brown gravy made in the pan … and of course the fried bluegill and catfish, the braised squirrel and rabbit he'd bring home from a day fishing or hunting. We had plenty of what were then the cheap cuts too, the heart, tongue, liver and kidneys - Mom's stuffed and baked beef heart and her liver with brown gravy were stuff I thought we ate for their goodness, not because they were what we could afford. Same goes for tuna-noodle casserole … but I was a teenager before I ever tasted an actual steak! And of course loved it.

                As for inherited parental peculiarities, the only example I know of was when I got over my childhood dislike of peanut butter, and followed my instincts to making my first grilled peanut butter and cheese sandwich (sometime in my 30s). When I told Mom about it she gasped, and said, "Oh, my lord - that was your dad's favorite thing!" Why it'd been kept from us I cannot imagine, except that they're a PITA to make if you're using Peter Pan and balloon bread.

                1. My dad considered boxed mac and cheese food that "poor people" ate and forbade my mother from serving it. To this day, I've only tried a bite and found it too salty for my taste. I do love, and make a mean killer homemade mac. My DH, on the other hand, grew up on the stuff and still occasionally enjoys it....usually on nights when I'm not home and always with extra real cheese grated in.

                  1. My father has always hated Prime Rib -- the description he gives of the taste and texture is not suitable for this chat. So for 24 out of the 25 years of my life I would look at the meat in hatred. Last year my date got the wrong meal (prime rib) and I offered to switch her instead of waiting .. and I LOVED it !!! No clue why he is a hater

                    1. My Mother's food hates had an impact on me - for years I thought asparagus and leeks were 'yuck', even though I had never tried them. She hates them, so she never cooks them. Now I can't eat enough of them. I also thought that I didn't like steak for years, because (and don't get me wrong, the woman can cook her specialties like a dream) she used to incinerate it.

                      My Dad more influenced me with odd things that I do like - beetroot sandwiches, pickled onions, anchovies, piccalilli relish, smoked fish, mustards, cheese - he's the happiest man on earth when he gets a ploughmans lunch.

                      1. My mother hated Shredded Wheat and it's always been among my least favorite cereals.

                        Conversely, my father turned me on to capers (as a pizza topping) and I have been adding capers to my pizza for over 40 years.

                        PS I've been known to eat mushrooms straight from the can too! My father (born in 1919) was a big sardine guy too, so we always had them, but I can easily do without them now. Another love that he didn't pass down to any of the kids was smelts.

                        1. Not so much a specific food, but my mother passed along a "style" of eating. Either she was starving herself to be super slim and we all lived on salad, or she was depressed. When she was going through a "down" phase, we ate enormous amounts of comfort food. A typical dinner might include pizza, and hoagies and cheesesteaks and linguini aglio e olio- as an appetizer!

                          I find myself tending toward this pattern if I'm not careful.

                          1. My dad's mom was a Russian Jew. He and I meet about once a month at the best deli in our city. Matzoh ball soup followed by chopped chicken liver on toasted seseme bagels. LOTS of pickles and their fresh coleslaw. They also have something called the Smokey Joe which is their whitefish salad plus smoked salmon on a bagel. We usualy get both sandwiches and split them. We usually each buy a pound of pastrami to go. My mother cringes at the idea of eating anything like that. I crave it. his mother also hated sweets, a trait I also share.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: southernitalian

                              What a great tradition with your dad. Once a month is plenty for a meal like that!

                              Our dad used to buy Table Talk pies right off the truck. Is it any wonder so many of us are chowhounds? LOL

                            2. Interesting thread. My mother rarely ate candy, but when she did it is identical to the candy l eat, also very rarely. Chocolate, excellent chocolate with almonds, chocolate covered orange peel, and the nut and chocolate covered toffee. l still buy it from the store she used 50 years ago and while the chocolate may not be as good as before, the memory sure still is.

                              1. My mom has a particular aversion to baby corn - it's such a turnoff for her that she definitely passed it on to me! Maybe it's because I love the lady so much, but I can't bring myself to eat it either!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Sra. Swanky

                                  D&D used to sell them fresh still in the husk.

                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                    Deluca - I mean the little miniature corn they sometimes serve at help-yourself salad bars and in some Chinese dishes. How my mom would react when she saw it! A complete meal-breaker!!

                                2. I grew up in Vermont, and my father (and us kids) used to go out into the woods behind our house and forage for mushrooms. I didn't know mushrooms came in a can until I got my own apartment and started buying my own food. I had no idea Chanterelles were a gourmet item. These days it is a rare treat to find some fresh ones at Wegmans.

                                  My dad, too, liked sardines, the small two-layer ones packed in oil. They were eaten on a saltine (sometimes with a chunk of cheddar). To this day these are the only ones I buy and eat them the same way. Like Mom, DW won't touch them, which is ok...more for me, as long as I eat them when she isn't home.

                                  I did not, however, inherit his love of Spam. I guess he used to eat it when he was in the Navy in WWII. I can't stand the stuff. By the time I went into Uncle Sam's Canoe Club they were serving mostly real food. (To this day I'm not sure *what* was in the SOS.)

                                  11 Replies
                                  1. re: al b. darned

                                    Standard recipe for SOS by the time I came in (I was in the Flying Club, but I'm sure the chow came out of the same book) had migrated well beyond chipped beef and was now basically hamburger, browned and then dumped into large steam kettles of evaporated milk, cooked down to a thickish consistency and semi-highly seasoned. Though I'd grown up on creamed chipped beef (we called it "dried") on toast, the original SOS, I liked this just fine. Used to get a couple of eggs, sausage and hash browns, and then have the server dump a ladle of SOS all over it. Yum yum.

                                    My dad liked the original very much, Army experience notwithstanding. However, his unfortunate encounters with smelly, greasy mutton during WW2 meant that we NEVER had lamb. I was a teenager visiting Chicago before I ever tasted any. Loved it, too.

                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                      The SOS we had was based on a ground meat-like substance, It was either cream based sauce or a tomato based sauce. Both were usually pretty good, despite the lack of recognizable ingredients. I don't think I've ever had the creamed chipped beef version.

                                      1. re: al b. darned

                                        the chipped version is the one I grew up on -- we called it dried beef gravy. (it's "poor food" to be sure, but comfort food nonetheless.)

                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                          Oh my gosh, we called it dried beef gravy too, and it was always "poor food" as well. I thought we were the only ones!

                                          Did you by any chance also have "hot dog soup" or "lamb noodle soup". I always heard the story that breast of lamb was so cheap way back in the day, that my grandmother's family would make two big pots of soup at a time. One to to feed all 13 kids, and one for the stray neighborhood dogs!

                                          I still love lamb noodle soup, and force the family to eat it at least once a year.

                                          1. re: Whinerdiner

                                            No, where I grew up, lamb was really expensive, so it was a once a year treat.

                                            (and I would starve to death before I would eat a hot dog!)

                                            Lots of beef and noodles and pot pie (curiously, pot pie was what most other people call dumplings) and chicken and noodles -- my grandmothers were the queens of noodlemaking in their respective towns (yes, they taught me how).

                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              We never put noodles in pot pie, but is sounds delicious. I think I know what's for dinner.

                                              1. re: Whinerdiner

                                                sorry -- beef and noodles is one dish; beef pot pie is another (that's the one that has the dumpling things).

                                                (not to be confused with the frozen Banquet pot pies that we had for lunch!)

                                                Sorry to crisscross the punctuation.

                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  No worries - I still might try beef pot pie with fat egg noodles instead of potatoes. What's the worst that could happen?

                                                  1. re: Whinerdiner

                                                    ROFL...you'd get beef and noodles!

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      HaHaHaHaHa!!

                                    2. re: al b. darned

                                      My dad grew up very poor and consequently would pretty much eat anything; he remained happy to have food at all. The exception was spam -- because he'd been forced to eat it so much in WWII. It wasn't allowed in the house -- and it isn't allowed in my house either!

                                      He also couldn't stand SOS (creamed chipped beef on toast) for the same reason (he didn't have warm and fuzzy memories of being in the army). I was in high school the first time I tried Stouffer's version and loved it!

                                    3. My mother (fourth-generation Protestant Irish Canadian) did not like any fish other than salmon steak, canned salmon, and the very occasional piece of fish and chips battered haddock. She wouldn't touch any molluscs or crustaceans other than shrimp. She didn't like rare meat at all. She even made faces when any of the things she didn't like were mentioned (not a good idea if you're trying to raise a non-fussy eater).
                                      My father (from England originally) loved fish and all manner of seafood, and rare beef. He was forever complaining that my mother ruined the very good roasts and steak he bought, but he put up with it because he loved her.
                                      Until I left home I shared my mother's prejudice against fish and other seafood, but over time got to like rarer meat than she prepared. I really learned to love seafood when we lived in Taiwan, and there's been no turning back.
                                      My mother had her comeuppance on two occasions, once in SF when she was eating a salad that had crabmeat on it without realizing what it was ("What's this nice meat, Alf?" "Crabmeat." "Surely not!:"), and once when she had beef in a place with lighting that disguised its color and commented that it was especially tender and tasty - at which my father burst her bubble as well. The comeuppances didn't translate to affection for either food, however.
                                      My only regret is that my mother's prejudices were so influential that I turned my nose up at a lot of my father's feasts - crab in Santa Barbara, scads of morels he'd foraged (wild food was another suspect item to my mother's way of thinking), a 13-lb lobster friends barbecued as a special treat...I'm glad that I saw the error of my ways.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        You're English and Canadian? I had always assumed you were Chinese!

                                        My mother had a broad love of food and pushing against the confining boundaries of the world. Even when I was young, we lived on meals of sweet Thai iced coffee, raw oysters slurped down with Korean barbecue, fruit baskets brimming with avocados for guacamole, ice cream and cereal, nihari for breakfast, pimento cheese for lunch. Our kitchen was international and meal times were a ticket to priceless experiences. So were it possible to inherit a love of food, I likely got such a trait from her.

                                        1. re: JungMann

                                          I'm tickled to hear that you thought I was Chinese! I take it as a compliment.
                                          I really learned to eat after I left home at 18. I had been interested in food before that but my exposure to different, non-mother-approved food was pretty limited up to that point.

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            I thought you were Jewish, based on "a Brooklyn of the imagination in Bergen County."

                                            1. re: Jay F

                                              Nope, just a pretentious ol' expat Canadian.

                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                Golly gee! This whole time, I thought you were a Newfie!

                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                  Whyever that? I haven't been east of Québec City. Not that I don't want to go, I just haven't.
                                                  Cute NFLD food-related story: My SIL's bro's wife's parents were from there, and were very sweet people. My mom and dad were great friends with them. One day they dropped in to visit. They were pressed to have something as soon as they sat down. "Would you like a drink, Marjorie?" "no thank you". "A beer?" "no thank you, really". "A pop?" "no, thanks!". "A coffee?" "no, nothing, really, don't bother". "Well then, shall I boil you an egg?". (Imagine all of this in full-on NFLD outport accent, culminating in "shall I bile you an hegg".)
                                                  No was not a permissible answer in their very hospitable home. "Shall I boil you an egg" is still a catchphrase in our family, even after the principal players are long gone.

                                      2. My mother could probably exist on air, water with lemon and chocolate and she definately installed in me an appreciation for quality chocolate.

                                        My dad was wonderously adventurous eater and from him, I learned to take joy in trying anything new.

                                        We lived in a rural area so when we would travel, going to a new/different grocery store was an event. I have fond memories of NE ski vacations where after dinner, we would swing by the local grocery store for a stroll. Ben and Jerry's was not available where we lived so it was a huge treat to each select a different flavor. We would go back to the hotel and share the pints.

                                        Someone mentioned "poor food" and that is a hate my husband got from his parents. They consider children to be not worthy of good or pricey food so the kids where given cheapest of the cheap. He absolutely will not allow certain food products in our house because he associates them with a bad childhood.

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: cleobeach

                                          just out of curiosity...
                                          what else constitutes "poor food"?
                                          besides mac and cheese?

                                          1. re: srsone

                                            Any poor quality, bad tasting food that he and his siblings were forced to eat so the parents had extra money for beer, lottery tickets and tattoos.

                                            (For fear of offending, I am not going to post our household's list of banned "poor food" It isn't the food, it is the memory attatched to it)

                                            1. re: cleobeach

                                              This struck a chord in me, cleo. I have a good friend who grew up very much the same way. Children are a treasure and good food and memories associated with it are so important in shaping them as adults. I guess some elders never got that memo! May you and your husband and family enjoy all the delicious food and good memories that he unfortunately had to do without. Best, S.S.

                                              1. re: cleobeach

                                                This does not reflect the same situation ! however my grandmother and her brothers (89 and up) have very bad memories of some food growing up. Ironically the foods are homeade pasta , polenta , homemade sulumi.. along with the garden fresh hot pepers being fried in a small area.
                                                To me I would lose a finger to have any of those foods, but to them it reminds them of beign poor and a very rough childhood. ... I laugh that a coal fire homeade pizza qith fresh mozerlla and basil was a poor peasant food

                                                1. re: Augie6

                                                  a lot of folks I have known who grew up during the Depression STILL refuse to eat chicken in any form...chicken was all they had during those lean years, and they ate a lifetimes' worth in a short span.

                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                    In my grandparents house, organ meat was not allowed in any form.

                                                    My grandmother was one of more than a dozen kids in a poor farming family, during the depression, and organ meat was one of those things that was left behind as soon as finances allowed.

                                                    On the other side of the family, I remember my dear great uncle who lied about his age to join the Army during WWII saying that Army food so much better than what he got at home and how he gained so much weight. (he was in the infantry) Times must have been tough for many families if Army food was an improvement.

                                                  2. re: Augie6

                                                    Augie, what part of Italy did your homemade pasta-hating relatives come from?

                                                  3. re: cleobeach

                                                    im sorry they grew up that way....
                                                    i dont remember thinking we ate poor..even tho we were on the low end of the middle class..
                                                    the only rules well i guess u could call them rules..were u had to at least try it before u said u didnt like it...and once u had a plate ..u had to clean it...meaning eat all that was on it..
                                                    i dont remember eating special or different meals just cuz we were kids..

                                              2. A love of Russian cuisine, especially marinated herring. My dad turned me on to chili dogs, and raw shell fish.
                                                A loathing of chain restaurants, especially McDuck's and other burger chains. Haven't been to one in 20 years.

                                                1. I inherited my food genes from my father. We both loved Italian. My mother's favorite food was "a good steak," which to me is a contradiction in terms. Unfortunately, I also inherited diabetes from my father's side of the family.

                                                  1. My mother passed on her hate of mustard to my sister and me. In fact, I inherited the face she made when smelling the stuff!

                                                    I can't think of a single food my dad hated. He certainly didn't pass any of his favorite "likes" on to me. I still turn my nose up at the thought of sardines, spam, and horseradish sauce.

                                                    1. I have pretty much nothing in common with my parents food-wise. But they did create certain food aversions, haha.
                                                      My mother was a constant dieter despite being stick thin. So her foods like cottage cheese, saltine crackers and canned mandarin oranges turn me off to this day. The notion of a diet is weird to me---just work out more. That may be over simplifying. But for a person in good health, it should work fine.
                                                      My dad was meat and potatoes all the way, which is fine. But he never showed an inclination to introduce any unique flavors. Same old, week in and week out.
                                                      But, I do think their poor eating habits led me to be adventurous with food. I always knew there had to be something better out there--and there is!!
                                                      The region I grew up in shaped me quite a bit, though. I enjoy my starches and love central and eastern European foods. Still slightly suspicious of some of the very exotic uncooked Asian seafood meals. :)

                                                      1. My dad had a massive love for those salty Lupini beans in a jar. I never did understand it, but I do recall our brief conversation:
                                                        Me: Why do you eat those?
                                                        Dad: It's an Italian thing.
                                                        Me: Dad, we're Polish.
                                                        Dad: See?
                                                        I don't think I can associate it with his love for them, but I hate the taste of those beans. : )

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                          HAHAHHA I really just laughed out loud. Every Christmas I have to change the salted water for those beans... and every year I say why does everyone liked these so much?? Same response its and Italian generational thing.....

                                                          ** they are great for beer munchies (guess I am falling into the trap)

                                                          1. re: mamachef

                                                            LOL Love it!

                                                          2. Dumplings were despised by my mom. She said they looked raw. Today I cannot eat dumplings
                                                            or pot stickers. If I order pot stickers, they have to at least be caramelized on the bottom. She
                                                            also hated white sauces. I can't eat those either without feeling nausea. Apparently my mom
                                                            had no love for lamb ( according o my sister). I did not experience this blessed meat until I was
                                                            in my very early 20's. Thank the Lord for my then boyfriend, now husband. He introduced me
                                                            to lamb patties cooked on his little hibachi. Neither my mom nor my dad would recognize my
                                                            eating habits today.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: basildip

                                                              My mom hates lamb too. She was poor growing up and they ate very cheap mutton and it turned her off the entire flavour. We never had lamb at home and never got used to the flavour or smell. I'll eat it if it's the only thing going, but I don't enjoy it (except for some excellent carpaccio I had once).

                                                              On the opposite side, my dad will only eat well done meat so that's what we all ate at home. After moving out, I gradually went rarer and rarer and now like my steak rare (and pork pink).

                                                            2. You know, it wasn't until many years after college that I became fully conscious of the fact that I dislike raw vegetables. This isn't a strict, 100%, across-the-board hatred or avoidance, as I sometimes will eat a salad (and crudités with huge gobs of ranch dressing if I'm starving), but I definitely have a strong and general dislike of uncooked vegetables which I was totally unaware of until that epiphany. I also noticed that I generally prefer hot, cooked dishes and meals regardless of the time of day or season. I just prefer cooked over raw, hot over cold. And I slowly realized this must have to do with the fact that I'm the child of Chinese immigrants, since Chinese food (what I mostly ate growing up) rarely involves uncooked vegetables. Sure we have cold dishes, but they are usually prepared in some fashion that distinguishes them significantly from rawness, like pickling or smoking or marinating or drying or fermenting.

                                                              And as hard as I've tried in my adult life to make myself appreciate the multitudes of salads and their creative variations out there (for the sake of my health), for the most part I would simply never, ever choose to eat a raw vegetable dish first if there were any cooked choices available.

                                                              1. My mom [and to a large extent grandma] and I have almost identical tastes, with only a few exceptions. I never did really pick up her taste for broccoli, though I did always like slightly over-salted cream of broccoli soup, and later developed a taste for broccoli in small quantities [and chopped small lol, but I do really enjoy the flavour it lends sometimes now]. Who knows I'll probably end up liking it someday.

                                                                All of us take our steaks as rare as can be, love Mexican food [grandma used to talk fondly of the "sweet little Mexican ladies" she used to hang out with.... as to ourselves my family is of primarily French and German background] and Italian along with the more traditionally French and German influenced/adapted-to-America foods. It was all good in my opinion. Somehow the females of my family tend to have close enough to identical palates lol

                                                                I inherited [and exceeded in the case of the first lol] mom's and grandma's taste for spicy-hot dishes, heavy-fat dairy products, onions, garlic, pesto, coffee [and a habit to drink almost nothing but cafe au lait all day.... lol], and well just about everything else. It's almost to a freakish extent.

                                                                Somehow my Mom's lasagne became the traditional Christmas dinner. Story is it just sort of "happened" once where my mom made a lasagne for Christmas, and it just stuck because everybody liked it lol. Somehow our very French and German family has a traditional lasagne for Christmas..(^_^)

                                                                1. Beer - Neither Mom or I can stand it - Sis and Dad both drink it
                                                                  Cooked Fish - Dad's (unfortunate) favorite - grill it until it's dry as a bone - No matter what the fish, I prefer it raw or not at all these days
                                                                  Mutton - we raised sheep, and Mom would try to sneak it in to various things. I could smell it as I walked in to the house. Yuck! I discovered lamb as an adult, and it's completely different when pretty young.

                                                                  1. ...Or, variously, NOT passed on to us. When I was about twelve I had cheesecake for the first time, someplace, and loved it. Next time I went out to lunch with my grandmother I ordered cheesecake. "Don't order that," said she, "you won't like it. Nobody in our family likes cheesecake."

                                                                    1. I did read a wonderful story about a man who, visiting his grandchildren, was determined to get them to eat liver, which they hated. Secretly he ground some up and made spaghetti sauce with it. When the family assembled at the table and tried to eat it, the older children remained politely silent but the two year-old, who was just starting to talk in sentences, said "Now what the hell is this?" and of course all the other kids laughed until they fell off their chairs.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Querencia

                                                                        LOL!!!!!!! That might've been MY two-year old! That's awesome. Nice try, Gramps!

                                                                        1. re: Sra. Swanky

                                                                          I was picky as a child, but began my journey through food by first becoming a vegetarian, then a vegan, then added the meats back in one by one, starting with seafood and fish. I adore vegetables, grains, pungent tastes of garlic, onions, chiles, spices, herbs, rich dairy and pork fat. I am still picky about what I like, but I am totally open to trying anything once. My parents, on the other hand, grow less adventurous by the day. They have decided that all vinaigrettes are too acidic, so lemon, lime and vinegar other than balsamic syrup are out. Their minds are closed to many herbs and spices. Onions of all ilks and garlic are verboten, lest they cause stomach upset. Rabbit? Ew. Game? No way. Duck is too greasy. Fish is okay, but only if it is skinless and so mild it has almost no taste. Butter is out and margarine rules in their home. Olives are delicious, but only the pitted ones that come in the can. Sigh. My dad even recently knocked out red wine and beer, because they "bother" his tummy. White, apparently is still okay, but only light Pinot Grigios. They only consume a narrow range of produce. My dad really doesn't do fruit. My mom will eat non-acidic apples and blueberries. That's it.

                                                                          Every now and again I make something for them that includes a few ingredients they never use and they love it, but more and more I am finding that they flat out dislike some of my cooking. I have learned not to feel badly about it, as pretty much everyone else raves about my culinary creations. I just can't believe how odd their habits have become. If I cater to their tastes, my husband and I won't like the food, because it will be so bland. If I cater to our tastes, they won't be able to tolerate it. It's a dilemma solved only by eating out, it seems.

                                                                      2. I've never been a fan of fish (by which I mean actual fish, as opposed to shellfish which i LOVE). Oh, I don't mind fish, but it is almost never my first choice. I can almost always find something else I'd rather eat off a menu, and I don't buy fish fillets or steaks. Except...

                                                                        My father shared with me a love of little fishes. i adore anchovies. I eat sardines right out of the can on crackers. I would put pickled herring in sour cream on my bagel every day if I could. Living in the Midwest, none of my friends would ever think of eating any of that stuff. But I love it.

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                          Au contraire!

                                                                          Lots of Midwesterners gobble smelts like French fries when they're in season....yum.

                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                            Guess I painted the Midwest with a very broad brush. I don't think I've ever seen a smelt here in Kansas City.

                                                                            1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                              the folks living in the states ringing Lake Michigan (where smelts live) generally consider themselves to be Midwesterners, too -- so yes, a semantic difference.

                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                Hear, hear. I didn't much care for fish when I lived in the Midwest, but I always loved fried smelt in the summertime. It's one of the foods I miss most from home. Of course, easy access to lobster rolls out East slightly makes up for it. But only slightly.

                                                                        2. My one specific like that I get from my dad is pickles. It's more of an obsession than a like-you would think we were both at a critical stage of sodium deficiency. I almost never buy them because I can easily eat a full jar in 24 hours. The last time I visited my parents, I was hanging out in the late morning in the kitchen with my dad, and dipped into their pickle stash. My dad said loftily that they were probably getting old because he doesn't eat them anymore, then promptly downed four in rapid succession.

                                                                          My general attitude toward food has a lot in common with my mom's. For both of us, there are very few things we really don't like any any context. They're not the same dislikes, but it's a short list for both of us (zucchini and eggplant for me; garbanzos, cashews, and honey for her) and none of them are really dealbreakers. We won't eat them willingly but can and do choke them down for a variety of reasons. I read on here sometimes about people who gag on a certain food, and I'm grateful I don't have anything (so far) that trigger that reflex.