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Broccoli Part 2 [Nov. 18th, 2011|01:24 pm]
So, Broccoli, not my favorite. Although, in retrospect, broccoli was my Mom’s go-to vegetable when we were children and we ate broccoli at least twice a week, sometimes more. And that’s where it started – frozen broccoli, boiled until soft, sprinkled with salt and draped in margarine.

Small wonder I developed a slight aversion. And I have come to enjoy it more as an adult, prepared properly, especially roasted. But still it’s odd, because I have a fairly unconditional love for all of the other Brassicaceae. I love that slightly bitter, grassy flavor. I adore broccoli slaw.

Because my issue with broccoli is not flavor. It’s texture. All those little floret blossoms, wiggling up against my palate. Squik! Sliding sideways when you bite them, grinding beneath your teeth like a gentler SOS pad. As a child, I would trade with my brother and my mother – giving them my florets in exchange for their stalks.

“Mmm,” my mother would say, “These are the best part.” And I would look on in horror as she bit into the nearly tenticular foliage.

The good news is, I’ve managed to move beyond my hatred and even embrace the vague Cthulhunity of broccoli. I’ll eat it, I just tend not to choose it, given a choice. I save my squiks for other texture issues. Because that’s what it is – that chunk of raw celery or onion in the middle of soft, smooth, unctuous, chicken salad. A tooth-squeaking piece of walnut marring an otherwise perfect chocolate chip cookie. A hot burger with melted cheese…yeah, I’m going to pull off the lettuce, tomato and onion and have that separately as salad, unless they were smart enough to put the tomato against the meat/cheese, as opposed to on the other side of the lettuce insulation. Hot vs cold, soft and meaty vs crisp and raw.

Resist the urge to scribble notes and censor my food when I come to your house. You’ll never get ahead of this one – because cookie dough ice cream is okay. Why the walnut fails in the chocolate chip cookie, but the chewy dried cherry is okay…even I don’t know which way I’m going to fall. And sometimes I get over it. Although, my prior aversion to mixing ice cream and carbonation (fat, smooth, creamy, with hard, crisp, bubbles? Oh, no…) got tested this past weekend and NOPE, NOT OVER THAT ONE, thank you very much. And sometimes I really LIKE the juxtaposition of textures and temperatures. I just seem to spend an awfully large portion of my brain THINKING about it.

I blame my genes. Clearly, my line is texture-obsessive. For me, it all happens in my mouth. (We’ll pause here, and let the class settle down. Sigh.) I’ve spent my whole life making fun of my family and their texture issues. My father won’t touch mother of pearl, or pearl. He says it creeps him out. So, the ancestral abalone-handled serving pieces from my mother’s side of the family have rested comfortably in their teak chest for my entire life. My mother and brother bring it to fabric. They buy clothing for themselves and for others because they feel good to the touch. Even if it makes said family-member look like a giant purple grape. (O, please, fashion-industry, let us be DONE with velour for the rest of my life!) My mother keeps it under control, just enjoying soft textures. My brother will worry the corner of a blanket or other piece of fabric until the threads fray and then finger roll it back into a single thread, as if he were carding wool.

I’ve made fun of them for years – because of course, it’s very easy for me to disguise MY issue, under the guise of not liking flavors or ingredients, which is fussy, but less weird than mouthfeel. But, in preparation for fall/winter, I went through my coat closet a couple of days ago. And here’s what I’ve noticed: All of my cuffed jackets have a big worn spot, right where my fingers fold over and clearly, clearly, fuss and worry at it.

I’d eat crow…but feathers, then meat, then bones…that’s a lot of different textures going on.

[User Picture]From: ginger_rose
2011-11-18 06:42 pm (UTC)
Yeah, cuz THIS class settles down. So cute.

And "Cthulhunity of Broccoli" sounds like a GREAT chapter in a cookbook. ;)
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[User Picture]From: russell_moore
2011-11-18 07:19 pm (UTC)

re : For me, it all happens in my mouth.

yeah ... I went there ... and what a lovely afternoon trip it was
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[User Picture]From: ferlonda
2011-11-20 01:25 am (UTC)
Not into mushrooms. Bad childhood experience with my dad (also my sexual abuser) making me eat canned mushrooms. Taste of mushrooms, tolerable. Texture? No way. I can actually eat them now without wanting to vomit thanks to EFT but I still allow myself to give them to dadgaderie when they show up on my plate. *shudder*
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[User Picture]From: quislet
2011-11-22 05:31 pm (UTC)
I intensely hated broccoli "trees" as a child, but for me it was more about flavor. My mother always peeled and sliced the stems into something like carrot sticks in order to get me to eat my broccoli.

I've always found it challenging to wrap my head around food texture issues. I think there must be a genetic switch involved, and mine's turned off. Though a relatively recent food texture epiphany happened with a hamachi and pink grapefruit crudo: only one bite and I couldn't tell the fruit and fish apart by either flavor or texture. It was brilliant, confusing in an exciting way.
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