When Did I Turn into an Eater of Grown-Up Foods?

My one and only work friend (left) (ok, scratch that I know I have other friends still left here, but I mean the only work friend I talk to all day obsessively) is out today, and I feel like I have not talked to anyone and done nothing but eat all day, because that’s what people who have already quit their jobs but are still at work do- eat. Troublesome for someone who is on a “diet” and is going on a cruise in three weeks but nonetheless, entertaining.

I was coming in from “getting lunch” (read: the thing I ate around 1pm, which does not mean that at any point I actually stopped eating since 830am) an Uptown Salad from Potbelly Sandwich shop and it struck me: When the HELL did I turn into someone who eats sophisticated things? How can I phrase this? It’s not that I care less about what I’m eating, it’s that all I want to do is eat [my feelings] and therefore beggars can’t be choosers. Especially when you find some remnant of free food in the office kitchen, although, I can recall numerous times where I shoved something of indeterminate origin and substance in my mouth and promptly turned around to spit it in the garbage. Most of these times involved cold noodles stringy noodles and seeds.

And now for the list of foods I have discovered or refused to eat until after the age of 20:

Fish: Ok, so maybe I was a 19, a college freshman, but some magical thing happened to me in that college cafeteria when I would eat anything that looked hot and moist, and at least twice weekly that happened to be tilapia. I think part of the problem is that we used to go fishing as children, and smelling the raw fish and seeing my dad skin them was problematic. However, cooked fish lacking in scales and eyeballs are quite delicious. Paired with any kind of breadcrumb and lemon and/or cream sauce and I’m especially down.

Scallops: There’s a dish called Pasta di Angelo that I have eaten every single time I’ve been to the Lucky Duck and have not deviated from since I was probably three. It’s angel hair in a pink cream sauce with crab meat (which is probably fake, but I’ve never cared enough to think about it), shrimp and scallops. For my entire life I have picked out the crabmeat and the scallops. And then I went to this Giants charity thing at Cipriani and I met my friend, the scallop, which was seared on a bed of lettuce with goat cheese. I ate it because I was starving and little bit drunk. It was amazing.

Any kind of cheese: When you’re a kid you eat American, Mozzarella, Muenster, Parmesan, and Cheddar and that’s probably it. Then the cheese fairy visits you and you realize that cheese is better than sex. My friend JB actually introduced me to the concept of Team Cheese. You are Team Cheese if for the rest of your life you had to choose between cheese and oral sex and choose cheese. During our “Senior Prom”/senior dinner dance in college, we were served this salad with some cheese on it that I thought was mozzarella, but it was goat cheese, and I have been a believer ever since. Grande Lux makes a great salad appetizer with warm goat cheese and apples and walnuts. Amazing. I thought about this whole concept of foods I started eating because today there was blue cheese on my salad, which had I been two years younger I would have scraped off, but now I just try not to think about the fact that the blue part is actually mold. Because I’m a chubby, and I’m poor, and if I paid for it, I’m gonna eat it. The same with Brie. I like brie when you cover it with a crescent roll and put some jam on top, but when it’s cold and straight from the deli with the hard wax on the outside I always think “Wait, I’m really going to eat that wax?” No see it, no problem.

Beer– I went my entire high school and college existence while only drinking about three beers total. I hate beer, it tastes like pee. But now that I’m out of college and still have to go to bars to socialize, I will drink a Blue Moon with an orange slice because most of the time they’re $6 and not $9 like the three ounce screwdrivers I like. Did I mention that I’m poor?

Spinach/Artichokes/Asparagus/Brussel Sprouts/Green Beans– all points of contention as a child, all delectable when sautéed in butter or olive oil as an adult. I particularly like the taste of spinach which both surprises and kind of makes me feel ashamed because people are not supposed to like spinach- that’s the whole point of Popeye the Sailor- to make people want to eat spinach.

Things I still refuse to eat:

Chickpeas– they are creepy looking, but I do like hummus. That is all I have to say about them aside from that we once got into a fight with chickpeas in a diner while in high school. Oh yes, also creepy that they serve chickpeas in diners. I imagine the same bunch goes from table to table all day long since no one except my bff eats them.

Peppers– I have eaten peppers in my life, including whole stuffed peppers, and they make me throw up. I just have a creepy aversion to peppers, but I don’t mind eating steak that has been cooked with peppers, as long as those peppers don’t come near me during the chewing process.

Mushrooms– Have you ever seen a mushroom? Why would you eat that? They have like strange things on the underside that remind me of 70’s pedophile mustaches? I just can’t do it. I have tasted a mushroom sautéed in butter, and I would like to not try it again. I got a Dunkin Donuts Smart Menu egg-white veggie breakfast wrap because the photo looked like it was mostly spinach- WRONG. It was entirely comprised of pepper pieces and mushrooms and I picked out every last one and threw them out the window while I was driving.

Cottage cheese– I tried it less than two months ago, and I almost vomited. Oh GOD how do you eat curds? They’re just so lumpy. I shudder.

Things I have always loved to eat that a lot of people hate:

Tuna: In school I always had tuna guilt because whenever you unwrap a tuna sandwich someone will complain about the smell. Still to this day I will not eat tuna if I’m with someone because I’m afraid it will offend them. Thankfully in college I had a roommate who shared my love of tuna and we lived happily ever after.
Pickles! Oh god I love pickles. I have always craved them even way before I had raging hormones. These days I only like Claussen, as I find the Vlasic pickles have too much vinegar and are an unnaturally neon green color. It also freaks me out that they don’t have to be refrigerated. It’s good to be old enough to seek out and purchase the things you like otherwise I’d still be eating neon green pickles. Another thing I was not introduced to until the age of 21- frickles. Fried pickles are so amazing and so hard to stop eating, but be warned that they are not conducive to sexytime because you will feel like dying afterward. You should probably just not be around anyone you like after having eaten them because you may kill them with something noxious.

Tomatoes: I have a friend who won’t even eat a tomato wrap. I don’t know if you realize this- but wraps don’t even taste like anything. They taste like whatever you wrap in the wrap. As a child I used to eat tomatoes whole in the supermarket and my mom obviously couldn’t pay for them because I had already eaten them. Yes, I stole tomatoes as a child. I was a dirty thief. However- baked tomatoes are gross. Even lumps of tomatoes in sauce are gross. It’s just a textural thing.

Things I will no longer eat as an adult:

Bologna: Have you seen bologna? It doesn’t even look real. Just watch a video about how it’s made and I guarantee you will never eat it again. Ugh and what is that gelatin around the edges? Even as a kid I knew that was suspect and always took it off. I’m actually really disturbed that my mom thought bologna made for a balanced meal, or was even edible.

Blue Box Mac and Cheese: It makes me irrationally mad. Since when does powder make cheese? It’s seriously easier to just make macaroni, throw in some cheese, milk, and butter and make real mac and cheese. There are basically not even any added steps. Would you rather eat powdered cheese or real cheese? I thought so. Also blue box mac and cheese has always given me incredible heartburn, even before I knew what heartburn was. Am I alone in this? Cheese should not make heartburn, people.

That’s really it, I’ll eat just about anything else. I would like to say that I no longer eat hot dogs because they are also disgusting, but that would be a big fat lie. I love hot dogs.

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