Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My acquired tastes

When I was little, I had a short list of things I didn't like to eat. This didn't really matter, since I grew up in a household where you ate what was served to you--personal preferences were moot. But I had the list anyway: Things I Won't Eat When I Grow Up.

Mostly the list consisted of vegetables. Looking back, I don't think the ones I didn't care for were too unusual: Brussels sprouts, asparagus, peas, radishes, and of course the lowly lima bean. Plenty of adults don't like those things.

Now, decades later, I've learned to like all of them, with the exception of lima beans. I still can't quite embrace their starchy texture. But I've learned to roast asparagus, rather than steam it and serve it with Hollandaise, as my parents used to. And I've found that Brussels sprouts also benefit from roasting, though recently I've been blanching then cooking them stovetop, with bacon and shallots. Peas I'll add to nearly any pasta, and I find they go especially nicely with a little ham and cream.

And radishes. Finally, I learned to love them. I especially love watermelon radishes. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more stunning and surprising vegetable (with the exception of romanesque broccoli, another one of my vegetable obsessions, along with cardoons). I have tried the French way, with sweet butter and sea salt, and while it goes against every particle of my being, I'm not sure this pairing is for me. The Barefoot Contessa would shake her head sadly at me, and maybe I really am a rube, but the thing I like about radishes is their clean, sharp bite. I understand how it goes with the butter and salt, but I like them plain, in a green salad. I'll save my butter and salt for something else.

Last night, we ate salads comprised completely from farm vegetables: little lettuces, Nantes carrots, tiny Yukon Golds, and thinly sliced bright red radishes, dressed with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette. Since we're having a brief but intense heat wave here in the City, it was about all we could muster, cooking-wise, but it suited us just fine.

1 comment:

  1. First of all, I like that you used "rube" in your blog post. I love that word.

    Secondly, I applaud that you've embraced radishes. My mom used to eat them like little apples. I continue to hate them, but I make up for it by eating the lima beans you won't. The world has balance.