Saturday, January 15, 2011

My Palette - A Study In Purple

Since part of the purpose of this blog is to evaluate recipes, I think it only fair to disclaim my (often very odd) personal tastes.

When I was young, I was diagnosed with food allergies. Not the swell-up-and-die kind of allergies, but the feel-miserable-and-crabby kind. For several years, I was on a strict elimination diet followed by a rotation diet. That is to say, I could only eat certain foods once every five days, not that I was required to spin around constantly.

This had two effects. One, it contributed to my love, appreciation and obsession for / with / by / to food. I don't have a sweet-tooth; I have an everything-tooth. Two, it created some bizarre eating preferences, including foods I still don't eat because I never developed a taste for them, foods I may or may not still be allergic to, and foods I have a dysfunctional, bipolar relationship with because I ate too much of them while on said diet.

Cheesecake is the major one. I was obsessed with cheesecake while on-diet because it was virtually the only dessert I could eat. After too many cheesecake inhalings, however, I grew sick of its issues. After time (years) away, I apologized to the cheesecake and we started seeing each other again.

So without further ado (all right, there probably will be more ado during, but for right now), the list:

Allergies: Fish. This is my only bona fide can't-keep-it-down allergy. Unfortunately, my body has developed a smell-related defense mechanism and I can't even be in the same room with cooking fish. Or any kind of seafood. I may actually not be allergic to shrimp, shellfish, etc, but myself won't let me close enough to it to find out. This is sadly not the only conspiracy I am committing towards myself.

Probably Allergies: Mushrooms, zucchini, cucumber. (I used to be allergic to these things and there's no reason to suspect I've been "cured" of the allergy.)

Mild Allergies: Tomatoes, wine. I can't do raw tomatoes, but cooked ones are fine. Wine is fine in moderation. However, I don't get drunk: I go from tipsy to sick. Yes, I am boring at parties.

Irrational Dislikes: Beets (texture), asparagus, melon, spinach (except baby or leaf). Onions in anything other than moderation. Typically, when a recipe calls for onions, I will halve or omit them entirely. You have been warned. I am not terribly fond of turkey and will usually avoid it.

Irrational Likes: Apricots (fresh, but not rude), pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes ("sundry-ed" tomatoes, as my family calls them), peanut butter, any kind of beans, cheese - the sharper the better, ginger, cilantro ... I will use an unholy amount of cilantro in a recipe unless prevented by the forces of someone else eating the dish. Garam masala. Dried figs. Peanut butter. I could happily sit and eat an entire jar of peanut butter.

Here's the confession that might get me kicked out of ye olde girls' club ... I don't really care for chocolate. I don't dislike it, but I prefer dark chocolate, and nine times out of ten, I'd rather have peanut butter or ice cream. Or ice cream with peanut butter. Or ice cream with pine nuts ... no, wait.*

* = If you've not baked with toasted pine nuts, try it in place of walnuts or almonds. They have a very subtle sweetness that is positively addictive in cookies.

Anyhow, this is just so folks know where I'm coming from when I kick up the spice level (I like it hot) or cut ingredients. Your mileage may vary. (Hopefully not a lot, given the price of gas these days.) Happy cooking!

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