A couple of days ago, I penned a blog describing how my father used to try to trick me into eating sprouts when I was a little kid by pretending he loved them, even though he didnít. (See: Taming the Mighty Sprout.)
Shortly after that blog was posted, I received an email from a friend (whose name shall remain secret lest his mother is a reader of my columns) saying:
I don't remember my parents bluffing like your dad, but there are some dishes I dislike because of the way my mum made them, like macaroni cheese, bread and butter pudding, and rice pudding. I have since eaten these dishes prepared by others -- mainly in restaurants -- and found them to be very nice, but still I generally avoid them because of the memories of old.
This immediately reminded me of a time -- maybe 25 or so years ago -- when I was visiting with a friend one evening. My friend had two daughters, one seven years old and the other two years older. The younger one said "We're going to play with the kids next door." Her mom replied "How will you know when your supper's ready?" As quick as a whippet, the kid responded "We'll smell it burning!" (LOL)
My friend's email also took me back in time to when I was at junior school in England. The school dinners (lunches) of that time were nothing like today. You didnít get a choice -- everyone was served exactly the same thing -- and you didnít get to leave the table until you'd cleared your plates, irrespective of how disgustingly nauseating were their contents.
The bane of my life at that time was the school custard, which was concocted by wizened and unkempt "school dinner ladies" churning away for hours in huge vats (the custard was in the vats, not the dinner ladies, although I fear it would have been hard to taste the difference).
I still have flashbacks of ladles wielded by snarling dinner ladies dumping a glutinous mass of so-called custard on top of the pudding of the day -- seeing blobs of unknown substances rising to the surface and then disappearing back into the nether regions from whence they came (when I burp, I can still taste it).
As a result, I never consume custard if I have a choice. However, the strange thing is that, if I find myself without a choice -- at a meal at a friend's house, for example -- I actually enjoy the taste of custard on my tongue. But if someone says "Would you care for custard with that?" My knee-jerk response is "Noooo! Please, Noooo!"
How about you? Are there any dishes from your formative years whose very names cause shivers of apprehension to run up and down your spine -- not because there was anything intrinsically wrong with the food itself, just with the way in which those dishes were prepared and served to you at that time?
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting