Rantings From A Food Critic

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Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

I’m not your typical food critic. I don’t go to restaurants, scare the employees, order several dishes from the menu, and then write my opinions in the most sought after review columns.

Nope. Not me.

I’m the worst kind of critic. I HATE FOOD.

Hate is a pretty strong word, don’t you think? I dislike food – intensely.

I get very little joy out of food. I eat because I have to eat. People have told me they wish they could be like me. No – you don’t. Really. Trust me.

It’s super hard to come up with meal ideas when you don’t want to eat anything. I’m never in the mood for anything. I mean – NEVER.  I never crave anything either. (Except chocolate and caramel.) Not even when I was pregnant. The task of preparing meals for the Noodges and the Coffee King is daunting. I never know where to begin since I don’t care about the result. Food is for survival purposes only.

Obviously, I know which food groups are good for you. I use chicken, fish, and poultry as my base and build from there. But to say I’m in the mood for herb crusted chicken blah, blah, blah with a side of green yada, yada, yada won’t happen.

When I was a kid, my Italian mother would stand above me and shout, “but what’s there not to like? It’s only sausage and potatoes!” My Pop-Pop, (Italian grandfather straight off the boat) often asked when I refused to eat anything with tomato sauce, “What kind of an Italian are you?” The kind that likes cannolis, Italian cookies, Italian bread, and pretty much anything my professional baker Pop-Pop could make.

It wasn’t until I was in my forties that I discovered the source of my problem. I’m a supertaster. I have too many taste buds. (This is a real thing. I’m not making it up.) Lots of foods like broccoli, coffee, anything sour, taste really bitter to me. You should’ve been there when I accidentally ate broccoli rabe at a conference luncheon and needed to spit it out – immediately. It wasn’t pretty. What tastes like normal food to others taste terrible to me. In fact, I’m not sure I know what “normal” tastes like. I prefer to stick to anything bland. Macaroni with butter is an all time favorite of mine. On those Sunday dinners growing up, my grandmother would pull out some of the spaghetti for me and put butter on it before she dumped her homemade sauce on the rest.

So, tell me. What’s your favorite dish? What’s on the menu tonight?

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St. Patrick’s Day Means Nothing To Me

Italian Flag Growing up in an Italian house my perspective on life was very one sided. My Pop-Pop, my favorite person in the whole world (no offense to my other family members that I love dearly), used to sit down with me and tell me in his heavy Italian accent, (though I never heard it) everything ever invented or discovered in this world was done so by an Italian. I believed him because if Pop-Pop said it, it had to be right.

Our meals were always Italian food. Stuffed peppers, pasta with beans (said in Italian is more appetizing. I just can’t spell it.), macaroni three times a week, and at noon on Sundays. Pop-Pop would sit at the head of the table with his gallon of wine on the floor beside him. The bottle took up too much room on the table and hey, what else do you do with wine in a gallon size jug? We celebrated Italian holidays and practiced our superstitions with care.

St. Patrick’s Day was for other people. As a child, I didn’t even own green clothing. Not unless it was striped with white and red. In fact, on St. Patrick’s Day my mother would send me to school wearing orange. I hope that wasn’t the Italian salute of up yours. Perhaps, Pop-Pop bought the outfit? We didn’t eat corn beef and cabbage, (or is it corned beef? My Irish friends?)  I don’t have an Uncle Danny who frequents the bars. I do have an Uncle Vito, with other habits, but that’s a tale for another time.

With this Irish celebration around the corner, I look at those about to partake and I say, “But there won’t be any cannolis!” What’s to celebrate if Italian pastries aren’t involved? Okay, I’m just kidding. There is plenty to celebrate. I just don’t know what it is. Maybe if I had married an Irish man I would understand. But I went off and married a Jew. They’re a lot like my people. Just in disguise.

shamrock7In the vain of March 17th, I raise my glass to you all. Go forth. God Bless. Drink up. Minus the cannolis.