So…someone I have known for a few years ‘doesn’t do Italian’.  What?!  I hear you say doesn’t like subtitled films?  No, he doesn’t eat any Italian food. Any, if he can help it.  When I pressed him on this he said it was because he hated tomatoes and pasta.  Now, ignoring the fact that he eats tomato soup- which I am told isn’t really tomato….Italian is much more than tomatoes and pasta.  I know he likes a good steak, a good bit of cheese, a nice plate of seafood….so…. What. Is. The. Deal?  Well, for him I think it makes him seem eccentric, different or fussy and he seems to relish being contrary.  I have given up arguing with him it just isn’t worth the effort, and quite frankly I am bored of him rambling on about it anytime he spies a noodle or bit of tomato.

Italian food in Rome
Italian food in Rome

I respect that there are things people truly can’t eat – due to food allergies, religious restrictions, vegetarians… and then some people just can’t stand certain food items: beets, Brussels sprouts, strong cheese, sea urchin roe (that last one would be me- a very bad experience that ended with me dashing into the sea and splashing sandy-sea water in to my mouth to remove the taste, not good).

That said, I love the opportunity to turn someone on to a new flavour or taste – but only to willing palates, I would never force food on anyone. I recently turned someone on to butternut squash.  The key was a butternut squash hummus: roasted butternut squash, roasted garlic, a bit of cumin, lemon , salt, pepper and a dash of tahini – Yum!

I myself have been the somehwat willing, errr, victim, to a friend who is determined to turn me on to smoked/cured (or as she puts it- rotten) fish.  She grew up with it and absolutely adores the stuff.  Me- well, it just doesn’t do it for me.  I keep trying, and she has been very persistent, plying me with an enormous variety…I have yet to find anything that makes me go wow, and I feel like it is wasted on me.  But- I will continue to experiment, who knows….I used to hate oysters, but got over that and now love them.

Recently I encountered someone who ‘didn’t do French wine or cuisine’.  WHAT?!  Again, how can you categorically dismiss an entire cuisine? Not to mention wine….Really?! All French wine….Chablis, Champagne, Cahors, Bordeaux, Burgundy?!  All??  Something else must be going on- maybe a bad ex-French girlfriend?  I would be more understanding if he had said “I don’t really like red wine” or ” I don’t like Chardonnay”  Fine.  But ALL French wine.  All French cuisine. Nope.  I don’t get it.

French food in Paris (OK- the H2O is Italian)