"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes-and ships-and sealing-wax-
Of cabbages-and kings-
And why the sea is boiling hot-
And whether pigs have wings."

- The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carrol
(From Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Super Palate

My husband claims to have a super palate. Also known as a "super taster". A person who experiences heightened sensations from food and beverages, being extra sensitive to bitter tastes, textures, carbonation and spice. Super tasters tend to avoid foods like spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts. (Note the trend there with green vegetables.) I mock my husband about this if not daily, then at least weekly. He uses his super palate as justification for what I consider picky eating. At which point, he loves to bust out the story about when he was a kid and his parents forced him to eat Brussels sprouts, and he refused, refused, refused, until finally...giving in...he proceeded to vomit. Everywhere. And it was the last time anyone has ever forced him to eat anything.

I, on the other hand, am more egalitarian in my approach to food. I'll try anything. Some of my favorite foods also happen to be some of the same foods that my husband finds absolutely appalling. Like mushrooms. And seafood. Recently, while picking Blue crabs (which I very much enjoy), the hubs turned green and had to leave the table.

I find this interesting because it's one of the areas where Scott and I are so very different from one another. I mean, there are plenty of foods (Buffalo wings, steak, mashed potatoes, Thanksgiving dinner) that we both LOVE. But there are so many other tasty morsels that I adore that he flat out refuses.

Here's the thing about the super palate. Allegedly, it's genetic. I definitely have the same taste in food as my Dad. We make excellent dining companions. My Mom seems to be the pickier eater in our family. I remember a time when she refused to eat eggs. Who doesn't eat eggs?!

When Abbey first started eating solid foods and fell head over heels for strained peas (of all things), I thought, "Ah-ha! She has MY taste in food." Unfortunately, that love affair was brief. As soon as she discovered sweeter tastes - like apples, pears, mangoes, it was bye bye peas. On the other hand, she can't stand meat. Any kind of meat makes her gag. That, however, may not be so telling because, really, pureed meat makes me gag, too.

As we approach Abbey's nine month milestone, I have decided to do my best to forgo the jarred baby food (although jarred baby food, and the baby food pouches, have come a loooonng way, I understand), and make my own. So far, I've concocted a favorite stand-by, pureed sweet potato. But have also made a nice nectarine puree, a sweet-pea, pear and mint combo (that sounds downright spa-like, if I do say so myself) and have the ingredients to try several other gourmet concoctions like a tomato-carrot stew; butternut squash and banana; blueberry sauce for baby yogurt; and other various sundry. I'm hoping the fresh tastes and textures will make an impression. This is my first experimentation in the whole nature vs. nurture arena, and we'll just have to see if the super palate wins.

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