What foods do you hate?

My mom is picky. Really picky. So guess what I was? A really picky child.

What your parents eat have a really profound effect on what you will eat… at least as a child. The list of things I refused to eat as a kid was far greater than the list I would eat. A sampling of my no-way-in-hell- eating list: salad dressing, Mexican food (more than just a food–a whole culture of food!), fish, french toast, eggs, bananas (my mom actually liked them–I just hated them), and mustard. The last one is particularly amusing in hindsight since I got married at a Mustard Museum. Clearly, I’ve grown.

It wasn’t until I was a teenager and eating dinner at a friend’s house that I began to try more foods. And I think the only reason I did try them was because I had also grown up to be a pleaser. I had no idea how to say “no” to anything or anyone so how in the world would I say no to someone serving me dinner?

And so, I soon discovered that salad dressing is actually pretty good, that Mexican food is delicious, and a whole new world of spice and flavor in Thai, Chinese (I’d only had Chinese from Safeway), and Indian food. I’ve actually introduced my parents to new foods, though, my mom has continued to resist most of them.

Despite the opening of my food world, though, there are still foods I just don’t like. Watermelon is one. I know that makes me un-American but I just don’t like it. I’ve tried. I even went to a watermelon tasting at a farm that grows more than 10 varieties and none tasted of anything more than dirty water to me. I should say that I will eat watermelon… I just won’t enjoy it.

The object of my primary animus, however, is fennel. That anise flavor is a no go in any form, from black jelly beans to black licorice and raki. While I pride myself on my vegetable love, I just can’t muster any love for fennel no matter what I do.

I’m sorry, fennel. I hate you.

I’m happy to leave you my share of the fennel.

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