Monday, December 7, 2020

Weekly Eats: Food Aversions


A weekly round up: eats, watches, and reads.

I've been thinking about the subject of food aversions lately, brought on partly by Thanksgiving and partly by the book I'm reading.

Growing up, the common practice was that kids did not get to choose what or how much they ate.  If it was on your plate your butt was staying at the table until every bite was eaten.  It was a very practical system in terms of staying on a food budget and making sure that your kids ate more than mac n'cheese, but man it was rough to be a kid in those days.  My particular horror was centered around any kind of meat with a bone in it, and all poultry in particular (which fit the category of meat with a bone in it).

After a stretch of a very low meat diet (as best I remember I was in my early-mid 30's at the time), I realized that I didn't feel so great and decided to experiment with eating more meat.  Beef and lamb = no problem and I instantly felt better.  Salmon and shrimp = no problem.  I geared myself up for the ultimate test and tried boneless, skinless chicken breast...and I found myself liking it.  Wow, I must have been imaging my distaste for chicken all this time.

My next move was to try boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  I cooked up a plate and congratulated myself on how much progress I had made.  But as soon as the first bite hit my tongue, it touched off some kind of deep seated revulsion.  My stomach churned.  I manned up and took another bite, and out of no where tears started rolling down my face.  I wasn't crying, it was just my body's reaction.  I had hit a hard stop and after that it was a long time until I could stomach any kind of chicken..

While I don't think that I will ever attempt to eat another chicken thigh in my life, since then chicken comes and goes in my life.  As long as it's infrequent, it's fine.  I had a similar experience with canned tuna.  I found a recipe that I really liked, and then started trying to eat a lot of tuna.  The worst part for me was draining the tuna out of the can.  One day I tried to get a hold of myself and really take in the details and I ended up not being able to eat canned tuna for a while (I've since discovered the magic of tuna in a packet, which requires no draining and is a pretty nice afternoon snack).

I also have never been able to embrace turkey, which is really only an issue one day a year.  For my first Thanksgiving with my now-husband and in-laws I helped him carve the turkey and I just couldn't eat it after being so close to it.  But in other years if I stay far away from the prep I can have (and enjoy) a few bites.  This year I enjoyed our turkey (which he made) so much that not only did I have a few bites on Thanksgiving but I also had a little bit the next night.  After that, I knew to quit while I was ahead and didn't have any more turkey while filling my plate full of the other leftovers.

So in a rambling way, I think that the key to overcoming a food aversion (in my experience) is to push yourself but not too much.  My oldest stepson got sick once while eating mashed potatoes, and guess what, he doesn't like mashed potatoes.  Any other kind of potato, especially french fries, is just fine.  Twice baked potatoes are technically mashed potatoes, but with bacon and cheese, so they're also fine but I also feel like the fact that we don't have them very often helps.  Every once in a while, Shepherd's Pie is A-OK as well, but it's not something that I make more than once in a blue moon for family dinner.

What does all of this have to do with anything?  Well, let's take a detour look at this weeks eats and I'll pick the point back up when we get to books.


In addition to the standard Clif bars on workout mornings, I branched out a little bit this week.  We had some leftover Texas Roadhouse rolls from Thanksgiving, which were delicious with eggs.

I'm having a moment with hashbrowns.  My clumsily flipped omlette has Trader Joe's frozen mushrooms and pepper and onion mix inside.


I finished off my freezer stash of veggie burritos and had the final plate of Thanksgiving leftovers one day.  After that it was "fridge cleanout quesadillas": refried beans, Trader Joe's pepper and onion mix, cheese, and salda.


Monday: our final round of Thanksgiving leftovers!  I was certain that we were going to be throwing out tons of food but the only leftovers were rolls (I had a few for breakfasts and the kids finished the rest for snacks.  After that there was just a little bit of turkey and a little bit of gravy so I combined the two in a freezer container for my husband to have for dinner some night over toast (the name for this combo in his family is "stuff on a shingle" and no they don't call it "stuff", that's just me imposing a PG-13 rating on my food descriptions).

Excuse me while we take a moment to pat ourselves on the back for excellent management of Thanksgiving leftovers, now if only we were this good with the rest of our meals.

Gratuitous shot of my turkey-free plate:

Tuesday: our first "non brown" dinner since Thanksgiving.  Salmon bowls (air fried salmon, rice, Costco stir fry veggies, avocado, sushi ginger, wonton strips and sesame seeds and Skinny Taste dressing without the wasabi).  And shoutout that my husband used to be a die hard fish hater based on childhood memories  but is now salmon's #1 fan.

Wednesday: fend for yourself night.  The boys had dinner with their mom, hubs had a tuna sandwich, and I had spinach artichoke pasta.

Thursday: Chicken parm!  Our standard "recipe" of Costco panko chicken in the air fryer.  That's the last of our Thanksgiving rolls (I'd made another batch on Sunday so no they weren't a week old) dressed up as garlic bread.  Worth noting, in my book one marinara sauce is as good as another and we've been buying Kirkland brand for as long as we've been Costco members.  But recently I heard someone rave about Rao brand marinara so I picked up some which we had for the first time with this meal.  And hey, it does have a slight edge.

Friday: mandatory pizza night

Saturday: mandatory burger night

Sunday: mandatory..."hey I need to actually cook something"  night.  I knew that we had leftover rice in the fridge and the more I thought about it I realized that I'd never made fried rice for a family meal, I've just made it for my lunches.  Knowing that anything with soy sauce tends to be a hit in this house, I made that my dinner plan. 

As I was getting ready to get busy in the kitchen, it suddenly occurred to me that I wasn't sure how old the rice in the fridge was...and hey the nice thing about meal blogging is that I had a reference point to figure out that it had been there since...well let's put it this way, it was kind of questionable that we'd had it on Tuesday with the salmon bowls.  It looked and smelled fine BUT it was nearly two weeks old.  And the thing about fried rice is that you're supposed to use leftover, semi-dried out rice.

I turned to my friend google "Can you make fried rice from fresh?" and the overwhelming answer was DUH YES BECAUSE AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME TO HAVE A MEAL'S WORTH OF DAY OLD RICE IN THEIR FRIDGE READY TO ROLL.  So I cooked up the rice and then spread it out on a baking sheet and popped it in the freezer to cool while I stir fried a chicken breast and got all of the other pieces/parts ready to rock.

End result: I would say that "real" leftover rice is slightly better than "fake" leftover rice but not enough to bother about.  Everyone was very happy with dinner.


  • Hubs and I finished season one of What We Do in The Shadows and are looking forward to season 2.
  • On my own I finished season one of The Crown, which as I mentioned last week, is a show that I tried a long time ago and was so thoroughly bored while at the same time disturbed by the graphic scenes of King George coughing up blood that I bailed 20 minutes into the first episode but decided to try it again and the second time is the charm.  The (surprisingly) hardest part of the show for me is avoiding spoilers.  For example, I know enough about the royal family to know that Margaret wasn't allowed to marry Peter, but there is a lot of stuff that I don't have in my head like Churchill's dates as P.M. in the 50's or when he died, and it takes a little bit of discipline to wait for the show tell me instead of just googling it.
  • For family movie night we continued the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost trilogy with Hot Fuzz.  The boys liked it so much more than Shaun of the Dead (they did not like the depiction of "adult dead end job life" as a metaphor for zombies).


Let me preface this by saying that there are certain topics that just Do Not Belong on a food blog and cannibalism is pretty much top of the list.  But I am Going There anyway to tell you that I think I have found the perfect pandemic book.  I am listening to the audio book of Alive by Piers Paul Read (recommendation via Katrina).  At first glance I was like "ugh, a 12 hour audio book" and now that I'm 9 hours in I don't want it to be done apart from everyone getting rescued.

It is the true story of a plane crash in the Andes in 1972.  The survivors were completely isolated up in the mountains in winter with very little food and they Did What They Had to Do (with dead bodies from the plane crash).  The subject of isolation and survival plays very well into our times, and it's very seasonal since we just had our first big snow storm.  So back to my ramblings above about food aversions, it is nothing short of fascinating to hear about the process that the survivors had to go through to get past the ultimate food aversion.  It's not like they had it served to them, they had to harvest it with limited tools and limited/no cooking options.  Some were able to adapt relatively easily, some had to get to the literal point of starvation.  If I may say, this books does a great job of going into the details without going too into too much of the details.

[My personal take, if I was in that situation and my survival meant helping my family to survive or the chance of getting back to my family...I would probably fall in the middle of the pack.  I wouldn't have been the first one but I also probably wouldn't wait until the point of starvation.]

Have you ever overcome a food aversion?  What motivated you to try?  Were your parents Team Clean Plate when you were a kid?


  1. Ah, I'm glad you enjoyed "Alive", Birchie! Your description of the book is spot on. I'd be with you in the middle of the pack - I wouldn't have wanted to starve to death up there.
    Well done on the Thanksgiving leftovers! It's nice to avoid food waste and to get tasty dinners instead.
    I was allergic to peanuts as a kid. As an adult, I tried a few peanuts as a test. I'm not allergic anymore, but I can't get myself to eat them.

    1. For real, the allergy is a deal breaker. One of the boys' cousins has the same situation. He was allergic and seems to have grown out of it, but won't touch peanuts.

  2. Speaking of food aversions...I read Alive many years ago, but memories of the book has stuck with me. I would be with you on starving to death. I don't know if I could choke down human flesh...ugh...

    I share your squeamishness to meats, but have been working on it as well. I have been making sheet pan dinners using chicken thighs and I am in love again. I couldn't eat chicken thighs for years, but this method of preparation is absolutely delish. Let me know if you want some recipes!

    1. Ooh yes please! I'd love to see those links.

    2. I tried to link them here, but NYT is saying I need a subscription to view them. So odd.

  3. I have not read the book, but there was a movie about it many (20ish?) years ago that we saw. Not sure where I'd fall in the mix... I definitely would not be first in line LOL Speaking of aversions, I have a HUGE one for bananas. I never liked them growing up, but started eating them (sporadically) in my early 20's. While pregnant with our son, though, the aversion came back with a vengeance, and I have not eaten one since. I like banana bread/muffins, but that's it. I can't even stand the smell of them (and I call myself a runner).

    1. Don't tell my family that I said this, but bananas are overrated. I eat them once in a blue moon. I like banana bread, but my family prefers banana bread with chocolate chips, which kind of ruins it for me.

  4. I, too, cannot stomach chicken thighs. I really only like white meat chicken which is pretty much chicken breasts. But I hate to cook raw chicken as it grosses me out so I rarely do. I'm also not a big seafood eater and will not cook it myself but if its prepared for me in a way that the fishy smell and taste is not very noticeable I'll eat it.

    That book sounds very interesting, I'd probably starve though. I don't think I could stomach eating another human being!

    1. True confession: I like seafood much better when someone else cooks it.

  5. Interesting topic. I am sure our brain makes so many connections with food that we aren't even aware of. It's always interesting to me the foods that some people cannot stand but I love!