We weren’t allowed to be fussy eaters. Mum, who was an excellent and adventurous cook, used to say ‘You don’t know you don’t like it if you haven’t tasted it. Just take one bite. If you don’t like it then that’s ok.’ And of course, when we’d taken one bite, we loved it!
Her recipe book was well-used with lots of inserts and hand-written notes. It is a huge joy to me to have it and still use it.
There is a scientific reason (this Friday’s Factoid!) why children so often dislike things which later, as adults, they don’t have a problem with. They have many more taste-buds than adults, so the taste sensation is that much stronger, more intense. Adults have between 3,000 and 10,000 taste-buds. They regenerate every ten days or so, but that slows down with age so maybe it is true that food doesn’t taste quite so wonderful as it did when we were young. (And Mars bars are definitely smaller!)
I like my food spicy. This may be because of the years I spent in Northern Nigeria when everything we ate had a good spike of chilli pepper. The only veggies you could get were onions, tomatoes, yam or cassava, plantain, spinach, black-eyed beans, and peppers. They looked just like sweet peppers till you rubbed an eye or licked a finger! Fire lurked everywhere.
Hungarian friends we met in Nigeria introduced me to the delights – and varieties – of paprika. And so I always cook with spice. And for spicy interesting food, you need a good supply of fresh herbs and spices. I currently have a pot of basil on the windowsill but rely on dried herbs and spices for everything else.
The sharp-eyed among you will spot that my herbs and spices are arranged in alphabetical order, from top left through to bottom right! It makes it easier for me to grab what I want, without thinking!
I think I’m eating better during these days of lock-down than ever before. I’m enjoying cooking up a storm of something really delicious that I can then freeze for lazy days ahead. And I’m loving my new well-equipped kitchen! I always wanted a pull-out drawer for my pots and pans. (And there is a good reason for why I have two steamers!)
And yes, a fridge-freezer isn’t just for magnets!
But then came the day I ran out of biscuits to go with my cup of tea in the afternoon. Tragedy! Or not when you have the internet at your fingertips. BBC Good Food came to my rescue and provided the perfect recipe for a chocolate cake made in moments in the microwave! It is totally yummy, foolproof, and uses tablespoons to measure ingredients not scales. But you need a really large mug!!!
Just click for the link. Try it and see.
Which reminds me of a text from the Bible: Psalm 34: 8 ‘O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed are the people who take refuge in Him.’ That’s where I’m hunkering down during the lock-down. I hope you’ve found somewhere comforting and safe too!