Asparagus two ways: Shaved asparagus, millet and egg salad + prosciutto-wrapped asparagus
The first time I tried asparagus was not a good experience. The fact that I remember the first bite of a specific vegetable is a bad sign in itself. Anyway, this was back in the mid-90s, and anyone who knew me then can tell you that I was a picky eater. A painfully picky eater.
Here’s how it went down: My family and I were having dinner at the Fishbowl, a seafood restaurant in my hometown, and for some reason I decided to try a nibble of asparagus from my dad’s plate.
Maybe my sister dared me, or my 10-year-old self suddenly decided to be adventurous. That part I don’t recall. All I remember is the asparagus tasting so bitter and awful to my young taste buds that I might as well have eaten a piece of soap.
Fast forward almost 20 years and I can’t think of a food I don’t like, let alone beautiful spring asparagus! I love asparagus so much now that I decided to feature it here two ways: 1) raw and shaved into ribbons, tossed with a bright white balsamic vinaigrette and served with fibre-rich millet, hard-boiled egg and toasted sunflower seeds; and 2) wrapped in thin slices of salty, smoky prosciutto ham and crisped up under the broiler.
Funny how things change! I’m still glad for these unpleasant food-related memories, though, because it helps me sympathize with picky eaters. Some people, whether kids or adults, genuinely do not like strong-tasting foods and there is little that can be done about it. (One thing that does help mask the taste of bitter foods, however, is cheese sauce!)
In my case, it simply took time for my palate to mature and get accustomed to stronger flavours. As I became more interested in cooking and willing to experiment in the kitchen, the more open I became to foods I used to dislike.
Were you once a picky eater, or do you have to deal with one? How do you cope?
Jennifer Andrews, B.Sc., M.Sc.
Nutritional scientist // Marketing professional // Food blogger