SMASH!! Goes my plate right onto the floor. Once filled with spaghetti, the red sauce and long strings make a complete mess all over the dining room. This is how I spent most of my dinners when I was very little, eating a few bites and then creating artwork all over the floor. According to my mother, who cooked for me every night when I was very young, I was a true rebel when it came to dinnertime. Although I soon grew out of my messy habits, I like to reminisce about being a nonconformist eater.
Generally speaking, I was a normal kid when it came to dinner. As I grew up my mom would always cook my siblings and I ‘kid friendly food’ including pasta, chicken nuggets, and rice dishes. When my family would eat at home, which was almost every meal, we would have a main course for everyone along with fresh vegetables and fruits on the side. About twice a week we would also go to one (and only one) fast food restaurant, McDonalds. This was due to the fact that my uncles owned about twenty or thirty of these franchises in Colorado. My dad was staying loyal to the family business.
As I started to get older (ten to fifteen years), one activity in particular shaped my palate: travel. Although I was young and did not realize it at the time, moving to London when I was fourteen changed my view on foods forever. Even before the big move, my parents would love to go to new countries and make me try new foods. Even if there were nothing that I liked on the menu, I would eat or go hungry. This philosophy forced me to try new and unusual foods that I would not have done so otherwise. One of my mom’s fondest memories of this was when we were in Hungry. It was a cold winter day (sometime around Christmas) and my family all went out for lunch. After looking at almost every single meal in the entire food bazaar, I realized that there was not one item that I recognized. This was the first time I tried goulash, a soup or stew of meat, noodles and vegetables, seasoned with paprika and other spices. And I loved it.
I was lucky to have such an experienced life, of which I have to thank my parents. Without their help I am sure that I would not have the same palate that I have today. The most interesting thing about my mom’s stories about when I was younger was how comparable her eating experiences were to mine. She was not a very picky eater herself, and her mother made her try new things all of the time. When my mom got to college, just like me she loved to cook. Pastas, eggs benedict and fresh Italian food were her favorite. However, once kinds and work started to be more and more present in her life, the cooking stopped. I can understand why she had to put her culinary talents on hold, but I hope that I will be able to cook for the rest of my life.