Are you sure you don’t like that?
Does this sound familiar to you? You: “Mom, I hate sauerkraut” Mom: “But you like cole slaw. How can you hate sauerkraut and like cole slaw when they both have cabbage?” You: “I don’t know, I just do.”
It’s true. We savor an ingredient prepared in one manner and despise it in another. But what about the foods that secretly contain that one “yucky” ingredient, but you still love them?
Let’s pull those so called yucky foods out of the kitchen closet and onto your plate.
Worcestershire Sauce. I bet you have had many foods prepared with this popular British condiment but did you know how this came about?
After Lord Marcus Sandy, the Governor of Bengal, India retired to his homeland in England in 1835, he longed for his favorite sauce. The story goes that Lord Marcus Sandy commissioned two drug store owners John Lea and William Perrins to replicate a recipe he acquired in India.
Apparently the two pharmacists made a large enough batch to sell in their store but after tasting the strong elixir, they deemed it unpalatable and left it to sit in the cellar. During a cleanup two years later, they decided to take one more shot at the fermented sauce and discovered that it had mellowed into a rich complex condiment. Is this a true store or just hear say? I wish I could make up something that tastes awful and conveniently forget about it, only to uncover fermented liquid gold.
But what makes this common sauce so unusual? Is it the tamarind, a souring tree pod from Asia? Or is it the soy sauce and palm sugar? What about that pizza topping you have stayed away from all these years? Yes, fermented anchovies. Surprised? I was.
Did You Also Know?
The bloody mary was originated at “Harry’s New York Bar” in Paris in 1921 when the bartender mixed vodka and tomato juice and added a splash of Lea & Perrins® Worsestershire Sauce.
The Italians Love It
In Italy, you can find a huge selection of sausages but in the U.S., most stores carry a generic sausage known simply as “Italian Sausage.” A simple but flavorful sausage indeed! Ground pork, pork fat, salt, pepper and of course fennel seeds.
Fennel, that Anise/licorice like flavor leaves me with some of my earliest offensive flavor memories. That awful black jelly bean. But I never complained about Italian sausage or pepperoni.
Why do we licorice haters enjoy pepperoni and Italian sausage? It boils down to the amount used and the combination of other ingredients. For example, look at how many people shy away from spicy foods but order pepperoni on a pizza. Think about it. Pepperoni really is spicy and even those non “spicy food” eaters enjoy it.
Did you also know?
Most commercial root beers contain licorice or anise as a flavoring agent?
Have any of you been to Jamaica?
Well it doesn’t matter because I am sure most of you have had a chance to try Jerk Chicken. It’s that spicy grilled street food easily found in most generic Caribbean Restaurants. Do you like soy sauce? I am sure most of you do but I know quite a few who don’t.
Jerk Chicken is pretty simple. Marinated chicken slowly cooked over hot coals. But what goes into the marinade? Here are a few typical ingredients you might find.
Ginger, garlic, scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, cilantro, and soy sauce. Did you know that? I didn’t at first. Going back to the Worcestershire Sauce. Soy is in that as well.
Did you also know?
The Habanero is not the hottest chile pepper in the world anymore? The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion now get’s the crown. At a high of 2 million Scoville units, it makes the 350,000 Habanero seem like a chump. Well not really, but you get the picture.
Put the lime in the coconut
There were really very few foods I did not enjoy growing up. But coconut pie, coconut cake and any other coconut flavored sweet confection were some of them. I just assumed I would avoid anything with coconut but boy was I wrong.
Most coconut sweets are typically made with flaked sweetened coconut, the kind you find in that plastic bag in the baking aisle. But I discovered fresh coconut while working as a produce clerk many years ago. This had a nice pecan like nuttiness to it that I simply loved. Then came curries. Indian, Thai, Jamaican. I loved them all, creamy goodness blended with spices and hot peppers. Why didn’t mom tell me about this? Well it was the 70s after all.
Did you also know?
Emergency Coconut IVs were used by the British and Japan during WWII.
Do you have any of those “I like this in this but I don’t like that in that stories?