I’m about to lose some credibility as a foodie/gourmet/gastronome/whatevertermiscurrentlyinvogue, but I have a confession to make: There are a small number of foods that I really don’t love or fully appreciate. Foods that some people think are the best in the world, but to me, they’re just OK. This came to me last night when I had two gorgeous green tomatoes that just came off the vine. I sliced them thickly, soaked them in buttermilk with some green Tabasco, then dredged in cornmeal with salt and pepper. I fried them quickly in a skillet until a rich golden brown. I dug in and, just like every single fried green tomato I’ve previously eaten, they were fine. Just fine. Nothing all that special to me, and certainly nothing close to an “Oh my god, this is so good” moment.
I don’t get fried green tomatoes. And before you tell me, “Oh, you haven’t had mine” or “You need to try so-and-so’s,” let me remind you that I’ve had fried green tomatoes dozens of times from dozens of places. I always allowed to get myself excited by the hype, and I tried to convince myself that they were fantastic. But they were just OK. Nothing all that special, but certainly a good way to get rid of the end-of-season green tomatoes (although making soup out of them is a far better thing to do).
And then I realized that there are other food items that I enjoy just fine, but they’re nowhere nearly as exciting as what others proclaim.
Exhibit B: Soft shell crab. I first have to admit that I am a soft shell crab neophyte. I’ve had it before, but I hadn’t even eaten an entire soft shell crab until about a month ago. It was cooked by Ashley Christensen, whom you all know as my favorite chef in the area. And I enjoyed it. But as I was eating it, I was also thinking, “Boy, I would love to have some blue crab or dungeness. ” I understand that soft shell crabs are different, in flavor, texture and how they’re cooked, and they’re more sought after because they’re available for only a limited time. But to me, they’re not so good to cause me to groan in a food-gasm.
Exhibit C: Fiddlehead ferns. They have a fine flavor, but again, I suspect these are so desirable because they’re available only for a limited amount of time and they are a harbinger of spring.
Now there are some transient foods that I do get, and how. Morels are at the top of the list. As are truffles. I really like ramps. And the first of the season’s asparagus. The height of the summer peach season sees me looking like a fool, with peach juices constantly dripping down my chin.
I obviously haven’t thought long enough to come up with other foods I don’t get, but I’m sure there are plenty. I just don’t like calf liver, but that’s another story altogether. What don’t you get?