When I was younger, my mom’s potato salad was among my favorite of her dishes. Striking just the right balance between tangy and creamy, her potato salad was the star of our backyard barbecues. Because she knew how much I loved it, she indulged me by making two separate versions: one with raw red onion and one without.
Count me in the without crowd.
I remember her trying to sway me. “You should just eat the onion version; you can’t even taste them.”
My argument, of course, being that if one cannot taste the onions then why would one bother to include them in the salad to begin with. Even she had to admit that I’d won that round.
Back then, my timid tongue discriminated against more than just red onion (or onion of any color for that matter). Also on my list of off-limit foods were: tomatoes, avocado, mayonnaise, bananas, mushrooms, and anything that ever had gills. Admittedly, I was culinary challenged.
Much has changed.
As the executive chef in my home kitchen, there are very few ingredients I’m opposed to trying. In fact, some of my favorite meals incorporate creamy avocado, juicy tomatoes and earthy mushrooms; my formerly off-limit food items. One might say that my taste buds matured right along with me, leaving behind the sugary Kool-Aid drinks and coconut-marshmallow cupcake favorites of my childhood. If it weren’t for a single unexplainable remnant, it would seem as though every last one of my taste buds had been replaced with those of someone with a more adventurous palate. Ah, but that remnant remains.
Every year, I look forward with eager anticipation to February 15th. It’s the day when stores do away with those horrid waxy chocolates in heart-shaped boxes in favor of Easter candy. For roughly six short weeks the shelves are stocked with pastel jelly beans and neon-colored Peeps and crème-filled chocolate eggs. While all of those candies provide a lovely rainbow of Easter color, none of them quench my craving. Truth be told, I only have eyes for chicks and rabbits. Brach’s, that is. Those little marshmallowy, melt-in-your-mouth pillows of confectionary goodness are what I wait so eagerly for, each and every year.
Last fall, my husband and I spent in excess of five hundred dollars for a single French-inspired meal—the seven courses of which were each paired with a fine wine. As we savored expertly-prepared culinary delicacies like Turbot Côtier and Pigeonneau I couldn’t help but pat myself on the back for having come so far in cuisine.
And then this week, as I frantically scanned the Walgreens candy shelf for my beloved Chicks and Rabbits, I was forced to revoke my own culinary cool card. What kind of self-respecting foodie—after all--would succumb to so juvenile a craving? This one, apparently. And after the first sweet marshmallowy bite, I dare say it was well worth any cool points the purchase may have cost me.