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I got the surprise of my life when people were complaining about a DR editorial. You mean the BYH column is not the...

Food-related memories: It's all a matter of taste

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Sunday, July 14, 2019

When I was in college, I had a friend who bragged he could remember every meal he ever ate.

Rob used to regale us with tales of meals past, from the first time he ever tried a club sandwich (“Double the sandwich goodness! Sheer genius!) to his unfortunate encounters with his grandma’s cabbage soup (“It tasted like salty water with a hint of spoiled cabbage — and it made the whole house stink!”).

There’s no doubt food evokes powerful memories and emotions among many of us, myself included. I still sigh when I recall my mother’s magnificent homemade macaroni and cheese and the chocolate cake she made me for my birthday every year.

But there’s also no doubt that different types of food can trigger a wide variety of reactions. In my family, there is much division on everything from how eggs should be prepared to the merits of the avocado.

My younger sister, Nancy, a fairly adventurous California girl who loves a wide variety of foods. On her Facebook page, she recently posted a long list of consumables — some ordinary and some more exotic — urging friends to look over them and tally which items they would not eat.

Nancy found the list on another site, and somewhat scornfully noted that she had tried everything on it, and none of the foods listed were especially off-putting.

“This is kind of a weak list,” she wrote “There are a lot of unappealing foods not mentioned.”

I was forced to disagree. The list included liver, snails and beets, none of which I would willingly consume. And then there are avocados — long a source of friction between the two of us.

Nancy once asked me if I would like to attend an avocado festival. I told her I would go if she wanted to, but that I didn’t like avocados.

I thought she was going to faint.

When I listed my rejected foods, Nancy jumped on the avocado bandwagon right away, just as I expected she would.

“Janet, everyone in the world likes avocados except you!” she declared.

“Then why are they on the list?” I countered.

Much to my surprise, my sister Cathy jumped into the conversation to back me up.

“Janet, I’m with you!”

Nancy was horrified. A long pro-avocado tirade ensued. Why couldn’t we reserve our scorn for aspic, tripe, raw squid and mint jelly? she asked.

I haven’t any affection for any of those foods, I replied. But there was still enough room on my thumbs-down list for avocados.

Stalemate.

Perhaps if I had my friend Rob’s stellar recollection of food-related memories, I could pinpoint where it all went wrong for avocados and me. Perhaps we could work through our differences and I would enjoy a slice of avocado toast every evening.

But I suspect not. Some things in life are just a matter of taste. Give me macaroni. Give me cake. Heck, I’d love a club sandwich right now.

I’ll pass on the avocado, though. And, come to think of it, I can do without the cabbage soup.

Chew on that, Nancy.

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Humans of Greenville

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Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

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