I’ve been in talks with a media friend about firming up a dinner date at her place with some of the wild bunch who attended a famil at Treble Cone ski resort this time last year… Frankly it’s a dangerous group of people to put in the same room, but a little mini-reunion might be okay… maybe. Probably not. But when Jac, my hostess-to-be, asked if Llew and I had any dietary requirements, the question did give me pause.
I was going to say no. I’ve said no many, many times. ‘No,’ I’ve confidently exclaimed, ‘we eat everything!’
But it’s not exactly true, is it? I mean, to the best of my knowledge, neither of us have any allergies (and what’s with all the children being allergic to all the things these days? I don’t understand it. More time spent eating sand and dried dog biscuits at a young age ought to just about eradicate this plague of childhood allergies quick sticks, I’m sure of it), but that doesn’t actually equate to eating everything. There’s a few things I don’t like.
This very topic was discussed over the now notorious ‘breakfast friends’ breakfast, with interestingly consistent results. When it boils (and it boils until that grey scum forms on top) right down to it, I’m just not a fan of eating lips, balls, organs and arseholes. And I’m not the only one. But some people love the offal, love the brain, love the revolting, slimy, probably toxic innards. Gross. And I just can’t risk being served a big plate of liver at someone’s house, because I wouldn’t be able to eat it.
It’s not an allergy as such, it’s an aversion. Tamsin is allergic to seafood, which I find desperately disappointing but she couldn’t give two hoots or even one beep beep about, but I can’t pretend I’m allergic to tripe in white sauce. I just think it’s a filthy thing to put in your mouth. I’m still traumatised by memories of having to eat this dish as a child. Jesus Christ, exactly just how poor were we, anyway?! Yes, thanks, Mr Butcher, just give me all the intestines you’ve got. Thanks. And if you’re going to throw out that poisonous looking kidney, then wrap that up for me too. Mmmmm… yummy.
And can I just tell you that I also had to eat a lot of choko? Lather that watery flavour-evacuated bland slippery slice of nothingness in all the butter you like, but the sad fact remains that choko is a weed. A weed. It’s not a vegetable, it’s not a fruit, it does not belong in a single food group. All it does is ruin the roses.
I’ve talked on this blog many times about my love of food, and I’m wondering now if my genuine excitement for all – scratch that; most – things gastronomic has its root in the house of horrors that was my early dining experiences. It wasn’t all bad, of course, I was exposed very early to some of what’s become Sydney’s famous multicultural cuisine, but what sticks in my mind most are ghastly memories of those wobbly bits of inedibles, quivering in a sauce that still couldn’t disguise the fact that what was underneath was an animal organ of some description. No wonder I went through a vegetarian phase.
I get it now: I love food so, so much today because everything, absolutely everything I choose to eat now simply tastes sooooo much better than that. Speaking of which, it’s time for lunch…