Try it, you’ll like it

I am not a picky eater. I like to say there are about three foods I don’t like. (Which always prompts the question, “Which three foods?”) And then I say:

1. Olives. I really hate olives. I hate the look and smell of them. I hate biting into what looks to be a great sandwich only to discover it has been mutilated with olive tepenade. I. Do. Not. Like. Them. (Sam I am.)

2. Melon. Yes, all kinds. Yes, even watermelon. Yes, I’m being serious. No, it’s not just a texture thing, though I’m not too keen on that either. Yes, really watermelon too.

3. I can never think of a third one. I say “three things” because I’m sure there’s something else, and because there are several foods I only like in certain context. Tomatoes, for one. I love prepared tomatoes; fried, roasted, sauteed, sun-dried, mashed into sauce or ketchup — sign me up. I don’t usually care for raw tomatoes, unless they’re in bruschetta or doused with vinagrette and sliced with mozzarella.

I also don’t usually care for eggplant, brussel sprouts, sprouts in general, sardines, or giblets, but I have a feeling there’s probably a method of preparation out there that could change my mind, at least for one meal.

In general, though, I like just about anything, and I’ll try anything once.

Which is why I’m kind if embarrassed about my next statement.

Sometimes I’m that person who says I don’t like something when really what I mean is I’m pretty sure I don’t because it doesn’t visually appeal to me but in reality I’ve never really tried it.

The thing is, I hate people who do that. Because I’m a firm believer in at least trying everything and giving it a fair shot. Then decide you hate it.

It’s not like I refuse to try these things. Usually I’ve just never been offered them before. And I don’t like to order things I might hate when there’s something I know I like on the menu.

One example is Bloody Marys. Ok, the name itself is gross, and the look of tomato juice has always turned me off. (I guess that’s one method of tomato preparation I don’t care for.)(Maybe.)

I’m very visual with my food. Even when I’m just bringing a limp sandwich to work for lunch, I like to slice it, arrange it on a plate, and add a side dish like chips or apple slices or something. But a thick sludge of red goo can’t really be dressed up for me, no matter how many celery stalks you stab into it.

The reason why I bring this all up is because last night I was craving a Pop-Tart (I know), and the only kind the fiance had was cherry. Without even thinking, I curled my lip in disgust and said, “Ugh, I don’t like the cherry ones.”

Now, the only cherry thing I don’t like is marachino cherries. I like pitted cherries, cherry slushies, cherry Coke, cherry Tums — you name it. But for some reason I had decided cherry Pop-Tarts would be cloyingly sweet, sticking in my throat and instantly rotting my teeth. Basically, what I think marachinos taste like.

The fiance was stunned I didn’t like them. Then this morning when he drove me to the train, he pulled one out to eat. (Breakfast of champions.) Again, he expressed his surprise that I don’t like cherry, and I grudgingly admitted I’ve never tried it. (Because, again, I hate being that guy.)

He offered me a piece, I took it (because I really am willing to try virtually any food), chewed thoughtfully and declared it…not as bad as I expected. Not great, mind you, but only marginally sweeter than the strawberry version, which I do like. (I know, I’m making a mountain out of that mole hill distinction.)

So lesson learned: You can’t judge a food by it’s cover. Now, who’s up for some Bloody Marys?