What’s your favourite meal to cook and/or eat?
As a child (age 5) my favourite meal was Beef Stroganoff & Lemon Soufflé – My mum was a good cook and we always ate meals every night altogether around the table. At that time my selection didn’t appear at all unusual, but it obviously was because in one of our classes we were asked to say “what is your favourite dinner?” – and this was my answer. The teacher collected all our answers together and then produced a bar chart showing the most popular choices. At the year-end parents evening various artworks (done by the children) and some items showing what we were being taught were displayed on the wall. I only remember this because my mum was so proud that whilst most of the bars on the bar chart were items like fish fingers, sausages, chips and so on and the puddings things like ice cream. However, there were 2 tiny bars on the bar chart – 1 for Beef Stroganoff and 1 for lemon soufflé with only one person selecting these items. My mum knew immediately who that was!
I also remember regularly being taken to an Indian restaurant (my parents’ favourite and quite unusual for the time) when I was about 10 – 12 years old. There was no question of me not coming with them but both they and a waiter that knew them became very frustrated that I didn’t want to try the “spicy food” and determinedly stuck to the few English dishes on the menu. Eventually, the waiter managed to convince me to try a korma curry (because it was very mild) and so my tastes gradually progressed to more spicy options. My mother also became very interested in Indian cooking using all the separate spices and she started to cook rather good Indian recipes at home.
I was never a “fussy” eater and was always given exactly the same meals as my parents, just a little smaller. It meant that I would try just about anything, except at first refusing Brussel Sprouts. However, one day they were most surprised when I said that I wanted some, because I had been to a friends house where they had been served up. When asked if I had eaten them, I replied “yes, of course, it would have been rude to refuse”. Anyway, having tried them I found that they weren’t so bad as they smelt! The other vegetable that I used to notice disappeared from the fridge without me being offered any was asparagus, so one day I asked accusingly why I was on given the opportunity THAT! My parents grudgingly admitted that they used to save it for themselves until after I had gone to bed because it was expensive. However, after me calling them out on it I was permitted to have asparagus too.
Once I left home and had to start cooking for myself, I couldn’t bear to eat lots of the ‘rubbish” stuff that my friends were eating and living in Leicester for the first few years the canteen at our manufacturing plant often used to serve up curry – although it was rather odd sometimes, including tinned fruits but it was still the best thing on the limited menu. Enjoying the fact that I was a bit contrary, I decided to get really good at Chinese cooking including dim sum – a bit weird when living in Leicester surrounded by all sorts of different Indian cuisines. The one-time that I varied this was at the weekend, when I used to go to the market and also to different Indian districts and buy their smaller snacks to eat for dinner.
Having been brought up to enjoy a wide variety of very good home-cooked cuisines, it didn’t seem at all unusual for me to continue this trend and I used to love all sorts of home cooking. Because I have lived with my partner since I was 19, he has also been exposed to all my various cooking trials and fortunately although I can no longer cook myself, he is an excellent cook. As he is busy cooking now I can admit that he is now even better than I ever was.
So now I will return to the original prompt “what is your favourite meal to cook and/or eat?”Unlike when I was a child of 5 I really don’t have any answer to that question, because I like to eat all sorts of different meals. I don’t have “a favourite”! In fact quite the opposite, I really get quite bored if my food is just the same – I need variety, although as time has gone on I much prefer vegetables to meat but the same is true for both categories – I like to try all sorts of different vegetables and meats.
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