Have you ever cooked food, even though you knew you'd a hate it? I have. Most of the time this stems from being given ingredients and not wanting to waste them.
For example, I hate cooked spinach. I like it raw in salads or on sandwiches. I can tolerate it in lasagna and a few other dishes where it gets covered up by everything else.
And yet a few months ago I went ahead and made a spinach curry when a neighbor gave us a ton of spinach simply because I knew it would go bad before I could toss all of it into a salad and didn't want to throw it away. I looked around for a recipe that would use a lot of it up. I thought, “Well, maybe this way it will be okay.” It wasn't okay. It was awful. I threw the remains of it, and there was plenty, out that evening.
It still makes me sick just thinking about it.
So, guess what happened? A neighbor gave us a bunch of spinach, yesterday. Organic spinach, no less. Two full pounds of it.
It gets worse. Two other things that, as a rule I avoid like the plague, are canned tuna and avocados.
Yes, I know. Shame on me. I've heard before, “You just haven't had them prepared right.” Guess what? Yes I have. I still don't like them. To me, guacamole is just spicy spackling paste. The only way I can tolerate canned tuna fish is if it's melted into a puttanesca sauce. Put it on bread with mayo? Forget it. Feed it to your cat, please, not me.
So, what was I thinking? What bit of madness overtook me tonight? I tried to make a California roll sushi for the first time. Instead of canned crab, which I didn't have, I tried using canned tuna. The recipe said that was perfectly acceptable. You know what else the recipe called for? That's right. Avocado.
What would go with sushi, and let me use up some of the spinach? How about a Korean side dish, spinach namul? I had a recipe for it and wanted to try it.
Why didn't I learn my lesson with the curry?
First, I couldn't get the rice to stick together well. That was frustrating but my wife and two of my daughters said the California rolls tasted great, even if they did have to eat them with a fork. My other daughter, who shares my opinion of avocados, at least gave it the college try, even though she's in elementary school.
The spinach namul? My wife said she liked the sesame flavors in it and had seconds. No one else did. I had one bite, noted the nice sesame flavor and the horrid cooked spinach texture and didn't take a second one.
I did eat three of the sushi pieces before giving up entirely on the meal. I drowned my taste buds in rooibos tea and left the table to go take care of my ever sickening stomach.
Something my Dad used to say kept running through my mind as I went to lay down:
“Try it, you'll like it,” they said. I tried it. I thought I'd die.
Now, where did I put the Alka-seltzer?
Picture by Susan Tito