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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • JOSHUA'S COLUMN — The shifting variables of good taste

  • Have you ever bitten into a new food, thought, “Hey, that’s great!”, then wanted to vomit once you found out what was actually in it?
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  • Have you ever bitten into a new food, thought, “Hey, that’s great!”, then wanted to vomit once you found out what was actually in it? I’ve heard horror stories about that sort of thing — people visiting foreign countries, trying crunchy candies, and finding out they just ate chocolate-covered cockroaches, that sort of thing. An elderly man I talked to once said when he was younger his friends invited him to try a plate of a meat hotdish of some sort. He ate a serving, and enjoyed it right until the moment they told him he had been eating calf brains sauteed in butter. Editor Troy has a pretty solid policy of not eating at potlucks unless he knows who made the various foods, and what’s in it. I used to be the same way, but I’ve loosened up a bit over the years, occasionally to my regret. The trade-off is I’ve sometimes tried a mystery food in a mood of experimentation, and discovered something I never thought in a million years I’d like, but did. The classic example was when I accompanied a seventh grade class to the Festival of Nations in the Twin Cities. I gathered my nerve, tried an Indonesian breakfast pastry — and was delighted to discover it was basically a heavily-seasoned bacon-and-eggs breakfast presented as a series of tasty bite-sized morsels. My palate has enlarged from my sometime willingness to take a deep breath, shut my eyes, and pop something I wasn’t sure about into my mouth. Then there are those situations where you think you’re eating one food, only to find out it’s something completely different. It’s not that what you’re eating is bad at all, it’s just not what your tastebuds were programmed for. Last week, Leanne at the Gazette brought in banana bars, the bar equivalent of frosted banana bread. In my typical early-morning fog, I didn’t hear everyone talking on and on about the great BANANA bars on the desk across from me. When I finally wandered across the aisle to look at what was on the tray, I thought, “Oh! Pumpkin bars! I love pumpkin bars!” and took a big one. Back at my desk I took a big bite and thought, “Ewwwwww! Yuck! What is wrong with these? These are the worst pumpkin bars I’ve ever eaten!” I wondered how I could dispose of the rest of the bar without making Leanne feel bad, then overheard someone compliment Leanne once again about the BANANA bars she made. I did a double-take and examined the bar carefully. Sure enough, it was a banana bar. “Well, it’s a great banana bar,” I said to myself. Tastebuds suitably readjusted, I enjoyed the rest of the bar for what it was. Taste buds are just weird. . . . . . In my story last Thursday about the teen blood donors, I interviewed Kaitlin Schmidt, and knew I was interviewing Kaitlin Schmidt, but my fingers went ahead and typed the name of her sister, Kierstin, instead. Or at least a version of Kierstin; I even misspelled that. As mistakes go, it was a two-fer, and I apologize to both sisters. . . . . . By the second week in March, it looked like spring was finally here. Nevertheless, in the March 17 Gazette, I went out on a limb and predicted we’d have one more blizzard, and I said it would happen the last week in March, between the 24th and 30th. It turns out I was wrong, but only because my expectations weren’t dire enough. I didn’t expect it would happen the first week of April. But now I’m going out on another, sturdier limb, and predicting we’re done with snow until the third week in November. Let’s see how I do this time. Maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll be guessing early again.

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