Changing tastes

There are things that I used to love.

I used to love melting supermarket brie in the microwave and scraping it up with watercrackers. I’ll admit, I was 11.

I used to love twisties and rainbow paddlepops. I’ll admit, if the mood strikes, I still do.

But I never liked black jelly beans. They were acrid, yucky and something that only dad’s ate. I liked orange ones. Fake orange flavour was always a favourite.

Like a soft black taint on my perceptions, I’ve never eaten the black squidges. They are classic dad fare, like jokes where someone says they can’t hear and dad’s say “What?” and cup their ear.

But, slowly tastes change.

I just ate my first black jelly bean. Like a final hurdle,- there’s virtually nothing now that I won’t eat. It was squishy and overly sweet with only a slight aniseed tang that was punching way below its weight.

I think I have to acknowledge the role of fennel in this change of taste. Because there’s every chance that if given a chance, I’ll eat them again.

Fennel first came into my life last year when I had the Broadbean salad with shaved fennel, pecorino & pear at Sean’s Panaroma. It was crunchy, clean and sweet. The kind of thing I could happily do a Jennifer Aniston chicken salad, while she was filming Friends, and eat every day for lunch for years.

Suddenly and the Hungry One will attest to this, there’s fennel everywhere in our life.

It’s shaved into every salad, with every dinner. It’s baked with fish or red onions to go with a roast chicken.

It’s just pulled off in hunks when I’m at home on my own and dipped in a basil cashew dip or a white bean puree.

It’s cut up finely, mixed with mayo and herbs and shredded chicken, making very nice sandwich fillings.

It’s because of fennel that I now feel that I can eat practically anything.

I’m adding more and more chili to my food by the month.

I’ll eat red capsicum if it’s in a salad…

and one day, maybe one day, thanks to the black jelly bean I’ll be able to conquer another black scary substance…

Look out vegemite toast. One day I might just conquer you too.

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