November 10, 2005
Favorite Food? Not me.

I was talking to my wife the Redhead the other day. She was about to take a big-deal test after studying for months, and for a celebration I offered to cook her favorite food for dinner. I asked what her absolute favorite food is and after thinking about it for a while, she couldn't answer me. I thought about it and I decided that I don't think I have a favorite food, either.

Why is this? I think if you'd asked me what my favorite food was at any point from childhood up until a couple of years ago, I probably could have told you. When I was growing up it changed from grapes to pizza to hot dogs to broccoli (yes, I actually loved broccoli when I was ten - go figure) to roast beef and potatoes to sushi to all sorts of other things. But there was always one clear favorite food that I would have gladly eaten every day of my life.

So what happened about two years ago that made me lose the ability to have a favorite food? I know exactly what happened - I started cooking instead of just reheating, and eventually started blogging about food.

Blogging about food is wonderful because it forces you to try new things. You recognize there are a few souls out there reading your ramblings and you want to please them. Trust me, no one wants to read about how to make the same dish over and over and over. You know that people want NEW and EXCITING and as a writer, you want to give people something they'll enjoy, and ideally something fresh and different from what everyone else is writing about.

So over the last 24 months or so, as I tried lentil and salmon and cabbage dishes and baked tarts and pies and bagels, my taste buds have changed. I no longer want just one dish. Or maybe its more accurate to say I want one dish every day, but what's in that dish changes frequently.

Blogging also makes you think about what you stab with a fork. It's no fun to think about the same thing again and again and again. No matter how good that piece of steak looks, by the thousandth bite (not in one sitting, I hope), it's pretty dull. Better to switch visually between bright vegetables, velvet sauces, and earthy proteins to keep your brain engaged, and the simple act of feeding yourself interesting.

Tonight, I'm hoping to make some chestnut dressing in anticipation of Thanksgiving. That's what I want. I also want something with beets in the next week, and maybe a cod or whitefish dish. Certainly I'll want some sweet dessert later on. There is no one dish I want all the time unless that dish is variety.

In the end, I made crepes with scallops for my wife and served it with the two items that come closest to being her favorite foods - a nice Belgian beer (Duvel), and a scoop of ice cream for dessert.

I kind of wanted fruit for dessert, myself.

Is losing "a favorite food" common among food bloggers? If you blog about food tell me if you still have a favorite food, and if so - what is it? Even if you don't blog, tell me about your favorite dish and think aloud about whether you could eat it every day without strangling someone.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at November 10, 2005 3:01 PM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

I really like ice cream, but I don't think it counts as a favorite exactly. I've only been officially food blogging for a couple of weeks, but I've noticed that exposing myself to more variety (whether for food blogging or just because I got a lot of cookbooks from the library) cuts down on "favorites."

My husband eats practically the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day. He's perfectly happy with this. I, on the other hand, am always ready to try a new recipe for an old standard or something entirely new.

Posted by Sarah on November 10, 2005 at 6:09 PM

I definitely agree that variety would be my favourite food (actually I confess that I almost *hate* eating the same food on two consecutive days). But I still have a favourite beer. It's Duvel :)

BTW, did you know how in Belgium we order a Duvel in a crowded pub if you can't reach the bar? You sign the bartender by using your two hands making little horns on your head, letting him know that you want a 'little devil'. :)

Posted by Nico on November 10, 2005 at 8:01 PM

I noticed the same thing happening as my cooking and dining experience increased. I no longer have a favorite food any more than I have a favorite movie. In both cases I have a list of about 20 "favorites" which change from time to time.

A related phenomenon is that I don't _dislike_ much anymore. There was a time when I hated squash, period. Now I hate squash _prepared in certain ways_. Other ways, it's okay. There are still maybe half a dozen things about which it might be said that I haven't found the way I like them yet -- and to be honest I don't spend much energy looking, either.

Posted by Cambias on November 13, 2005 at 9:10 AM

There's a sandwich combination I'm addicted to and could happily eat every day for the rest of my life. I've been eating it for several months now, so I'm well on my way!
It's wholewheat pita, lightly toasted, spread with goat's cheese on one side and horseradish on the other.
Inside is smoked turkey and slices of grilled eggplant and roasted green pepper.

Might sound strange, but it's truly heavenly!

Posted by Jules on November 14, 2005 at 2:47 AM

I only very recently started to blog, and it certainly has affected how I eat. I'm much less "routine" in what I cook. And I think it's made me less wedded to my familiar foods and tastes. It would be impossible for me to name one food as a favoirte. However, if pressed I would admit that I have a fatal weakness for seafood gumbo. My mother and I once ate nothing but gumbo for two weeks and wondered if a person could die from gumbo poisoning. OK, I could eat that every day. And right now, I would love to eat Agrimontana candied cherries every day too. And Cowgirl Creamery cheese..... Oh, I have to stop!


Posted by Sher on November 16, 2005 at 3:53 PM

Same for me... several months ago I could have told you what was my favourite food or even my favourite pudding, but now that I cook every single day, blog about it, I don't have a favourite pudding anymore.
Alike Cambias, I used to hate some stuff like oinions, garlic, pork but that's not the case anymore.
Interesting post BTW.

Posted by Cindy on November 18, 2005 at 5:19 PM
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