I think I have established that I was not an adventuresome eater as a child, and how my diet suddenly expanded with the discovery of Indian food but further onward with the story!
The greatest influence on my eating habits was my brother. Six years older he was off at University drinking beer and discovering life. He would come home occasionally and in his own inimitable way tell me what I should be eating. He introduced fresh ground, fresh brewed coffee to me and was so vehemently against instant coffee that to this day I won’t touch it because the smell of an instant coffee is like Bovril to the multi layered aromas of chocolate and tobacco to be found in a fresh brewed crema coated cup.
He was studying in Bangor, Wales and I would make the journey across the country by train, exciting for a girl from the countryside. He was vegetarian at the time (there was a woman) and his food seemed so wildly exotic compared to my mundane fare. Veganism didn’t phase him and he was fundamental in expanding my tired food repertoire. He explained, encouraged, insisted and in the end I would try those foods so gruesome to my palate. Olives, courgettes, aubergines, peppers, fresh coriander I devoured them all. I learnt that the judicial application of extra virgin olive oil (it was green!) made everything taste better; salad dressing was not acidic and creamy and did not come out a bottle; ripe tomatoes should be sliced, sprinkled with sea salt and olive oil not thrown on top of some iceberg lettuce; aubergines should be fried until golden and meltingly soft; avocados were not bland but rather a creamy cooling backdrop to brighter fresher flavours…you get the idea.
(He will not be happy if he sees this…)
He’s not vegetarian any more but he’s still an advocate of vegan food, because its GOOD food and he still convinces me to try new things more than anyone else (gherkins most recently). Food still connects us on a greater level than anything else and I’m truly thankful for his input into my culinary world.
Have you got someone who has helped influence or shape the way you eat now?