I’ve written before about my fascination with how tastes change over time. I’ve also written about how things that seemed strange before I came to Japan, are suddenly my favorite foods. However, the more tastes change, the more some things continue to taste like crap.
There are certain foods, such as sweet tea, that I’ve never liked and continue to dislike. In Japan I’ve never learned to like oshiruko (Red Bean Soup) which looks as if someone was eating a manju and then upchucked it into a bowl. I don’t know if it’s the texture or that my brain sees it as baked beans but that’s not how it tastes. A couple years ago, Mother of She Who Must Be Obeyed made a batch of oshiruko that I liked. It wasn’t as sweet as other versions, and I actually had seconds. Everyone else in the family, of course, hated it because it wasn’t sweet enough. Mother of She Who Must Be Obeyed kept apologizing for it and I kept saying “no, it’s great” and she kept looking at me as if everything she’d always suspected about my sanity was finally being proven true.
I also have never learned to like the sweetened omelets that get served as sushi. These remind me too much of the way friends of mine would stack bacon, eggs and pancakes (or waffles) and pour syrup over the entire concoction. I tried this but never liked it. It’s like taking your entire Thanksgiving dinner and stacking the turkey, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce and then topping them with pecan pie and yams before pouring white wine and coffee over the entire mess. Separately those things are all great; together, well, they’re not so great. Usually, when I comment about the evils of mixing foods God never intended to be eaten as one dish, someone says “well it all comes out the same in the end doesn’t it? ha ha ha”. My response is usually something along the lines of “in that case just collect it straight out of the toilet and save yourself some cooking time.” (Remind me again: why don’t I get invited to parties?)
I’ve also never been able to eat (and, quite frankly, don’t understand) sweet pickles. When I was growing up, my Dad was partial to bread and butter pickles, which to this day I can’t stand. He also liked marinated cucumbers, which involved mixing sliced cucumbers, onions, vinegar, sugar and extract of pure evil in one bowl. The people who ate them lost their souls.
Here in Japan I’m partial to the salty pickles they make out of turnips, cucumbers, and eggplant, but I try to avoid any form of sweet takuan. I’m also not a big fan of gari the sweet ginger served along side sushi.
The funny part is, I like sweets, just not mixed with the rest of my meal.