"I'm just a promiscuous eater...I can't establish a long-term relationship with any one food. It's the gastro version of Looking For Mr. Goodbar. I pick all these foods, and eventually they turn on me."
- Jim Steinman, songwriter
When Jim Steinman made the above statement, it was in explanation of a huge, all-encomapassing order in a Chinese restaurant. That causes me to think that he was using the term "promiscuous eater" to describe his greed. I too consider myself a promiscuous eater, but not in the sense of being greedy (which may also be true of me on occasion). I think of it as being willing to experiment, to try new things, to work at overcoming any minor distastes. There are a lot of foods that G claims he doesn't like. But I have found over time that he too is something of a promiscuous eater. He'll try things, even when he first greets the notion with a face or an "ewwwww..."
Ever since Molly of the gorgeous blog Orangette posted a recipe for her friend Doron's meatballs a month or so ago, I've wanted to try them. There were a few sticking points. The first one was mine: they have raisins in them. I'm not a huge fan of sweet and savory foods together, although I've been overcoming this. (Despite my efforts in this direction, I hope never to eat pineapple on pizza or tongue in raisin sauce.) I find that a moderate amount of tangy dried fruit works out okay in meat dishes, especially when it's balanced by lots of savory notes like garlic, onion, cilantro and cumin, as in Molly's recipe. The second issue was onions -- G will of course eat foods with onion in them (since otherwise I would have to stop cooking altogether), but he's not a fan of the flavor of raw onions. I dealt with this by sauteeing the onions before adding them to the meat mix, so I could gentle their flavor a little. The recipe also contained toasted pinenuts, which I adore. G wandered into the kitchen as I was mixing the meat and cocked an eyebrow. "What's wrong?" I asked. "Hmmm....well, you know I'm not much of a pinenut guy," he said. But he hastened to say, "I'm sure these will be good, honey."
Then, however, we got to the final frontier: yogurt sauce. G professes to hate yogurt other than Trix Yogurt, a noxious concoction which I assume is composed of flavored processed yogurt and luridly colored cereal. It has never been my misfortune to have an encounter any closer than the supermarket's dairy case with this faux-yogurt disaster. (G has since corrected my ill-informed idea about cereal -- apparently there's none in the yogurt. It's called Trix because the yogurt itself is luridly colored, and there are TWO colors in each container -- ooooohhhh. Or do I mean ewwwwww...)
My removal of the container of plain, whole-milk Greek yogurt from the fridge occasioned an almost involuntary "ewwwww" from my darling. "I'm going to make a delicious sauce out of this -- it has things you like too, like garlic and cumin." G shrugged. Well, he didn't have to eat the sauce. If he liked the meatballs, that would be good enough for me. I've often tried to appeal to logic by reminding him of his unbridled passion for Indian food, which is a cuisine that could not exist without onions and yogurt. Logic is not the answer when it comes to food dislikes, I've found.
I made side dishes that I knew would appeal -- broccoli with garlic and hot red pepper flakes, orzo with butter and grated cheese. I plated it all up, with a bowl of yogurt sauce which I assumed would be just for me. G ate some dinner. "Yummy," he said. Then with no prompting, he reached over and dipped a meatball into the bowl of yogurt sauce. "You're having some?" I said in surprise. "Well, of course I'll try it," he said. He ate it. With no comment, he dipped another meatball in the sauce. And again. I was not cunning enough to hide my triumph. "Ummm...soooo, you like the yogurt sauce," I said. He looked at me with that "don't give me any I-told-you-so crap" look, reached over and gave me a long kiss, and then continued eating, orzo, broccoli, meatballs -- and yogurt sauce. Who knows? At this rate, I have hope that mushrooms, olives and avocadoes may someday appear on our joint menus, rather than being forced to exile on my plate alone...