I am happily surprised when I taste an adult food to discover that it is likable and sweet. Fig butter is a great example.
My friend Karen makes the most elite picnic sandwich you will ever experience. I say experience, because she makes them "live" on a beach with seagulls licking their becks saying "no way!"
The picnic sandwiches I make are two basic slices with something in the middle, not even cut and thrown into a zip lock bag.
Karen arrives with a loaf of freshly baked walnut bread. Then out of a bag we find pots, YES, containers of the sandwich contents. We have balsamic vinegar mixed with Greek olive oil, arugula, ricotta cheese and the now infamous fig butter.
Let me just say that being from London, I was once described as a snob because I bought uncut white bread from a bakery. I was (still am) in constant need of approval and have never purchased fresh bread since.
Balsamic vinegar, I had never heard of before my emigration, (one imagines I came over on a ship in 1945.) All I knew was malt vinegar on fish and chips. As for arugula, as far as I am concerned, there only exists lettuce. In fact I remember being disappointed once when I ordered something from a menu called curly endive. Come on people, lettuce is lettuce, big green non tasting plants that I pull from my garden and call weeds. Salad is the most successful marketing con there is, that however is another blog!
Anyway, my point is that when Karen offered said fig butter - I was in full child mode and squealed "I don't think I'll like it". You have to understand that my brother and I grew up thinking that pineapples grew in cans.
Our introduction to most things was; that we wouldn't like it, it wouldn't be good for us, or work for us or be worth the effort. Best not to try anything new as defeat would then never be a problem.
"Just try it" Karen suggested convincingly and because I know I am now old enough, I did. Big surprise, fig butter was sweet and not like the burnt moldy avocado I thought it would taste of. I loved it.
One of my first "adult" dinners I had on a date; I ordered steak, as I loved steak. When it arrived, it was not the thin black meat Mum served with mashed potatoes, in fact why on earth was it bleeding? I was horrified and my date must have thought I hated him, for ordering something expensive and then leaving most of it.
Now I have been around for a few restaurant years and tasted stuff that is not like chicken, even when it says it is chicken. I learnt to use chopsticks in Paris, had wild boar in France, octopus in Greece and food poisoning in Bali. I have been privileged to eat in some of the finest restaurants and yet; faced with something new there is still the little kid inside that only wants cake and will always imagine unknown food to taste like sour milk.
Karen beautifully awarded me the whole jar and for six days solid I enjoyed a less than sophisticated version of her sandwich. Mine was balsamic vinegar, fig butter and cheddar cheese. Like a kid at Halloween, I over did it with my mixture amounts, and finally over dosed on Tuesday at 6pm.
Here lies Jayne - content at last, please bury in front of the fridge....with fig butter.........and cake......just in case.
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