Before I get going on today’s Ten on Tuesday post I need to give you a little background information about the food of my childhood: my mom considered lasagna to be ethnic food. That woman made terrific lasagna (along with the best fried chicken I’ve ever had) but once time, when I asked her to make lasagna for Sunday dinner, she looked at me like I had sprouted a second head and said, “you can’t have lasagna for Sunday dinner. That’s ethnic food.” I’m not kidding, friends. She didn’t have anything against lasagna – or ethnic food, for that matter – but Sunday dinner was set aside for things like roast chicken, roast beef and roast pork. Meat-in-a-pan, I called it.
I tell you this to set the stage for today’s Ten on Tuesday topic, which comes (again!) from Kym. (Seriously, she has had the best topics lately and if she keeps this up I’m going to just turn this whole thing over to her.) But I digress. Today’s topic is: 10 Foods I Eat Regularly Now That Were Exotic (or unheard of) When I Was a Kid.
- Sushi. Goodness knows, this was unheard of in my household. And now I love it.
- Buffalo Chicken. Okay, definitely not exotic but completely unheard of.
- Calamari. It sure sounds more palatable when you call it calamari and not octopus. Either way, if it’s breaded and fried, well, I’m in.
- Fish tacos. When I was a kid, tacos came in a kit from Old El Paso, and they were crunchy style only. Now I’m all about soft tacos and if they have fish as the main ingredient then that’s even better.
- King Crab Legs. We ate a lot of lobster in my house (my mother’s family was from Maine) but never crab legs.
- Kale. Okay, I may not eat it regularly but we sure never had it when I was a kid. And it’s good. I like Swiss chard better, though.
- Steamed dumplings. Probably not exotic by most standards but definitely not something my family ate. Chinese take out was made up of chicken chow mein, spare ribs and chicken fingers.
- Ahi tuna. The only tuna I ever had as a child came from a can and was mixed with mayo and a little onion and then put between two slices of squishy white bread.
- Chocolate & Sea Salt. Or Salted Caramel. I’m pretty sure no one in the 70s was combining chocolate and salt.
- Curry. I’m sure people in the cities were eating this but out in the sticks? Not so much. And now I love it.
So those are the foods I never thought I’d eat. How about you? If you wrote a post for today’s topic don’t forget to click the button below and add your link. Want to receive an email with the Ten on Tuesday topic every Monday? Click here.
I love this topic! I tried to combine chocolate and salt in the seventies by eating ice cream using pretzels, but I always got told, “Stop that and do it the right way!”
Barbara Seiver says
I could simply transfer your list: except there was no Chinese take-out, it came in a can. The Midwest certainly had none of those foods in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. Shoot, there’s no octopus on my plate now! Raw and/or undercooked fish doesn’t sing to me, either.
Wait a minute: I had my first lasagna at a restaurant in Lansing, MI when DH was in graduate school in the 70’s. Definitely ethnic food – and I loved it!
I’m glad someone else never had steamed dumplings before – I thought I was the only one!
My mom was a great lasagne-maker, too. Definitely considered it ethnic. And never for Sunday dinner! I could have every single item on your list . . . on my list, too. Some of my favorite foods ever (sushi, fish tacos, salted caramel anything) were completely unheard of when I was a kid! (Also. Calamari is squid. Just sayin’.)
Meat in a pan. You bet, every Sunday! I still do it a lot for my Dad. My Mom was a great cook but I don’t think she ever made a lasagna. And salted chocolate…one square each afternoon after lunch.
Heh. #6. Yup. Me, too. LOVE that Swiss Chard. And I just knew you’d put Sushi on your list, and am not the least bit surprised it’s #1. 😉 (you may have MY share of that…)
Saturday evening was pancakes and Sunday noon was always fried chicken. Sunday evening everyone was on their own. Mom didn’t cook that meal.
Tacos were considered exotic and now we eat them whenever I need to make a quick meal!
Lasagna WAS ethnic food in the 60s and 70s. My mom had some Italian friends in HS where she learned about lasagna, so we did have it as kids, but it wasn’t the usual dinner. We also had a lot of Mexican food, but our area was probably about 1/3 migrant workers, so that made for early exposure compared to other areas, I think. Thai food was something not had until I was in my 30s. Love it!
In Nebraska during the fifties and sixties, food was definitely not ethnic. i remember the first Chinese restauant to open its doors. On a trip to San Francisco, we visited a food court. My mom and I were annoyed with our family going for the burgers, so we had TACOS! We truly thought that was exotic and that we’d made a daring decision. Seafood was limited to fish sticks — no fresh tuna, salmon, tilipia, etc. great topic!
Great topic! Enjoying reading all of the comments, too. It’s hard to even think of things like tacos and lasagna as “ethnic” food these days!!
Mary K. in Rockport says
I am also thinking of things I was fed as a child that I DON’T eat now, calves liver & bacon being at the top of the list, corned beef hash, and soft-boiled eggs. Ugh!
Mary K. in Rockport says
Of course, I forgot to put in the thing that we DO now eat in very large amounts and that thing is hummus. There is argumentation about the proper was to spell and say that word in English.
I never had a single one of those foods when I was growing up, either, plus I never had lasagna. Eating is so much more fun now!
My 96 year old mom and I discussed this topic not long ago. Her comment was where did all these different vegetables come from! Her mother kept a garden but mostly tomatoes, green beans, peppers carrots. No kale Swiss chard, broccoli or asparagus.
It’s funny because it seems so ubiquitous now, but I’m pretty sure I never had buffalo chicken as a kid, either.
This was a really good topic!
I was the biggest meat eater until I hit 32. I became a vegetarian overnight. I went from the girl who loved pastrami or chicken fried steak, to the girl who eats a ton of lettuce, kale, and squash. And tofu and tempeh?! Egads! But they’re staples around here! (Now, if there is bacon, all bets are off!)
This is such a great topic and I’m sorry I missed it, but my list would be much like yours. My mom made “Spanish” rice out of Campbell’s soup. Our diets have changed over and over in the 60+ years I’ve been alive!
Loved the reading other’s comments MY brain was dead today.
Where would I start!! But I do remember our intro to sushi, and wow that changed the way I looked at food. Now whenever we see something new or different, my first question is “Can I eat it?”
Katie K says
Gee, it would really date me to make such a list. We tended to eat “American” food when I was growing up, and pasta was part of that, but the sauce was never home made. I make cilantro and walnut pesto regularly. Back then I didn’t know what cilantro was, never mind pesto. And, as you know, I cook wild mushrooms when I can.