I have always thought of my great-grandmother as a redoubtable woman. Not that I have any reason, except that she was evidently proud of her Scottish heritage, because her first son (after whom my Ro is named) had a Gaelic name and her second, my grandfather, was educated in Scotland, rather than at the English public school of her husband’s family.
I thought of this because a friend enthused, by text, about his first taste of venison today. I enjoy venison too, but I never tasted it while my father was alive. He couldn’t bear it, and for a perfectly good reason. At his school, near Perth, venison was a regular addition to the winter menu. The local laird, generously, used to send deer as a gift, and the headmaster liked it high. It was hung for quite some time, and apparently the school reeked of strong meat by the time it came to be cooked. My father never developed a taste for it, and never ate it again.
The Sage, similarly, has had a lifetime aversion to celery. His headmaster loved celery soup and a great deal of the vegetable was grown in the school kitchen garden. You would hardly think that celery would influence someone’s tastes that badly, but the Sage never puts any on his plate. I do use it in soups and casseroles, but always judiciously so that the flavour does not predominate, and he likes my cooking, so he accepts it quite graciously.
I don’t think I’ve got any food hang-ups. My mother hated parsnips with a passion, but I don’t. I had a bad experience with jugged hare once and have never tried it since, but I suspect that was the cook rather than the hare at fault. When young, I wasn’t fond of gin, but I grew out of that a long time ago. I’m not thrilled by cooked bananas, but that doesn’t mean I can’t eat them. I deal with offal, stinky cheese and interesting flavours with enthusiasm, although I’m not altogether enamoured of the more snot-like consistency of some Chinese food, particularly the soups. Still, nothing I can’t handle.
My great-grandmother’s name was Grace, by the way.