Grown-Up Food – An Exercise

Randy and I are a part of a fun dinner club (of course we are…) that has gotten together every six weeks or so for the past several years. It is a super casual Sunday night thing where the food is fancy, but the clothes and serving dishes are not. This month we hosted and since everything we’re thinking about these days is baby-related, I came up with the theme of “grown-up food”. I invited everyone to bring a dish that their grown-up selves like, but their 10-year-old version would have scoffed at.

Sauteed Brussels SpoutsThe first dish I planned was Brussels sprouts, which is actually cheating. My mom didn’t like Brussels sprouts, so I don’t think I was even introduced to this vegetable until adulthood. I REALLY disliked cabbage (still do), so I assumed I wouldn’t enjoy them. Boy, was I wrong. They are so good simply sauteed with garlic and olive oil or steamed with a little bit of cherry juice. I choose to do the simple sauteed version for the party, which was a hit. One of the guys who thought he still didn’t like Brussels spouts went back for seconds. (Related side note – Randy figured out the secret is to cut each spout in half even if it’s a dinky one. The crusty edge on one side makes all the difference in the world.)

Corn and Potato Chowder in a Crock PotMy second obvious dish was soup. No specific kind of soup, but anything that was hot, liquidy and to be eaten with a spoon was not little Maggie’s cup of tea. (I also didn’t like tea…) There is some story about my first best friend’s grandma trying to get me to eat soup for lunch every day and me refusing every time during the summer between kindergarten and first grade. The story is fuzzy, but the fact that I was a stick-to-my-guns kinda lass was not. Except for sizzling rice soup at Yen Ching, I don’t think I ate any other soup until my 20s.

I choose the most innocuous choice for this party – corn and potato chowder. It was tasty, but, as this soup always does, needed a little help from garlic salt.

Do you have a good corn chowder recipe? Do share! I love these flavors separately, but together they always fall flat.


Banana Chocolate Chip MuffinsI felt like we might need a dessert, but I struggled with anything sweet that I didn’t like as a little one. Then it hit me (or rather, the smell from the fruit basket hit me…) – bananas and chocolate! That combination didn’t tickle my taste buds until adulthood, when Starbucks introduced the Chocolate Vivanno (doesn’t that sound so much cooler than “chocolate smoothie”?). Now, I have my chocolate banana smoothie everyday and these muffins from Eat, Run, Live¬†are a go-to recipe when I have overripe bananas on hand, as I did yesterday morning.

Other dishes we enjoyed included roasted garlic mashed potatoes, spinach Quiche, and veggie and bean chili. Garlic, spinach, zucchini, and beans were the original offenders. I found the driest red wine to serve since it seems like that is a really grown-up taste. (You don’t see Arbor Mist Cabernet often, do you?) We didn’t have any meat dishes, but it seems like liver was the one animal product that really grossed out everyone (still does!).

What are some ingredients, flavors, or textures that only your grown-up version loves?

P.S. If you can only think of things you still don’t like or if you have a picky eater in your house, I love what one of my friend’s parents did. Around her childhood dinner table, you were allowed to not like an ingredient, but you had to try it at least once a year (which I’m guessing was probably more like every few months…) E said it worked on some things! Maybe I’ll have to try this with mushrooms. Or not…

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