Have there been times when you just didn’t like a certain food?  Spaghetti was one of mine.  I just knew that spaghetti would taste nasty.  Mind you I had never even given tried it, but that did not dissuade me from my belief.

This story was inspired by an article written by my friend Debra Yearwood at Comm Before The Storm.  So here’s to you Debra for always making me think. :-)

My Spaghetti Saga

I was around 12, and I had a huge aversion towards spaghetti.  To me spaghetti looked like worms on a plate. Ewww, how could anyone eat that and think it would taste good.  When the red sauce was added to the spaghetti noodles, it made the spaghetti look that much more like worms to me.

My Spaghetti Saga, findingourwaynow,com

Mom or Dad would cook spaghetti once a week.  I wouldn’t even sit at the same table where the spaghetti was being served.  I would go into the kitchen and make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and eat by myself away from the rest of the family and the offending spaghetti.

Mom and Dad were pretty patient about all this… for a while.  Then one night Dad had pretty much had it with my eating away from the family.  I think that’s what bothered him the most.  He saw dinnertime as a special time with the family.

One night when the family was preparing for dinner, a spaghetti dinner no less, he came to me and told me I would not be allowed to eat away from the table, and I would be required to at least taste the spaghetti. I would also not be allowed to make my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

My Spaghetti Saga, findingourwaynow,com

I was NOT a happy camper.  He made me sit at the table with a plate of spaghetti before me.   He had one rule.  All I had to do was to eat one fork full of spaghetti.   I sat there and stared at the offending plate of what I perceived was worms.  I was very close to gagging.

The family finished their meal.  I was left alone at the table to eat my forkful of spaghetti.  My plate of food was getting colder by the minute.

What made it even worse was Dad had made my very favorite brownies and had set them in the middle of the table where I could see them.   He told me that if I did what he asked I could have a brownie.  I sat there staring at the spaghetti  while the rest of my family went about their business.  The brownies were starting to get the best of me.

I had to make a decision.  Dad had said that if I did that one thing and I still hated spaghetti that he would not bother me about it again.  However, I would still have to eat with the family, which he would not waver on. I thought that if I put the forkful of spaghetti in my mouth all at once and swallow REALLY fast, drink a big glass of water, it would be done. I could get the whole ordeal over with then have a brownie.

My Spaghetti Saga, findingourwaynow,comSo I picked up the fork and removed as much of the offing stuff as I could get away with.  I could see Dad watching off to the side.  Still feeling a bit squeamish and with a full water glass at the ready, I held the fork, mustered up enough courage to stuff it in my mouth.  Then I did it.  At first I thought I would gag, but to my surprise it tasted pretty good.  Not wanting to admit that because, just maybe Dad might be right, I hurried up and swallowed the spaghetti and gulped down some water. Dad sat down next to me and said, “Didn’t taste too bad, huh”.  Not wanting to give anything away, I shrugged my shoulders and said, “it was ok” in as nonchalant sort of voice.  Dad took the plate of remaining spaghetti away and then placed not one but two extra large brownies in front of me as my reward.  I was thrilled.  I thought; “yeah, glad that’s over”.

The next week rolled around, and it was spaghetti night.  I sat at the table as Dad had asked.  A plate of spaghetti was placed in front to me.  My brothers were watching with much amused curiosity.  I picked up my fork and began eating my spaghetti.  My brothers giggled, Mom shushed them. Mom and Dad acted as if it were just an ordinary family meal.  I have loved all things pastas ever since.

My Spaghetti Saga, findingourwaynow,com

The lesson is simple.  Never judge something until you have all the facts.  In my case what the spaghetti really tasted like.  When you’ve done that, sometimes you may have a complete change of heart.

Have you had an experience like that? Have you had a situation where you were forced to face or taste something where it changed your opinion?  I would love to hear your tale.

Life’s journey continues…

PS: If you liked this, check out Fortune CookieA Father’s Advises and Fear – A Four-Letter Word.

What are some of your favorite story? If you would like to write a guest post about an experience, I would love to hear from you..

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  • Cheryl Therrien

    This is so funny. Here’s the deal for me: Don’t tell me what I am eating until I have finished eating it. Then I will know if I like it without my imaginative brain getting in the way. :)

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Hi Cheryl, Our imaginations can be a bit tricky, huh. I think that works that the way it is with allot of people, me included. :-)

  • http://biz.leoraw.com/about/ Leora Wenger

    You really did draw them so they look like worms! None of my children will eat peanut butter and jelly, but all of them eat spaghetti. I once told my boys they could have a quarter if they ate a homegrown tomato. One said yes, he ate the tomato, got his quarter, and has not eaten a tomato since (tomato sauce is fine, as is ketchup). Your parents had a lot of patience.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Hi Leora, My parents were a very patient lot. They were both educators and had to be… LOL.

      I do think it’s funny what kids will choose to like and not like. My youngest hated chocolate as a kid (seriously!!!). Now she can’t get enough of it. :-)

  • Karen Koblan

    This is a great story! I remember fighting with my parents because I wouldn’t eat the fish served at our traditional Christmas Eve dinner (night of the 7 fishes!!) I never gave it a chance until I was older and appreciated the taste and tradition more. I love your illustrations too!!

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Hi Karen, That is a great story. Aw, I could write a book on fish and shell fish and kids. The best part is we do figure out what we’ve been missing as we grow. :-)

  • Debra Yearwood

    I love it! I’m so glad you made the podcast. Cheers to both of us for getting over our spaghetti aversion. :)

    It’s amazing how completely and easily wedded we can get to an idea without really doing our homework or how we can decide not to like a new idea without ever giving it a chance.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Aw, you’re so welcome Debra, Yeah, me too. I too find it an interesting phenomenon. It happens in different ways as adults but it does happen. You gotta love human nature. :-)

  • Jon Jefferson

    I agree with Cheryl on this one. Not necessarily for me I am very adventurous with what I will taste. But I have found when introducing new foods, it helps to wait till after others have had a chance to taste it, to tell them what it is.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Hi Jon, I was usually that way too, but when it came to spaghetti i had a really hard time. You would never know that today… LOL. What you say is definitely a great practice when introducing a new food to someone. :-)

  • http://thelazyslinky.wordpress.com/ SophieNaz

    I was a notoriously picky child and I still refuse to eat organs of any kind. Liver especially makes me ill. Also not a seafood fan despite my mother giving me the same punishment of ‘sit there till you have sampled’ with some unfortunate fishy that was only barely nibbled.
    That said she once fed me camel without me realizing what I was eating… mothers be sneaky.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Hi Sophie, I think picky eaters are the norm for kids. It certainly was in my house. It seems that mothers also feel impelled to be sneaky about what we eat because of that… LOL.

  • http://www.m4bmarketing.com Susan Oakes

    I was also a picky eater as a child and one vegetable I hated, although I don’t know why was peas. I wouldn’t swallow them and when i had to I nearly threw them back up. Eventually my parents relented and stopped giving me peas. I used to called them “little green enemies”. To this day I still don’t eat peas and will pick them out of dishes.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Hi Susan, I have heard that peas are also another food averse for kids as well. In your case you never got past it. I understand that. Now, if it were chocolate I might raise and eye brow… LOL. :-)

  • DC

    Enjoyed reading this post! My mom says I was very picky but I gradually outgrew it. My kids can be picky sometimes. One hates peas and the other hates sweet potatoes. I’m guilty of sneaking it into some curries with a medley of veggies. But both of them love spaghetti – in fact we had that for dinner last night. :)

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Hi DC, I think we all had our food aversions. It really is funny what some kids like and don’t like and why. I don’t think you should feel guilty at all. After all it the job of every Mom to get kids to eat stuff they think they don’t like… LO :-)

  • Jeri Walker-Bickett

    It wasn’t that I was a picky eater as a child so much as all we ever ate was steak, potatoes, and canned vegetables. It’s wasn’t until I worked in a restaurant in Florida that I discovered I liked all sorts of food.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Hi Jeri, I can see that happening. In fact many of my friend’s families were like that. My mom and dad liked to experiment with food. So all the kids in our neighborhood wanted to eat at our house. Of course we had kid friendly food A LOT. :-)

  • http://www.garrettspecialties.com/ Arleen Harry

    I would eat just about anything, except for one thing, liver. My mother would make us sit at the table until we ate it. We tried everything to hide it but that didn’t work. My father was a doctor and would come home late as in those days doctors did house calls. We would wait until he came home. We were freed for one night. We were told that my sister needed iron so we all had to eat it. We started hating my sister that we had to eat liver. Finally my parents released us from the liver dinners. Unlike you Susan, I still hate liver to this day.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Hi arleen, That is a great story and thanks for sharing it. Liver is just one of those things you either love or hate. There is no in-between. :-)

  • Krystyna Lagowski

    That’s such a great story! Too often we operate on pre-conceived notions, without giving a situation the benefit of the doubt. And we’re only robbing ourselves of potential benefits and pleasures. Sometimes, you need to take a risk. I’m glad you love pasta – so do I!! : ))

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Thanks Krystyna, I so agree. It’s easy to take a snapshot of something and have the perception stick. Many more times when we care to admit. At least many of us have a change of heart when we have all the facts. Like you, Pasta is one of my most favorite things!!!

  • http://www.boomeresque.com/ Suzanne Fluhr (JustOneBoomer)

    I HATE bananas! But, when I studied in Colombia, I realized that with my host family, I was going to have to have a moratorium on hating them or I would have been a very hungry person. Familiarity did not make my heart for bananas grow any fonder. As soon as I left Colombian airspace on my flight home, I re-declared my digestive system a banana free zone and so it has remained for lo these many years. I’m not proud of it. It just is.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Hi Suzanne, LOL, to much of anything whether we like it or not can definitely change (or continue) our thoughts about it. I can see how that would be the cast for you. :-)

  • Barbara Hockley

    Lovely story Susan! I’m pretty sure loads of children have aversions because of the spooky resemblance our food has to things we wouldn’t want to eat (worms!). I always hated mashed potatoes – I think because of all the lumps it had in it at school. I detested it and would not eat it at home. But if I was given whole potatoes I would mash them myself before eating them! I think my mother was too confused to encoyrage me one way or the other! Love mash these days though!

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      That is a cute story Barbara. Many times it the texture of a food that is a turn off. I can just imagine your Mom’s face and the look of confusion. Time does take care of that thou. :-)

  • http://lorrainemariereguly.wordpress.com/ Lorraine Marie Reguly

    For me, it was Chinese food. Things changed when I ended up waitressing at a Chinese restaurant!

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Hi Lorraine, I can see how that would. So where did it take you? Do you enjoy it now? :-)

      • http://lorrainemariereguly.wordpress.com/ Lorraine Marie Reguly

        I love Chinese food now!

        • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

          That’s awesome, so do I. :-)

  • http://www.TheReporterandTheGirl.com/ TheGirl

    Great podcast, it really switches things up on your blog! speaking of which…it’s been a long time since I’ve had spaghetti, lol. But I’m glad you came to open your mind a bit and now you embraced something. I’m afraid I haven’t been as open-minded as you as I still hate peas. and raspberries. and mangos.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Thanks so much. Yeah, i get that. Not all food aversion can be overcome. Sometimes it just isn’t going to happen.

  • Grace

    Haha, I love this video! As my ancestors are all Italian, I was RAISED on spagetti and loved it!!

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      I bet you were Grace… LOL. Thanks for you kind word my friend. :-)

  • http://virtualadmintogo.com/ Elizabeth Scott

    As a mom I completely understand this situation. I have one son who has special needs and has texture issues with food. My other son also refuses to eat meat and basically anything other than fruits and veggies. My daughter on the other hand will eat almost anything. I love how your dad handled the situation.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Boy you do have your hands full Elizabeth… LOL. Preparing dinner must a an interesting challenge in your home. Thanks Dad did have a way and practiced good timing about these kind of things. :-)

  • http://mary-anderingcreatively.blogspot.com/ Mary Hill

    Cute story. We have the same problem with my 10 year old. She will eat plain noodles but no tomato sauce. I have gotten her to eat Japanese noodles with teraki. Kids can be so picky. She eats pizza with cheese. I try to tell her sauces taste almost identical, but she will not budge.

    http://mary-anderingcreatively.blogspot.com/

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Hi Mary and welcome. Yeah, it’s funny how kids get a certain concept in their mind and nothing will sway them. Only time will tell if she will convert. :-)

  • Pat Ruppel

    Brought back memories Susan. My food aversion was stewed tomatoes at lunch at school. My mom never cooked them but once a week they served them in the school cafeteria with mac and cheese. Passing in the halls between classes you would get a whiff of them being prepared for lunch. Ughh!

    I don’t think I have as much of an aversion to them now but whenever I smell them steaming in a buffet at a restaurant it all comes flooding back.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Hi Pat, I can just imagine that. Food smells have an amazing way of invoking memories, both pleasant and unpleasant. Hopefully the flood of memories were good ones. :-)

      • Pat Ruppel

        Yes, they do Susan. Food smells have a way of bringing flashback memories — mostly good ones. I don’t have an occasion to smell stewed tomatoes often but I’m sure if I did I’d be back in school again in my mind.

        • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

          I love it when good memories come back to us through whatever means. It’s so good for the soul. :-)

  • Judy Haar

    very cute story, and loved the video!

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Thanks so much Judy. :-)

  • Pat Ruppel

    Susan – just wanted to let you know I’ve included you as one of my nominees for this award on my site (http://plaintalkandordinarywisdom.com/thank-you-wonderful-team-member-readership-award-nomination/).

    Thank you for your writing and your support!

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      That is so awesome of you Pat. Thank you my friend. :-)

      • Pat Ruppel

        You’re truly welcome Susan and well deserved. I’m happy to share you with my fellow bloggers?
        Did you get the link? Doesn’t look like I included it here.

        • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

          Hi Pat, You’re the best my friend. I did indeed, I just went the your website and there it was. :-)

  • Valerie Remy-Milora

    I love fish but when I was young I had the hardest time eating it… My mom use to prepare and serve it whole… and as soon as I saw those dead eyes staring at me, I’d feel sick to my stomach… give me a nice tuna steak anytime but this! Yuk! Mom still serves fish whole and I’ve learned to LOVE it. My favorite is when she cooks a whole seabass stuffed with fresh fennel onthe barbeque.. soooo delicious! :-)

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Hi Valerie, As a kid, I think I would have had the very same reaction… LOL. I’m the same as you, now I love fish whole or other wise. It’s a good thing we sorted it all out, huh. :-)

  • http://joannerambling.wordpress.com/ Jo-Anne

    Can’t imagine not liking spaghetti but then I love it always have but you are right often we have to say don’t judge without trying…………..

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Hi Jo-Anne, Yep, that’s the trick. But it isn’t always the easiest thing to do when our mind is made up, huh.

  • Claire Cappetta

    I used to love spaghetti until my mum started to out lentils in the sauce instead of meat… I don’t like lentils… ee-uk. Took a while after to like pasta again…. Good thing since I later married an Italian! ;-D

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Hi Claire, I think I would feel exactly the same way. Lintels in a pasta sauce it not something I think I’d like very much either. :-)

  • http://www.patricia-weber.com Patricia Weber

    Since I am 100% of Italian heritage I grew up with all kinds of pasta. Spagetti wasn’t the usual dish but the more exotic noodles like penne, rotini, ravioli – all favorites of mine today.

    I’ve always hated, and still do to this day, sardines. Fortunately, no one ever forced them on me. I just tried them once as a pizza (Italian food again) topping and could feel that prickly, nasty taste in my mouth. Once was enough.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Some food dislike never go away Patricia. the good news is there is so much variety, who cares if we don’t like everything. :-)

  • http://www.foodstoriesblog.com/ CJ at Food Stories

    What a great story & beautiful images – I bet you have several food stories & illustrations that would be great to share (hint/hint) ;)

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Thanks so much CJ. I do, and I will need to put some thought into them, huh. :-)

  • Ashley Faulkes

    I was quite fussy as a kid and I think my parents let me get away with it – unlike you. Having travelled a lot since I left university and lived in different countries where there was no “mum” present I had to eat what I got. I now consume most of anything (but not all :>).

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      Hi Ashley, Many kids are, huh. Traveling that way is a great way to overcome some food aversion. It looks like it certainly has been a benefit to your culinary interests. :-)

  • Dan Meyers

    Great story and lesson! It’s always fun to watch the trials and tribulations kids go through with food!

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      It is that Dan. I find it a hoot as to the whys kids don’t like something. sometimes it is so funny and nonsensical. :-)

  • http://micheleharveyauthor.com/ Michele Harvey Author

    Funny, I have always loved pasta and all things related to pasta, particularly a good marinara sauce. That said, I certainly agree not to judge a book by its cover.

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      It took me a while and my father’s intervention, Michele. But I got there and I now love all things pasta. :-)

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  • Lubna

    There is a traditional Indian dish called Khichda made on special occassions. It is made of lentils and wheat to which meat/chicken is added and it looks like a glop of food which is pictured in Calvin & Hobbes comic strips. I hated the look of this dish – I rather not tell you what it reminded me of. Once, we were invited to family friends for lunch, I was around eight years old, their daughter was in University. Ooooh, i so longed to be big and brainy like her. The main dish was served it was Khichda – something I never ate at home. Now I didn’t want to act like a cry baby (not in front of her) and ask for an omelette or jam and bread. So very bravely, I chewed a spoonful and then another… Today Khichda is one of my favorite dishes. The recipe is below – http://www.indianfoodfreak.com/2011/12/khichda-recipe/

    • http://findingourwaynow.com/ Susan P. Cooper

      That is a very cool story Lubna. Isn’t it funny how our perceptions can change when we give them a chance? I will check out your recipe for sure. Thanks for sharing your story and your recipe. :-)

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