“Oh, well then, you MUST be Italian or Jewish!” a new acquaintance chortled as we talked about my love affair with food. For the first time in my life, I could honestly answer, “I AM Italian!” and laugh along with her.
I’ve never had that feeling of freedom before. There was always an uneasiness when those types of casual comments would be brought up in conversations. I had no idea. Since I knew I was Polish and Irish according to the information provided at the time of my birth I couldn’t rule out Jewish but I had no idea about Italian.
I do have a love affair with food. Until I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis I looked at the culinary world as my playground. I wanted to try just about everything and I craved pasta and spices that were literally and figuratively foreign in our family. My parents are relatively open to trying new foods and taught us to be the same, but the foods I would come home raving about just didn’t hit the same high notes with my parents as they did with me.
I’ve learned that my sense of taste is another product of DNA. Who knew?
For instance, I abhor cucumbers, melons of any sort, bananas and coconut. I don’t like to be in the room when someone is eating melon or cucumbers — yes, even watermelon. The smell is awful to me. My parents love melon. They wax poetic about its ripeness and flavor whenever it’s in season. They implore me to “just take a bite.” The answer is always no.
In a recent conversation with one of my half-sisters, she said that her/our mother didn’t like melon either. I think she also said she didn’t like cucumbers but I was so over the moon about this melon pronouncement I didn’t hear the rest of what she said!
That’s the thing about feeling like an odd duck in a family of swans, you know you’re not quite the same but you can’t figure out where you got your cockamamie ideas and tastes. When you hear that your biological mother had the same trait, it’s enough to soothe your heart for weeks.
Such a simple thing as knowing that I’m not alone in my distaste for melon can make me feel whole.
As time goes on I can’t wait to learn what else I’ve inherited.