Katie Stew

A rich, simmering blend of my favorite things

Flavor Experimentation


When I was a child, I was a picky eater. I would like to say that I am all better now, but that wouldn’t quite be true. There are still a number of things that I just don’t like.

Olives. I just don’t understand why people eat them. I have texture issues with a couple of foods such as onions and bell peppers. I love the flavors and cook with them, but they have to be very small and well cooked, blended in with the rest of the meal. It is something about the slimy, yet crunchy texture that freaks me out. But with olives, it is more than that. I don’t like the way they taste, the way they feel in my mouth, or the lingering after effect.

I consider myself pretty adventurous when it comes to food. I’ll try pretty much anything you put in front of me. I realize that my taste buds and my preferences are constantly changing and developing, so I even try things multiple times. I like to continually experiment to see how I feel about different foods. But, no matter how many times I try olives, it just doesn’t get any better.

Last night I had dinner at the home of some friends. They served brussel sprouts. I have never been a fan. I even tried to cook some last year to try it out again, with little success. But, last night, I may have become a convert. They cooked them simply. Halved- Olive oil, salt and pepper, and just seared the crap out of them. They were deeply browned. I think I have had the misfortune of eating them steamed too many times. The roasting brought out this wonderful, full flavor and a pleasant texture. I could have just munched on them all evening. So, it seems I may have found a new friend. Brussel sprouts. I’ll update when I try to cook them myself to see if the appeal holds.

I believe you can teach yourself to like different things. When I first moved to Seattle a few years ago from the South, my mother said, “But you don’t eat seafood and you don’t drink coffee. What is the point?”.

Since I have been here, I’ve been experimenting. Teaching myself to love seafood. The NW is the perfect place to do it. It has taken a few years, but I have reached that point. I started with simple white fish, expanded into shrimp, discovered the wonderful glory of crabcakes, and am finally at a point where I even think I can manage salmon and other more “fishy” fish. As a kid I just refused to eat any of it. Anything that came out of the water. Something about the “fishy” taste weirded me out. It probably didn’t help that I was in a landlocked state.

Anyways, I suppose that the moral of the story is that I think it is important to keep trying out things that I think that I don’t like. I never know when I’ll have a revelation and find a new love for something like brussel sprouts.

Though, I still don’t like coffee.


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