How many of you actually like blue cheese? Be honest with me, you won’t hurt my feelings. I’m going to take a guess and say probably less than 50%.
Personally, I love it. By far it is my favourite cheese, but I know that I’m in the minority here. Blue cheese is an acquired taste and it seems that most people have yet to make that acquisition. However, I’m here to tell you that it is possible. Take my family for example, they used to hate it. They still are far from the fanatic that I am but they have come a long way. I’ve managed to sneak it in here and there and now they will eat it without complaint (try adding a couple tablespoons of gorgonzola to your mac n’ cheese sauce and I think you will be pleasantly surprised).
What I’m really trying to get at here is that eating is totally mental. If you tell yourself that you aren’t going to like something, there’s no way on earth you are ever going to like it. I’m not saying you should go eat an entire wedge of blue cheese right this minute. But the more flavours you allow your palate to experience, the more things you will learn to like (and the more things you will realize that you like that you never thought you did). And if you gradually introduce a new taste enough times, eventually you are going to get used to it. Classical conditioning at it’s finest.
To me, the most important area that this concept applies to is getting people to eat vegetables, children or otherwise. Yes, if you have never eaten a carrot in your life, something like kale is going to be pretty intimidating. That doesn’t make it gross or disgusting, it’s just different. It sounds so simple to keep an open mind, not only towards food but in all areas of life. But if it’s so easy, how come people don’t do it? At the end of the day, I would say it comes down to what you know. Parents that say, “oh my kid is such a picky eater” should probably evaluate the restrictions they place on their own diet. I don’t want to stereotype and say that this is the case in all situations but kids only see what they are exposed to.
They say that your taste buds change every 7 years, but I’d say that you can change your taste buds simply by changing your attitude. How about starting with this wedge salad with blue cheese vinaigrette?
Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
1 head iceberg lettuce, cored and cut into wedges
2 eggs, simmered for 12 minutes, peeled and cut into quarters
8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup blanched yellow beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
3-4 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)
Start by putting a healthy spoonful of the blue cheese vinaigrette on the plate (see recipe below). Put a wedge of iceberg on top and scatter the tomatoes, beans, eggs and bacon (if you are using it) around the outer edges of the plate. Drizzle a couple more tablespoons of vinaigrette over the top and you are ready to serve.
Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp. grainy mustard
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
zest of 1 Meyer lemon plus juice from half of it
1/3 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil or light olive oil
2-3 tbsp. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper, to taste
Whisk together the egg yolk, mustards, lemon juice and zest. Gradually whisk in the oil until it reaches the thickness you are looking for (the more oil you add, the thicker it will get). Add the gorgonzola and season to taste with salt and pepper.