Yes, you read that right: I am probably the only person on Earth that doesn’t like peanut butter.
Growing up with a lack of food choices was interesting and confusing for me. There were only seven or eight kinds of foods that really ever entered our home, almost all of which were Filipino in nature. My mother had spent more than half of her life in the Philippines and had become crafty cooking meals on the cheap: dinner was usually rice and either previously frozen milkfish or tilapia, menudo with the cheapest cuts of meat, or when we really had nothing to eat, a can of pork and beans over rice (which I actually enjoy to this day, but only as an occasional comfort food choice). Morning drinks were hot chocolate or Milo – the Milo is for another post.
Where it became confusing was when there were things that were incredibly foreign to me. And yes, you guessed it – this included peanut butter.
I was four when I first went to daycare. There were some challenges being raised with a father who preferred to speak French and a Tagalog-speaking mother because while they didn’t mind speaking to each other in English, I wasn’t exposed to it as much as I probably should have been. Anytime I wasn’t with them, I had a handful of key phrases and a few words learned from Sesame Street I could refer to, but sometimes I truly had no clue of knowing what I was seeing, touching, or tasting.
This was the case when someone put what was referred to as “Ants on a Log” in front of me.
I couldn’t figure out what it was, so I proceeded to poke at it. I looked for an adult to debunk what the heck the green sticks, the brown goo and wrinkly looking things were. I was mortified that someone would serve such ugly food to me.
I refused to eat it.
I remember the kid next to me looking at me and asking what was wrong. All I could do was point at this so-called food and say, “rotten.” The kid just shrugged and ate my share.
It was then one of the childminders came up to the kid, asking why he’d eaten my food. He said I’d given the okay for him to take my snack. I protested, with a long and drawn out, “nooooooo!” I’m not really sure what she said next, but I pointed at the kid, who still had about half of my stick in his mouth, and repeated again, “rotten.”
I got put on time out for that, obviously – probably for being what the childminder thought was an ungrateful little wretch.
Eventually, mom showed up, she and the childminder had a discussion, and my mom realized we’d actually never had peanut butter at home. That’s when they figured out I didn’t know what I was about to start eating. The whole thing was laughed off as a ‘kids do the darndest things, don’t they?’ moment.
But the damage was done. Even though my mom bought the tiniest jar of peanut butter the next day, I couldn’t get over the look and the smell of it. Since then, I have not – of my own free will, eaten peanut butter.
There are a few exceptions: there’s a dish in the Philippines called kare-kare (pronounced kah-ray kah-ray), which in some recipes has trace amounts of peanut butter in it. It also includes oxtail and green beans, and is eaten with rice. As long as I’m not preparing the dish, and I don’t see the peanut butter going into the pot, I’ll eat it. Some people have asked me to taste their peanut butter and [insert second ingredient] cookies here, which nine times out of ten, I will consume because they’re usually too sweet to notice the offending ingredient. There was one time, though, where someone tricked me into eating peanut butter in a banana wrap. I caught the texture and the taste right away – it didn’t make it past my mouth.
What are your most hated foods? Has anyone ever tricked you into eating them? Drop me a line below!