In my recent reading, I have been made ever increasingly aware of how much we tend to stick with what’s familiar or what we know. Much of this is entirely subconscious and affects us in ways which are imperceptible even to ourselves. We tend to make sense of things and experience the world through our own lens based on what we have a basis of understanding or framework for and we often rely on heuristics or mental shortcuts in our daily judgments and decision making. However, more obviously, the tendency towards the familiar not only applies to our subconscious thought patterns and biases, but also to the overt choices and preferences that we hold. Many people stick with what they know and like when it comes to the places they frequent, the foods they eat, the movies they watch, and the people they spend time with. Which makes sense – why we would not go/eat/watch/do what we like, but it may also limit our exposure to a wider variety of things we may appreciate just as much, if not more. And even more dangerous is the fact that there are many times we make a decision or statement about our preferences without actually considering why we think the way we do. One glaring example of this in my own life was my belief that I hated salmon.
My mother is an exceptional cook (I know that most people say this, but in my case literally thousands of people have agreed!). She introduced me a wide variety of tastes, flavors and genres of food throughout my life, for which I am grateful. However, she does not like any seafood, of any kind, under any circumstances. Consequently, we never ate any fish or shellfish growing up, nor was I necessarily encouraged to try any whilst dining out. And because I never gave it a chance, I assumed and proclaimed that I did not like it. In fact, I was absolutely convinced and resolute in my distaste for salmon. Unfortunately, my father is not renowned for his culinary skills and whenever my mom was away, he often served up own specialties including popular hits like cereal with milk, classic PB&J, or if we were going all out – fried bologna sandwiches (yes, painful as it may be to admit, I did actually eat this and furthermore, I liked it 🙂 ). However one particular night, he was happy to have brought home what he considered to be a treat.
At the time my father was working at a luxury hotel in downtown Grand Rapids as a catering and events manager. He was responsible for coordinating very upscale affairs from weddings and corporate events all the way up to presidential visits. Needless to say, the food served at such events was, as the Irish would say, gorgeous. That fateful evening, he had brought home a few meals which were either extra or maybe part a tasting, I am not sure, but he was probably relieved to have dinner sorted, something delicious to eat and to serve my sister and me. Although he was happy with the opportunity to eat a perfectly prepared filet of salmon at home for a change, my sister and I were less than pleased.
We sat at the table, stubbornly refusing to try the salmon for what seemed like days, but was in reality at least an hour (i.e. eternity as a child). We insisted we hated salmon despite the fact that we had never had a bite. He encouraged us to try and told us that it was ok for us to like it even though our mom did not. He told us about the chef, he told us about the event, he told us this is what we had to eat if we wanted to eat anything, and eventually he told us we couldn’t leave the table until we had tried it. He said there were no bones in it, but of course Kyle and I picked out 24 miniscule pieces of pin – which we wasted no time to report back (I wish I could say that I have fully outgrown my love of “being right,” but this continues to be an area for opportunity…). But it didn’t matter, we had reached a complete stalemate. It took too long for my dad, so he got up to do something else while we sat there staring at the beautifully garnished plates. Finally, I took one for the team. We chopped the then cold salmon into tiny pieces and I shoved all of them in my mouth. My cheeks puffing out and practically gagging, I nonchalantly walked to the bathroom, spit out all the salmon and flushed it down the toilet. We didn’t tell my dad of course, but when we told him we had finished, we confirmed that it was indeed the “worst food we had ever tried in our lives.”
I wish I could say that was only because I was a child, but I lived another probably 10-15 years before I even tried salmon. But when I did – it was soon became one of my most favorite foods of all time! It is still a bit shocking that I wasted so many years convinced I couldn’t stand something I had never tried. And although I laugh about this traumatic life experience with my sister often, it now serves as a reminder to me to keep an open mind. It been said so many times when it comes to the big things that we should do something everyday which challenges us to step out side our comfort zones, which of course is true. But as I eat my delicious Whole30 Lemon Pepper Salmon and Lemon Thyme Roasted Cauliflower for lunch today, I am reminded that it counts for the small things too.
- Salmon Filets 4 each/450 g total
- Zest of 2 Lemons
- Black Pepper 1 TSP
- Sea Salt .5 TSP
- Garlic Powder .5 TSP
- Onion Powder .5 TSP
- Coconut Oil, Melted 1 TBSP
- Cauliflower Head, 1 each, Chopped into about 1" Florets
- Zest of 2 Lemons
- Fresh Thyme 2 TBSP
- Avocado Oil 3 TBSP
- Garlic Cloves, Minced 4 each
- Sea Salt .5 TSP
- Preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C and line a baking sheet with foil.
- Brush half of the melted coconut oil on the foil and then place your salmon on top, skin side down, then drizzle the remaining coconut oil over the top.
- In a small bowl, zest the lemons and add the spice, mixing to combine.
- Spoon the lemon seasoning over the salmon and then place in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until done. The fish should be flaky and oh.so.succulent with the seasoning.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F/ 190 C and line a baking sheet with foil.
- In a large bowl, zest the lemons and then add all the other ingredients, mixing well to fully coat the cauliflower.
- Lie the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet, spreading it out as much as possible.
- Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until soft with slightly crispy ends.