Growing up in Windsor, Ontario I had access to some of the finest produce in Canada. Essex County is known for it’s fertile soil and specifically for its tomatoes. Every summer my mom would feast daily on toasted tomato sandwiches, savouring the perfectly browned texas toast, the sun-kissed, deep red fruit. And every summer the exquisite magic was lost on me because I hated tomatoes. HATED them. Inevitably early fall would roll around and my mom would declare her annual promise- next year will be the year. Next year you will learn to love tomatoes. And every year I would begrudgingly take a bite, cringe and dig my heels further into that fertile soil.
Perhaps it was stubbornness or pure, childish will. But somehow, at the ripe old age of 28, in all of my tomato-hating wisdom, something shifted. I decided that this would be the year. This would be the summer. I would find a way to love the tomato. I spent my Sundays at the farmer’s market, picking out different varietals from cherry to heirloom, beefsteak to green zebras. I baked them, sauteed them, put them in salads and sandwiches, sauces and soups. Whether it was sheer determination or an unwillingness to admit defeat, me and tomatoes began to see eye-to-eye.
And thus began a series of summer missions: find something you hate and figure out a way to love it. Sardines. Olives. Sushi. All of these foods, once much maligned by my taste buds, have now worked their way into special place in my heart.
This summer, however, may prove to be a bit of a challenge. As a lover of cocktails, my palate tends towards drinks of the Old Fashioned, Manhattan ilk. The issue is you can’t get a great cocktail just anywhere. What you can usually count on, however, is a decent beer….which I hate. And herein lies my summer 2016 mission- a beer hater’s quest to fall in love with beer. While it’s sure to be an arduous journey, I assure you I am up to the task.
The coming weeks will be spent at local breweries and pubs, sampling everything from lagers to stouts, sours to pale ales (I don’t even know what most of that means). This will be a lesson in patience over expediency and mind over taste buds. Please feel free to follow along on my beer-filler journey, send along recommendations or things to avoid. I can use all the help I can get. Wish me luck and, of course, cheers!