Sunday, February 23, 2014


The littlest member of our family is having himself a birthday on Friday. I needed to pick up one more present for him so, after church today, the oldest child and I went to Costco. I collected the gift, bananas, tomatoes, oranges, and bagels. Just as I was heading to the rotisserie chicken department, we spotted some samples. I've always been all about Costco samples--although I did find it odd today when we came across a maple syrup sample that was just maple syrup in a cup with a spoon--so we started checking them out. One, in particular, was a chunk of cheese with truffles. I, for the life of me, could not remember what a truffle was apart from a delicious piece of chocolate. I knew it was chocolate and simultaneously something else altogether. I also knew that this particular piece of cheese did not have chocolate in it. As I tried to remember what a truffle was, Garrett suggested that we try it. We shoveled those chunks into our mouths. I chomped it down between my teeth.

And then I immediately regretted it. As I held the strangest flavor, suspended between my jaws, I began searching for the nearest trashcan. My life might have even flashed before my eyes. What was I eating? Was it some kind of animal intestine? Something dead? A bug, perhaps. What was a truffle? Why could I suddenly not remember? Garrett looked at me. He was holding a half eaten piece of cheese in his hands. "The black things taste weird," he said. Then, noticing the look of death that I was failing to mask, he continued, "What's wrong?"

We have always tried to be inclusive with the foods we feed our children. We also don't tell them if we don't like something because it has been important to us not to nurture picky eaters. Our kids eat what is put in front of them. Without question. They don't have to like it, but they have to eat it. (As a side note, I do not often make them eat things that they have repeatedly shown a distaste for.) In any case, I didn't want to tell him that I hated this piece of cheese. I did not want him to know that, in fact, there was no possible way I would be able to swallow that morsel unless there was a mighty reason why I was doing it. Like $10,000 dollars. Or a new car. I opened my mouth to say something.

Instead of words coming out, I noticed that saliva was pooling under my tongue. I noticed the pungent, sharp taste spreading to all of my taste buds. And then I did what any rational 32-year-old woman would do in the same situation. I spit that sucker right into my hand like a toddler. In a stroke of luck (or a miracle, maybe) I still had a different sample in my other hand. I shoved it into my mouth and chewed fiercely to get the terrible taste of truffle cheese out.

"Can I spit mine out, too?" Garrett asked politely.

"YES!" I practically shrieked. YES! Get that thing out of your precious little mouth before you DIE OF IT.

I came home and searched for "truffle" on the Internet. Aside from seeing some fantastic pictures of chocolate, I was reminded that a truffle is a subterranean fungi.

I'm not a picky eater. So how did bits of an underground mushroom cooked into cheese almost send me over the palatable edge? Apparently, truffles are among the world's most expensive natural foods. Well, if you're a fan, there is absolutely no need to worry. I will not be fighting you over them. Unless you have another sample and a trash can readily available to me.

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