I Learned To Love The Artichoke: A Lesson in Perseverance

I was a picky eater. I hated artichokes. Which is why my parents laughed when I told them what I wanted to do with my life.

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Artichoke (Image Source: Artichoke.org)

As a child, there were many foods and drinks that I didn’t care for at all. I guess you’re naturally expected to acquire the taste for more varieties of food as you get older though, and this is where I ran into my problem. I eventually ended up eating broccoli without much fight, but there were certain foods like the artichoke that I just couldn’t force myself to like, as hard as I tried.

Since I have so many strong opinions about foods it surprised many people in my life when I announced without hesitation that I was heading to culinary arts school because I wanted to become a gourmet chef. None of my friends or family members knew exactly how to handle my declaration. Some laughed, some smiled, and a few congratulated me and said they were excited to see how I’d thrive as a chef. It was good to know that at least a few people were behind me in my journey to becoming a chef. I knew that eventually I would need to tackle the artichoke and other foods that I hated in order to really be a gourmet chef.

My two years in culinary school were two of the hardest yet best years of my life. I loved the challenge that each day of class was, and don’t let me understate the fact that culinary school really was challenging. If I knew how hard it would be, I am not sure that I would have entered school with such optimism in the first place. But I wanted to learn how to cook and so I pressed on and even eventually tackled my dispise for the artichoke.

I am a chef and an eater that is really affected by textures. I always have been. So I think that the texture of the artichoke turned me off to the vegetable long before I knew whether or not I’d like the taste. It is frustrating how much the look or the texture of a food can turn people off without tasting it first. For example, I have a dear friend that will not eat an orange simply because she abhors the color orange.

My professors at the culinary school forced me to try my hand at the artichoke and I quickly discovered not only that the texture didn’t bother me as much as I previously thought, but I also learned that I really enjoyed the taste of the artichoke in many dishes. It fast became one my favorite foods both to cook with and to eat.

When you’re as passionate and driven about something as I am about cooking, sometimes you’ve got to eat the artichoke. You may even learn to like it.