I recently had a freak craving for a sardine & onion sandwich. It hit me how disgusting and weird this must be to my kids, their friends, and maybe most other folks. (canned sardines on rye, thick slab of Spanish onion, mustard...Mmmm). The concoction brought back many vivid memories of eating these with my father in Northern Michigan as a kid through the 60's. To his tastes food just didn't get any better.
He and his twin were born in 1921 ( both still in great health!! ) into an immigrant Polish family of 9 kids in a 3 room shack. The only meat he had until he was drafted in 1942 was something you caught yourself. Whether it was pheasant, deer, turtles, or frogs. Growing up in the 30's he had never tasted citrus or bananas until he was in his 20's.
Flash forward to the his 3 baby boomers and life in the 60's. We were raised with his ideals of gourmet ecstasy...sardines sandwiches, canned mushrooms-simply drained and eaten from the can, blue cheese--hard to find then and pretty poor stuff compared to what you find even in a 7-11 today, fried balogna was saved for weekend treats, and the kids favorite, sliced dill pickles sprinkled with extra salt only to be eaten during Disney on Sunday nights. (Don't call the sodium police!! ) And while in boot camp in Louisiana he somehow developed a taste for menudo...something he has spent 60 years tracking down for the best bowl.
Passed on to me is a hatred of orange marmalade. Why? While on the transport to England in 1943, the land loving soldiers were puking up everything down to their toenails during the 2 week trip (his words--I'm sure the constant threat of being torpedoed didn't help). The only food they were given was crackers and marmalade. He left the service in 1946 with such a hatred of the stuff I don't think at 54 yrs old I've even tasted it and probably never will.
I'd love to hear other stories of tastes passed on to chow hounders that you might hold dear but other readers might find strange.