I know it seems un-American. But here it is.
I, as an omnivore, dislike ground beef. Yeah, I said it.
I can’t stand the smell of it cooking. I’ll abide it in recipes if the taste isn’t too overwhelming. It must be masked with garlic or sauce or a strong cheese. If I catch a whiff, it’s all over.
I’m not sure why my olifactory system processes ground beef this way. I love the smell of steak sizzling away. A roast slowly cooking smells divine. I’m not bothered by ground pork sausage, ground turkey or ground chicken. It’s just the beef.
Meatballs, therefore, are not my favorite thing to cook. Not only must I smell ground beef cooking, I have to smell and touch raw ground beef.
I did this for you, Food fans. I stepped out of my box, sucked it up, and I made meatballs. With ground beef. With my hands. With only a reasonable amount of garlic. I cooked them all alone in the oven, even turning them once during the cooking, which meant I stuck my head into a swirling vortex of cooking ground beef smell. Then, I even ate them.
All for you.
And I didn’t die.
In fact, they were delicious. I felt a little like the character at the end of “Green Eggs and Ham,” especially with my 2-year-old, face bright red with smeared marinara, at my side as I said, “Hey! I do like meatballs!”
She, of course, looked at me like the very notion of not liking those meatballs made me certifiably insane. She gobbled up at least four of them; I say at least because chances are very strong that Daddy snuck her a few more bites when I sat there enthralled by my own meatball. It’s a good assumption.
While I’m an adventurous eater, I tend to avoid things I’ve already tried and disliked, particularly something I disliked as much as ground beef. So the sudden realization that I could, in fact, enjoy a meatball was maybe a little life-changing.
Maybe next time I’ll try licorice. Nah, maybe not.
Beth Colvin is The Advocate’s assistant Food editor. She can be reached at email@example.com