We went to a birthday party today. I thought it was a white birthday so I arrived right on time, only to discover that I was the first guest to arrive because this was a Mexican birthday party! I was very happy. For adults, Mexican birthday parties are the best. First, there is no question about dropping your kid off or staying and hiding in a corner. Everyone comes to the party no matter what the age. There are tables set up and you can sit and talk with other adults while you eat delicious Mexican food prepared on the grill right in front of you. There is plenty of food, but should you want snacks you can have chips (no sugar), watermelon, cucumber, or jicama . BTW, I had never eaten a jicama until i moved to Sunland. They are AMAZING. Jicamas quickly jumped to the top of my favorite raw vegetable list. The candy in the pinata is Mexican candy (less sugar!) and the party lasts for hours and hours, leaving you free to arrive when you want and leave when you want without any social awkwardness.
The kids had a blast, I had a great time, I ate delicious food I didn't have to make myself, but the best part was I tried something new! I watched one of the adult guests at my table eat a nopales, which is prickly pear cactus. I have seen these a lot, in fact, our neighbor grows them just to eat, but have never eaten one, mostly because I have no idea how to eat a cactus. I finally roused my courage enough to ask about the cactus he was eating and tell him i wanted to eat one, but wasn't sure how. He laughed and said I'd want to eat one with a corn tortilla and a lot of hot sauce because they didn't taste very good. He said he ate them all the time as a kid and was used to the taste, but still didn't find them delicious. Still, I was excited to try a new vegetable!
I went to grab one from the grill, only to discover they were out! The cook (the father of the birthday girl) was both surprised that I wanted to eat one, and that they were out. he said they were the one food item they always had leftover after every party. He told me he'd track one down, and a few minutes later a plate appeared before me with a freshly grilled nopales on it. The women told me she didn't like the taste, but ate them because they were so healthy.
Actually, I liked it. It tasted like sour zucchini. It was kind of like rhubarb.
I remembered reading about your food tastes differently after you go off sugar. This study shows sugar affects your taste buds, dulling sensitivity to the taste sensation, and increasing preference for sweeter tastes. It can be one of the reasons why it's hard to go off of sugar (food just doesn't taste good for a few weeks) and it also explains why it is so hard to get kids to eat vegetables; if they eat sugar all day long, when they bite into something bitter not only is it different, but they can't taste anything BUT the bitter.
I like thinking that the first time I tried nopales, i tasted it with my real taste buds, instead of with a sugar filtered taste buds.