I've noticed over the months that I transitioned to Paleo that I'm having some pangs and concerns with my cooking. Pangs because when I'm requested to make dishes that are non-Paleo, I'm starting to feel a little guilty about feeding unhealthy things to people. I've never judged anyone before in my life so this is a new realllly weird and not very welcome emotion for me. Concerns because my palate has changed and I'm not quite sure it's for the better, and also not knowing how to work around it.
Pangs/Guilt Example: I always make the main dessert for an annual birthday beach bash. This year I was requested to make an edible castle. Yes, my friends like to challenge and torture me. So I built a castle out of cereal treats: rice crispy, froot loops, chocolate crispy - cut into building blocks, flags and all. I had no desire to take a bite or to taste, not interested, and treated it was if it were an art project. As I was making it though I started to kind of internally wince thinking "oh man I don't want to feed this to my friends oh I really don't it's so bad SO BAD!" even while knowing it would make the birthday and everyone would be happy. It was a huge hit but I winced inside as it was gobbled down even while smiling on the outside.
Concern Example: I'm catering the desserts, all non-Paleo, at a wedding in August and recently ran a couple of test batches for the client so I could have final approval. Three flavours of mini-whoopie pies and mini-blueberry pies. Very minimal tasting on my end but I was quite pleased with the results. Their opinion? Not sweet enough. This coming from the sugar-holic bride and the groom who eats a sweet maybe once a year.
So now my palate has changed which I knew would happen once I stopped eating sugar, not that I ever had much before, but I honestly didn't think it would be that drastic. I had a few other friends try, some in the restaurant industry and some not, and out of the five two thought everything was fine and that was the vegetarian and one who was a little bit drunk.
I'm hoping that I'm not the only one who has, or is, going through this and was curious if anyone here has been able to bang out consistently tasty non-Paleo dishes with their adjusted palate. Do you just go a bit "more" than what your mouth and nose are telling you? I'm very very confident in the kitchen so this is really kind of panicking me.
Regarding the pangs and guilt, do you just suck it up and think to yourself: you're not eating it, you're healthy, happy, and feel good, that's enough so get over it?
asked byjesuisjuba___paleorepublic_com (20519)
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on July 20, 2011
at 12:59 AM
I don't feel guilty about making non-paleo foods for other people.
For me it's easy to go all crazy-restrictive with my diet, whether it's low-carb, paleo, low-fat, ayurvedic, or whatever kick I've been on. The flip side of crazy-restrictive is bingeing and a complete lack of self control, so I'm trying for more a moderate attitude in my life with this stuff. My view is that things like sugar and canola oil and non-organic vegetables aren't cyanide, they are just less-than-optimal nutrition sources. I won't die if I eat non-optimally sometimes, and I'm not killing anyone by offering them cake or something. Other (adult) people have to be responsible for their own health.
I know a trustworthy palate is really important for professional cooks - it must be dismaying to have your palate changing! I think I'd experiment with making things sweeter than I think they need to be and testing the results out on other cooks. With some good testing, maybe you can figure out a formula for how to adjust your recipes upward for sweetness - like using 5% more sugar, 10%, etc.
on July 19, 2011
at 11:55 PM
I used to love to bake (hobby only, not professionally) - I was the designated dessert bringer, etc.
I've been on the paleo/primal wagon for about a 16 months now - and it's really difficult to bring myself to bake anything of any kind. I'll do it when requested - but I really DO feel guilty I'm feeding 'crap' to people. I really miss baking.
I think my palate changed only recently (like in the last month) in regards to baked goods - like cake / cupcakes. If I'm tempted, I'll take one bite and that's enough and it's always WAY too sweet. It's not enjoyable to me in the least. But, because I know my no-fail dessert recipes so well - all I can go by is whomever ends up eating it...
on July 19, 2011
at 11:19 PM
my palate has also changed, but I have a super taster, smeller as well.
It sounds like you have a bit of an internal conflict between what you HAVE to do and what you WANT to do. I'm assuming if you ran your business offering both options you'd appeal to a wider audience....that said, the majority of your clients are probably mostly SAD eaters, so thats what they'll want.
I wonder if you can do the 'testing' on people around you who are SAD eaters so you don't have to taste too much of that stuff. As long as your clients are happy and you are happy is what counts!!!
It sounds like a challenging job to have when you don't want to be eating that stuff!! I still bring things that people request, but I also bring another plate to share that I can eat. Their choice!!!
on July 19, 2011
at 09:02 PM
I definitely feel like i've lost my grip on what tastes "good" to most people - not just to the junk-food people, but even to more sophisticated palates of some of my friends. I haven't tested this, opting to avoid cooking for social gatherings, sadly. (i did make a fruit salad recently (pineapple/jicama/mint etc), and i kinda suspect it wasn't sweet enough.) I also feel you on the feeding-friends-crap factor - even if I can accept that folks can think for themselves and their choices are NOMB, I have a little harder time, uh, 'enabling' ppl to eat baked goods or whatever... feels like an endorsement, right? Sigh. Good luck!
on July 19, 2011
at 08:59 PM
The change in my palate has been amazing over the past 10 months. I used to be a sugar fiend - the sweeter the better (I loved 5 cent candies from 7-11). Now the taste of one makes me gag. My hubby made a wonderful fruit salad two nights ago (mostly fresh local berries) and it was so sweet to me, I went into the kitchen and made some fresh whipped cream without sweetener and put a load of that on the fruit salad to calm the sweet down. I even found the whipped cream sweet (and it was unsweetened). I think next time I'll pass on the fruit salad.
As for the guilt - whew, that's a tough one! My sosn's 2nd birthday party is this weekend and he's having a gluten and sugar-free Elmo cake (I found a bakery in town that was willing to use alternatives to sugar for us) but, the list of ingredients they are going to use isn't wonderful. I'm feeling a little bit guilty feeding it to him and his little buddies - but only a little guilty - the picture of the look on his face when he sees an Elmo cake will get rid of the lingering guilt.