I grimaced like a child taking her medication… only I wasn’t a child. As if that lump of little white pellets was poison, I tasted cottage cheese for the first time not long ago. My only excuse for being decades behind the rest of the world is memories of my Grandpa, which has lingered for a lifetime.

My mother’s father lived with us when I was young. Since we never really had conversations, his physical presence is the only thing I have to remember him by: a very old man who was always gasping for breath. Who had one of those giant humps on his upper back that made him look like he was bending forward but he wasn’t. As a teenager, I saw his eyes dart over for sidelong glimpses of me when I came into the room, but then he continued reading as if I was invisible. Every darned day he had one scoop of cottage cheese with canned peaches poured over the top, after which he literally threw a pill into his mouth… sometimes missing. As if that wasn’t spectacle enough, he then drank a glass of water full of floating brownish flakes (something similar to Metamucil I presume) or a glass of buttermilk. Both left a gross coating on the sides of the glass. The memory is still vivid.

Fast forward. I am a mother. I am a grandmother. I have finally gone where I wouldn’t go before — cottage cheese. And… yum. I’m often seen gobbling those “beautiful” white pellets so enthusiastically that my husband often alerts me to white specks littering my teeth. He finds this disgusting. ha.

My love/hate relationship with tomatoes was similar. For most of my adult life those large red mushy balls flashed me back to the towering cook who forced me to eat something I hated when I was four. My mother had to work and I was, apparently, traumatized by all day nursery school. Because everyone likes tomatoes, I was finally guilted into trying them 40 years later. Yum, especially the little ones.

I am not a foodie, but even these smallest of steps changed my eating world for the better. It’s odd to me now that I never thought of this mushy mound as cheese. To me, it was just the name of an alien substance that old people ate and dribbled on themselves. Advice to self: check the mirror more often.

Maybe I’ll try buttermilk tomorrow.