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MILLENNIAL HOMEMAKER: A picky eater takes on corned beef; can you guess how that worked out?

My mom insisted on staging this photo to include all the fixings – mustard pickles, homemade biscuits, vegetables and corn beef.
My mom insisted on staging this photo to include all the fixings – mustard pickles, homemade biscuits, vegetables and corned beef. - Millicent McKay
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. —

If you were to look at my face, you, a total stranger, might be able to tell that I don’t hide my emotions well. I’m very expressive.

What can I say? I’m a picky person and an even pickier eater. Always have been - probably since I learned the word no - and probably always will be.

If you’re like me, you’ve been asked the question: “What DO you like?”

Usually, it’s easier to list what I don’t. Potatoes, for instance. I live on an Island known for its potatoes. But I like French fries. “Aren’t they the same thing?” No.

Recently, I moved in with my partner – in other words, I’m not relying on my parents to make me supper (thanks, Mom and Dad).

Corned beef after it’s been soaked overnight to get some of the salt brine off. - Millicent McKay
Corned beef after it’s been soaked overnight to get some of the salt brine off. - Millicent McKay

My partner is a famished farmer and the exact opposite of a picky eater. With that in mind, finding meals we both enjoy, that are simultaneously healthy-ish, can be a real struggle. The fact that I’m the main chef in the house and I’d be content with a bowl of pasta with parmesan cheese only adds to the equation.

Before my grandmother died, Mom and Dad would invite the family over for a traditional corned beef and cabbage meal for St. Patrick’s Day. As a 23-year-old trying to branch out her taste buds, I asked my dad to make another corned beef meal, this time so I could try it, probably dislike it, and then write about it (my sacrifice is your entertainment).

So, on Sunday, I went to my mom and dad’s for lunch, like I usually do. Immediately, I’m hit with the smell. I don’t know if there’s an accurate way to describe it - worse than cabbage or Brussel sprouts, if that helps; according to my dad, it smells like pastrami. But if that’s the smell when it was uncooked, what was I going to have to brace myself for when it came time to actually eat the meal?

If you can’t tell by my face, corned beef and cabbage was one meal I wasn’t too keen on trying. - Millicent McKay
If you can’t tell by my face, corned beef and cabbage was one meal I wasn’t too keen on trying. - Millicent McKay

Flashforward a few hours. My partner and I are at my parents’ house, and I still wasn’t prepared to eat the beef, cabbage and other accompanying vegetables.

Now, this is where you’d be able to tell that I was not into the meal. Like I said, I don’t hide my disdain for certain things very well. My nose bunched up, the way I chewed my food changed. It was … obvious.

So first, I tried the meat. One word: salty. And I like salt – my mom always asks if I want "x" food with all that salt. But man, you know it’s intense when I have trouble. In all, it wasn’t THAT bad. The meat, I can handle. The cabbage, well that’s another story. That was, as I would say, a hard pass.

If I’m being honest, I made myself a bowl of pasta with parm and took the easy way out.

But going forward, I am going to try – "try" being the key word – new recipes. Hey, maybe you’ll even get lucky and I’ll share some with you. For now, please enjoy my lovely face as I tried corned beef and cabbage.


Millicent McKay is a picky personality, a Summerside-based journalist with the Journal Pioneer, blogger for @theonewithpaigeandmillee and avid dreamer. For more content from Millicent head to https://theonewithpaigeandmillee.squarespace.com/ or Instagram.com/millicentleemckay.

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