A hatred of sprouts, a mug of blood with a Masai tribe and a physiological need for Indian meals – the naturalist shares his most memorable food experiences

My earliest memory is repugnance towards over-cooked sprouts, an essential part of our family’s menu, boiled until blanched. The worst punishment possible was being told I had to stay at the table and finish eating them, instead of running back into the woods, where things were more interesting. I was scarred by sprouts.

I had a problem with eggs as a child, no end of grief. I could cope with dipping soldiers in soft yolks, but the whites would make me gag. Later I collected birds’ eggs, but never saw them as food. To me they were beautifully made jewels, fascinating treasures. Each stone-curlew egg, for instance, has a dark brown squiggle pattern identifiable to its mother. I also collected chocolate Easter eggs – I’d not eat them, just save them, for years, arranged on shelves in my wardrobe.

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Source: Guardian Environment