It Girl Hannah Bronfman Tells Us The One Thing She'll Never Eat

Illustration by: Ly Ngo.
My parents divorced when I was 2 years old, so I grew up splitting the time between my mom and my dad. For most of my childhood, I did not eat meat. But the funny thing is, I didn’t even know that eating meat was a thing. In my mom’s early 20s, she discovered that she was allergic to meat after eating a Hawaiian pizza (cheese pizza with ham and pineapple). Apparently, she broke out into hives all over her body and a doctor told her she had an allergy to both pork and red meat. In order to accommodate her newfound dietary restrictions, she became a strict vegetarian. She transposed this lifestyle onto my siblings and me, and we were none the wiser for most of our childhoods. The only time I had an inkling that something was amiss was when I went on sleepovers and my friends’ parents would say, “You can’t eat that” when serving chicken or beef at dinner. When I asked my mom why this was, she would explain to me that I had an “advanced palate.” I took pride in the idea of being advanced, so I didn’t ask any questions.
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Photo Courtesy of Hannah Bronfman

My cluelessness extended to weekend trips to my father’s house. He had a place in upstate New York and kept chickens. I used to love getting the eggs from the coop, but I had no idea that my dad ate chicken (or that anyone ate chicken, for that matter!). All my chickens had names and I considered them my friends. When my dad finally broke down and told me that most people eat chicken on a daily basis, I was devastated.

One weekend, when I was about 12 years old, my father asked me if I wanted some of his chicken during a meal. I was worried that I might be allergic or that something would go wrong if I ate it, because of my mother’s experience. I remember staring at that piece of chicken on his fork, worst-case scenarios racing through my mind. Finally, my dad insisted, “Just try it!”

I took a bite and waited for the worst. But to my total surprise, I couldn’t believe how good the chicken tasted — it was delicious!

When I told my mother that I had tried chicken, she was furious. I had to remind her that it was my body and I could consume what I wanted. At the time, our argument felt ridiculous to me — I was my own woman, after all! But looking back now, I think my mom was more upset by the idea that her baby girl was growing up and making decisions without her.

Chicken was the only meat I consumed until I was 17 years old. Then, one afternoon, my friends called me to meet them for lunch at a famous burger joint. As we put our orders in, they teased me when I just ordered some fries. I remember someone saying, “If you are going to try a burger, it has to be here.” So I did. That burger changed my life. Right then and there, I devoted myself to expanding my so-called "advanced palate." I was so mad that I had been deprived of certain foods and had been conned into dietary restrictions without my full knowledge or understanding.

What are you making for Super Bowl?! 🏈These coconut fried chicken fingers are bomb 💣⚡️💥 #hbfit recipes up!

A photo posted by Hannah Bronfman (@hannahbronfman) on

Photo courtesy of Hannah Bronfman.
Over the past 10 years, not only have I become an adventurous eater, I also have developed a very well-rounded relationship with food. The excitement I felt in discovering all these new foods, tastes, flavors, and textures led me to teach myself to cook and experiment in the kitchen. I love to cook for friends and family; food and cooking are the ways that I not only take care of myself, but also show people that I care about them. Though I am up to make anything, one thing you’ll never see me make or eat is Hawaiian pizza — I’m not a fan of dairy, meat, and fruit mixed together. I guess that is one food restriction my mom and I will always share.

You can discover all of Hannah’s recipes on her website HBFit — a site devoted to healthy living, cooking, exercise, wellness, and fashion.