Changing Taste Buds

by Cate on June 12, 2007

I’m convinced that our taste buds grow, mature and even change over the years. Growing up, you couldn’t pay me to eat salmon. The only way I would touch it is in this creamy risotto style dish my Mom makes (which I’m, ahem, still waiting for the recipe for). A few years ago, I went out on a limb and tried smoked salmon on a pizza, and was hooked. Since then, it’s found its way into dips and pastas too. I still have my limits with salmon, but have definitely increased the boundaries, and enjoyed doing so along the way.

Two weeks ago, I was at the grocery store picking up stuff for one of our dinners with the neighbors, and for some reason, the sushi counter caught my eye. Many years ago, The Husband and I each tried a piece of sushi and promptly spit it out. Blech. Never gave it a second thought, other than to utter the phrase, “I don’t eat sushi,” until recently. I can’t explain what caused me to give it a second look this time, but I not only did, I bought some. I asked the woman making sushi what would be the best thing to start with if I had never had it before, and she recommended the California Roll. Interestingly enough, the customer next to me was also trying sushi for the first time, and she was 60!

I took the package home and served it alongside the other offerings for dinner. I didn’t know you were supposed to pop the whole piece in your mouth, and struggled with the first one, trying to do it in bites. After I figured it out, and started dipping it in soy sauce, I was hooked. One, two, three, six pieces later. And then the next day, the day after and the day after that. The Husband tried, but still doesn’t care for it. This weekend, I branched out and tried the Spiced Shrimp ones, which were equally good, but to tell you the truth, I’d be hard pressed to describe them as really tasting different than the California Roll.

On our last cruise vacation, escargots was one of the appetizer offerings. I always thought them as slimy, gritty little things and shied away from them. One of the nice perks about cruises is, because food is all inclusive, it’s a great opportunity to try something new. The Neighbor Wife and I decided to go out on a limb and ordered a portion to split. OMG good, so divine and smooth, it just slips past your lips down your throat in warm buttery goodness.

Now it’s your turn … consider this your invitation for Sweetnicks’ Annual Delurk Day … what tastes have you changed your mind about recently? Like something now that you didn’t before? Or vice versa? Do tell!

A year ago today … out and about and lots ‘o pups.
Two years ago today … nothing.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Claire June 12, 2007 at 2:33 am

Hmmmm…I have lots that I didn’t like when I was little but like now…brussel sprouts, turnip greens, mango, hummus. Don’t know that I’ve discovered anything recently. I don’t care for sushi (though I, too, don’t like the eating it in one bite. Maybe that’s the problem) and I STILL don’t like sweet tea or baked beans. OH, sweet potatoes…in certain forms. I like them some ways now!

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Mensch71 June 12, 2007 at 3:26 am

Congrats on discovering sushi! It’s completely addictive and relatively healthy. Keep in mind though… the stuff you get at the grocery store is about a “2” on the quality scale. Once you feel more comfortable, you might try a sushi place (where the Husband can order tempura meat and veggies).

I’ve never liked radishes or beets or brussel sprouts or lima beans. The difference between now and my youth is that I’m better at hiding my displeasure!

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maltese parakeet June 12, 2007 at 5:32 am

i used to absolutely hate beets, because i only ever had the pickled kind that came in a can. i thought they tasted like dirt, because, well, they did. then i got some beets in my organic crop share delivery and i had to use them. so i roasted them in the oven with olive oil and salt and they were divine! i now know that good beets taste sweet and earthy and i’m totally hooked!

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mdvelazquez June 12, 2007 at 9:24 am

I wasn’t a big seafood/fish eater, but over the last two years that has changed. Other than that I can’t think of anything.

Maria

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Julie June 12, 2007 at 11:06 am

(Delurking as requested) Tastebuds do indeed change and here’s a little explanation of that: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Science-Kids-3250/Science-9.htm
There was also a PBS show that had a really interesting discussion of Supertasters with the transcript available here http://www.pbs.org/saf/transcripts/transcript904.htm and a fun test for yourself here http://www.pbs.org/saf/special.htm (scroll down to taste test) Taste is a fascinating subject and I too have found that with some effort I’ve been able to really expand the types of food I enjoy.

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Anonymous June 12, 2007 at 1:25 pm

Congrats on the Sushi!!! There is a great place in town. We’ll have to go!

The Neighbors (Wife)

Stay tune for my post tomorrow.

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Heather June 12, 2007 at 1:38 pm

I used to not like avocados (the texture), but in the past year have fallen in love with them. I also never liked olives, but in the past five years discovered kalamata olives and really enjoy those. The canned vs. fresh beets revelation that maltese parakeet mationed was familiar to me as well. I still don’t like the taste of coffee (but love the smell).

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Sarah Caron June 12, 2007 at 2:22 pm

Oh Cate,

I HEART sushi. Particularly the tuna, salmon and yellowtail varieties. Mmmm. That’s going to be the first meal I have after I give birth in November (no raw fish while pregnant, so I am stuck with Cali rolls and veggie rolls until then).

In the past year, I tried shrimp again, for the first time in years and discovered that it’s not so bad after all. In fact, a shrimp recipe even made it into my cookbook.

Other than that, I am fairly open – though I don’t eat mayo, mustard or sour cream — blech. And I only eat cream cheese in things.

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Cate June 12, 2007 at 2:46 pm

Claire – I lived on sweet potatoes every day for a month when I was pregnant with Nicholas. Love them.

Mensch71 – really? A 2? Sounds like I’m in for a real treat! Tempura meat sounds right up his alley. Looks like we’re going out this weekend. ;)

Maltese- love, love, love roasted vegetables, but not sure on the beets. Maybe if I try them that way, I can learn to like them.

Maria – I’ve never been a big fish person either, though I love shellfish. I have been branching out a bit more lately, and recently added haddock to the “ok” list.

Julie – thanks for delurking and the links! It’s always nice to have a little science behind intuition. Maybe I should start trying a few other things I think I don’t like … brussel sprouts, anyone? :)

The Neighbor Wife – sounds like a plan.

Heather – I’m with you on coffee. Love the smell, hate the taste. Actually for me, it’s not so much the taste as the heat of it. Don’t care for hot drinks.

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Cate June 12, 2007 at 2:47 pm

Sarah – there’s definitely a lot of people in the “no mayo” category. You’re in good company with Rachael Ray. :) But no sour cream or mustard either?!

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Charise June 12, 2007 at 3:02 pm

Tomatoes. I despised them growing up (just raw ones, in sauces and stuff was OK). But the last few years I’ve changed my mind about that.

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Heather June 12, 2007 at 3:53 pm

Guacamole is one of the food that I thought I hated. When I first starting working at a company after college everyone there loved it. I thoguht it looked disgusting. They took me out for Mexican and I barely dipped my chip in it to try. It seemed ok, so I tried a little more. Now I am one of those people that can eat guac on everything!! Love that GREEN stuff.

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Eve June 12, 2007 at 5:45 pm

My favourite maki is the california roll, but my ultimate favourite sushi is nigiri, usually unagi (bbq eel) or tuna/salmon. Yum yum!

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Deanna June 12, 2007 at 8:26 pm

I didn’t like avocado growing up, (love it now); had never tried edamame beans until recently (the way they serve them with sushi, YUM) didn’t like anchovies–finally figured out it is the flavor I was leaving out of pizza/pasta sauce that I was craving. Only the paste, though.
Didn’t like spicy, hot food, now I can’t get enough!! Glad to be all grown up. Thanks for the fun posts!

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Lynn / vigilant20 June 12, 2007 at 8:42 pm

My tastes have been changing slowly as I try to eat healthier. I couldn’t bear to even smell things like asparagus or broccoli (aka green trees) before. I wanted to eat well so badly that I kept making myself small portions and trying to force a little down. But I notice as I slowly slip them in they aren’t tasting all that bad…in fact I enjoyed my asparagus a few nights ago!

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I'm No Heroine June 13, 2007 at 12:16 am

Well, definitely avacados. For the longest time I was deathly afraid of guacamole. I went to a cafe and they had a VALT, which is Veggetarian bacon bits, avacado, lettuce and tomato. It was fantastic and totally changed my mind about avacados. The only other thing that I can think of, randomly, is fennel. But that’s not really something you eat alone. I had it in a risotto type dish and it was great!

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Robyn June 13, 2007 at 12:59 am

I just recently tried radishes again and while they weren’t offensive raw I absolutely loved them braised! Congrats on the sushi, I have been lamenting that my sushi partner moved to Seattle on me for months. :(

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Carey June 13, 2007 at 7:56 pm

Love the Cali roll – it was what got me to try sushi a couple years ago. Recenly I also tried artichokes again and found them delicious. I think the other food that I hated as a child was zuchinni but with the right prep I crave it, and now I even have a little plant thriving away for some fresh goodness in a month – lovin it.

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ley June 13, 2007 at 10:31 pm

Ok, I’m slow at delurking and commenting on this post (sorry- I really love your blog!), but I have to say that after moving to the meat-and-potatoes South from the culturally-rich North, I suddenly surprised myself with making and eating loads of foods I thought I HATED before (probably just to subconciously show off my “diverse palate”), like avocados and fish tacos and hummus. I guess tastes do change, especially when you realise how closed-minded you sounded when you wouldn’t try anything new!

-Ley

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FJK June 16, 2007 at 9:06 pm

I’ve always pretty much liked any sort of food, but I was never fond of brussels sprouts. Now, I know because they were served overcooked and soggy with an overwhelming cabbage aroma.

My husband is a great fan and we can get them fresh off the farm here in California, so I tried again. Now we slice them in half, saute them and cook them in various ways — with walnut oil and mustard sauce, in curry-style spice and more.

I can’t say they are my favorites, but I do look forward to eating them now.

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Cate June 16, 2007 at 10:09 pm

Charise – Nicholas was the same way until just last week. Wouldn’t go near raw tomatoes.

Heather – love, love, love fresh guacamole.

Eve so far, not brave enough to try the tuna or eel, but The Husband did last night and liked it. He just can’t get past the sticky rice.

Deanna – I’m with you on the anchovies. Can’t stand them on their own, but once I learned that they melt in olive oil, they really give a nice salty depth to a few pasta recipes we like.

Lynn – love roasted asparagus, one of my favorite ways to eat it. Tomorrow, I’m going to try roasted beets for the first time!

I’m No Heroine – I’m amazed by how many people mentioned avocados! My mom makes this simple fennel salad, and that’s, so far, the only way I like it. It’s definitely got a strong flavor that you either like or don’t.

Robyn – our old neighbors (who are Indian) used to make these fabulous little sandwiches with radishes – I’m going to have to get the instructions. They were perfect for hot summer weather.

Carey – all the women in our family love artichokes. The husbands? Not so much! No matter, more for us. ;)

Ley – glad to have you delurk! I think it really is a matter of what you’re exposed to. The Husband had never had feta or gorgonzola cheese before he met me, and now loves it. I think it’s just a question of what you’re used to growing up with.

FJK – brussels sprouts is definitely one thing I don’t eat. I have tried them though. :)

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Michele Lane June 18, 2007 at 1:35 pm

I like most foods.. but cant being myself to like capers. They are wierd tasting to me. And my taste buds changed in an opposite way. I used to really enjoy broccoli and bacon, and since being sick on them last winter (ugh stomach flu after eating broccoli salad.. NO GOOD) I cant even bring either of them even close to my mouth. Wich is sad.. because bacon is so good for you right? :)

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