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Merits and demerits of "trying to like" foods

The milk chocolate eater who wants to learn to like dark chocolate made me wonder... is it worth forcing yourself to eat things that you don't particularly like? (Not with the aim of gratifying others, but because you just don't want to miss out on any sources of deliciousness.) How many tries should you make? Can tastebuds really change in adulthood?

I have effort to thank for: goat cheese and blue cheese, lamb, artichokes, and dark beers. But I still can't get on with whisky, most types of offal and, weirdly, melon.

Success stories?

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  1. Your tastes do change over time. I don't really get "trying to like" foods, but I definitely think any adventurous eater should be willing to occasionally revisit foods that he didn't previously like. You might find yourself enjoying it now.

    But I don't think trying to frequently choke down something you dislike in the hopes that it will eventually click is a worthwhile cause.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jzerocsk

      That's exactly my philosophy. My family eats bocconcini every Sunday and I can't stand the taste. Every once in a while, I'll sneak a bite to check, and it always reminds that I really don't like that cheese.

      There are some acquired tastes - for me, blue cheese and beer. But I still don't like rum, and I don't think I should waste my money and tastebuds training myself to like it. There are so many thing I do like that I don't eat/drink often enough - I'll concentrate on those.

    2. I used to not like spicy foods at all. When I would get Thai food I would ask for it extra mild. That caused a problem when I would go out with friends and we would want to share, so I gradually got myself to try hotter and hotter foods. Now I like spicy food and I eat it even when I am alone.

      1. i poke around more with healthy food. took me awhile to find ways i liked broccoli and brussel sprouts. same with cereal, since i hate milk. but my recent discovery of fage yogurt was an epiphany for breakfast.

        i'm content knowing i don't care for ice cream or pudding and see no point in trying to like it. i'll get those empty calories elsewhere!

        1. I think your tastes change as time goes by for sure. I suddenly found myself enjoying beer for the first time in my life at the age of 47! I never liked it up until now. Don't know why I can appreciate it at this age, and couldn't when younger. Maybe it has to do with the fact that there are a lot of better quality brews out there now?

          I also used to love really spicy foods and find as I'm getting older I don't enjoy then to be as overwhelming as I did when younger. I have the opposite Thai problem as melsky. I have to order it separately because I now need it medium to mild.

          Our tastes evolve and devolve (is there such a word? I think not, but you get the gist). I'm always willing to try anything and everything because I never know what might be interesting to me.

          2 Replies
          1. re: sivyaleah

            You give me hope! I have never liked beer and am in my early 40s. Maybe I won't give up after all.

            I also am a big fan of not giving up on food. Thought I didn't like avacados for years. I just never thought they tasted like anything. After I became an adult and starting traveling to more places were avocados were freasher, I found I do like them, just not very many of the ones I can get in Indiana.

            1. re: bonmann

              That was my experience with avocados, too, and then I moved to California. Made a world of difference. Now I love them.

          2. There's no harm in trying something (as long as it isn't snuck on you!) but you can't force your opinions to change! I re-try things all of the time - okra, melons, beets, havarti and cajole my husband into the same - but I can't go into it expecting miracles, only hoping to find some interesting toehold that escaped you in previous ventures.

            I've been successful with cucumbers and some raw mushrooms (cooked are splendid). Now I'll treat myself to both regularly. But the aforementioned? No way! I will try the okra again this summer ... there's a lady at the farmer's market with some nice-looking okra.

            4 Replies
            1. re: odkaty

              An easy way to like okra is to rinse it, let it airdry, then cut into little "wheels", dredge in flour, and fry til crispy in slightly browned butter (or part olive oil, part butter). Add a little sea salt when cooked, and inhale! This way of preparing takes care of the DSF (Dreaded Slime Factor), and what is not delicious dredged in flour and fried in butter?

              1. re: Seldomsated

                Skip the flour and go right to the cornmeal. I use olive oil and cook the okra wheels on each side for a few minutes till nice and golden brown. Just let it sit for a minute or two after cooking or you'll scald the inside of your mouth. I could easily put down 5 lbs of okra cooked this way.

                1. re: ESNY

                  My mom has always cooked okra like this. We have always loved it. Even my sister, who at age 35 still has not outgrown her tendency to be picky (she actually likes it just a little burnt).

              2. re: odkaty

                Thanks! I'll try both methods. A friend makes some sort of gumbo stew thing (no clue) that I'm going to steal the recipe for, make it vegetarian, and see what happens. I might try pickling them too. Okra can't be that bad - they're cute!