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Have you ever "trained" yourself to eat something?

The post on goat cheese got me thinking. Several years ago, I got tired of picking cilantro, which I loathed, out of Mexican food, which I love. So I decided that I wouldn't keep asking if the dish had cilantro in it and just go with it. Over the course of a year or so, I discovered that I really liked cilantro.

I decided to try the same experiment with olives this year. I have always hated olives. I would pick them out of any dish containing any kind of olive. Didn't matter... green, black, kalamata, etc. Hated them all. Early this year, I decided to apply my cilantro experiment with olives. After several months, I discovered that I really liked kalamata olives, oil cured olives, etc. Now, I have a blast at the Whole Foods olive bar!

For 2008, I'm attempting to do the same with blue cheese. Now, I really, really hate blue cheese. Love goat, love feta, but blue cheese? Even the smell of it makes me queasy. Wish me luck!

How about you? Ever teach yourself to like a food you previously hated?

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  1. Oysters! I was more shamed than trained. I was at a wine dinner with a French wine importer and his stunningly beautiful, elegant French wife and they ordered oysters on the half shell for the table. The wife let everyone know that there were just enough oysters for each person to have two...I tried to fade into the background because the first time I tried raw oysters I ended up gagging and having to run to the bathroom...she noticed that I had not touched mine and sat there waiting for me to eat them. I felt like an idiot and did not want to appear ungratefull or uncivilized so I scooped one up and had a death grip on my glass of Champagne, (my first love), "focus on the bubbles" I told myself and I shot that briny little sucker down my gullet and washed it down with the Champagne Oh My God!! It was wonderful and now I'm an oyster junkie.

    3 Replies
    1. re: bubbles4me

      Was it the Champagne or the oyster that "tasted" great. To me, it's not only a texture thing, but that briny taste doesn't do it for me. I could eat a dozen with a cold beer next to it, or add some hot sauce, but to enjoy them by themselves, I doubt it.

      1. re: bubbles4me

        I thought I hated oysters too. About 6 months ago I tried them again and they are probably one of my favorite foods now :)

        1. re: bubbles4me

          brave of you to not just be "allergic" to shellfish

        2. Lobster. i hated lobster all through my youth- would watch in disgust as my family pulled them apart. then i married a "mainer" and was forced to learn to like the lobster. so i just decided a few summers ago that i needed to like lobster, so i just dived right into lobster rolls from red's eats (easy with all that drawn butter) and whole lobsters from maine lobster pounds. lo and behold, now I LOVE lobster. i can eat 3 red's eats lobster rolls in a sitting (if you let me). and few things taste more like summer to me than a delicious lobster and some drawn butter! enjoy fb

          15 Replies
          1. re: frankbooth

            Frankbooth, I have a challenge for all your Imamainuh family members. I've put about a half dozen people to this challenge and I've won every time. Take a lobster lover out for dinner and give them this challenge. If you can eat a two lb lobster without anything added to it (no butter, no lemon, no nuttin') and they can eat the whole thing and honestly tell you they enjoyed it, you'll pay for it. I've done this quite a few times, and after two or three bites they are dunking it in butter and offering to pay for your dinner.

            1. re: jhopp217

              What's the point? Same is true for artichokes, popcorn, hot wings, toast, and many other things. Are all those things inherently distasteful because we traditionally serve them slathered in butter?

              1. re: uptown jimmy

                Missing your point. I don't love artichokes, I usually don't add butter to my popcorn, maybe alittle salt, and sometimes cayenne pepper. Hot Wings I order well done sauce on the side usually, no butter. Toast is bread which I put many things on. I'm missing YOUR point. My point was lobster is usually served with drawn butter. Take it away and you have a flavorless meat.

                1. re: jhopp217

                  False. Lobster meat on its on if firm and has a hint of sweetness. I'd always enjoyed my lobster the same way I ate crabs, boiled and eaten without butter until I moved out of my parents' place. Being Chinese, we do a lot of steaming seafood, and unlike most people, we skip the soy sauce part and just eat it by itself.

              2. re: jhopp217

                I love eating sea food without butter. I like the lemon but it is not necessary. I am assuming you would allow a bit of salt in the water the lobster is boiled in (or sea water). So I'll go out and eat lobster with you! Bring your wallet!

                1. re: moh

                  The other thing I would point out has to do with the science of flavor, which is pretty well-understood. Many of the flavor compounds we recognize on the tongue are only fat soluble, hence the universal use of fats in cooking and eating food. If I understand correctly, the butter is actually helping release a lot of the flavor otherwise locked up in the lobster flesh.

                  1. re: moh

                    same goes here, except i don't want the lemon either. i love lobster (particularly the claws) unadulterated. i'm not as big a fan of the tail, but i'll eat it if i don't have an appropriate dining companion (mom and i will order a 4 lber and i take claws and she tail). king crab legs are also great IMO steamed and cracked. and i'm probably the only person i know that doesn't like shrimp scampi because of the scampi. Now if only I had a friend to challenge me...

                    1. re: Emme

                      I agree with the shrimp and the crab. If the meat is really fresh it has a unique flavor all to itself. I diagree with the losbter. All the parts taste pretty much like nothing to me.

                  2. re: jhopp217

                    Lobster is enhanced by those things! You have, perhaps, not had a properly cooked lobster before. They should not be golf balls! They should be juicy, succulent and have sort of giant flakes if cooked properly. Do you hold the same feelings for shrimp?

                    1. re: Sal Vanilla

                      I have had lobster so many times it's ridiculous, because I'm waiting for it to taste good. Shrimp has a flavor to me. To me lobster doesn't.

                      1. re: jhopp217

                        I agree the tail doesn;t taste like much but, to me, properly cooked juicy claws are divine alll by themselves. Maybe you lobsters are dried out?

                    2. re: jhopp217

                      I eat my lobster plain, same as my folks did, and love it.

                      1. re: pikawicca

                        I like a squeeze of lime, not lemon, juice.

                      2. re: jhopp217

                        I rarely have butter or lemon on my lobster. I do love to have them when I have them, but when i make lobster at home, I usually don't even think about them.

                        IMO it is a foolish test anyhow, could do the same thing with beef without any salt or pepper or spice of any sort. Many would not like it without some flavor enhancer.

                        And besides, the larger the lobster is, IMO the more bland it is. The smaller ones are sweeter, so I usually go for smaller than 2 lbers

                        1. re: jhopp217

                          I eat lobster without butter or lemon. Also, crab legs as well. You can take me out to eat any day. I love, love, love the sweet taste of lobster. Butter or lemon is a condiment. It just adds to the taste, it doesn't create the whole flavor on it's own. I love my condiments but I appreciate the base food just as much.

                      3. 2008 will be a banner year for you if you emerge as a lover of blue cheese which is my absolute desert island if-I-could-only-eat-one-thing-for-the-rest-of-my-life-food.

                        1. For me, it was uni. At my favorite sushi place, my sushi guy started me w/baby steps, uni sushi w/other stuff to just introduce me to the flavor. Now I love the stuff.

                          Maybe I should try it w/bitter melon. It's the one food that I bleh! at.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: justagthing

                            That was mine too. I started eating it to impress my then boyfriend (now husband) and ended up loving it!

                          2. Interesting that most of the responses so far are from folks who used to hate something, trained themself to eat it, and now love said item.

                            For me, I still loathe cilantro but have trained myself to just suffer through it. I'll never love it and it will always taste like soap, but I understand how it is integral to Mexican and Middle Eastern cooking.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: Carrie 218

                              It is also a part of some Chinese cooking. But also, there have been past posts on the cilantro taste. Quite interesting. I love the stuff and always ask for extra.
                              http://www.chow.com/search?search%5Bq...

                              1. re: justagthing

                                Horse meat, by accident. Years ago, I was having dinner at a low-priced restaurant in Paris (yes, there were such things then) with a Parisian friend. I was remarking about the special horse-meat butchers to be found there, and said I could never bring myself to eat horse. He just smiled, and pointed to my entrecote.

                              2. re: Carrie 218

                                As I understand it, the cilantro thing is caused by an enzyme that changes the way they taste coriander leaves, a genetic trait, but has yet to be fully researched. Those of us who have it find that cilantro tastes soapy; some people say it tastes like metal. Everyone else thinks it tastes bright and citrusy.

                                I can tolerate it in small doses and I think it might be possible to "overcome" my dislike for it, but I have no interest in trying. Should be interesting when I go to Thailand next month. hmmm.

                                1. re: chicgail

                                  thanks! it does taste metalic too me, but i could never explain it to anyone. I like the flavor it can impart to a dish, but eating it in like a salad, or where its not chopped up... not so much.

                                  1. re: chicgail

                                    Don't give up on cilantro. It used to taste soapy to me but doesn't anymore.

                                    1. re: Steve

                                      Julia Child hated cilantro, too.

                                      1. re: Emilyishere

                                        It tastes like soap to me as well. I am okay with it in salsa, and can tolerate it far better than I used to, but I don't think I will ever love it.

                                    2. re: chicgail

                                      I feel the same way about dill. No, I take it back, I can see no reason for dill at all. But I don't have the cilantro-hating gene, I can graze through a field of it and love every bite.

                                      Cilantro-dislikers, I know it's not a priority, but if you grew some cilantro during cool weather and tried it that way you just might taste a very big difference. Commercial has all those off-tastes that people hate, the homegrown not nearly as much, with much more sweetness. If you're interested. Just suggesting.