Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Aug 1, 2008 05:16 AM

The power of suggestion - or not knowing the ingredients

Further to the post about the difference between pommes frites and french fries or chips I wonder whether food tastes better if its called something unusual and foreign OR if you don't know what's in it.

Yesterday at work, one of my co-workers brought in some pickled herring. One of the other coworkers thought it was great till she heard the fish was raw.

Is there anything you liked until you found out what it was?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. No, but there are a few things I thought I wouldn't like until I found out I'd already eaten them, and then I was pleased. If my tastebuds say yes, my brain doesn't turn around and say no after the fact.

      Case in point: lardo. I'd never have tried it if an ex (with a nod to Firegoat) hadn't spread it on bread for me without telling me what it was. By the time he did I was already hooked.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tatamagouche

        Same as above...when I first started to eat sushi, one of the sushi bar chefs passed me a small bowl with sliced cucumbers, seaweed...other stuff I couldn't was white. It was tasty! "What is this?" I asked..."OCTOPUS HEAD." :) I wouldn't have eaten that on a bet, but have enjoyed it many times since. And I love my mom's homemade stuffing with chicken livers and gizzards...when I was a kid, I didn't realize what all was in there. I love it regardless, though.

      2. No, but it seems like patagonian toothfish never took off until it was labeled as Chilean sea bass.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Miss Needle

          And we seem to prefer the name "Mahi Mahi" to "Dolphin fish" because then we're sure we're not eating Flipper.

          1. re: jmckee

            But does it actually taste better or is it just marketting to get you to eat it??
            My suspicion is, if you were served two peice of fish. One Chilean sea bass and one Patagonian toothfish, prepared exactly the same and asked to pick which you thought was better, you'd choose the sea bass everytime. The power of suggestion like the OP said.


          2. re: Miss Needle

            Everytime I read "Patagonian toothfish" I imagine it as made out of brightly colored high-tech wicking fiber. Which would get caught in my teeth something fierce.

          3. as i said in a different thread - when traveling around asia,a s i used to do a lot, i had a policy of not asking what a food was until AFTER i tasted it.

            helps to keep an open mind

            1. I do find people much more lenient towards eat body parts of animals if they don't know what it is (stomach, hearts, liver, intestines, tongues, ears, etc). Also, the animals themselves: escargot.