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I always wanted to try **** but have never worked up the nerve because I am afraid I won't like it.

  • Peg May 28, 2009 07:47 AM
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This was on another thread and it shocked me.

If I see something I've never eaten before I can not resist trying it. even if, and I'm ashamed to say this, even if it is meat (which I don't eat as part of my 'normal' diet). Heck, I tried frogs legs in France once because how could I not? (It was nauseating, but I had to try it). Put me in an 'ethnic' market and I want one of everything, even if I can't tell from the label whether it's crunchy squid entrails or floor polish.

Does the 'I'm afraid to try it' frame of mind shock you too? Or am I wierd in my quest for strange new tastes, new experiences, flavours I have never tried before....

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  1. Head Cheese...

    One of the funniest things my dear old grandpa said to me once about my fear was...

    'They sure don't make Head Cheese like they used too".

    2 Replies
    1. re: JanPrimus

      I promise I will go ahead and bite the bullet this week on it. I am going to hit up Zingermann's for some. I just need to get past this....

      1. re: JanPrimus

        Nothing to be afraid..... well I shouldn't assume.... at least the Mexican version of Head Cheese is great not any different than a good quality Mortadella

    2. There's only one reason for me to be 'afraid' to try a new food... and that is because it is so very expensive. It feels like it would be criminal for me to spend (large sum) of dollars trying some exotic new dish only to find out that it tasted like catfood to me. I'd love to try all sorts of things, if only I could try them in a suitably small, cheap portion.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Kajikit

        I agree with you Kajikit - don't want to spend $$$ on something I'm unsure of.
        also - I've wanted to try uni, but I have a shellfish allergy and I'm just not sure if that's in the category of allergens or not.
        SO. when it comes to big bucks, potential anaphalaxis I do not always try. :)

        Oh and things that skeeve me out... bugs, some offal, eyeballs!

      2. Even worse - someone who declares they "hate" something they've never tried!

        I'm with you. Try it all - let the intestines sort it out!

        1 Reply
        1. re: MGZ

          Yeah...tell my 6-year old that one!

        2. No, it doesn't shock me at all. Just watching Andrew Zimmern wolf down live food on his TV show makes me barf, while even the dead stuff he eats is disturbing. I discriminate first by visual appeal, then smell. If it passes those tests, it might pass my lips. Otherwise, I need to be drunk.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ptrichmondmike

            I might add that I've had frog's legs at Thai restaurants, and they are delicious.

          2. Peg, how can that be? Frog legs taste more like chicken than chicken!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              Frog Legs with a nice white wine butter lemon sauce, oh yeah!

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                Ah Firtanga de Ancas de Rana... one of the great Mexico City specialities... I can't imagine anyone not liking them (if they don't know what they are)

              2. You're in good company here, Peg, but almost everybody has at least some limitations on what they'll eat. Those who refuse to step outside their personal comfort zone lead boring culinary lives, but there's a big difference between pushing the envelope and tearing it up and throwing it away.

                I'll be the first to admit to being a little skeeved out by certain delicacies. For example, give me a fish head and I'll gladly gnaw the collar and pick out the cheek meat. But sucking out the eyes? That's something I'm just not up for. Maybe one of these days there will be an occasion when it's socially required, in which case I'll do my best to discharge my obligations to my host, but until then - no fish eyes for me.

                3 Replies
                1. re: alanbarnes

                  I consider myself a fairly open person, culinarily but thier are a few areas I might balk at. For example I have a pet cat, so the idea of actually eating a cat doesn't reall sit well with me (I don;t fault those who do, but barring an emergency situation, I'm not sure if I could bring myself to eat one personally (particualry if I was the one who had to kill it first). I also have a bit of a problem with dishes I have hear of which seem to have less to do with food than with a sort of "sadism for entertainment" experiance for the diner (for example the one I heard of that is served in some places in Asia (called the "dish of the three screams" that involves living baby mice, spicy condiments and very sharp forks). I really dont have a real problem with killing animals for food but torturing them for entertaiments hits some wrong chords with me.

                  What I have always had some moral qualms about is whether I have the right to say "I don't like this" and not order it AFTER I have tried it once. A part of me always wonders "what if it was a bad example of X? What if it's something you have to grow to love. If I don't like something can I move on to new food experiances, or do I have an obligation to keep trying it again and again until I do?

                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    Funny that you mention the fish eye thing, because we ordered a whole fish at a Mexican restuarant a couple nights ago and I felt compelled to try the eye. I just wanted to see if I liked it. Well, not so much. It skeeved me out a little as I was eating it. For me, it was more a textural issue than a taste one. Hey, but now I know, right?

                    1. re: Hunicsz

                      I admitt I am still too skeeved out to try fish eyeballs.

                  2. Sorry, some things just don't appeal to me. While Bourdain and Zimmern have opened my eyes to a whole unexplored world of food, there are still things that, based on their descriptions, will still get a pass from me. For example, Zimmern describing scallop roe as tasting like "a little balloon of seawater exploding in my mouth" makes me say, "BLEAH!!", not, "I want that!" Things described as "minerally" or "gamey" hold no allure, nor does anything that "smells like feet and has the taste of mushy rotten onions."

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: al b. darned

                      There are plenty of things that I'm not inclined to try - but, scallop roe is really lovely - it can be cooked along with the scallop, or incorporated in the sauce.

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5050... (photo)

                      1. re: al b. darned

                        I thought I was a seriously adventurous eater, but I have never eaten 'mushy rotten onions'. You found my limits in one post. However this year I have had snake, duck feet, brain curry, bulls' testicles, sweetbreads, tripe, lung, blood sausage, 100 year eggs, durian, home fermented pickled daikon (smells like feet), mustard greens, brawn and chicken hearts. Not yet done the fish eyes or goat's head.

                        1. re: Paulustrious

                          If you've have had 100 year eggs & lung, then scallop roe will seem like a McD's happy meal to you.

                        2. re: al b. darned

                          The mushy rotten onions one was durian, right? That for me is the quintessential "want to try it but afraid to" food. It seems to be even more polarizing than cilantro in the love it/hate it debate, and if I hate it I'm stuck with this huge prickly revoltingly smelly thing to deal with... not to mention they don't come cheap in this part of the world. One of these days I'll make it out to SE Asia and get a fresh one straight of the tree and give it a shot.
                          Everything else I either want to try and will eventually or (goose intestines, sheep eyeballs) have no interest in putting in my mouth.

                          1. re: al b. darned

                            Maybe it's just the descriptor that's putting you off; the word conjures up something in your head than is different than what the person who used it had in mind. Anybody who likes wine will likely tolerate good Chablis, or Sancerre, or Haut-Brion. And all of those wines have been described as "minerally."

                            Some descriptions are a little less likely to lead to confusion. Stinky feet and rotten onions - that's pretty clear. (Although I'd have to say that durian smells more like raw chicken that's been allowed to rot in a privy hole for three days during the height of summer. Tried it once; that was enough.)

                            As far as scallop roe goes, ignore Andrew Zimmern; his shtick is to shock and titillate, and he'd surely try to find a way to make a poached egg and a slice of wheat toast sound exotic and vaguely disgusting. If you like seafood, you'll like scallop roe.

                          2. If can't work up the nerve to try something it is probably not because I am afraid I won't like it, but because I'm pretty doggoned sure I won't like it! One thing I have tried and didn't like is tofu. And I'm pretty sure it is because what I tried to eat was gray. Ick.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: sueatmo

                              Not liking tofu is similar to not liking, say, chicken. There are so many ways to prepare it, I'm pretty sure that anybody with a pulse will enjoy at least one preparation.

                              The question is how many preparations you're willing to wade through before you find one you like. Given that I like anything when it's deep-fried, I'd recommend inarizushi: pockets of deep-fried tofu stuffed with sushi rice. Yum.

                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                Hey, I'm a carnivore whose first taste of tofu was white chunks of nothing in broth (bleagh!!), and there's a restaurant down in San Gabriel that does a deep-fried tofu in cubes that gets me as nuts as my grandma's fried chicken. My one and only rule is Never Stop Tasting.

                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  Are we married? My husband will only eat tofu if it's fried. He will scrunch up his face if I tell him I'm making something with it, and I'll make him something else- but if I order it out and it's fried, he'll stab a forkful and proclaim it 'tastes kinda good but I'm glad I'm not eating it for my dinner.'

                                2. re: alanbarnes

                                  Great rec! Inarisushi - what's not to like? I love that stuff. I can eat pocket after pocket.

                                  Alanbarnes - eat the fish eyes! They are actually pretty innocuous - the texture is kind of chalky in a cheesy kind of way, and they taste of whatever sauce they are in. Really quite good.

                                  But I understand the aversion. A lot of people are squeamish about eyes in general.

                                  Now Brains - I am quite squeamish about brains. Hard time getting past the texture.

                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                    Eating aburage is not really eating tofu! And Will, I guess someone will eventually deep fry durian, like it, and claim to have eaten durian.

                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                      "I guess someone will eventually deep fry durian, like it, and claim to have eaten durian." Sam, that person might well be me. And as my only other durian experience was in a shake, I believe deep-fried would be every bit as close to "eating durian" as that. For the record, it was an experience I do not care to repeat. Eating directly from a cut durian fruit might be a very different thing, but I'll wait until someone else buys one and splits it open.

                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                        I think the point being made was that eating tofu is too general a term. Even in the deep fried category there are quite a number of forms. Same goes for durian example -- if some has eaten deep fried durian, s/he has eaten merely one rendition and would be pretty hard to generalise.

                                        1. re: limster

                                          That point is quite well-taken. Whether or not one likes something is certainly dependent, in at least a significant part, upon the preparation. For example, I recall reading a post recently where the OP noted that s/he disliked cilantro and ginger, but basically enjoyed them when properly incorporated into certain dishes. Perhaps it is unfair to determine whether or not one "likes" any particular item without multiple tries.

                                          As further anecdotal example, I submit that I am not a fan of salmon. I used to say I really disliked it. One night, in a sort of challenge to a local, talented chef, I basically requested that he attempt to change my mind. The preparation, as well as the product (which was actually a regular menu item), was fantastic and I devoured it with glee, virtually resorting to licking my plate. It forever changed my view of salmon. Do I order it routinely? Certainly not. Would I eat that dish again? Any time!

                                          1. re: MGZ

                                            Athother factor migh be you state of mind at the time of the serving. I can't help but think of the old Chinese folktale about the emperor who while hunting get's lost in the woods and wanders about for days on end. finally uttely exuasted and on the point of starvation, he stumbles onto a small shack in which lives an old woman the woman bring him in put him in her bed and then gives him a bowl of green soup with white lumps in it. The emperor eats the soup and finds it the most delicious thing he has ever tasted. The next day with instrictions from the old woman he is able to make his way back to civilization and his palace. Once there he immediately tells his cooks to prepare the soup for him. all his cooks, as well as all of the other great cooks of the city try but the king finds none taste as good. Finally in desperation he sends for the old woman, begs her to make the soup and puts the wole of his kitchen at her disposal. the woman agrees goues into the gard pulls a handful of coarse vegetables and weeds out of the gound, takes a handful of sour tofu out of the castle slop bucket thows them into a a pot and boils them. She then brings the soup to the Emperor. The Emperor takes one sip of the soup and immediately spits it out as it is the most vile thing he has ever eaten, baffled he asks the woman why the soup is so different from the last time the woman replies :Your Higness, the soup is exactly the same, but the last time you ate you were starving to death." The Emperor then tells the woman to serve the soup to his court, a wiser and more humble man.

                                            1. re: jumpingmonk

                                              La mejor salsa del mundo es la hambre (hunger is the best sauce in the world).

                                              - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

                                  2. My original point was not that I'm shocked that someone wouldn't try something that 'icked them out', rather that the only reason not to try it was for fear of not liking it. This was something the person WANTED to try something but was afraid to. That makes no sense to me.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: Peg

                                      Is it the fear of throwing up? For instance, I've been told to try tongue again- I tasted it many years ago and spit it out because I thought I was going to throw up if I swallowed it.
                                      I'm older, wiser and take more risks now. But when someone mentions tongue tacos or cracking/peeling the skin when cooking it- I break out in hives and fight the urge to puke. But I actually want to try it. Seems weird, but in my head if I try it I may throw up but if I don't try it I'm a moron.... So it still doesn't make sense, but there are reasons..

                                      1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                        Throwing up is over quickly - feeling like a moron lingers.

                                        1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                          With tongue you've got three separate things going on: the flavor, the texture, and, well, the fact that it's a tongue.

                                          The flavor of tongue is great. Beefy, without any of the odd "whang" that you can sometimes get from other variety meats.

                                          The texture depends a lot on preparation. The first time I had tongue, it was cut into fairly large chunks and cooked - but not until tender - in a soup. It was kind of spongy and nearly impossible to chew, and I'm not sure the tongue had even been peeled - it was a long time ago, but I seem to remember taste buds. I ate a little to be polite, but was generally appalled. Tacos de lengua are a whole different ballgame. They're made with tongue that has been simmered until tender, cut into small bits, and fried until it gets a little crispy. Much more palatable.

                                          Finally, there's just the "ick" factor. It's completely irrational, and completely natural. Some people just can't abide the thought of eating [fill in the blank]. And if tongue is your Waterloo, you can try to fight through it, just accept it, or, if you're lucky, find out that you like it before you're aware of what you're eating.

                                          My younger daughter definitely had a thing against tongue. But one time we ordered a variety of things from a taqueria and she ate one of my "icky" tacos de lengua by mistake. She loved it, but still hasn't taken me up on my offer of tripitas.

                                          Anyhow, I'm with those who say to try tongue again. Don't start by cooking and peeling your own, just get a tongue taco. Spoon on a little salsa and sprinkle with chopped onion, cilantro, and a few slices of radish. Betcha like it.

                                          1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                            Maybe a few martinis first??? Back in my martini drinking days I tried thinly slice beef tongue (I think it was smoked) and have vague hazy memories of enjoying it. Would I try it today, probably not and Peg frog legs are delicious with or without the martinis.

                                            1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                              Once was enough for me, regarding tongue. It's the texture.

                                              1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                Yeah- my 'maiden tongue voyage' was in a far away land. They served it lolling between 2 scoops of mashed potatoes with a river of oddly gray colored gravy flowing through the potato mountains. I just told myself I 'had to try it'. It was textured- almost like trying to eat a bite from a kitchen sponge. The tongue was thin and we each got one so now I'm wondering what animal it came from... Hmmm.... This was in the dining room at the Hotel Moscow in the 80's...

                                                When I try it, it will be from this taco truck that's parked near a gas station that someone told me to check out. I'll TOTALLY slam down a few drinks first...maybe...

                                                1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                  Like AB mentions.. if you are ever duped into biting a competently prepared Lengua taco chances of a Chowhound not liking what they taste is very small.

                                                  I kind of liken it to convincing one of my ex-hindu coworkers to eat their ribeye medium rare. Lamb Brain Curry... no problem. But the sight of a bloody steak provokes uncontrolled repulsion among Southern Indians. However, after losing a Cricket bet my westernized not practicing coworker was forced to get blind folded, and eat medium rare steak... at first he was having a hard time... but after relaxing he discovered he likes medium rare steak. Now he is a "Meat Eater" as westernized Indians refer to those that eat beef & steaks etc.,

                                                  1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                    Hey, the tongue soup I hated was served at Гостиница Спутник in Moscow. June 1982. Maybe in the Soviet era, kitchen sponges were a delicacy...

                                                  2. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                    It depends on what you grew up with. My mother made great beef tongue. First it was simmered whole until tender, then peeled, then sliced thin, then baked in a suace of tomatoes, onoins, and spices. Delicious. This is not to be confused with pickled tongue, also beef, that was simmered, peeled, sliced, and served like corned beef, hot or cold. The cold version at the local deli has a premium price, by the way.

                                                    Then there is the question of what part of the tongue. Nearer the tip it is more fibrous and meaty, nearer the back it is fattier.

                                                    My best prep was of lamb's tongues, cooked like my mother used to make beef tongues. More tender, in my opinion, and the broth from the first cooking made a good soup base. Sadly, I don't see fresh tongue avaiable anymore. Anyway, my wife won't eat it.

                                                2. There is very little I would not try. I am a very adventurous eater and cook. The three things that would bother me are:

                                                  - rotten shark
                                                  - sheep eyeballs
                                                  - live grubs

                                                  Other than that I'm pretty much up for anything! As an avid traveler I had had the pleasure of trying a lot of uncommon foods and love it!

                                                  1. I don't think that most posters actually answered this question. They talk alot about things they find gross. What the OP is asking is what have you actually wanted to try but for some reason never have?
                                                    I'd like to try bread fruit but I can't find it anywhere in NYC.
                                                    I'd love to try fresh durian- but I don't know anywhere I can bring it to cut it open without someone killing me. (Maybe if I can find a vendor in Chinatown who will cut it for me)

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                      On the bread fruit, there's a latino produce vendor in the Essex street market (the one just off Delancey) that sells something I "think" is a sort of bread fruit (called something like "pana pen") about the size of a bowling ball and sitting in a big cooler filled with water) (the vendors about midway through the market on the street side of the building)

                                                      1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                        I may regret admitting this, but I'd like to try foie gras and never have. Not sure exactly why I haven't yet (cost? snootiness factor? fear of being attacked by anti-f.g. protesters?) but I think it may be in part because I think I won't like it and then I will have to admit I don't like something that "all" food weasels -- I prefer this term to foodies :-) -- "should" like....

                                                        As an aside, I finally tried bone marrow and was completely let down. To me, it was like eating warm lard, with no flavour other than that imparted by the Maldon salt.

                                                        1. re: grayelf

                                                          I think with marrow, a lot of it is the texture. When I was at St. John's in February, I was told to spread the marrow on toasted bread, then use my fingers to sprinkle on Maldon salt and chopped parsley.

                                                          I do not enjoy seared foie gras, but absolutely love a good terrine de foie gras. Sometime, just buy the smallest amount or slice that you can, and have some on toasted brioche, to see if you like it. Meanwhile, I dream of:

                                                          http://www.julotlespinceaux.com/

                                                          Scroll down to see the three beautiful slabs. And, a Sauterne is, well, just fabulous w/ foie gras.

                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                            MMRuth, fois gras and Sauterne is a match made in heaven! You don't need a lot to make you happy. Something about the contrast between sweet and savoury, as well as the unctuous texture of the fois and the fullness of the Sauterne.

                                                            1. re: moh

                                                              That's how we ate it too, but I still didn't get it. Maybe I just don't like the texture of half melted lard :-).

                                                              Now that I know I can use foie as an excuse to drink more Sauternes, I'm in -- up till now it was cheese I used as a crutch!

                                                              Just for shits and giggles, here's a link I stumbled across coincidentally to foods with "ick" factors: http://travel.sympatico.msn.ca/RobinE...

                                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                                Hey Grayelf, I know a lot of people who don't like the fattiness of fois gras! It probably won't make the list of the top ten healthiest food any time soon.

                                                                That is an interesting list of food items! I'll stick to my fois...

                                                                1. re: moh

                                                                  Another thing that I would have been afraid to try had I known what it was ahead of time is lardo. We got offered some of this "delicacy" in a supermarket in a small town in Italy. Had to eat it as much face would have been lost otherwise. Everyone else smacked their lips in genuine appreciation while I did my best not to reenact the Tom Hanks' caviar scene from Big. Ack and double ack.

                                                                  On a more positive note, tried pigs' brains last night at a nose to tail feast attended by 8 area Hounds. They were presented in wee fritters and were very pleasing, not much flavour but a nifty light creamy texture. Much nicer than the cows' brains I sampled moons ago in various Mexican/South American dishes.

                                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                                    Hmm, I might be able to handle brains in smaller amounts, and fried as small fritters. It might make the texture more manageable for me. I'd have tried those!

                                                    2. Well, urged on by Sam, I ordered a can of huitlacoche online. It's sitting on my kitchen counter, daring me to open it. Anybody have a recipe they like?

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                        First, take a bit and chop, add to scrambled eggs. If you are then happy, make some super simple tamales:Soak bunch of cornhusks in water. Mix ½ cup MasaHarina with warm water, and set aside. Beat 1/4 cup shortening in mixer until creamy and fluffy. Fold in and mix 1/4 cup chicken stock in dough. Puree huitlacoche and ¼ cup cilantro with a little water until smooth. Add mixture to dough and fold in well. Season with salt and pepper. Place some dough in center of cornhusks. Wrap and tie. Steam 40 to 45 minutes.

                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                          Thanks, Sam. Those tamales sound mighty good -- I'll give them a try this weekend.

                                                      2. Bugs. Big ones. Not like fried mealworms or chocolate-covered ants, that's kid stuff. I'm talking about big, crunchy beetles and fat grasshoppers. Eating insects is something that fascinates me, since I am very interested in efficiency of food production. But when I am actually face-to-face with huge compound eyes and spindly legs it's hard to remember why I feel that way.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                          I was tempted into eating a very large roasted and salted black ant by a Colombian coworker who said they were very common as snacks there. Tasted mainly of oil and salt, sort of like the casing of a semi-unpopped popcorn kernel in texture. Not thrilling (especially since the legs get caught in one's teeth). I can see their use in protein-deprived diets but can't see them catching on in a big way here.

                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                            Not very common here: I've only had them on the road between Bucaramanga and San Gil.

                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                              I only know what I'd been told - and don't know exactly where the provider is from. Not a shy and retiring flower by any means (the provider, that is).

                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                Waxing nostalgic from your mention of Bucaramanga, Sam -- don't come across it too often...

                                                              2. re: buttertart

                                                                I'll take the bug thing a step further. I can't eat whole lobsters! They gross me out so much and remind me of cockroaches, which I am deathly afraid of and grossed out by.

                                                            2. Frapuccino, Big Gulp, Cap'n Crunch, ...

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                You're afraid you won't like Cap'n Crunch? Nothing to fear but the prickly feeling you can get on the roof of your mouth if you eat too much. I've never been able to figure out what causes that. Same thing with fresh pineapple!

                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                  You've had small gulps, right? A big gulp is just a bunch of those strung together.

                                                                2. Head Cheese- I like a lot of meats, I just don't know. I'm scared.

                                                                  A lot of chinese food. I have had some bad experiences and can't seem to find stuff I like, but the cuisine is so diverse there has to be stuff I like so I just keep eating it and crossing stuff out, but I have real fear before ordering that I will order something I can't eat or makes me sick.

                                                                  Agreed on Durian, as well I want to try it, but I fear it.

                                                                  1. Rocky Mountain Oysters.

                                                                    1. I have read this entire thread but I'd like to offer some advice. Have a bite of someone else's **** the first time. Losing one's virginity when it doesn't cost anything is the least painful way. My husband has always loved sweetbreads but it didn't sound like a winner to me. I tasted his and now I love them. I've already warned kattyeyes that she's going to be trying them one of these days :) I would likely eat anything that Sam offered me a taste of (don't go there!) as he has a high degree of credibility. I've not eat endurian and don't know if there's good and bad durian but if Sam tasted it and said "oh, yum" then I'd try a little bite.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        V good idea. That's how I tasted my first oyster (liked cooked seafood but was shy of raw, sis-in-law loves them and ordered some, dared me to eat one). Adored them from the first bite. Best thing she ever did for me!

                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                          Good point. That's how I started eating sushi :-).