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What shocked you the first time you ate it?

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For me, as a teenager, I had yogurt for the first time (my family was not health conscious in that way).
I couldn't believe something that sour and unpleasant would be eaten by the public at large. I also had the same reaction to beer. Luckily, in both cases, my tastes have changed.

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  1. I still have issues with India Pale Ales. To me, it's ground up aspirin in seltzer water.

    What shocks me is mystery meat, like what people call "deli turkey" for some reason these days. It is definitely not turkey, and any self respecting deli that I've ever been to does not sell that jello garbage.

    A reverse shock happened to me in high school when I tried real mayo for the first time. My parents were Miracle Whip ppl. I was shocked that mayo was so unbelievable delicious, and shocked that my parents would subject me to the foulness of Miracle Whip for my entire life until that point.

    2 Replies
    1. re: gordeaux

      One i forgot:

      Nehari!!!!
      I tried it for the first time a few years ago, and I was not very impressed at ALL. I got it from a place that was not realy known at all for their nehari. Last winter, I tried it again at a differetn joint, and I was FLOORED. It may be the epitome of perfect meaty goodness mixed with ultra fragrant spices and searing heat. I was addicted immediately, and still am! I have beef shanks on hand in the freezer and Shan Nihari mix at all times for when the mood strikes.

      1. re: gordeaux

        I had the same experience with real mashed potatoes, after eating vile reconstituted flakes my whole life.

      2. Too many!
        French mayo. So much better than American mayo. Luckly, I can get Japanese mayo here which is very close to French mayo.

        Halva. When I first had it, I thought I was going to pass out because it was too sweet but I love it now.

        French Macarons or any french desserts- How can there be such good tasting stuff in the World....that's the first thing that came across my mind.

        Live Octopus- It was scary but wow, it's one of my favorite foods in the world.

        Grilled foie gras- My god, I can still remember my first reaction. I literally jumped in joy.

        Peking duck- sweet, delicate..and rich at the same time..so flavorful.

        Caviar- what the hell..yuk.

        And most recently...creme fraiche ice cream from Aquagrill in NYC. OMG, I almost cried..ordered another scoop...SO GOOD..best tasting Ice cream I've ever had.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Monica

          Halva, yes HALVA! The real stuff. Couldn't believe it was so good.

        2. Goat cheese - I was about 10 years old attending a neighbours party - and I'd been 'volunteered' to hand round a big tray of appetisers. A big tray that needed 2 small hands to hold it. Well, I thought I'd grab a bite of something cheesy before I started doing the rounds - and filled my mouth with a hefty morsel of something topped with some very stinky goat cheese. Before my brain registered the flavour I had picked up the tray - and when the taste hit me I realised to my horror that I couldn't spit it out or otherwise dispose of it and I had to chew and swallow. I thought it the most vile disgusting stuff ever and it was years before I tried goat cheese again. Needless to say from taste 2 onwards I've loved every goat cheese I've tried, the stinkier the better.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Peg

            This reminds me of my experience with a charcuterie plate in Paris -- I couldn't quite handle the "gout de merde." (But I have to admit I didn't learn to love it like you! I'm just more careful about recognizing my limitations when I have charcuterie.)

            1. re: Peg

              LoL.....:)

            2. that a heaping spoonful of cacao was not the same thing as a spoonful of Nestle's Quik

              3 Replies
              1. re: chickenbruiser

                I relate to that being an Ovaltine spoonful kinda girl

                1. re: chickenbruiser

                  Same here! I figured cacao was chocolate and isn't chocolate sweet?? Granted, I don't like the cocoa mixes anymore and haven't for years. I do love ovaltine though! always have, always will. It sure is good on vanilla ice cream or just by the spoonful.

                  The first time I had sushi. My brother took me because I was in my teens and had never tried it--kind of sad for a gal from L. A. I tried octopus--wow, other stuff I can't really remember but it was the sushi roll with tiny roe on the outside--WOW! The popping was such a shock it made me laugh while I was eating it.

                  Sour candies that we bought in Westwood. Oh, man, they started out sweet and then suddenly they went so sour my face puckered and I had to take them out for a breather. It was kind of good so I ate the rest of it Those were favourites after that, during my teens.

                  Mee krob and my first Thai food experience. It was at Royal Thai on Pico in L. A. and I think it was 1978 or 9. Oh, wow, the sweetness and the crunchiness must have appealed to my 8 year old self; it was like eating candy that was spicy! I wanted to be Thai just so I could eat mee krob all day all the time.

                  There was some kind of opaque bean curd or bean paste thing (like a fruit jelly in appearance only icky) that my friend from Korea thought I'd like because I liked everything. Whoops, wrong! It was such an odd taste that I had to excuse myself to spit it out. One was green-ish and one was orange-red-ish but I can't remember what she called them. Oh, they were such a shock. I can still remember the feeling of surprise at the unfamiliar taste which was nothing like tofu.

                  Panne cotta. A friend in my horticulture class was a pastry chef and brought orange infused panne cotta and lavender scented chocolates that she made. It was her class project. The panne cotta was so good I might have been willing to fight for it! The chocolates were terrific too, dusted or gilded with gold (I forget which) but the little cups of milky perfection made my mouth happy. Hah, my mouth is watering while I type this! I may have to go treat myself to some...

                  And, sadly, moldy bread. I was pretty young and I don't remember why the bread was bad because we always kept it in the fridge. But, I made toast and started eating it when I suddenly realized it was moldy on one spot. Bleh, the taste was so weird and awful that I swore I could taste it here and there and had probably thrown out lots of perfectly good bread over the years that followed. "No, this is about to turn, to the trash with it!"

                  Rose ice cream from, I forget now, somewhere off Main St. in Venice, CA. I'd never tasted rose in anything before that except lhasis and rose petals. I just wanted to eat the whole tub in the freezer. Oh, and kulfi (Indian ice cream). Yeah, cardamom and rose are flavours that should be used more often!

                  1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                    Cocoa is most definitely NOT sweet unless you put sugar in it.

                2. Bone Marrow. And it was the most delicious thing next to escargot and foie gras.
                  In fact--I've got a craving for some bone marrow and maybe I'll make some this weekend!

                  1. Wow, cats...same memory here of yogurt...I was about 8 years old over at a friend's house after school and she let me try Dannon strawberry yogurt (YEARS AGO, won't say how many, pretty sure it was in the 8 ounce container days..snerk) and I just could not get over how DELICIOUS the sweet vs. tangy & creamy flavors/textures were to my palate. Still love yogurt to this day, tho' have moved on to Greek yogurt.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Val

                      I initially thought you were commenting that you were surprised at how cats taste.

                      1. re: mollyomormon

                        Hahahaha me too!!!!!

                        1. re: mollyomormon

                          Tastes like chicken.

                          1. re: GraydonCarter

                            Cats taste like rabbit.

                        2. re: Val

                          I don't know if you're older than I, but when I first ate yogurt in 1967 in NYC I was grossed out. It took many, many tries, and a lot of years later they changed it from sour and gritty to smooth and pudding-like, and I like it.

                        3. ill go with the most recent shocked first time i ate it. Stinky fofu when i went back to taiwan. I was shocked on how not horribly stinky it was and I was expecting it to be like bleu cheese almost. Love stinky tofu, wish i could get it here

                          1. Spaghetti. I was sure I was the victim of child abuse. How could a mom make her kid eat squiggly red worms? Of course all the adults around me ate pasta, but I was going to stand my ground. If they wanted to eat that, fine. But not me. No way, no how, not ever!

                            Thankfully, mom didn't put up with my stubbornness for long.Of course spaghetti and meatballs became my absolute favorite family dinner.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Whinerdiner

                              That is a great story! :D

                            2. escargot. My father is a classically trained French/ Italian chef, and has been making them since I was a small child, but I could never get up the moxie to try them. When we were in Paris (eating at one of the oldest still operating bistro's in the city) I figured that it was about damn time. We had to order more, I loved them so much. I can't believe I missed out on them for so many years!

                              1. On the positive side, the first time I had Cilantro was mind altering. It was such an unexpected and pleasant shock. Had it Vietnamese soup in Paris. Hooked on it ever since.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: catspercapita

                                  Agree wholeheartedly on the pleasant cilantro shock! First time was the asordo soup in Lisbon 27 years ago, and the cloud of cilantro aroma that surrounded the experience was like the angels singing! All I could think was "Why have I never smelled/tasted/wallowed in this before and how can I make sure I am never without this ever again?" A revelation.

                                  1. re: catspercapita

                                    Definitely cilantro. I was at a Mexican restaurant on the UES in NYC with my roommate. When the salsa arrived, we expected it to be like most salsa tasted in 1990 (out of a jar). But this was the real deal! It was made in the restaurant! We kept tasting it and remarking on what the unusual flavor was in the background. I've loved it ever since.

                                    1. re: southernitalian

                                      Yes yes yes to the cilantro. It seems that some bunches I get from the grocery store are less strong, but when I get a good one - wow!

                                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                                        +1

                                      2. re: southernitalian

                                        For me it was real salsa, probably because of the cilantro, in an unexpectedly great Mexican restaurant in Allentown, PA (also surprising!).
                                        It was smooth, fresh, tangy, a little hot and a revelation after only experiencing jarred salsa. Then came the flautas and I was done for.

                                        1. re: lsmutko

                                          I'm with ya guys on the cilantro. Never was a big deal to me before and I don't know if I ever really noticed eating anything with it. But a few months ago I bought an herb and field green mix to make salads with and it just had the best taste I ever had in a salad. I found myself munching on it every few minutes like it was crack-coated chips. I finally looked at the ingredients and found that cilantro was in it, and that's when it hit me what that awesome flavor was! Now I have to buy a big bunch of cilantro and mix it into my daily salads. They just don't taste complete without it.

                                          1. re: MichelleRenee

                                            +1
                                            I could graze my way through a fieldof cilantro. If you can grow it in your area, try it that way, it's even better homegrown.

                                      3. re: catspercapita

                                        I absolutely love coriander, but I can't have it fresh - just the smell of it gives me an instant headache :(

                                      4. jelly (those pink little cups), a lot of ppl i know loves it so i thought it would be good but eewww... it was the most discusting thing i ever eaten.. yuk, its not really the taste that is the problem its the texture.. its all wobbly and scary

                                        1. A, gjetost, in a good way. http://cheesemongerswife.wordpress.co...

                                          B, natto, in a bad way.

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: tatamagouche

                                            I love Gjetost but most of my friends will only eat it once! Love the caramel creaminess. It is best served on Granny Apples, sliced IMO.

                                            1. re: scoopG

                                              Geitost is to Norway what peanut butter is to the US. We have as the first course in the Norwegian breckfast, the frukost bord; Wasa flat bread, butter, gjeitost covered w/ hot slices of hard boiled egg.

                                              Beluga caviar in the USSR in 69-70. I was surprised by the salty-fishy bursts of flavor washed down by Caucaus Champagne. Wow!

                                            2. re: tatamagouche

                                              For me it was the opposite. As someone who has liked almost every cheese I've ever tried, I was really disappointed the first time I tasted gjetost. I'm still not a fan, nor do I appreciate other cheeses that are sweet or sweetened with fruit or candy, like Stilton with cranberries or the hideous English cheddar with toffee in it.

                                              On the other hand, I expected to loathe natto, with its godawful stink and sliminess, but actually enjoyed my first experience eating it.

                                              1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                Cheddar with toffee? What is this abomination? I'm English and I've never heard of it!

                                                1. re: Isobel_A

                                                  It's called sticky toffee cheddar, to be precise. It contains dates and raisins as well as toffee and was supposedly "inspired" by the recipe for sticky toffee pudding. Here's a link to a picture of the cheese:

                                                  http://www.guntons.co.uk/acatalog/Eng...

                                                  1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                    That actually made me gag, just at the thought of it!

                                              2. re: tatamagouche

                                                Thought of another one. Smoked oysters from a tin. I thought they'd taste like anchovies or sardines, somehow (I was 8). I gagged.

                                                Now I love oysters in all forms, of course. But I didn't try them again until I was 16.

                                                1. re: tatamagouche

                                                  Oh I love those too! I eat about 1 tin a week. Love 'em!

                                                  1. re: MichelleRenee

                                                    Me too.

                                                  2. re: tatamagouche

                                                    My family has never had smoked oysters NOT from a tin and we all love them. I even give each child (adults now) a tin of their own in their stockings.

                                                2. In a bad way -- Roquefort at the age of 11. I thought it tasted like a piece of stool. I love Roquefort today. Tupi a few years ago. I thought it tasted like stool (not that I've ever eaten stool, mind you). I think I need to wait many more years before trying it again.

                                                  In a good way -- banh mi 20 years ago. I've never been a big sandwich person, but a friend of mine urged me to try it. Such explosion of flavors and textures and temperatures. I've been hooked since then.

                                                  11 Replies
                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                    Oh, I remember another one. Wine. I was probably five years old and thought it was grape juice gone bad (which is ironic because that is what wine is). In addition, it was white wine that was kept in my mom's pantry for cooking. It was probably really old.

                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                      Similarly, when I was really little, I was asked if I'd like some grapefruit juice. Well, I love grape juice and grape is a fruit...imagine EXPECTING grape juice and getting grapefruit instead...BLEAAAAHHHHHHHHH!

                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                        Ha ha ha ha. Totally makes sense!

                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                          The family was on a picnic, I took a big swig out of a thermos that I thought was water- it was martini. I was about 8.

                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                            Cheers!!! HA HA HA!

                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                              Oh, you just reminded me about an evening playing cards with friends years ago. Their beautiful curly haired daughter was about 6. She reached up to take a swig of her dad's 'coke' that was in a juice glass by his elbow. The look on her face was priceless. It was Jezynowka, which is a potent blackberry brandy that the ice fishermen took along in the ice huts in northwest Indiana.
                                                              Fortunately, no harm done, but her eyes just about popped out, and her lovely little smile totally disappeared. When she got her breath back, she just said 'WHAT was THAT?'. We howled.

                                                        2. re: Miss Needle

                                                          Tupi? What is that? I tried googling it and the first entry that came up was the name of a tribe of cannibals.

                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                            Ha! The tribe of cannibals sound tastier than what I had. Tupi is actually a Spanish cheese. Made durian seem really tasty by comparison. It's like somebody took a bunch of cheese, liquor and chewed it up and spat it back out.

                                                            http://www.quesos.com/en/fichaqueso.a...

                                                            1. re: BobB

                                                              Tupi is made in Catalonia and in parts of the Spanish Basque country from cheese, milk, and a local liqueur, sometimes with olive oil added in. It is kept in an earthenware jar and ferments for two to three months. It is occasionally available in the US.

                                                            2. re: Miss Needle

                                                              Another one in a good way -- fresh mangosteens (preferably eaten in the country of origin)! Oh so good! The canned ones and freeze-dried ones and previously frozen ones just don't compare.

                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                YES. Fresh mangosteens have the most wonderful flavor...I remember thinking when I had my first one that I would probably never appreciate other fruit again. Oh and goat cheese. I had it for the first time on a date in high school and pretty much fell in love, haha.

                                                            3. Baklava. So sweet it was astonishing, and so so good!

                                                              Fresh grilled tuna. So much better than canned, but different than I expected.

                                                              19 Replies
                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                Ah yes. My first piece of swordfish, back when I was 11, was a similar eye-opening experience.

                                                                1. re: sueatmo

                                                                  I dislike most fish and can't even stand the SMELL of canned tuna, so I was shocked in a good way to discover how much I LOVE raw tuna (really reminds me more of raw steak than fish)...but cook it in the least and game over for this kat, NO SALE.

                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                    +1

                                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                                      +2

                                                                      1. re: pie22

                                                                        +3
                                                                        never ate fish at all if i could avoid it, but this time I couldn't.. and it was wonderful.

                                                                    2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                      Only tuna sushi? No seared tuna? Boo hoo. If you want to live a little on the wild side, try a can of Italian tuna packed in olive oil. Add cilantro, red onions, capers, s&p, a little more oo (I've been using a Meyer lemon one lately). Serve it to guests and once they rave about it, you might give it a try. Got the rec from an old Italian deli man in SF.

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        i'll accept a super rare seared tuna when it's done asian style but raw is definitely preferred.

                                                                        1. re: pie22

                                                                          To me seared, super rare is redundant :) I like to rub it with some Chinese 5-spice and a little wasabi powder and black sesame seeds and sear for seconds. I like it raw as sushi/sashimi or as an hors d'oeuvre but if it's going on a plate with sides I just think searing looks better somehow.

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            Eel. Tastes good. A spicey crunchy eel roll is heaven.

                                                                            1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                              Ell sashimi is purrdy tasty too.

                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                My favorite.

                                                                                1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                  Like raw eel sashimi? Or the grilled stuff (eg unagi)?

                                                                                  Loves me some grilled eel. Even had canned roast eel on rice for dinner last night. But haven't ever seen the stuff raw.

                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                    Raw. Here's a couple of photos from Seoul (I hope), the first, the eel in the tank and the second, sushamied on celophane noodles.
                                                                                    I used to eat a lot of smoked eel in Europe and every once in a while catch on at camp.

                                                                                     
                                                                                     
                                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                      Anago...I grew up eating anago like once a week. Too bad it's hard to find it here in America. Crunchy, nutty, sweet...yummy..one of my favorite foods.
                                                                                      Cooked eels are usually from fresh water and these ones that are eaten fresh are from ocean.

                                                                                    2. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                      I had at a party once, nearly ten years ago now, in the DC area, and it was implied that it was raw, but I was not the least educated enough to know if it was true. Here, just north of Chicago (and places I've lived in the interim), I order unagi, either sushi or sashimi.

                                                                                      What confuses the issue, I think, is the labeling of the larger pieces of fish (bound with rice) as sashimi, regardless of whether or not it is raw. I'd have to double-check the menu from our usual place, but I would swear that is how it is sold. I almost think the label of sashimi is becoming indicative of presentation alone. As always, I could be wrong.

                                                                                      I had no idea that this was available *canned*. One of the sushi places down the street also has a small market. I would love to be able to find this.

                                                                                      1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                        yeah, that's wrong OADL, sashimi is just the slices of fish, raw, with no rice. Nigiri is the fish over rice Maki are the rolls.

                                                                                        i'm afraid i'd be weirded out by eating raw eel - i don't know why . . .

                                                                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                          Like I said, I could be wrong. I would hate to cast a pall over Chicago sushi joints if I am. As for the raw eel, I'm in the Midwest, and I wouldn't even try to seek out something like that, or assume it would be in my budget if it were available (and I do think it is available in this city, somewhere).

                                                                                          Eel do look a bit out of a sea creature horror flick. Which actually makes it easier for me to eat them, hypocrite I am. What I was served in DC had more texture, more . . . spinginess? threadiness? than the unagi I eat here, but I liked it, whatever it was.

                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                            I get the nigiri thing, which is a piece of whatever on a bite-sized pillow of rice. And I loves me some unagi donburi a/k/a unagidon a/k/a unadon, which is pieces of grilled eel on a bowl of rice (with canned eel, I'm told it's the quintessential Japanese bachelor dinner).

                                                                                            What I'm wondering is whether when various people talk about "eel sashimi" they're talking about those same pieces of grilled eel, served without rice, or whether they're talking about raw eel like Passadumkeg's pix above. I've never seen raw eel (nigiri, donburi, or sashimi) served at a sushi bar in the US, but maybe I just need to expand my horizons...

                                                                                            To Lily - if it's translucent to white to pink and slippery, it's raw eel. If it's brownish and breaks if you fold it in half, it's the cooked stuff. And yes, it's available canned. Matter of fact, I think most sushi-bar eel comes from a can. Don't tell...

                                                                        2. re: sueatmo

                                                                          Yes, baklava! I was 13, and visiting after school in the home of a friend. His Mom served us baklava, and it was the most fabulous sweet I'd ever tasted! Now that I'm much older, and into cooking, I fully appreciate the fact that she made it all by hand - even the phyllo!

                                                                        3. Mayo. I don't think I had it until I got to college. Most Jews I knew didn't have it or keep it in the house.

                                                                          What are you going to do with it? Put it on a salami sandwich?

                                                                          12 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Steve

                                                                            That's interesting. Why not? Isn't mayo pareve?

                                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                              It's not a question of kosher or not. It is cultural. My grandmother who ran a Brooklyn deli and came over from Russia did not have a single item in her deli that called for mayo. Kishke, chicken livers, stuffed cabbage, matzoh ball soup, cole slaw (with vinegar), roast chicken, kasha vanrishkas, gefilte fish, knishes, etc. None of these dishes had mayo. When we ate sandwiches they were salami, pastrami, corned beef, brisket, or roast beef (the only condiment for rb was a fresh sprinkling of salt). No mayo in sight.

                                                                              I did not know anyone who served items like egg or potato salad.

                                                                              Cue the Twilight Zone music.

                                                                            2. re: Steve

                                                                              we had Mayo growing up, so did everybody I knew that was also Jewish - your mum never made egg or tuna salad?

                                                                              1. re: smartie

                                                                                Conservative Midwestern Jewish Family, and we certainly did have mayo, and a huge variety of mustards - but there were some things that we just never considered mayo an option for, e.g. salami (yes, Kosher) sandwiches or on green vegetables (which I now like, if it's good mayo.)

                                                                                1. re: smartie

                                                                                  It's hard to have a dairy brunch without tuna salad and egg salad! Perhaps Steve's mom just didn't like mayo and didn't buy it for that reason. But my family and most Jews I know had it. If you can get kosher for passover mayo, and you can, then Jews eat it.

                                                                                  1. re: AmyH

                                                                                    Dairy in my family was borscht, herring, bagels, matzoh brie. Tuna or egg salad would have been very foreign. The word 'brunch' was not part of our vocab.

                                                                                    My grandmother kept kosher, but we did not. So it didn't really have anything to do with kosher, but it just wasn't the kind of food we grew up eating, plus those 'salads' were never served to me in the homes of the people I grew up with.

                                                                                2. re: Steve

                                                                                  Maybe they didn't put mayo on salami or corned beef on white bread

                                                                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                    Until the mid 1970s Arnold's was the only brand of white bread that did not contain dairy, so white bread was NOT an option for meat sandwiches in most traditional Jewish American Households.

                                                                                  2. re: Steve

                                                                                    Quite the generalization about Jews. Every Jew I knew growing up had Mayo in their fridge. Tuna salad with mayo was a staple.

                                                                                    1. re: spinachandchocolate

                                                                                      We certainly did. But then, I grew up in a secular household in Oklahoma.

                                                                                      1. re: spinachandchocolate

                                                                                        What? Nobody did mayo & chicken livers instead of schmaltz???

                                                                                        Definitely not less bad for you - I have the chest scars to prove it!

                                                                                        1. re: algct

                                                                                          Yes I've done it, mayo based chopped liver. While chopped liver isn't that great for you from a fat standpoint, the eggs have more cholesterol than the liver and chopped egg salad is not seen as worse than chopped liver.

                                                                                    2. Stinky tofu - I'm generally not picky about food (can eat smelly cheeses, etc), for some reason i can't stand stinky tofu. I felt like the moment I put it in my mouth, the smell just rushed up through my nasal cavity and I could not get rid of it for hours after. Also did not like my experience walking by a stinky tofu shop in Beijing. But the rest of my family loves stinky tofu…

                                                                                      American jello - In SE Asia where i grew up, jello is firmer and not jelly like (more like Japanese konnyaku). I was pleasantly surprised by the texture of American jello and crave it all the time.

                                                                                      The herbs in vietnamese spring rolls and the noodle bowls (hot mint, mint, basil, rau ram) – the combination of herbs was new to me long ago and packed such great flavors in every bite. Yum, craving some right now.

                                                                                      1. Beer. All those ads made beer look so refreshing and tasty--the little bubbles, the thick foamy heads, everyone laughing and having a good time. First sip of beer--ugh! This is what they say you have to wait til you're 21 to drink??

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Erika L

                                                                                          I was just the opposite! My dad drank Bud light or some crap in the summer, ice cold, after mowing the grass, and so my only experience with it was the smell of hot, stale beer cans in the garage. Then the first time I tasted beer was on a family vacation, at a German restaurant in the black hills -- and it was GORGEOUS. The most fragrant, mellow, complex, delicious, appley drink I'd ever had. And I've been a beer gal ever since!! :)

                                                                                          1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                            I was surprised by the "fragrance" - the hoppy smell I'd never smelt before. Every time I open a beer I hope for the same sensation.

                                                                                          2. re: Erika L

                                                                                            I know! Ick. Give me a nice dry cider or a sauvingnon blanc any day!

                                                                                          3. Beaujolais nouveau, it was incredibly horrible.

                                                                                            1. Caviar. I don't dislike it, but the first time I had it, I wondered why anyone would pay that much for something so underwhelming.

                                                                                              Scotch. I almost spit it out when I first was offered a glass. It tastes like bad medicine to me.

                                                                                              On the plus side, I can still remember how amazed I was the first time I had dim sum, especially the pork buns. It's still one my favorite ways to enjoy lunch.

                                                                                              Also, sundried tomatoes. I was astounded that tomatoes could develop such depth and intensity.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                                To your Scotch comment...a few years ago one of the big wigs in my company and I were in NYC at the Marriott in Times Square. He ordered us a couple of Johnny Walker Blue's neat and I felt like I was having my first kiss. It was so smooth and velvety. Not at all like the crap I had in bars with soda water back in college.

                                                                                                1. re: jchamberlain

                                                                                                  My brother who does not like to drink alcohol was at my house for dinner. After dinner I had a bottle of Aberlour 10 that the rest of the guests were sipping on. I tasted it and noted apricots and walnuts. My brother tasted turpentine. Different strokes

                                                                                              2. I'd say sushi. I'm a "don't knock it til you tried it" kind of girl, but I really didn't expect that what I expected to be a salty fishy kelpiness... to taste good. I went for the first time with someone who knew what to order, and I was blown away.

                                                                                                1. I forgot Cilantro. The first time I tried it I thought it tasted like soap. I was like, seriously, people eat this? Now I love it. How do tastes change so much?

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Whinerdiner

                                                                                                    I have a similar reaction to Cilantro. It's not the worst thing in the world to me, but I think it has a really off flavor, not sure why.

                                                                                                    1. re: schoenfelderp

                                                                                                      I hated cilantro for a long time, now I absolutely LOVE it. I think I used to hate it when I was younger because it has such a strong taste and supposedly our taste buds get less sensitive over time.

                                                                                                  2. For me it was cottage cheese! Hated the look of the stuff so avoided it entirely. Until...I was newly married and my bride shamed me into trying "just a taste". Been hooked on it for the years since.

                                                                                                    1. Caponata, and haggis.

                                                                                                      1. Blue cheese. The first time I ever had it was a blue cheese salad dressing at a company luncheon. The salads came predressed without a choice of dressing. I initially thought it was ranch, which I love, so I didn't hesistate to take a big forkful of salad. I thought the dressing had soap or some type of cleanser in it. I actually had to spit it into my napkin (discreetly). I love all other types of cheese, but I just cannot eat any kind of blue.

                                                                                                        1. Buttermilk. I thought it would taste like butter, and milk. It doesn't.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: small h

                                                                                                            Lol. I had the same experience. A friend who grew up on a farm said it was rich and creamy and sweet! Boy, was I surprised!

                                                                                                          2. Limburger cheese!! A buddy and I decided that it couldn't be as bad as it was always made out to be. Well!! After a small taste we decided it was. I don't know how anyone can eat that stuff.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: Eric in NJ

                                                                                                              My parents used to eat Limburger cheese and raw onion on pumpernickel sandwiches for lunch as a special treat when I was a kid. The smell drove me from the room, and even though I now love stinky cheese, I've never been able to bring myself to taste Limburger.

                                                                                                            2. foie gras didn't taste like liver. More like butter.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                                This was my biggest food revelation as well. The first time I had foie about 25 years ago was a life changing experience, and to think I was squeemish to even try it back then!

                                                                                                              2. cheese blintzes with sour cream & strawberry jam
                                                                                                                good butter
                                                                                                                calves liver & onions

                                                                                                                1. Arugula. Years ago, it was impossible to find in the Chicago area, so I grew it myself in my vegetable garden. I'd read about it, but had never tasted it.
                                                                                                                  My first harvest of leaf lettuce and arugula - the lettuce was yummy and softly crunchy....the arugula - Bam! Wow! . what a flavor. That was a surprise, and each spring my first bunch from the farmer's market tastes just as wonderful as that first bite.

                                                                                                                  1. Olives: yep, thats right, especially olive tapenade (the only stuff I have ever actually spat out as an adult).

                                                                                                                    I loathe olives themselves, green, purple or black, whole or chopped up, though I totally 'get' olive oil and use it lavishly in my kitchen.

                                                                                                                    But olives just taste gross to me...I realize that when I taste olives it must be like when others taste cilantro (which I LOVE) and think 'soap', only with olives I don't think soap, I think 'dirt'.

                                                                                                                    Fascinating how differently taste buds work!

                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: LJS

                                                                                                                      I'm so with you. Olives are a waste of good olive oil. :)

                                                                                                                      1. re: LJS

                                                                                                                        Some people -- like me -- are lucky enough to love both olives and cilantro. I like to go to the olive counter at Whole Foods, get my toothpick, and have one of every type of olive. Yum!

                                                                                                                        1. re: LJS

                                                                                                                          I'm right there with you. cant get olives down for the life of me, but could probably sit down and eat an entire bunch of cilantro if I really wanted to.

                                                                                                                        2. Blood sausage. Had it for the first time last year at a pintxo restaurant here in Montreal and now I want to use it as toothpaste, deodorant and lubricant.

                                                                                                                          1. Some 50-or-60-year old Brandy offered as a divine compliment by my old friend's father. I was 18 or so, and it was unbelievably foul to me at the time. Put me off sippin likker for the longest.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                              haha, an ex-boyfriend won a bet and got a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue. He was British and had been drinking forever, I was a little Baptist girl, and it scarred my tastebuds forever....I've hated every sip of whisky I've had since.

                                                                                                                            2. Cottage Cheese. I used to hate it or more like the thought of it. Then one day I was home from college and we had no food in the house. My mom told me to just try some because I was always resistant in the past. Now it's one of my top three favorite foods. It's so versatile. I now eat almost everyday for lunch, seriously, love it. Protein, calcium and low fat all in one!

                                                                                                                              1. Seltzer. I was a kid, and I assumed it would be sweet, like Sprite. I drank a big mouthful and it tasted like nothing - only nasty.

                                                                                                                                I was horrified. Now I love it and happily drink it by the glassful.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: Pumpkinseed

                                                                                                                                  Me too!

                                                                                                                                2. I can't believe I forgot this. Vegemite...OMG, I still can't believe people eat this stuff..haha.
                                                                                                                                  I had my first taste of vegemite when I was in Bali and thought it was the most nastiest thing ever.

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                    I had a shocked reaction in the opposite direction: I'd heard way too many nasty horror stories of Vegemite and was certain I'd hate it. I bravely tried on a bet skewed against me, and was amazed at how much I liked it. Or rather, loved it. Surprised the heck out of me. Still does.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                                                      Loved the color! Nonplussed by flavor.

                                                                                                                                  2. Well, there's caviar and sushi. I was almost certain I wouldn't like the former, and wasn't sure about the latter. I had to strongly employ my willpower and refrain from 'over-serving' myself from both of those platters.

                                                                                                                                    Another is steak, rare. I was raised on meat cooked well-done, and as an adult, I always ordered my steak medium in restaurants. One day, my fillet was cooked rare, and served to me, by mistake. But I was so curious that I wound up taking a bite, and that bite was truly one of the best 'bites' I've ever had. That was the end of my ordering steak medium.

                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                      haha..funny.
                                                                                                                                      I grew up eating meat well done too. I grew up in Korea and nobody ate any meat rare or medium even. When I first had steak in America, I couldn't believe it. My steak was sitting on some bloody juice...couldn't handle it. Now, I only eat steak medium rare.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                        My first taste of kim chi. Love at first bit.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                          isn't there a classic korean beef preparation that is quite similar to steak tartar? Yuk-haoe or something like that?

                                                                                                                                          ps: found it right here on chowhound -

                                                                                                                                          http://www.chow.com/recipes/11581-yuk...

                                                                                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                            Yeah, there is...I didn't know about this dish until i was an adult.
                                                                                                                                            but apparently there is and as far as i know, it's not that popular and you only go to reputable restaurant for this dish.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                              when i lived in Seoul my Korean friends would try to shock me sometimes with bizarre foods. they really thought they were gonna get me with this one. how were they to know my grandmother and mother taught me to enjoy raw chopped beef from an early age? i wish i had a picture of their faces when i eagerly dug into the yuk-haoe.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                          I did this too, except it was rare prime rib at my senior prom date's house -- his mother was the most outrageous cook and set down this (what I now think of as beautiful) piece of prime rib in front of me, and I just blanched. I always ordered meat medium-well, having grown up with it cooked to shoe leather, but my mother would have KILLED me if I had turned my nose up at something put in front of me, so I dutifully took one bite... and it just melted in my mouth. That was it for me. What a revelation.

                                                                                                                                        3. Durian..tasted like 3742947 years old onion.

                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                            Agreed. I drank a durian shake once on a dare. It wasn't too bad as it was mixed with other sweeter and better tasting stuff. I couldn't do the real thing.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                              drenched in gasoline. +1.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                                When I bit into the mushy flesh for the first time, my immediate thought was, "This is probably what sh*t tastes like."

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                                  I really like durian. Sure, it tastes like onion, but also like sweet, creamy, delicious fruit.

                                                                                                                                                  They do vary in quality, however.

                                                                                                                                                2. Szechuan peppercorns. They pack more than flavor; they set off a sensation in my mouth that I found at once electrifying and alarming the first time I had them in a dish. As I felt the numbness spread across my lips and tongue, I thought I had found a food so shocking, so unique, that I could hardly believe I knew barely anything of it.

                                                                                                                                                  The first time I tasted a good Highland Scotch was also a revelation. Previously I found Scotch to taste like alcoholic dirt.

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                                                    szechuan peppercorns - me too. but that just happened to me last year!!

                                                                                                                                                  2. Sriracha. I know, its pretty tame but I grew up in a family where hot sauce was a rarity- while my mother would cook any number of spicy dishes with curries or peppers, hot sauce was never served. At the ripe old age of 25 I experienced sriracha and fell in love. It taught me the difference between simply "hot" foods and the actual flavor of hot foods.

                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: CarmenR

                                                                                                                                                      Before sriracha, I was introduced to Valentina's. I was shocked to discover that I could actually taste the sauce, aside from the heat, and I was soon promiscuously dotting every dish with that beautifully colored stuff. This lead me to try other hot sauces, including sriracha, which I adored from the first taste from my fingertip. The garlic chili paste by the same label soon followed.

                                                                                                                                                      Growing up, I had never tasted spicy food at all (kind of shocking to look back on that), and as a young adult, I thought Tabasco was just all there was, and that the rest of the bottles on the shelf were just lesser known variations.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                                        Fresh Medjool dates on my first trip to Israel when I was 14. OMG, they were so soft, that first bits was so silky, so smooth with that sweet burst of flavor. I was totally hooked. Before that, I;d only eaten the dried variet that comes in a plastic tub at the grocery store! Now I buy fresh Medjools all the time. But then again, we grow there here in CA! :-)

                                                                                                                                                        Miri

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Miri1

                                                                                                                                                          Oh, another good one. I remember going to the Santa Monica Farmer's Market and spying some dates that were covered in white stuff. I asked what was wrong with them, and the woman said nothing, that was sugar oozing out.

                                                                                                                                                          Nature's candy for sure.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                            Yummmmm....

                                                                                                                                                    2. In a not-so-good way: Durian, Oestra caviar (underwhelming), Haggis, cottage cheese (still hate it!), sweet and sour beaver of all things
                                                                                                                                                      In a delicious way: foie gras, carpaccio (both beef and bison), steak tartare, Sichuan peppercorns, sweetbreads, buffalo milk mozzarella - the real thing from Italy, having been raised on the fake rubbery stuff - what a wonderful revelation!
                                                                                                                                                      Neutral way: prairie oysters

                                                                                                                                                      I am willing to try almost anything once except sheep's eyeballs sort of make me shudder.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Two more in a positive way - wasabi root as opposed to the powder and paste; aceto balsamico tradizionale - I knew it would be fabulous but I was so overwhelmed by the real thing that it was shocking the first time - fabulous on ice cream and watermelon. Heck - fabulous on anything!

                                                                                                                                                        1. Fresh coconut. I was in grade 2 and we were learning about Barbados, so the teacher brought in some tropical treats. I wasn't expecting fruity crunchiness; based on appearance I thought it would be like creamy icing. Wrong.

                                                                                                                                                          1. Shocked in a good way:

                                                                                                                                                            - a massively large, fresh fig on the island of Santorini. I had never had anything like it before;
                                                                                                                                                            - a humongous tomato bought in Dubrovnik just before hopping on the ferry to Koloçep;
                                                                                                                                                            - brains, sweetbreads, foie gras, scallop guts, uni

                                                                                                                                                            Shocked in a bad way:

                                                                                                                                                            - a praline at a friends house that contained candied ginger. bad surprise.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                              My first Hawaiian papaya. eaten IN Hawaii. What a revelation! I would not touch them when I was a kid. My dad bought them by the box each week and ate a whole one every morning. No amount of cajling could entice me t even take a bite. Then,when I was about 1, we went to Hawaii (not my first trip) and they served papaya at the breakfast buffet. Everyone was piling it on their plates. It was such a pretty color...so I took one sliver. I was back at the buffet line in a minute, having devoured my papaya slice and NEEDING more! They are so damn expensive but when I'm in a splurge mood, papaya it is!

                                                                                                                                                            2. Thank God I'm country boy.

                                                                                                                                                              It meant that as I was gradually exposed to the world culinary, I could find such delight in the dishes that were savory.

                                                                                                                                                              Back in the 70's when I was just twenty, I went to a banquet from our best Chinese restaurant. I remember being astounding at the tastes that were in that array. My first time to taste of Chinese. It beat the heck outa cornbread and beans.

                                                                                                                                                              Fast forward a few years when work took me to Japan, and one of my first meals was in a "hole in the wall" Mom and Pop stall.

                                                                                                                                                              The bowl that they served me was first experience with the savory complexities of Miso. Served in a bowl as simple "miso soup", with cubed chunks of tofu. And then to be told that the tofu was less than two hours old, supplied by the tofu-maker shop just next door. Good God, what taste-ural text-ural ecstasy.

                                                                                                                                                              That single dish triggered the desire to engage in the search for other traditional uses of soybeans. A worldwide plethora. Fermented, or mycologically inoculated, or more simply extracted... a range that shows ages of food evolution.

                                                                                                                                                              But don't ever think that this hick country boy won't find glee in rough cornbread and some good pinto beans.

                                                                                                                                                              1. Unripened persimmons...

                                                                                                                                                                My father would occasionally trick me into eating one when I was a kid, and that intensely sour flavor stuck with me for life. Any time I pick a one from my persimmon tree, and it's not quite ripe enough, I always shudder and remember those times.

                                                                                                                                                                After my persimmon tree started bearing fruit, I gave an unripe one to my son and made him call up his grandfather to tell him all about it...

                                                                                                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: deet13

                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, underripe persimmon is also my most shocking food experience. Except I would not describe it as sour. It was like a black hole of chalk in my mouth.

                                                                                                                                                                  Fortunately I learned about how soft hachiya persimmons have to be before eating, and now they're one of my favorite fruit.

                                                                                                                                                                  Also, the coffee and bread in Europe. For heaven's sake, I had no idea what Americans were missing.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: guilty

                                                                                                                                                                    Now that I think about it, you're right about them having a weird chalky kind of flavor. It makes me cringe whenever I think about eating them.

                                                                                                                                                                    I usually keep the freshly picked persimmons sealed in a paper bag for a week, before I even begin to mess with them...

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: deet13

                                                                                                                                                                      That's so funny, I had the same experience with persimmons. My mom had brought two home (they were the most exotic thing we'd ever seen, and she always bought stuff that was new and exciting, even tho she may not have known how to properly prepare it), and we just bit into them. Umm. It was the weirdest experience ever. A little sweetness followed by a really strange numbness or tartness. In any event. We were later told they had to be boiled which I guess is not true. So they were just not ripe enough?

                                                                                                                                                                      Never had one again after that experience.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                        The only thing I have to compare the experience to would be the first time I stuck my tongue on a nine volt battery.

                                                                                                                                                                        Tossing someone an unripened persimmon to eat is one of those classical Southern jokes. It's not malicious as convincing your drunk buddy to try water skiing while hooked up to your airboat, but it's just as funny....

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                          Quince need to be boiled; not persimmon.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: deet13

                                                                                                                                                                      Persimmon eaters: Give them a few hours in the freezer.
                                                                                                                                                                      They are never eaten before first-frost by real geezers.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                        persimmons: weird, first time they were too green, and now that I eat them ripe they're too sweet. love the flavor, but almost prefer that pucker.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                          Persimmons are a perfect metaphor for life,
                                                                                                                                                                          Frosted, or Frozen, or eaten back when the astringents are rife.

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm partial to past--frost
                                                                                                                                                                          because then I can suck on them.

                                                                                                                                                                          And then there's the beauty of standing in an orchard of persimmons
                                                                                                                                                                          on a cold frosty morning
                                                                                                                                                                          Stroking the supple beauty of their roughly hewn bark
                                                                                                                                                                          and the way that their limbs comb together with soft architecture
                                                                                                                                                                          and the hang of their pendulous fruit.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                            damn jack ass tenant farmer ripped ours out some years back.

                                                                                                                                                                            some scars don't heal.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                              Then buy thee a "kaki"
                                                                                                                                                                              the Japanese persimmon
                                                                                                                                                                              and contemplate upon the appeal of the peel.

                                                                                                                                                                              There is nothing we can do about the past
                                                                                                                                                                              and those turd-heads on tractors
                                                                                                                                                                              taking down with their Deisel the soft sculpted beauty
                                                                                                                                                                              of limbs bark and spark of our persimmon groves.

                                                                                                                                                                              Accost to this wonderful season of frost
                                                                                                                                                                              and the beauty contained in a single persimmon peel.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                                I would like to put in a small varied orchard, but that's a topic for some other thread.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: deet13

                                                                                                                                                                        Unripened, ripened persimmons - yuk!

                                                                                                                                                                        The texture is fairly vile as I remember when I was a kid.
                                                                                                                                                                        Had a few, remember peeling them & their slimy texture.

                                                                                                                                                                        Never had another one since!

                                                                                                                                                                      3. 1 - a sip of sauterne while eating foie gras. OMG the taste buds exploded
                                                                                                                                                                        2 - Fried SPAM at a restaurant in MSP. It was outstanding (probably not the canned spam though)

                                                                                                                                                                        13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                          There is such a thing as fresh (not canned) spam?!?!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                                                            made on site ate Travail in MSP. I did not ask for the recipe. :-))

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                              Wow! Next you'll be telling me it was even kosher! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                                                                That would be SKAM

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                  heh.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                            You should try frying up some of the canned stuff for breakfast some day. I tried it for the first time as an adult, and it has become a guilty pleasure.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                              maybe i can wear the SPAM baseball hat a client gave me and a pig apron. That's a visual I am sure would make many lose their appetite. :-))

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                I sent in my proofs of purchase to get the SPAM 70th Anniversary t-shirt. Limited edition, not available in stores, etc., etc. If you want to go for the full ensemble, let me know and you can borrow it...

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                  Pass.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                    If I ever get up to pork heaven in Minnesota
                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm sure as hell
                                                                                                                                                                                    gonna visit Hormel
                                                                                                                                                                                    Just to watch as those blades grind those shoulders,

                                                                                                                                                                                    I wonder if they have a fully open view
                                                                                                                                                                                    like many beer factories do.
                                                                                                                                                                                    And....
                                                                                                                                                                                    Do we get final goodies in the tasting room?

                                                                                                                                                                                    Apart from the salt,
                                                                                                                                                                                    there's a real good gestalt
                                                                                                                                                                                    of the Spam
                                                                                                                                                                                    as it slides from the tin.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I like to submerge the unopened can
                                                                                                                                                                                    in a bowl of some pretty warm water
                                                                                                                                                                                    that melts up the fat on the clinging steel sides
                                                                                                                                                                                    and gives it noise-less sweet glide.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                jfood, for me it was foie gras, in Paris, with tiny cubes of jellied Jurançon. Heaven!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh oh oh, nice. Love Jurançon.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, the beauty of the pale pink slab of foie gras, surrounded by sparkling nuggets of delicious deep tasting gelee......
                                                                                                                                                                                    I think my eyes literally rolled back in my head and I made "uglyface" the first time I tasted this fully magnificent dish. 9 years old, w/ Dad at La Grenouille. Mmmmm.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. beets -- EMP amouse : was amazing
                                                                                                                                                                                  http://teenchefteddy.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tldmatrix

                                                                                                                                                                                    I've always liked beets, but what's EMP amouse?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                                                                      my guess is an amuse served at EMP in nyc.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                        That could be. TBD. Never heard of EMP.

                                                                                                                                                                                        (Say that aloud five times fast).

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm a singer, not a rapper '-D

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                            I never had beets except the canned ones, which were horrible. For some reason I just did not have a fresh beet my whole life, but now I cook with them frequently and they are probably my favorite vegetable.
                                                                                                                                                                                            The amuse was Roasted Beets with goat cheese and dill at eleven madison park

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                                                                            The restaurant is Eleven Madison Park. But it's discussed so often and in such depth on the Manhattan board that no one can bear to type all those letters anymore. See also: One if by Land, Two if by Sea. And in *that* case, we can't even be bothered to abbreviate the whole name. It's usually just OIBL.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Sushi. Nigiri. I had no idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                        hamachi sashimi - so buttery...

                                                                                                                                                                                        oh, and ankimo! a seafood pate!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                          my first taste of Uni made me gag, and I felt ashamed, but I gamed up a few years later and tried it again and I love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                            I hate uni. But I can usually trade 2:1 for some good eel.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                              ohhh Unagi I have ALWAYS frickin' loved. despite Gunter Grass' best efforts otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                Heh. I know this is awfully late but I just barely refrained from replying to the eel subthread up above. My mom will taste most things but she literally just tasted eel the last time I visited her (at the age of 63) because of the images The Tin Drum stuck in her head. It only took me maybe 3 expeditions into sushi before I tried it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ErnieD

                                                                                                                                                                                                  You had to remind me?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ErnieD

                                                                                                                                                                                                    and...? ya like it or not? (I've only had the Japanese grilled version)

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Pate.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I can't stand liver, the taste, the texture, the smell. So I don't know why i was surprised that pate tasted so horrible to me - but so many people talked about how wonderful it was. Rich, creamy, smooth.

                                                                                                                                                                                            To me it was just bitter, gritty, and oh so liver-ish.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I wonder if some people have a natural inborn aversion to liver like others do to beets or cilantro? I don't know how many times people have told me.... oh, try this pate, it tastes nothing like liver. and the first nibble i take, all i can taste is that bitter almost metalic taste of liver.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh well, more for the rest of you!

                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                              I've only recently come to like the "creamy, smooth" pates. For decades it was the "chunkier, rustic types. And I couldn't abide any that had chicken liver but goose, pork, etc. were fine. Go figure. But now it seems I like all of them. Had a chicken liver one about a year ago that a Chow-buddy fixed and liked it. 'Course it had an amazing amount of butter in it!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                You know, I love pate, but recently had my first taste of truffle and HATED the flavor. I feel so disappointed; I think I ought to love them, and I've been looking forward to them for so long. But they are not a pleasure to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Coffee cake. Yes I know it sounds odd but we were visiting family in Atlanta in the mid 60s and my aunt brought out a coffee cake. Where was the coffee flavour? My mum had to explain it was cake to have with coffee. And you Yanks think we Brits are strange! It was good but not what I was expecting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Corn fritters and fried chicken - same year in Atlanta - I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                                                                  You're in good company with ipsedixit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7533...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                                                                    "coffee cake. Where was the coffee flavour?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well, imagine this Yank's surprise when I discovered fairy cakes didn't taste of fairies at all! Hee hee... ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                                                                      And in the military, SOS didn't quite taste like I imagine sh@t to taste like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I had to laugh at your post, smartie; I can see how, in a different culture with different traditions & food colloquialisms it might be a a little confusing. So I'm sure you can imagine my face, when dining out in the UK, to be offered a lovely dessert of "Spotted Dick."

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                        yep biscuits still confuse me a little, and grits now there's a strange name for a food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        ha Spotted Dick but it is yummy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah I took a photo of a can of it and wowed several nonBritish nonfoodies that couldn't help but wonder what was inside

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Would you expect a tea cake to taste of tea?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. In a very good way: uni. Tastes like nothing else on Earth, like a food from an alternate universe.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Can't really think of anything that shocked me in a very bad way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Haven't had uni - yet. I'm been reading this thread and just can't seem to think of anything that "schocked" me either for beer or worse. And I'm not a weinie; I'll try anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think you'd love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                              My first experiences with uni were somewhat less positive. But then a sushi chef had me try some stuff that he was very proud of and talked me through the shifting flavors. It was a revelation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Now I can enjoy uni even if it isn't the best of the best. But I'd advise anybody who wants to try it for the first time to start with the really good stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes. steve h. was describing it at Yasuda, I believe, and it definitely sounds like going for the gold is desireable. Now to save my money :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  After no regulation and a near decimation of sea urchins in Maine, the harvest is much better regulated now. It is only a memory of 15 years ago, but dipping a spoon into a 5 gal. bucket of uni, bound for Asia, and to when in the mouth to feel the burst of flavor is something I'll never experience again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Swooning...5 gallons of the sexiest food on earth...the first time I had it was at Tocqueville in NYC when they were in their old space, as a part of a sashimi appetizer, with shrimp, striped bass, and hamachi. The uni was the revelation. The other best experience was at a little sushi bar off Zhongshan North Road in Taipei, run by a master.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                For beer or worse?! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And "schocked" also! And I wasn't even drinking :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    are you sure? "weinie" might also say otherwise....! : )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was at the only sushi bar in town at the time and there was a local newspaper food critic sitting next to me. She ordered uni. I asked her what it was like. She said it was "really mooshy and really fishy". I think she shortchanged me on the description, for a food writer especially, but to this day I have never ordered it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's a good description of bad uni.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      <I think she shortchanged me on the description>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, she did. Go forth and form your own opinion. Uni is (in my opinion) one of the best things you could possibly eat, bar none.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Good uni is one of the best things you can eat. Bad uni is nasty stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Agreed. The good/bad divide is a lot wider for uni that it is for, say, an orange. A bad orange might be dry or sour, but it still tastes like food. Bad uni tastes like poison. But I wouldn't describe uni, good or bad, as "really fishy."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. My father worked for Pepsi back in the 60's; back then, whenever the adults had a party, my father would bring the mixers...ginger ale, club soda, tonic water...everyone seemed to want to mix their drinks with tonic water...the bottle made it look so good and soda was supposed to be sweet, right? So I got a big swig of it and threw up! I couldn't understand why they would want to drink something so foul. After that, I never tried the club soda for fear of the same reaction. Fast forward to the 80's and I worked with a girl who drank club soda with lime; she was on a diet and loved it because it didn't have any calories. I still couldn't bring myself to try it. About five years ago, I finally gave it a go with a bunch of mixed citrus in it and I've been hooked on club soda since then. Now, I buy it by the case and for the most part, drink it plain.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My kids were like, how could you? Lol..almost like full circle....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tomatoes. I hated them as a child but I liked tomato sauce, ketchup, etc. Now I love them especially straight off the vine; they're like warm candy...so delicious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My story is the same. I love a big glass of club soda on ice. I buy the Safeway seltzer by the 12-pack when they have it on sale.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I recently got a hint from a friend that was on call about what to drink that was so tasty you wanted to drink it a little more slowly- gin & tonic. I thought I'd hate it but I didn't. In fact on the rare occasion that I go to a bar I usually order a gin&tonic and say no to all the brqnd options- well is good enough for me. It's my idea of the perfect soft drink, not very sweet, has alcohol, bubbly, not too strong. i didn't even think I liked gin, period.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      G&T - even better with 1 part tonic to 2 parts club soda. If you're a club soda/seltzer fancier as I am.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is the 2nd time someone suggests mixing tonic with soda/seltzer. I find tonic to be too sweet lately, so I'll have to give that a shot - (not literally).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ees good. My drink of choice these days - Tanqueray. Was Plymouth but it's not ballsy enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Order a case of Fever Tree tonic from Amazon -- it's the real deal, and not too sweet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Fever Tree is pretty good stuff, as is Q. And Whole Foods' house brand tonic isn't half bad, either. But IMO the best tonic water is homemade. And when you're making it yourself, you can adjust the sweetness, the bitterness, the fizziness, and the other flavors to your liking. The world is your G&T.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And how does one make one's own, pray tell.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You start by making tonic syrup. The simplest version is just a quarter-cup of chopped quinine bark (aka chinchona bark, Jesuit's Bark, Peruvian bark) and a quarter-cup of citric acid, simmered in a quart of water for half an hour, strained, sweetened to taste (start with half a cup of sugar or equivalent other sweetener), and cooled.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But you can really go crazy adding herbs and spices to the simmer. My current mix is a couple of stalks of lemongrass (chopped), a cinnamon stick, and a few each of allspice berries, star anise, cardamom pods, cloves, and peppercorns, all roughly cracked in the spice grinder. I keep meaning to pick up some juniper berries and toss them into the mix. It'll be interesting to see whether they compliment or compete with the gin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A little citrus rind is good. Lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit, whatever. I just go out back and pick whatever looks good, but not everybody lives in citrus country. Some folks put in citrus juice, too, but I'm not crazy about its flavor when cooked, so I'll stick with fresh by squeezing a wedge into the finished drink.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Anyhow, once you've got your strained syrup, mix it with seltzer water and you're good to go. I like about a 1:3 ratio, but the beauty of homemade is that you can make it as intense (or not) as you like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Note that this stuff isn't clear; it has an orange-brown color to it. But it's absolutely delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Impressive, AB! I've had homemade tonic at Pizzaiolo, in Oakland, and loved it. I remember it had a clove-y, lavender flavor... it was soo good. writing that down. pretty sure I've seen chinchona in the local latino markets. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mmmm, a little lavender might be interesting. Maybe I need to start focusing on more summery flavors...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ETA: I misspelled cinchona. When all else fails, there's mail order; a little goes a long way, so it isn't too expensive to ship.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Can you recommend any mail order sources for cinchona bark?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chris VR

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I get mine from Penn Herb. Buying chopped rather than powdered makes filtering a lot easier. http://www.pennherb.com/6667.html

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        +1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. The first time I had tom ka kai - i had never tasted such a combination of flavors - the sweet coconut milk, the spiciness, the lemongrass and basil, the slippery mushrooms, the chicken and tender shrimp - i was blown away. It was also the first time I'd had thai food, at the ripe old age of 23.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          oh yes, that first bite of Thai and/or VN and I got that look on my face (I think) that a cat gives you when they get 'wet food' .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          as in "you've been holding out on me!, I'm onto you now"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was about 21 or 22 when I got my first "fix" sorry to use druggie terms but it really is that for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. oh, and lardo - that light yet fatty velvety porkiness melting on my tongue! fabulous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Love lardo. But I wasn't shocked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Lemon curd. Tastes like lemon pledge. Still does. I thought I would LOVE it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The first thing to shock me when I ate it was Pop Rocks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My mom refused to eat bologna but we ate it almost every day for lunch. Then she was all gaga over mortadella. I had not seen it, but she went on about it so much that I went out and got some and LO - I could not believe my eyes.... bologna with a dressed up name and nuts. I was surprised to taste it and find it was not too different than plain old Oscar Meyer (but cut thinner - for the elegance!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Lemongrass tastes exactly like pledge to me. Can't do it at all. I was surprised, expecting something less assertively soaplike.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Coffee - smells so good - taste was so disappointing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In a good way, my first raw oyster - just deliciously oceany yumminess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ditto 1 and 2, though I did get to love coffee, just not in a needy addictive way. When I get coffee I get either a triple+ espresso or a giant latte, iced or hot depending on the season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. A Bolivian saltena. Nirvana in a hunk pastry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Mango: So cool, slippery, sweet and tangy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                White truffle: It slammed me. It tastes, like good sex feels - it is amazing and more than just a flavor - it is a sensation.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                (I used some white truffle infused olive oil when I made hummus for my son's wedding and it really took it to a whole new plane : )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Crisco, lol. When I was a teeny kid I stole the container off the table because I thought that as it was used in baking it would be sweet. It was so pretty and white and perfect I couldn't resist taking it when my mom left the room. It got spat back into the container. Very very yucky stuff - I was so dissappointed!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: weewah

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Crisco . . . I did that! It was the blue can that had the picture of the *cake* on the label, a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I was certain that it was . . . what? wet sugar? sugar tree raindrops? I pulled a chair up to the counter, climbed up, opened the 'baking' cupboard to find it, and helped myself to a heaping spoonful. I was horrified at what filled my mouth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I almost posted this memory, but resisted. I cannot believe someone else here ate shortening. The evils of marketing are yet to be fully explored.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Good God, I'm in marketing now...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: weewah

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ha. I've thought I would be woefully good at marketing, and was lauded for my displays when I was a retail manager. Was it the cake can that got you, or the one with the fried chicken? Because the one with the fried chicken was equally enticing; it all but said 'crispy skin in here'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: weewah

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Weewah, not so weird, I remember touring a Civil War era barracks and in the commandant's house kitchen it was explained bacon grease or any other shortening was used as a sub for butter or mayo in sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        and re: marketing, a lie is a sin, but editing is a career.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Unsweetened chocolate. My mother warned me, I didn't listen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We are of one mind, same exact thing happened to me/I did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yep, every couple of years, I'd sneak a nibble of that baking chocolate and instantly regret it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: weewah

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Crisco story reminds me of being (hopefully) a toddler and putting a whole, wrapped cube of boullion in my mouth. That was pretty shocking. As I recall, I simply took it out of my mouth and put it back in the cabinet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That might even be my first memory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: guilty

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ha, you just reminded me of one...for my 8th bday my grandmother sent me a beautiful box of lavender-colored lozenges. I handed them out to my friends at my party, thinking they were candy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They were drawer sachets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. electric eel. no, really. what? What?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I had a little think about it and I would have to say Stregga. I was shocked in a very pleasant way after having been sitting in a small whisky bar drinking 'The Last Word'. I spotted the bottle up on a shelf and had had enough to drink to have the audacity to say 'What is that urine yellow liqueur up there?'. After having a friendly debate with the barman about the specifics of the yellow colour (due to the saffron, I was kindly informed) I ordered it on ice to try. Wow. I was not prepared for the complexity and beauty of that liqueur. I scrounged the details of where I could buy it by the bottle and now happily have one stashed away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Finding out what "Mountain Oysters" really were.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Guava nectar. Buns with sweet red bean paste. Saffron. Socca. All paradise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I find guava nectar gross. But I'm finicky when it comes to tropical fruit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. truffle salt on ice cream--wow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: 3catsnh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oooh, that sounds like I've got to try it. Any particular flavour of ice cream? Not that I'm supposed to have salt but I can try a little bit!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It was a nice rich vanilla...and you only need a tiny bit of the truffle salt to make a HUGE difference--yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: 3catsnh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: 3catsnh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I recently had vanilla ice cream with some olive oil and salt. It was quite WOW :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ooh, i had a tahitian vanilla milkshake with a really grassy olive oil over the top as part of a tasting menu - dreamed about that milkshake for weeks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chirimoya ice cream in Bolivia, yum!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The first time eating cherimoya was a treat and I quickly became addicted. Red mangoes too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Let us not underestimate the beauty and grace
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          of a perfectly ripened good mango.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And then there is sing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          that comes from the zing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          from ranges of pulsing maturity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          of Papaya.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            we had a cherimoya tree in my dad's backyard, grown from pilfered seeds on a trip back to the old country.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Now we talkin. All tropical fruits, wow. Cherimoya (the smallish pineconey ones), really good papaya, fresh litchi (my absolutely favorite fruit), pineapple that would knock your socks off, ineffably fragrant bananas, small flat green mangoes...snow apples...mangosteens (the runner-up favorite)...fruit in Taiwan was a revelation.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The fruit on breakfast buffets in hotels in China (even the amusing-looking and mildly but pleasantly flavored dragon fruit) is a reason in itself to go there.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not to mention the fresh pearlescent baby ear pink fresh guava juice by the bottleful...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I was talking to a Chow-friend a week or so ago and we've been enjoying this thread but couldn't really think of anything that "shocked" us - either way. And then I had head cheese for the first time. They really need to change the name. I was shocked at how much I liked it. Shocked that it was just a mild, fatty but not gelatinous, great tasting pork product. I recently found a Latino market that has every part of the pig from snout to tail. I think I need to make head cheese. Whew, I'm so relieved that I found something :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You can change that wary name of the "head cheese"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        to something as simple as "souse".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In this cold snowed-in season
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        it's just on more good reason to heat up the house
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        with pig's heads brought to a simmering boil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Take some tips from those old butchers of Pennsylvania Dutch
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        while you pick the sweet cheek meat
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        and preserve the thick gelatin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        and scrape the thin meat from the cranium.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It takes few sheet pans to pour it and congeal it
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        but it softly results in good head cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Now you're talkin', big boy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We bought this (2X) at a pretty high end market in Sonoma, CA. The two different employees who sold it to us hadn't tried it and both claimed to be "afraid." Silly them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What time could be better than this time of Wassail
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            to stew down some pigs heads, and maybe some tail.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In the new year. We won't be home til New Year's Eve. We Southerners love our pork (and peas and greens) for new years, don't we? Never did 'hog jowl' before.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Soon will be season of black-eyed peas and of collards
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                and for the less curious, some Ham.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A New year's dish meant to send luck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But if grappling with the whole of the Hog Head
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                to be simmered to souse
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I say greens and those beans
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                are sorta superfluous..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bring on the strength of the Hog Head.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Next New Year's, you and I can figure out hog jowls together, c oliver. Nowadays, we can find them here as pig cheeks sometimes, and they are delicious. Some braised, tender, shreddy delicious pigcheeks, hoppin' John, stewed tomatoes, cornbread (not v. sweet AT ALL) and slaw? NOW we're talkin' not only dinner, but extra-good luck in the New Year!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Let's do it, mamachef! We have done home exchanges in SF over New Years. Mmm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My grandmother used to make head cheese..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I just love it. A new addiction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. I wasn't closely supervised as a child, and spent time experimenting in the kitchen to explore new flavors. One day I combined Hershey's syrup with mayonnaise...50 years later, I still gag when I remember the taste. Worst taste EVER.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ptrichmondmike

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              like- who knew?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ptrichmondmike

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I mixed orange juice and milk once as a child. Uggg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. In-N-Out burger, so much hype, just another chain burger. Meh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I ate there once and it just didn't float my boat. It wasn't fast which is what "fast food" is supposed to be IMneverHO. We ate at Five Guys (is that the name?) while in DC. It was fine but, again, nothing fast. And it was expensive for what it was. But we'd never done it and were walking by. Ho hum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Now the Laguna Burger is another matter. A half pound burger w/ cheese, green chiles and a side of Maine potato French fries for $3.99????? Our favorite stop to and fro Albyqyeque.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://nmgastronome.com/blog/?p=8598

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Never mind the hype, it's the best fast-food burger in these parts. And I like their business model - pay a living wage, have high expectations, and promote from within. If everybody would stop talking about how great the burgers are, folks would be impressed. But all the hype hightens expectations. And the fact of the matter is that it's just a (very good) fast-food burger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gimme a Lotaburger w/ double green chile any day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Me too. We need Blake's in California.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        AB - agreed!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Truffles. Hated the the first time, to my great surprise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wow- I'm not really surprised, but to me it was such an erotic smell/taste I was almost embarrassed at the thought of having to explain it to others. My new favorite guilty snack is leftover linguine sauteed in a skillet with a little truffle oil. Almost like having sex, only without the commitment. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          you could add some crabs :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: somervilleoldtimer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't like truffles at all- they all taste like especially foul BO to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. brussels sprouts. my mom hated them so much as a child, that she refused to serve them to her children, so i had never even seen one, let alone tried them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          my sister's boyfriend's mother served them to me during college, and i could not believe how delicious they were. i ended up eating almost the entire portion of them (and it was supposed to be for the whole group!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. The blue cheese dressing at a diner near me. Homemade and eye-popping good when you expect just the regular run of the mill blue cheese dressing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Liver pate my mom served at a party one time when I was little. Liver and onions my mom served for dinner once. I was very surprised I liked something that looked and sounded so disgusting!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Edible underwear. I had munchies and thought it would taste like a fruit roll-up. It so does not. It was gross and numbed my mouth. lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Shocked in a good way- escargot. Expected it to taste slimy and muddy. Isn't slimy at all and quite delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I remember the first time I had a Granny Smith apple at a friend's house when I was about 12 years old. My mother always bought red delicious, which I don't like to this day because they taste like nothing. I couldn't believe the flavor in that Granny Smith! So tart and apple tasting! I asked for another, and another until they were worried I'd make myself sick.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, I agree completely. Plus they're one of the appkes that will grow in southern AZ.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Today, I had Lychee Wasabi Capsaicin Spiced Exlixir. It was bizarre to try this spicy/sweet drink...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Way back in those times as a culino-newbie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    raised in a joyous but yet spiceless household

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It came time to encounter and tackle the Fennel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I crunched those seeds up in a mortar and pestle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    for proper dispersal in my jarred Prego sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This was way 'fore the days of firm-footed Foodfuser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    when spices were almost akin to a sin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The presence of fennel in our "normal" spaghetti
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    was met with both grin and a glower.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We just didn't know what to make of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A slippery footed dance on those first seeds
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    led to more make of new dishes with spices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Each to their own should give gift to their seed whether or not it is fennel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    as fundament from which to proceed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I remember being very little and baking with my father. The vanillia extract smelled so good. i told him I wanted to eat a spoonful. "No, you don't" he replied. I really wanted to but he convinced me to just lick the measuring spoon. YUCK!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: calliope_nh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        How about a taste of a cinnamon stick? It doesn't taste like cinnamon toast, does it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My sister and I always used to chew on cinnamon sticks! I think they're yummy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Ikura Oroshi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Had it at Lenge, an upper West Side NY Japanese restaurant in the early 1970s. Was made with ONIONS! instead of daikon & I can't vouch for the quality of the Ikura!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Since then, it has been my favorite due to a love affair with Omasa Restaurant in Hartsdale NY over 30 years ago!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Grappa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Once you get past the shock & the ethanol takes hold - its not too bad really except for the price they are charging for essentially rot gut.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Anybody got a similar experience with white lightning???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: algct

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oof. I had artichoke grappa in Rome, because it was there. I can't say I was shocked by it, because I had no expectations, good or bad. It was pretty bad, though. I found unicum similarly vile. And I apologize to any fans of unicum or artichoke grappa, if I have offended them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Artichoke grappa? Are you sure you don't mean the amaro known as Cynar? Grappa's essentially brandy...and there are all types, both rotgut and well-made boutique distillations that are actually very smooth and aromatic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I know that this bar called it "artichoke grappa." The menu there also listed "avocado grappa" and "asparagus grappa" and myriad other weird grappas, in addition to regular ol' grape grappa. I wish I could remember the name of the place, but it's been about 20 years since I was there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Huh. Googling the terms doesn't yield anything useful. Was it clear or dark?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Googling found me this:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.festadellagricoltura.com/a...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Which may or may not be what I had, and I don't remember what it looked like, unfortunately. But it seems like the grappa was not made entirely from artichokes, but rather contained artichokes. Which makes more sense, I guess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's fascinating. Headed to Italy next week, a traditionally grappa-making region
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      —now I'm on a quest!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I will keep an eye out for your review of this elusive beverage!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. The first time I ever had Greek olives, it was 1992 in Columbia, Missouri. Being from a small town in Illinois I grew up on green olives stuffed with pimentoes and the black olives in cans. Loved those, but when I had Greek olives, wow. Salty, meaty, uniquely bitter and sweet all at the same time. Since then I will eat any olive known to man. I gaze longingly at olive bars like a kid through a candy store window.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            At that same dinky little restaurant in Columbia MO I first tried feta cheese and hummus, too. 20 years later I am known and mocked for my obsession with hummus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            First time I tried cilantro was at a Thai place in Milwaukee, early 90s. Like many other people here I thought it tasted like soap. Now I love love love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I humbly suggest that we as first tasters
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              apply and comply to the law of forgiveness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There were times at the joy of the family table
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              when weird tastes were tendered to tongue and to gullet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hopeful that in these later adult days
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We can take on, embrace,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              each item and spice that gives us a new taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Not into "innards," but was amazed with sweetbreads, at Blackberry Farm. Now, not all chefs can pull this dish off, at least for me. When done well, they are sublime, but would not go hunting for the ultimate versions, as I have found that many fail, at least on my palate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Crispy duck pancakes on my 21st birthday - I nearly passed out from the delicious deliciousness! Mmmm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Also, proper gelato in Italy (from towns around Lago Maggiore, in my case) - there is nothing, anywhere, that comes remotely close to being that perfect. I had a scoop every day that I was there, and I think the honeydew melon has tied with the pistachio for favourite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The first time I had pesto, when I was six, also stands out. My Dad and I had gone to Switzerland visit my soon-to-be stepmother, who was taught to cook by an Italian, and she gave us freshly made pesto (ground in a pestle and mortar). She had extra long spaghetti and I remember standing up on the chair to slurp up a single strand, and being dumbfounded by the amazingness of pesto. I've been hooked ever since.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. My first martini, I was about 22 living in NM; a wine and beer drinker. My friend's father came for a visit from NYC and mixed a batch of martinis. Growing up, my parents drank a lot of Scotch and vodka, so strong alcohol flavors were nothing new to me. My biggest surprise in the martini, was not the flavor, which I enjoyed, but the olives. I hated olives, but hmmmm, theses were all right. By the third martooni, I was a converted olive aficianado and remain so this day. But I can't remember my last martini.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Great story. Touch of Sean Connery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Last martini will be remembered by friends and family
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      when cannot be resuscitated, even shaken or stirred.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It is much more a matter of ethanol
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      than of the accessory olive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. When I was 8 my friend's dad set our some chocolate crispy things for a dinner party, and they were delicious. Until he laughed heartily and told me they were chocolate covered ANTS!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Besides some vegetables (and that's mostly because my gran boiled the hell out of them) the first time I had uni (sea urchin) I thought it tasted like crap...literally. The smell was quite putrid and it tasted like it smelled. But then a few years later this restaurant was offering complimentary uni sushi because they're brand new so of course I had to eat it (I like free stuff) and then at first I was like ugh, then I was like hmmm, then I was like hmmmmm (in a positive way). But finally one time I actually had it really fresh and it was absolutely AMAZING!!! And now I love it. And to think I'll never have know if I weren't so cheap and kept accepting freebies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh and ketchup but I still despise it, the taste I thought was so terrible I still have yet to find a word to describe how god awful it is.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: AngelSanctuary

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I like a bit of ketchup on french fries and a spot on hamburgers, but one time I ordered a fried egg sandwich with nothing except salt and pepper. When I tasted it, I couldn't at first identify the sweet taste, but it turned out to be ketchup-ruined the egg sandwich for me. Now I am careful to ask to omit ketchup, and I tell them if they put it on my egg sandwich, they will get it back!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. WASABI..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The first time I ate sushi, I was by myself and had NO knowledge about sushi condiments. I saw this light greenish ball of what I thought was probably some sweet Japanese morsel, so I proceeded to pop the whole thing in my mouth, chewed it, then: *HEAD EXPLODES*, or so it seemed. My sinuses are clear to this day and whenever I eat sushi now, I remember that incident and cast a very cold eye on the little green fiend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: arktos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You were lucky compared to a guy I work with - an East Coaster who was at a Mexican restaurant out west for the first time, and forked up a big mouthful of what he thought was shredded carrot off a garnish plate. It was shredded habanero.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: arktos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ever seen the first Jackass movie? Not for the weak of stomach, but I found Steve-O's wasabi-snorting attempts (plural) sort of genius.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have a certain fondness for the Jackass movies. (hangs his head) but I did have a piece of maki once in CA of roe marinated in wasabi until it was nuclear bio-hazard green. blew my ears off, but I hold fond memories of it even though it's more of a 'dare' food IMHO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I had that once on St. Patrick's Day. It was the only time they had at at this particular sushi bar. I was the only one at the bar, and chatting with Hiroshi and asked about it. He said it was very popular that day. Silly me, I believed him and tried it. He had a good laugh at my reaction. He knew I loved wasabi, but that bite was a bit much for me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm familiar with that roe - it's wasabi-flavored tobiko (flying fish roe). I first encountered it as a garnish on tuna tartare, where it added an excellent flash of flavor. Wouldn't recommend eating it it all on own though, and more than I would a spoonful of dijon mustard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For the record, there are quite a few flavored versions of tobiko our there - besides wasabi I've seen yuzu, ginger, and squid ink.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I'm going to agree with other on Uni. I always thought it would be more of a taste of the sea but its more like custard with a pumpkin texture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Escolar sashimi - with it's high oil content it melts in your mouth like butter. Yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              From the garden heirloom tomato - fresh picked. I'm not old enough to remember when tomatoes from the store tasted good. Since them I've been growing my own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              fresh Goat Cheese - I love it but would have never had thought it would have that texture or taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Prosciutto - some many people call it "italian bacon" or like bacon. I didn't see much a resemblance besides that is is cured ham.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Escargot - I think I've got a trick for friends who have never tried it. If you like mushrooms, especially garlic mushrooms and butter you'll like escargot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Rose bud tea - funny I don't know what I was expecting because it taste just like rose buds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              lychee - I didn't even know how to eat it at first I had to ask. It had a nice flowery aroma with a kind of lemony grape taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Unsweetened cocoa (as a kid)- didn't, or perhaps couldn't, really read the whole "unsweetened" part and thought I would get a spoonful of sweet chocolatey goodness. That was a shock!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Lytefisk. So much talk, so little flavor.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fried cod roe for breakfast, rich and mild.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Calf's colustrum made into a custard.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ja vel ja.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This is the third reference I've seen to colostrum used in food in the past 2 weeks. I have never seen it mentioned before. And my chances of experiencing it are close to zero...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Tripe. Especially since I didn't know what it was when I was eating it, all I could think was "Chewy!" and "Weird texture!"

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pincus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Goat's cheese. I still hear this mentioned as a good "first semi exotic cheese" for cheese virgins, and I remember my first time trying it as a 12ish year old - to this day I don't find goat's cheese mild, I find it sort of sour and harsh, and (most) sheep's cheese (I know many people who refuse to eat sheep's cheese but reckon goat's cheese is yummy) creamy and like what I remember expecting goat's cheese to taste like.