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Things you thought you hated

I always thought I hated certain things because my parents cooked them badly. For example, i hated mushrooms as a kid, because I only knew overcooked white button mushrooms. I thought I hated cheese, because I only had low-fat, pre-sliced crap.

Anyone with similar experiences? Any magical moments when you discovered what you really liked?

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  1. I always remember one fact about my food growth. My parents insisted that we try at least a good tasting of every food they put on the dinner table, but they didn't force us after that. At about 10 years of age, I resentfully tried asparagus under that rule and said (felt?) I hated it.

    Then, when I was about 17, I was walking along one day and, out of the blue, thought that maybe I'll go get some asparagus. I got some, loved it, and have been a fan ever since.

    What sticks with me now is how many years went by, and how odd it was that I recalled the flavor at all. Presumably, I could never have had the specific craving without having tried it way back when. So I'm passing along my parents' rule to my child. We'll see what happens with him.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Bada Bing

      My 1st asparagus taste was canned asparagus, boiled to death even further than being canned. Wouldn't taste it again until I was an adult, when it was properly roasted and delicious.

      Love the 1 taste rule for kids, but badly prepared food's 1st taste can still be off-putting for years. I'm sure your prep is better than my mom's canned asparagus, tho!

      1. re: pine time

        Me too. I grew up on canned asparagus (my mother embraced all things boxed, processed, and canned) and thought it was a vile, mushy vegetable. Imagine the epiphany I had the first time I had it cooked from fresh!

        Also, I grew up on canned yams. I always thought they were nasty little orange nuggets. Once I had them fresh it was like a whole different world opened up. Now I love them.

    2. Tomatoes. At least in a raw form.

      Something I would never eat. Until 1976 which was a really hot year here. For reasons that i cannot recall, I decided the weather was so good that I should try to grow them (in pots outside the back door). Well, of course, when you've spent hours tending the plants, you gotta try the beastly things. And you know, I found them OK. Raw tomatoes are still not something I'll ever crave but at least I'll eat them. Tried to grow them again last year - miserable failure.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Harters

        +1 on raw tomatoes. When they were out of season, my mom bought the "styrofoam" kind from the grocery store and kept them in the refrigerator. I didn't eat a raw tomato again until I had a friend's home-grown tomatoes in grad school... and I never looked back.

      2. Tuna. I HATE the canned kind and so assumed I had an equal hatred of fresh. Boy was I wrong!

        3 Replies
        1. re: CanadaGirl

          I've tried to persuade my partner of exactly that point. However, she can't get beyond her prejudice against canned tuna which she regards as only fit for cat food.

          1. re: Harters

            I don't even consider the canned stuff fit for cats! If tuna's
            on the menu at a nice restaurant, I usually order it now.

          2. re: CanadaGirl

            I feel the same way about average generic canned tuna, but this stuff actually rocks. http://www.bctuna.com/

          3. My mother would boil canned asparagus, beets, etc until mush thus I refused to eat them for years. Now that I know to cook them, I enjoy them....

            1. Most vegetables, aside from raw carrots, bell peppers, cukes, etc. Cooked veggies growing up were frozen or canned and boiled beyond recognition. They smelled HORRID! Now I love pretty much all veg. Fresh and nicely cooked, of course.

              1. I think some of my dislikes were due more to an immature palate than because I had a bad version of a food. My tastes have changed with time, and it works both ways. I hated mushrooms as a child, even properly cooked ones, but I now really enjoy them. And I loved raw oysters as a child and dislike them today.

                Some hatreds, as you stated, really are because you got a nasty version in childhood. My mother only made instant mashed potatoes, so I hated those until I tried the real thing. They're not my favorite food, but I can enjoy them now.

                Sometimes it's a matter of spice. I used to think that nothing could induce me to like ricotta, because I'd only ever had it in savory Italian foods and thought it wrecked the dish. But when I tried it in sweets and later as a substitute for paneer in paneer bhurji, it totally changed my opinion.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Isolda

                  Thought I hated curry until I visited India and realized it's not just one thing. I found many curries that I just loved.

                  1. re: Midlife

                    I used to get physically ill from smelling curry. One day, I decided to grin and bear it and try it. It was a simple curried chicken dish and I liked it. Now I love different curries and one of the best dishes I've had in the last few years was a lamb phall.

                2. Potato Salad- Always despised it until I discovered the Japanese way of making it. Much more delicate and tasty. Now I'm a fan (of Japanese potato salad, that is).

                  1. Oatmeal.
                    Until I figured out that I can make it with the same flavorings and ingredients that I'd use in risotto.
                    Now I eat it almost every day.
                    There are so many ways to prepare savory oatmeal that I can't believe it did not occur to me before.
                    One of my favorites is Oatmeal Vindaloo. Made with curry, cayanne pepper and usually some tomato based salsa. If I'm feeling daring I make it like real vindaloo with chicken or even better, lamb, and some small potato chunks.

                    1. GRAVY of any kind. Until I was in my late 20's and was invited to now husband's parents' house...they passed a gravy bowl and I asked, "what's this?" They said, "gravy."

                      Not a thing like my mother's which was basically fat with hot water and flour and a huge amount of pepper. Just gross. I skipped it for two decades, that's how bad it was.

                      It was a revelation that gravy could be delicious. Now our turkey gravy is "sacred nectar" and we even have a video of MIL making it...probably should be in the Smithsonian.

                      1. I thought I hated beets. Growing up, my parents always pickled them, and I still don't care for pickled vegetables (except maybe relish or a couple of pickle slices if they're used in moderation as a condiment). I've also tried healthy veggie-fruit juices containing beets a couple of times and found the beet taste overwhelming.
                        But last year, I received beets in my CSA a few times. The first time, I gave them away. The next time, I decided that I'd might as well try to do something with them-- and I've been experimenting with them ever since. I now enjoy my beets raw (grated in a salad), roasted, and as oven-baked chips.

                        1 Reply
                        1. I grew up hating pot roast because my mother had no idea how to cook it. She didn't braise it--she just laid it in the pan with some potatoes, no braising liquid, and roasted it for about 3 hours at 350. (My mother believed that meat was dangerously undercooked unless it was dark brown in the center.) After I started reading cookbooks and learning about what pot roast really is, I decided to try it. Needless to say, I got an entirely different--and delicious--result.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: MrsBridges

                            Yes, the ghastly chuck roast cooked until the cows come home!

                            1. re: OCEllen

                              With those hard, dry, darkened ridges on the top that were impossible to chew!

                          2. Another one I remembered - mustard. I thought I hated mustard because my parents only had the bright yellow stuff in a squeeze tube. Still not a huge fan, but I'm getting more into grainy dijon

                              1. Liver. My father loved it and my mother would make it once in a while, but all of us kids refused to eat it so she'd make spaghetti for us whenever it was Dad's liver night. I later learned to appreciate it. Part of the reason is of course maturing taste buds, but I think my mom overcooked it and when I got some cooked just slightly pink, savory and tender, it made a huge difference.

                                Nowadays I'm a big fan of offal.

                                1. sweet potatoes. Hated them growing up. Then in my 20s I had a plain boiled sweet potato and it was wonderful, a real revelation. Turned out that what I hated (and still do) is Marshmallows, which is the only way I had ever been served sweet potatoes, canned and covered with marshmallows and baked.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: laliz

                                    I thought I didn't like sweet potatoes until I tried them as french fries. Then I graduated to baked or boiled sweet potatoes. I don't love sweets, but sweet potato casserole with marshmallows is pretty darn good.

                                  2. I blame my "meh" attitude toward most fruit on canned fruit cocktail as a kid (even worse when suspended in Jello). I'll eat bananas, grow satsumas, peaches, apples, and other citrus, and pears, but still associate many fruits with that tinny, mushiness of cocktail.

                                    1. Olives. As a child, I thought all olives were like those disgusting, mushy black things that came in a can, which was all that my mother ever bought. Tasting good olives when I got older was a revelation. I can't quite remember which variety first hooked me, but it may have been kalamatas, which are still among my favorites.

                                      1. Feta cheese. There is a lot of *really* bad feta out there, IMO, and on top of that many chefs use to much of it, putting the dish out of balance. However, once I tried some really good stuff I realized what I had been missing.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: susancinsf

                                          Now that you mention it I had the same sort of experience with feta as well as with Bleu cheese.

                                          Feta was always the regional cow plasticky stuff. Then I found imported greek sheep and goat feta and never looked back.

                                          With Bleu, I always hated it, but I was always getting Danish Bleu but didn't know it. Once I started trying Roquefort, Gorganzola, Stilton etc. it was a whole new ball game. Now I can't get enough of the stuff :)

                                          1. re: Jzone

                                            I consider myself so lucky that my parents were cheese lovers. I was eating Stilton and Roquefort when I was five. It actually wasn't until I was older that I tasted average blue cheese. I was also lucky to have a best friend who was Greek, so I was eating the good Feta since the beginning. I can't get enough of it.