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You CAN teach an old dog new tricks...

Or at least to like "new" things.

I'll be 51 this month and I only started drinking (and actually liking) Scotch and bourbon in the last 6 months or so. I was about 48 when I started liking rum. And not just in cocktails; desserts as well. Before that, I never liked any of these spirits. I also discovered I liked sardines on a recent trip to Italy. And it's not like I haven't tried these things over the years; I have. I always go back to things I think I don't like jut for the chance that I may now like them. And it actually happens.

Anyone else? Or is it just me? :)

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  1. I've been chided in some old threads for saying that I try things over & over again; people will say, "Why *force* yourself to like what you don't like?" There's never been much that I didn't l like, even as a child, and my answer to them is: because I don't like not liking things. I like learning, I like exploring, I like a challenge. People change; why shouldn't their tastebuds? And why isn't food like anything else? Okay, you hated Moby Dick as a teen; try it again, because it's brilliant. You think yoga's boring; go to the class of a different teacher and see if you feel otherwise. (Well, I loved Melville from the get-go but the latter example applies to me.)

    So no, you're not alone at all. I'm 41 and finally my body accepts chicken livers, at least in certain forms. :) Ditto tongue. I just made a lunch date with a friend who loves natto, which I despise, but which I'm determined to give a third shot.

    4 Replies
    1. re: tatamagouche

      tata, you are ready to try a pastrami and chopped liver on rye at the New York News deli? How I miss that sandwich....

      1. re: Veggo

        Hot pastrami on cold chopped liver??? With or without swiss cheese?

        1. re: mucho gordo

          It works, mucho. No cheese. Let's keep it kosher!

      2. re: tatamagouche

        "I don't like not liking things"

        Words to live by. Thanks for writing that.

      3. Funny that you mention scotch as I only started to appreciate a good scotch after I got a bottle at my retirement (age 49). Interesting that bourbon is another thing I just started to like as well.
        Food wise, I've always liked or at least tried almost anything but until recently, did not like beets.
        You're not alone.

        4 Replies
        1. re: bobbert

          My friends have all been drinking bourbon for years and I just couldn't like it as much as I wanted to until recently. Glad to know I am not alone.

          tatamagouche said: "I've been chided in some old threads for saying that I try things over & over again; people will say, 'Why *force* yourself to like what you don't like?' "

          That is just silly. We are not "forcing" ourselves to like something. I try anchovies every once in a wile and I still just do not like them. I could "force" myself to like them, but that would serve no purpose. When I revisit a food and find I like it, it is because I have sincerely grown to like the taste and appreciate the food itself.

          1. re: ttoommyy

            I wasn't fond of red wine for years. Turns out I was just drinking the wrong reds! Now I'm partial to red and only use white in a few recipes. But I like all wine chilled.

            Mushrooms, especially raw grew on me over time. Preparation had more to do with it.

            Steak. Still a reluctant steak eater; mostly a texture thing. But every once and again a tender steak surprises me and sorta wins me back.

            1. re: HillJ

              HJ, that's a trifecta! Grilled rib eye with sauteed mushrooms and a good cab.
              Buen provecho!

              1. re: Veggo

                I know...I know...OLD dog..new trick :)

        2. I used to bite my nails, so I bought some of that nail varnish that tastes revolting. It worked at first and I kept tasting to remind myself how vile it was, until I got used to the taste, then somehow I started to like it, almost revelling in the bitterness and finding pleasure in the unpleasant. And of course, still biting my nails. Same with olives, and campari, and beer. Perverse, eh?

          6 Replies
          1. re: gembellina

            Trying to quit biting your nails is right up there with quitting smoking, I think.

            And another late convert to scotch (single malts). You couldn't have paid me to even smell "that stuff" just a few years ago. Now I love it, whereas a friend of mine likens the smell to band-aids.

            1. re: gembellina

              I was told that Campari was a three-strikes thing: first two times you recoil, by the third you're beginning to appreciate it. That was sure true for me, power of suggestion or not.

              I've yet to come around to Scotch. Bourbon I rather like, but my SO is an Islay guy—the super-peaty stuff—and agreed with linguafood that the smell still turns my stomach.

              I'm sure I'll get there though. No liquor will get the better of me (except light indsutrial beer and crappy schnapps).

              1. re: tatamagouche

                I believe Campari & OJ was the drink of choice when I was a teenager, but I've always had a soft spot for bitterness. That, and Cuba Libre. Back when I also had a soft(er) spot for sweet drinks.

                I enjoy the smell of scotch now (it's sexy on the breath, too, if you're not a drooling chromagnon hitting on me), but find bourbon generally too sweet.

                1. re: linguafood

                  Yes, the SO feels the same about bourbon—but that element of sweetness is I think why I can stand it. I have had single malts that I could at least take a sip or two of, but they weren't Islays.

                  As for things I'm still hoping to develop a taste for, besides natto: tripe, jellyfish (both of which I'll eat but don't "get"), quality muenster...and that's about it? I always liked all veggies and fruits, so they're not an issue.

                  1. re: linguafood

                    the very first time I had a Campari and OJ was on a hot day in Germany (yes, they exist) - and I was hooked on the spot. Now it's my summer quaff of choice - and I still really, really like dark rum with a shot of lime.

                    I thought I didn't like scotch until I tried a dram of a good single-malt in Edinburgh...turns out I like scotch -- but mostly expensive scotch....! I'm still only an occasional scotch drinker, but at least I don't have to fight a gag, as I did the first time I tried it!

                  2. re: tatamagouche

                    Campari and OJ was always my grandmother's drink of choice (though if I ever have to hear again what OJ does to her digestive system now I swear I'll go straight off campari again!) but I think it tastes a bit like grapefruit juice. I've recently discovered a Campari spritz - campari and prosecco. Delicious.

                    I love the smell and taste of whisky but the burn of pure spirits is a bit much for me. I'm trying to graduate from scotch and soda to scotch with just ice...

                2. My husband says that the reason why he's a picky eater and I'll eat anything is because he has more (and more sensitive) taste buds than I do. Also, we lose taste buds as we age. Perhaps that's why we like more things as we age? I wonder if the opposite could be true: that we could dislike some things that we used to like.

                  For me, I've never liked Chinese bitter melon or raw oysters, and still won't give them a second chance, but I still like everything else, it seems.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Claudette

                    An age-old question: does familiarity breed content or contempt?

                    This is a question that every one has to deal with sooner or later in life. You can get so used to something bad that a departure seems regrettable (see Uncle Vanya), as well as you can lose the spark of what makes something wonderful via sheer repetition (see The Fantasticks).

                    That Sun is Too Bright: It really is a pity, it used to be so pretty.

                  2. I have been thinking about this lately, how and why something that was gross is now delicious.

                    I'm 29 and while there are some things I like more than others, I can count the things on one hand I don't like. Only about 3-5+ years ago, I hated everything. Onion, tomato, mushrooms, really the only veggies I liked were corn and potatoes. I eat brussel sprouts now and think they're delicious! Just the other day I ate an olive which was kinda good, and olives were once in my top 2 most reviled foods. I can even tolerate and mildly enjoy dark chocolatey desserts now, and I used to despise them. I suspect as time goes on I'll begin preferring them to sweeter versions.

                    I think a lot of this is due to evolutionary programming, and which things the body benefits from at different stages of life, but I'm not an expert and have no evidence of this.

                    Regardless, its great to be able to enjoy different foods. When I was younger, I still loved food just as much, but I would come on here and read about local dishes, only to try them and find that I regretted not having a slice or a sub instead. I still love the latter but don't have to eat them every other day now.

                    1. It is never too late to discover the joys, and benefits, of alcohol.

                      1. I had a lot of food prejudices and misconceptions from my youth, and I remember telling people I didn't like something, when I knew I had never even tried it. Now I try and buy and use foods i've always been averse to, and my realm of dislikes is MUCH smaller. My most amusing 'dislike' was sour cream. Really, who can say they dislike sour cream when they are making homemade cheeses and yogurts? Embarrassing.

                        I will say, I am having a really hard time overcoming my aversion to all things vinegar-tasting. Mustard, pickles, mayo, kimchi, pretty much ALL fermented foods in that vein.. I make all my salad dressings with lemon instead of vinegar. It seems so silly, all I can think is that it must be the the vaporous, overwhelming quality it has. I WANT to like these foods, and am actively searching for one that will help as a gateway.

                        I feel renewed confidence about Campari though... I remember an entire evening trying to make a drink that my dad and i didnt cringe at... Maybe Its time to try again! (I also remember feeling really confident the first time though, lol!)

                        The only tip I have: Order the foods in question while at a restaurant, because you know it will be used appropriately, and since you are paying for it you will be motivated to try it several times through the meal. Tastes seem to change from the first to the fifth bite and so on...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: shmooey

                          Another tip: get in with a group and share. That way your commitment (both financial and gustatory) to any one new food is rather small.

                          If you are put off by something, the prospect of having a lot of it in front of you is daunting. But a couple of bites and it only set you back a dollar or two? Anybody can handle that.