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Mar 9, 2013 04:41 PM


...the first time you had caviar?
Swoon with pleasure after your first taste of foie gras? Did your eyes roll back in your head the first time you had sushi?

How about sauerkraut? Anchovy? Buttermilk?
Some people who love them say these foods "are an acquired taste." Did you have to learn to like goat's cheese? Maybe black coffee, kimchi or capers, menudo or pickled beets?

And if you did "acquire a taste," how? Did you revisit some food from time to time and find your acceptance growing? Did someone prepare the offensive food in a new, tasty way? Did you find it more enjoyable with candlelight, white linen and a glass or two of wine? Or have you given up and made peace with the fact you're never gonna like sweetbreads?

I'd to hear your experiences. As a terribly picky child, forced to sit at the table for hours trying to choke down cold liver, I know that method is not conducive to broadening one's food repertoire.

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  1. Sushi, goat cheese, sweetbreads, I loved right away (okay, sweetbreads I liked, not loved). Deeply flavored fish I had to get over myself and the family bias against "fishy-flavored fish" first, but I've done it and I love it. Ditto caviar. Sauerkraut I grew up with, so it's a given in a German-rich culinary history. I've loved capers forever. et cetera. I think I was Mexican in a previous life, so I love that tartness added to almost anything.
    I can't stand liver in any form except sometimes I really love some braunschweiger on crackers. And i"ve had liver not knowing i was eating liver and hated it, so I think I came by it honestly.
    I really love gizzards, the only other organ meat I seek out (gave up on sweetbreads a long time ago, they were okay, but not memorable). A local fast-food place makes awesome fried gizzards, and everything else they do (

    3 Replies
    1. re: EWSflash


      I can identify with the fishy-fish thing. Lots of people in my generation started with fish sticks dunked in catsup and tuna sandwiches on white bread slathered with mayo and graduated to fish and chips, then a mild broiled halibut and on to salmon and even sardines and anchovies. Too bad there wasn't a starter for cilantro. :-)

      1. re: ItalianNana

        Nana, i took to cilantro like a duck to water. And once visited a friend on the Kenai peninsula, we caught a halibut and somebody dropped a few salmons off at my friend's house for smoking, so I cut off a couple of steaks and I have never been so seriously satisfied before or since, culinarily speaking. We also ate a lot of king crab, before it had been totally fished out of the area. Man, oh man, those were the days.

        1. re: ItalianNana

          I hope that someday in cool weather you grow some cilantro of your own and find out how wonderful it is when homegrown, it's a cool weather plant, BTW

      2. Instantly loved chicken livers.

        Still won't eat fishy-fish, caviar, sauerkraut/kimchi, horseradish, bleu cheese.

        Took a while for goat cheese and cilantro, but love them both now.

        Started with white zinfandel and now love a deep cabernet.

        EDIT: NEVER sushi. It's a lot of white rice, I don't like wasabi, raw fish is a major no-go for a former colitis sufferer. Actually, I think that where sushi is concerned, the Emperor Has No Clothes.

        10 Replies
        1. re: sandylc


          Haha, started with white zin too. Now love Pinot Noir or a full bodied Cab. Don't like wasabi or seaweed and prefer my rice hot. I'm still trying with new tastes but suspect that the sushi-guru is buck naked. Maybe I'm just jealous that so many people seem to enjoy a lean, cool food.

          1. re: ItalianNana

            Yikes, forgot about that fishy salty seaWEED crap that people eat in sushi!!!! Yes, I, too, am sometimes jealous that I don't enjoy sushi; but then I just decide no one else is enjoying it, either - they're just pretending so they can be cool. My way is cheaper and more pleasant.

            1. re: sandylc

              OMG- no, no! I love seaweed in so many forms! Nori is somehing I'll eat like potato chips. I crave it, in fact.
              Loving sushi has nothing to do with being cool, for me at least, so kindly don't pigeonhole all of us, plus millions of Japanese people, as poseurs or dilettantes. I';m trying to be nice here, but frankly, my back is up, and wonder how awful your sushi experiences have been to have you drum up that snotty opinion of people that enjoy sushi.

              1. re: EWSflash

                hear hear! for me, loving sushi is about enjoying the freshness of the seafood, the artistry of the chef, not about being cool.

                1. re: EWSflash

                  My opinion is honest, not snotty. Rotten fish is not a good taste, no matter which way you package it.

                  1. re: sandylc

                    If it's rotten then it's not sushi. I've had some tired sushi and sashimi, mostly at some low-end places in Nashville, and a Japanese friend would not even go in the door: "It isn't SUSHI!" she said. Sorry you don't like it; my first trial of it was one of those experiences where you realize this is and always has been your favorite food - you just didn't know that until you finally got some.

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      My remark about rotten fish refers to seaweed.

                      1. re: sandylc

                        but just as some of us taste cilantro as soap, not all of us taste seaweed as rotten fish.

                        Some of us find the taste very agreeable, and having not even a hint of rotten fish.

                        There are also *plenty* of forms of sushi that haven't even been near a sheet of nori, particularly if you widen the definition to include sashimi.

                        Not yucking someone else's yum, etc., etc., etc.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          Not yumming someone else's yuck., etc., etc.

                2. re: sandylc

                  I don't like sushi either. I wish I did as it's both my best friend and SO's favorite thing to eat out. I've been to countless sushi places with well-meaning friends that say "well you haven't had it at THIS place". I just don't like it, no matter how good of sushi it is. I did have good sashimi once, at the aforementioned dinner at Tru that was pretty good, but that was of the highest quality and not something you find often.

            2. Are you writing a book?

              Frankly, my responses to your many questions would fill one.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bacardi1

                Not writing a book, but would happily read your "chapters." As Sinicle notes below, the reasons for loving or hating a food or dish are very complicated, often very emotional and probably frequently not consciously known to us. That is evident on threads about "poor people food you still crave" or the ones about weird things we ate and loved as kids and still consider a guilty pleasure. It's fascinating. I know that nearly all my favorite foods are cold weather things and I am much happier in the fall than the spring. Don't know why. I would love to hear more. :-)

              2. I was a very limited eater as a child. Never pressure from parents but I grew up in the fifties when my parents thought anything new and different was a plus. Now I eat almost anything and never needed to "acquire a taste." My wife worked very hard to be able to eat sashimi, which she now loves....but steak must be well done.

                Food preferences, IMO, are an extremely complex subject encompassing both genetics and multiple psychological issues. It's always interesting to listen to others' take on it, but difficult to draw any valid conclusions.

                1. There's no such thing as 'acquired taste' per se. If I don't like something why would I keep eating it and hope that, eventually, I'll like it?
                  OTOH, there were things I didn't like as a child and wouldn't eat but, tastes change and, as an adult, I've found that I do like some of the foods I once turned down.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: mucho gordo

                    Oh I do think many foods/dishes are an acquired taste. I would love to enjoy all flavors! It would make eating in all restaurants a pleasure. It would make world travel a fuller experience and eating a wide variety of healthy foods much easier. I have "learned" to like and ultimately really enjoy many things. Oh, I'm not going to expend any effort acquiring a taste for clavier or foie gras, but I work at appreciating all fruits (inc mango) and vegetables (inc beets and kale). And I really wish I shared my husband's pleasure in a medium rare lamb chop or steamed mussels.

                    Does that make sense?

                    1. re: mucho gordo

                      I've acquired tastes for some things I despised well into adulthood, as chronicled elsewhere on this thread. One taste I was conscious of acquiring in the course of a single meal was for cilantro. Our House-O-Hippies did a Mexican Night, and my girlfriend's contribution was chicken enchiladas Suizas. They included an herb I'd thought was parsley, while also wondering what that odd smell was, and then I tasted it. Ack, SOAP! But the rest of it was good, so I tried another bite. Two bites later I was hooked; it still tasted kinda like soap, but I loved it anyway. It still does, I still do.

                      1. re: mucho gordo

                        Yes there is- I hated avocados as a kid, I don't know why, until my folks were having an "adult" party once and there was some guacamole in the fridge, 1960s style, with bacon in it, and I loved the heck out of it, and have loved avocados ever since.