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Have you ever trained/tricked yourself into liking a food you hated at first?

I've done this a few times just to see if I could. I used to gag at the sight of ranch dressing all throughout my childhood but when I was in college I just forced myself to eat it on stuff and told myself that it was good...and surprisingly it worked!

Right now I'm working on liver, lamb and stinky cheeses. I know a lot of people really love these things and I really want to see what all the hype is about. I hate the feeling that I might be missing out on something because my palette hasn't developed enough.

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  1. actually, I'm more the opposite: i used to be able to do calves brains, raw mushrooms, and various other things. Now, I have that physical reaction (just use your imagination here..) When I was a kid, I just basically ate whatever my folks told me to try!

    2 Replies
    1. re: rmarisco

      Whoa, calves brains?! You were an adventurous kid. My parents could barely get me to eat anything with green onions in it lol.

      1. re: rmarisco

        I'm the same way with beef tongue. One of my favorite meals
        as a kid and now I just handle it.

      2. i've tried forcing myself into liking sushi, but i think it's more of a sensory issue than a taste thing. it's never taken. i never used to like mashed potatoes but forced myself to give it a shot when i began cooking for kids (and didn't always have the energy to make two different dinners) - not as bad as i thought it'd be!

        1. Because I didn't grow up eating avocado and cilantro, when I was first introduced to them, I couldn't stand them. Texture and smell really bothered me. Then someone introduced me to bahn mi, and immediately fell in love with the flavor cilantro imparted. Been a fan ever since. I forget how I got to like avocado, but I really love it now.

          1. I learned to like dishes w/ cumin. I used to hate it, though it smelled like BO (which it still kind of does), but now I enjoy the smokey flavor you end up with.

            Alas, I have tried multiple times to like sushi also. Just can't do it, definitely a sensory thing though, nothing to do w/ the taste (a lot of it tastes good!).

            6 Replies
            1. re: juliejulez

              I agree about cumin smelling a bit like BO! I could never put my finger on what it smelled like until you said that.

              1. re: hauckpdx

                Then I guess I won't tell you what okra reminds me of.

              2. re: juliejulez

                LOL! The BO thing. I remember walking into a Falafel place thinking that the guys behind the counter had really bad BO. Years later I realized it was the cumin!

                1. re: salsailsa

                  Wow, is that what it is? At home I never associated the two but I always get the blast in restaurants which likely are using a lot of cumin.

                2. re: juliejulez

                  I love cumin! The first time I smelled it, I had bought some for a recipe and was amazed at the wonderful odor. I still think it's probably my favorite spice.

                  1. re: kitchengardengal

                    I love it as well, which is why I never associated it with that BO smell. It's great on so many things.

                3. I used to dislike tarragon and cilantro, and now I love them. I started liking cilantro in my mid20s.

                  With lamb, if you find the flavour too strong, try local lamb, instead of the imported stuff. I've found my local Cdn lamb has a milder, sweeter flavour than the NZ or Australian lamb that is sold where I live.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: prima

                    Thanks for that tip on lamb. I'll definitely give the local variety a try, I think I have been buying the NZ kind so far.

                    1. re: hauckpdx

                      the trouble with most american lamb now is it's corn/soy fed, just like cafo beef cattle. yes, it gives a milder flavor but utterly corrupts the nutritional profile of a very healthy meat.

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        Agreed. LOVE the strong gamey taste of lamb, and even better, mutton. But good luck finding that in US markets. Not impossible, but not easy.

                        1. re: ratgirlagogo

                          we just had sow-roasted lamb for dinner and once again am reminded it's my favorite red meat.

                  2. I don't know if these count, but I've trained myself to stop putting heaps of sugar and cream in my coffee and now I drink it black. I also "learned" to like Skim Milk. Now, whole milk tastes like I'm drinking cream.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: mwk

                      I am trying that now. I moved from sugar to Splenda and now no granulated sweetener but I use a sugar free creamer. I would like to move to ff milk then black but I'm finding it difficult.

                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                        Try black coffee iced. I was always a cream-and-sugar coffee drinker, but noticed I liked the sweetness less when the drink was iced. I cut back, then went to black on the iced and found I love it. I take most of my coffee black and iced now, with an occasional cream-and-sugar hot instead of dessert.

                        1. re: Jerseygirl111

                          oh, dear. maybe if you thought long and hard about what's in that "creamer"?

                          here's a sample:

                          INGREDIENTS: Water, Corn Syrup Solids, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, and/or Cottonseed Oil, (Adds a Trivial Amount of Fat), and Less Than 2% of Sugar, Modified Cornstarch, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Caseinate, (Milk Derivative), Not a Source of Lactose Color Added, Artificial Flavor, Mono And Diglycerides, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Carrageenan, Salt, Betacarotene. Color.

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            When I was in junior high and high school, there were a bunch of girls (I don't mean a clique - just that many girls did it) who ate coffeemate straight out of the jar with a plastic spoon. It tastes a lot like a Mars bar, truthfully - corn syrup solids. It's a bargain really if you're into junk candy - much cheaper than the candy bars.

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              Yeah...no matter. I know it's bad which is why I am working my way off but it's slow going.

                              I will try the iced coffee suggestion though, thank you.

                        2. more like shamed. growing up, i never tasted any seafood, which my father hated and my mother never served.

                          so, at age 19, i find myself in charleston, staying with a college friend for a classmate's wedding. for dinner the main course, in honor of their yankee guest (me)? shrimp gumbo. i took a deep breath, bit into a shrimp and kicked myself for not having taken my mother up on her repeated offers to taste the seafood meals she ordered when we wnet out.

                          years later, my father found himself in a similar situation. my mother said he took a bite to be polite, but no conversion. of course, this was the man who, after eating my mother's "spice cake" for decades, never took another bite when he found out it was really pumpkin bread.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: wonderwoman

                            Lol, my mom is stubborn like your father. Once I gave her a piece of Thai style pizza (chicken + cilantro with peanut sauce instead of tomato) and she said it was good until I told her it was Thai, than she didn't want it anymore -_-.

                          2. Yes! Olives. I tried them for the first time as a teenager in Spain and I thought they looked so glamorous and grown up and I forced myself to eat them. I adore them now.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: helen_m

                              despite numerous efforts, olives are something i've never liked. now olive oil, that's another story:)

                              1. re: helen_m

                                I have tried the same thing with red wine after my own trip to Spain! It hasn't taken yet though lol.

                                1. re: helen_m

                                  I've loved olives since I was a kid -my cousin and I used
                                  the fight over the black variety but I liked the green ones,
                                  too, as soon as I tried them. Then my husband got me
                                  drinking martinis by feeding me olives out of his drinks
                                  til I cultivated a taste for gin.

                                2. I got tired of trying to decide whether to use no fat "cream" half and half or regular half and half. So I decided to learn to drink my coffee black. And that's what I do almost every time now.

                                  1. I used to *hate* capsicums when I was a kid. I "forced" myself to eat whole raw capsicums in college as a snack. Now I actually liked them: raw, baked, stewed, stir-fried, whatever.

                                    1. I think it helps if you make something you hate yourself. I used to hate hate potato salad and then one day I wanted to make it myself and when I saw what was put Into it I lost the gag reflex and really enjoyed it. Ranch is delicious when made at home but the commercial stuff is quite repulsive...

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Gloriaa

                                        That's how I went with beets. Never thought I'd eat the repulsive things until I made pickled beets as a gift for my mother for Christmas.
                                        Oysters I just forced on myself. Waited til I was at the coast. Started with them cooked 4-5 ways at Winchells Oyster House.... then stepped up to the oyster bar, told the shucker I've never had a live oyster before and asked him for his help. Best idea ever. If you don't know how to eat it... ask for help.

                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                          !8 ish at Angelo's Houston all you can eat raw oysters, Rockefeller, boiled shrimp, fried shrimp and chicken, real quality, not your crappy AYCE stuff. After 5 or 6 raw ones I was hooked, 40 or 50 more I was addicted. The Rockefeller were maybe better, but could only put down a dozen or so.

                                        2. re: Gloriaa

                                          I've actually found the opposite to be helpful - that when I'm at someone's home and they serve foods I dislike and am trying to get a taste for, that I use my feelings of "how to be polite in someone's home" to shame me into eating it.

                                          For the past few years, I've really wanted to get over my dislike of black pepper (not a spice thing, and I have no problem with white pepper.....but black pepper - uch). So basically I never mention my black pepper issues, and friends who know - I ask them not to modify their recipes or seasoning for me - in the hopes that if I keep eating it when I'm out, I'll finally get a taste for it.

                                        3. Isn't this called growing up or maturing?

                                          When I not only had to cook, but purchase my own meals, it was amazing how quickly I embraced vegetables. And rice and pasta got a much bigger portion of the plate.

                                          One skillet was reserved for frying rutabagas, turnips, carrots, potatoes, parsnips and sweet potatoes. Either as chips or fries. Never washed, we just added oil.

                                          And I am always ready to try something new. As long as it doesn't involve beets.

                                          1. ranch dressing has no redeeming nutritional purpose, so i don't need to learn to like it. it just blobs on top of stuff i actually like, lol.

                                            i can't think of anything like this because my mother had a pretty limited repertoire of veggies and seafood when i was growing up. for whatever reason, i always wanted to try new stuff once i left home. my menu and diet are sufficiently varied that i don't feel compelled to eat stuff i don't like.

                                            on the flip side, i made myself stop drinking diet soda and now the stuff smells like poison.

                                            1. Some of my tastes have changed since childhood. I can't say I trained or tricked myself, just tried things occasionally over time until one day I suddenly liked them.

                                              As a child, I hated seafood, olives, and spicy food. Now, I love all of them. I remember the day a server walked past me with a plate of sizzling shrimp scampi. It smelled so wonderful, I had to try it. That led to me loving shrimp and shellfish.

                                              The first olive I enjoyed was in a beautiful Greek salad. That salad was such a perfect blend of color and flavor that I knew I had to taste the olive component. Now I love olives.

                                              1. For the cheese enjoyment "project" i would recommend going to a proper cheese shop at a not busy time and tell them the kinds of cheese you like now and are there more aged/stronger/pungent varieties of those. Cheese guys are always enthusiastic in my experience and generous with tasting samples.

                                                1. Chili and barbequed ribs. I never cared for them, and realized some years after I left home that my least favorite sister made those when it was her turn to cook dinner. Just a mental block I learned to get over once I figured that out.

                                                  1. Yes. I think many times, but the one which comes to my mind now is: okra.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                      I don't get the lack of love for okra. What do people dislike about it?

                                                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                        I can only speak for myself. Okra is very different from other vegetables. That sticky and gummy feel is just very different.

                                                        I was surprised by its texture the first time I tried it, so that may be the reason why I disliked it. In addition, my mom who prepared the okra was new to it, so she wasn't an expert and probably did not do a great job.

                                                        That was high school, and I did not have okra for 10+ years until I was postdocing in Georgia. I decided to order a dish of fried okra at Cracker Barrel. I decided that I was in the South and I should have some okra, and I liked it a lot.

                                                        Since then I made okra for myself, and liked it. I had it for gumbo in restaurants, and I liked it. I had them for Indian style okra, and also liked it.

                                                        In short, I dislike okra during the first time I tired it. Then I didn't have it for 10+ years, and I have like it since my second trial.

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                          I love soup, nearly all soup but have never tried traditional gumbo because it has okra in it. I can't even say that I've ever had okra but I think just it's association with sticky and gummy has made me stray far away from gumbo. Perhaps, I should give it a try.

                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                            <Perhaps, I should give it a try.>

                                                            I would say to give it 2 tries. :P

                                                            Just because it sometime takes me 2-3 times of exposure to appreciate something. The first time I tried Southern BBQ, I did not hate it, but I absolutely do not understand why people like it so much. It must have taken me 5-6 times before I somehow magically starting to love it. :D

                                                            Oh yes, I also wasn't wooed by Chinese Szechuan food the first time I tried it. In fact, I dislike it.

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                              This so true and a rule that I recently instituted for myself. I always try something twice before I make a decision about it. 90% of the time I end up loving it and it's only the rare 10% that I really and truly do not like it but at least I gave it another chance. My mother always said this rule should be followed for bad first dates as well :)

                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                <My mother always said this rule should be followed for bad first dates as well :)>

                                                                I don't follow up with bad (painful) first dates, but I do follow up with mediocre dates (like no attraction or no chemistry).


                                                    2. Yes, Mac and cheese and my mom's beef stroganoff. My family always ate Mac and cheese when I was a kid and I could not eat it. Now I can if I have to, I don't enjoy it but I will stomach through it. And my mom's beef stroganoff has actually become something that I enjoy now.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Redstickchef

                                                        Wow, I could not imagine life without mac and cheese :)

                                                      2. Used to hate goat cheese, lamb, and mussels. Just kept randomly trying them once in a while in various preparations and now Love all three.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Nf98103

                                                          I too used to hate goat cheese until I was introduced to a goat gouda cheese which has been a gateway to other goat cheeses that I enjoy. I still can't do full-on goat but I definitely do not avoid it like I used to.