HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Have your tastes changed over time ?

I'm not that into spicy food any more.I used to love it. Now it just burns and I can't taste the food.Sweets are on the decline.I still like salty.Have your tastes for sweet,sour,salty,or spicy foods changed over time ?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've learned what I do and do not like as I've gotten older. I realized a few years ago that I don't like soy sauce. I don't mind cooking with it, as long as I can't taste it.
    I like spicy tastes, but it really burns my mouth now, so I go for mild on the heat.
    Salty used to be my least favorite flavor, but I'm liking a bit of salt with sweet now.

    1. Yes, absolutely! Time has brought knowledge in all thing but especially food and wine.

      1. Every once in a while I get re-acquainted with something I loved years ago and that taste is almost always a letdown. I'm sure it has something to do with romanticizing the past and having unrealistic expectations but I also fear that my senses are dulling or something.

        I wrote a post a few years ago that an iced cold domestic beer used to taste good to me when I was younger and now it tastes sort of soapy.. "off", less bright, less refreshing.

        I know it's just stupid yankee beer, and it's not exactly supposed to taste great, but it couldn't have changed that much. I must have changed.

        1. I've suffered a permanent loss of much of my tasting ability - a persistent, chronic vasomotor rhinitis that led to years of frequent nose-blowing. I recently read that this will remove the top layer of olfactory sensors … and that they don't grow back. By the time I read that it had already happened. Of course I still enjoy food, and can taste a lot of the flavors I love, but with most of the more delicate aroma sensors gone I've lost much of the finer edge I used to have. In other words, if I had any dreams of becoming a sommelier, I'd need to forget them …

          There are upsides. My lifelong dislike of sweet custard has ended; the sensors that equated the combination of cooked egg and sugar with burnt hair are no longer on the job. I think I could even enjoy some of that bread pudding with which my mom repeatedly tortured me almost 70 years ago (because, as a mother of small children, she was allowed unlimited ration stamps for milk, bread, eggs and sugar). However, I'm afraid durian is still off the menu; my sense of smell isn't THAT bad!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Will Owen

            That's very interesting. I also have horrible sinuses and constant nose blowing. I also have lost much of my sense of smell. I didn't relate them.

            I just always thought I was vaguely schizophrenic... ; >


          2. My sweet tooth seems to have vanished nearly entirely. Desserts other cheese and fruit hold zero appeal these days. I should probably be happy about it, really.

            With spicy foods, if I am not eating them regularly, my tolerance for the heat diminishes quite rapidly - I go in cycles of higher heat-tolerance when I am cooking more spicy dishes.

            1. The older I get, the more things I like. Food that used to literally make me gag is great. I think our taste buds dull with age and so things that were especially pungent are less so.

              1. As a child, butter and onions made me gag. I cannot imagine living without them now. They both go into virtually everything I make.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mtlcowgirl

                  Those are two I have definitely added over time but I was probably 11-12 when I started liking them.

                2. I still like spicy but I find that I am less enamored by cheese. I eat cheese but in smaller quantities and less frequently than in years gone by.

                  1. I've never liked sugar and sweet things but now I find I have become extremely taste-sensitive and everything tastes too sweet to me. Ditto with salt (which I like) - I've avoided it for so long (I retain water like a sponge) that now everything tastes super-salty. Makes it hard to eat in restaurants.

                    Specific foods - used to hate cilantro, now I love it. I became sensitive to garlic (a basic food group, IMHO) a number of years ago. For a long time, even the smell of it made me gag. I still avoid it. Used to like red meat. Don't enjoy it anymore. Used to hate chutney. Now I love it.

                    I've always like hot/spicy but even more so now. Once I stopped eating food with garlic, which is an overpowering flavor, I began to appreciate other flavors much, much more.

                    When I stop loving pizza and cheesecake, start digging my grave.

                    1. I have never been a big fan of sweets, but my tastes for savory have definitely changed. When I was younger, fast food and what I consider "junk" by my definition was all I wanted. I would eat the other stuff but not necessarily by choice. It has occurred to me in the past few years that my tastes have really changed. When given the choice I will chose a lovely plate of grilled chicken or a home cooked meal including even steamed broccoli over many other things and often crave foods that I never have before. I love the way I eat now and can't believe what I used find appetizing is usually always a disappointment to me now. I'm also much more adventurous with food and as a result have discovered more foods ingredients than I can count that I absolutely love now.

                      1. Absolutely!

                        As a kid I enjoyed orange and grape soda. I couldn't imagine what it would take to get me to let that down my gullet again. I also was fine with coconut as a kid. I don't remember being especially fond of it but I was open enough to it and now if it's an ingredient in anything but a curry I'll pass on that food. I wouldn't eat foods with bell peppers. I found them too spicy. Now I can't imagine cooking without them and have moved on to jalapeños (provided the seeds and ribs are removed). I also loathed eggplant and salmon well into my college years. Now they are both pleasures I seek out.

                        As we age we become exposed to so much more and come to appreciate and respond to new things. But those are specific reversals of my tastes.

                        1. My tastes have definitely changed. Some of it has been due to exposure to new things. Some to over exposure. I think I have gotten much pickier over the years. If something isn't really good tasting I will pass, and get something else. I won't eat mediocre food anymore.

                          I've never liked salty foods and I still feel the same way. The biggest problem I have in restaurants is food that is too salty.

                          Back in 2003/04 I worked as assistant on a dairy farm making grass fed raw milk cheese and baking brick oven bread. I used to go crazy for cheese, but by the time I left that farm (due to injury) I had enough cheese for life. I now only get cheese every now and then, and it's extra sharp cheddar, or Pecorino Romano for grating.

                          In 2007-09 I was partners in a winery and we built a brewery. I drank so much beer that I hardly drink any now. I just don't enjoy it as much as I did during the 90's when I was a total beer geek.

                          While I still like spicy food, it doesn't like me anymore. My stomach can't always handle it. When I helped judge a hot sauce competition a few months ago by the time it was hour six and sauce number 97 I thought I was dying. Ten years ago I would have loved it. Although I do like spicy heat in small amounts.

                          1. Sure. It's only very recently (within the past year or so) that I've understood what people mean when they say things like "if you can taste the saffron you're using too much". I don't think that's quite literally true but I'm getting better at picking up background notes and understanding how they're important even if you don't notice them.

                            1. Yes. When I was a kid, I used to LOVE super sweet things (think milk chocolate, coffee with 2-3 sugars, etc), and as rainy said, full sugar orange soda, etc. Those are too sweet for me now. I actually like bitter, very dark chocolate, and seek it out.

                              I go through phases in which I really crave spice....I like jalapenos and the occasional poblano, but can't tolerate bell peppers. Go figure.

                              1. I have a three bite rule, no matter what, if something is served to me, I have to take three bites, even if I'm positive I don't care for it.. This has made me love country pate. Especially if you are in Italy and it's some grandmother's recipe. hahahha

                                I also didn't care for guacamole and now I love it!!! The only thing that has changed for me is I like less sugar, but this was self inflicted, had to cut back!

                                1. Well, I'm now some years over 60, so it would be very odd if my tastes hadnt changed since I was a young man.

                                  Over the years, I've been exposed to different food through travel; there's a greater range of food in the supermarkets to try; there's a greater range of restaurants to eat in, etc.

                                  I've never had a big sweet tooth - I put it down to my very early years being while we still had food rationing after the World War and sugar was the last thing to come off ration. And, if I go back to my 20s, although there was much spice in the some of the foods, there wasnt heat. That's certainly been a change for the better.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Harters

                                    Harters, as one who is fast approaching 60, I understand your post.

                                    I feel that my taste hasn't changed over time, as opposed to expanded with my travels.

                                    That said, as I child I hated Mexican food (I first traveled to Mexico as age 7), ketchup, tomato juice, fesh tomnatoes, mayonaise, relish and most fish.

                                    I still don't like them, BUT every year or so, I try them again to see if I have changed my taste/opinion.

                                    I never liked the 'white' cheeses/dairy product: sour cream, yogurt, cream cheese, cottage cheese and still don't. BUT now I do eat cooked/baked items that contain these ingredients. Still can't stand them raw or on their own.

                                    I was always told that one's taste gets more sophisticated as one grows older. I feel that is a myth. If children are exposed to the 'exotic' at a young age they may have the taste for it then. Our 16 year old has eaten olives and onions and pickles since the age of 7 months. Our 25 year old ate like a 5 year old until she worked on a small cruise ship and was forced to eat the crew meals that were set out each day. All of a sudden her horizons have expanded and she eats all the meals she rejected growing up. If her mother had not caved in and cooked separate meals for this daughter, I think she would have had a broader appreciating of food.

                                    As too sweet and spice. I never had a sweet tooth, preferring savory and not caring for chocolate. I like spice, but not heat and that hasn't changed over time.