Maturity and Changing Taste Buds

Monday, October 16, 2006

Openface Bacon Avocado TomatoNothing like a birthday to realize something you’ve been wrong about all these years. Sigh.

For 32 years I’ve been a proud and outloud tomato hater. Oooo, especially raw ones- my goodness!

So, what’s happening here?

As Sweets and I were traveling in Japan, we were also taking in Anthony Bourdain’s essays on eating in, the Nasty Bits. One point we couldn’t agree more on was our horror over travelers who refuse to partake in an offered food item by a host. Whether you may be a vegetarian or a staunch no mustard sort of person- we saw the refusal of food as a guest as very rude. Feeling so righteous in our absolutism we then found ourselves bit by bit being faced with these same opportunities to expand our own food comfort.

Sweets really got ambitious without making much fuss over it. First with an offering of homemade pickles at Chiiori (Sweets doesn’t do pickle- no way Jose). Then he took to ordering a beef tendon specialty in Osaka. Amazed and proud I almost lost my cool in a fit of giggles when he strongly considered a skewer of chicken cartilage.

Openface Bacon Avocado TomatoAnd then my turn unexpectedly arrived in the sushi bar Nobu in Hiroshima. Sitting at the swank glowing counter, we ordered adventurously including silly sounding creations like Mexican Sushi. What arrived with this order was a plate of sliced sushi roll piled high with glistening tomatoes specked with garlic. Sweets caught my sharp intake of breath as our conversation with the sushi chef halted to take in the food offering of she-who-musn’t-be-eaten: raw tomatoes! It came down to a sliver of a second long thought process: sushi chef = good sushi, therefore trust in sushi chef is high, therefore just try em. Plus, Sweets wouldn’t let me live it down if I didn’t.

I had to eat crow? they were good, especially so with the garlic. Like juicy spaghetti sauce in my mouth. It was earth shattering

- though something I left to Japan.

Until my coworker John gave me two of his heirloom tomatoes from his garden, like he was calling my bluff. Trusting his taste buds, I couldn’t back down from his challenge to try these out state-side. A slice of soft ciabatta spread with mayonnaise, topped with avocado and tomato sprinkled with bacon and salt? its sweet and salty and savory, like summer.

In all this food enlightenment, we’ve never been disappointed. I can’t help but wonder what will I relearn next?


posted October 16th, 2006 at 7:36 am

I’m not a fan of tomatoes. Ketchup, sure, but things that taste like raw tomatoes, nah.

- tedder
posted October 16th, 2006 at 10:32 am

Growing up, there was one rule at the table (well, besides no books, no feeding the animals ? ) hmmm, make that one of the MANY rules at the table was \”you don\’t have to like it but you do have to try it\”. Now that you\’ve had so many successes with new things you knew you\’d hate, it\’d be the trick? Fun story ? not always easy to admit these things!

  • We had that in my family too. We called it the \”No thank you portion\”. It remains with me to this day?
- Alanna
posted October 17th, 2006 at 12:21 am

Very fun story and it reminds me of being a guest at a wedding banquet in Hong Kong. In fact at just about any special dinner in Hong Kong or China, as a foreigner, you will be served first. Often you have no idea what you’ve been served or even how to eat it! Like Shark’s fin soup..everyone is watching you too. It can be quite mystifying. Back at the wedding banquet, you never know how many courses are going to be served either. Here’s a tip. When they bring out the Navel oranges, it’s over. Course, you might be speeding to the hospital by then from over-eating mysterious foods?

- ParisBreakfasts
posted October 17th, 2006 at 2:42 pm

Yay for you!
However? ain’t no way you’re gonna get /me/ to rethink them. *shudders at the thought*

- Meredith
posted October 17th, 2006 at 4:50 pm

Without this rule, I would have never tried rabbit, BBQ bull’s balls, eel, tapioca, and taro cooked in coconut milk.
Eel is one of my favoured foods now. I get weird mad cravings for taro in coconut milk. Tapicoa = heaven to me in all forms. Rabbit? No thank you portion please.
Bull’s testicles: slightly salty (without having been salted) and chewy.. not bad, but no.

- Coral
posted October 19th, 2006 at 12:26 pm

Good for you, honey. Happy birthday to you!

- Tana
posted October 21st, 2006 at 5:56 pm

I’ve always been a fan of continually re-trying foods as I age. It is the reason I discovered 6 years ago that I actually love mushrooms.

Kudos to you for following Anthony’s advice.

- Suzanne
posted October 23rd, 2006 at 8:17 pm

I’m theoretically open to re-trying foods, but I often find that of the things I disliked as a kid, I am indifferent to them now, at best. Mushrooms are a perfect example.

Which just leave more fungus for McAuliflower

- Sweets
posted November 3rd, 2006 at 6:43 am

(I LOVE your “spam protection” device. So much better than typing all those random letters?)

Kudos to you for tackling something you dont care for. Inspiring.

I once read that tomatoes are the number one food North American children dislike, based soley on the texture. The article blamed mealy out-of-season tomatoes for most of the dislike?so really, it seems to me, you just have to be choosy and they are palatable! Must easier than changing your mind about pickles?

Again, bravo!


- Rachael
posted November 5th, 2006 at 8:50 am

I was never a big fan of tomatoes, I didn’t hate or fear them, I just never saw the point. Flavorless and mushy, who cares? But I do like a good red sauce, so?

About three years ago I started growing my own, even though I had always dismissed the folks that claimed homegrow were better.

I was wrong.

It was strange to find that I loved a food that I always thought I hated, that I just never had a proper sample. This led the way for me to try more new things, after all, who knows what else I’ve been wrong about?

But I’m still not eating brains?

  • Arrrrggg? brains?
    Whoops, I must still be in zombie mode.

    Wonderful comment Mark, thanks.


- Mark
posted September 8th, 2007 at 3:09 pm

[...] finally did it. I bought my very first tomato. These ones called out to me with their beautiful yellow stripes. They looked as though plucked [...]

posted August 27th, 2008 at 7:54 pm

[...] formerly tomato-hating jam eater is finding herself in an odd situation. I’m finding myself on the obsessive end of [...]

posted August 22nd, 2009 at 1:29 pm

[...] year of eating tomatoes (only three years now), I seem to learn something new about [...]

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