Can You Learn to Love the Foods You Used to Hate?

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I had a discussion a while back that opened my eyes. After I confessed to a friend about my general dislike of mayonnaise (I know, I know), he told me that he had the same feeling. However, he’d managed to condition himself into liking the stuff. His rationale was that as a food lover, he couldn't accept just not liking a food that’s loved by so many. Do you push your taste buds in order to like new foods?

I first applied this practice of reconditioning my tastes with some foods I disliked as a child, and since I was deemed a picky eater early on, I had many foods to choose from. I remember when I first rediscovered mustard and pickles, and when I realized just how amazing a pan-seared salmon filet can taste. 

Most recently, I tried my first deviled egg. I had managed to avoid deviled eggs for 20 plus years without actually tasting one (note my former mayo and mustard preferences)! And you know what? Delicious! 

Each of these food experiences started with a little voice in the back of my mind saying “no” and an expectation of a wacky taste — you know, that feeling you get when you think you're about to taste the most offending item in existence.  And then...it all became strangely anti-climactic. I opened up to the creamy, tangy flavors and couldn't wait to have more.

Now, I can’t say this method worked for everything (tequila, you old foe), but I agree it’s worth a shot to revisit foods again and again. 

Do you push your taste buds and try to like new foods? Or are there some foods you know you'll just never enjoy?

(Images: Flickr user CarbonNYC licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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