Learn to Like it

It’s not that you don’t like it; it’s that you don’t it the way it was prepared.

I worked with a chef that said this quite often, mostly to the wait staff. I’m not saying that the kitchen staff was well versed in some of the dishes that were concocted there, but those of us that weren’t, knew enough to give the dish an honest taste before making any judgment. I will admit I was not fond of fish before working there. Yes, I grew up in northern Minnesota and still preferred my walleye fried crispy with a 2:1 ratio of tartar sauce to fish for every bite. Tuna hotdish was an exception, I made that almost every Friday during lent. As a whole, fish was never on my menu…ever. Turns out, I just never found a variety and preparation method that I liked.

I have always had a bit of a “cart before the horse” method as my brother has put it. I do just enough research to get started, bring home whatever “parts” I may need and then start assembling; a lot of times learning as I go. I did this with the bakery I opened years ago. I had an idea, rented a space, and maxed out a credit card buying ovens, mixers, ingredients and so on. Then I picked my favorite cookbooks and started to bake. I learned along the way what not to do; buying on a credit card was one and not knowing the business partner’s credit history was another big one. That turned out ok, she didn’t make it very long. On the farm I ordered the chickens before the coop was built and had a cow coming before the fence was in, just to name a couple more.

So why wouldn’t the same thing be true for food? Learn the name, take a bite and then decide whether or not to take another. I learned to be rather cautious about trying food blindly and it was my own doing. The reply I had when asked “is this still good?” or “what is this?” was “let me try it.”

Seriously.

“This smells a little funky…” “Well, let me try it.”

It was 50/50 if whatever it was I just ate was still ok to eat and yet when it came to safely prepared fresh food I wasn’t sure I wanted to even give it a chance. Makes no sense, I know.

It wasn’t until I heard the chef say that it was a matter of preparation and not food in question that I started to dive into new tastes just as I did with everything else in life. In looking back, I can’t think of a single thing that I have tasted and really not liked. Shellfish being the exception here. I have given up trying shellfish, I have had so many different varieties prepared a wide variety of ways and I just don’t care for it. Which brings me to “You’ll learn to like it”.

This is something I really do believe. It can take trying something 15 different times for your tastes to change and for you to learn to like something. Apparently I have not tried shrimp scampi 15 times, close enough together to acquire a taste. As we are raising little ones, this thought needs to be remember; no matter how tough it may be. The little boy asked for pancakes every day this week, last week he cleaned his plate, this week “no, I don’t like them.”

There are a few replies I have for this: “Yes, you do.”, “You’ll learn to like it then.” and out of complete frustration “That’s too bad.” I’m not sure why people don’t take learning to try and like new foods as seriously as they do potty training their child (our newest phase). It’s so important for children to eat healthy foods and yet so many are given junk at the first refusal of vegetables. We aren’t to the “clean your plate” rule yet, right now we are at the “so many bites” rule. The only reason I cook a separate meal for the kids is if I make something extra spicy, otherwise, they are expected to eat the same thing we do. Don’t like it? Go hungry. I have made a healthy home cooked meal, you can’t be healthy eating goldfish and m&m’s (which I am quite positive our little one would give it an honest try though). It doesn’t take long for them to realize what’s be made is what’s to eat for this meal.

Learning to like a variety of different dishes keeps meals exciting. Yes, you can eat mashed potatoes, gravy and a roast everyday. It’s good but can get quite boring. There’s a million ways to prepare potatoes, why limit yourself to one taste and texture?! It really is a learning curve. Most people aren’t going to wake one day and say “I’ve been eating mozzarella all my life, it’s time for limburger!” That is one stinky cheese, and can be quite delicious but takes some working up to. I’ve found the same to be true with wine, (start with a really sweet one and work from there) and so many more foods.

If you are willing to try (repeatedly) with an open mind, you will be amazed to see all you were missing out on.

*Note- The only taste that I don’t think anyone could learn to like it toothpaste and orange juice. Pretty sure that’s not possible.

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