When I was 10 years-old or so, the sight of parsley or any other green herb embedded in my food brought on waves of nausea. Later, on the rare occasions when I saw adults eating lobster it all seemed rather grotesque and certainly inconceivable that I should taste such a nasty looking thing. When my son was eight or so, for about a year, he would only eat his pasta plain….I mean with nothing on it whatsoever; no sauce, no cheese, no oil, no butter, no salt. Most parents knows that taste evolves in childhood and there is little point in forcing the issue, other than making sure that a large variety of good foods is readily available and that junk is kept out of the house.
But does taste evolve in adulthood too? I’ve read a number of food writers over the year who’ve emphasized that eating really great food consistently, changes your taste and that you begin to find almost all commercially prepared foods unpleasant. Its been a few years that my wife and I have been gradually moving to a primarily home-cooked, organic, and high-quality ingredient diet. A few days ago I was at our large Loblaws megamarket and bought their heavily advertised “Naturally Smoked” sausages and specially designed “Hot-dog First” and “Hamburger-First” flatbread buns. The first few bites tasted O.K., but by the end of the first sausage and bun combination there was an unpleasant taste in my mouth; the sausages were way too salty and synthetic tasting, and the buns pasty and gritty. Now, I used to love this kind of stuff, and I found it strange that I could react so unpleasantly to things that I used to eat with great gusto. And I’ve found this increasingly true for just about anything prepared and packaged that I buy, even if it says “all natural” or comes from a health-food store. Packaged products just taste nasty for some reason…all of a sudden. So maybe there’s something to the idea that you can retrain your palate to distinguish good quality “real” food from the commercial junk…..either that, or its a brain tumor!