A blog post from Serious Eats back in December sounded awfully familiar.
Ok, we’ve all been there…had something as a child and it made us toss our cookies, pack our lunch or made our parents force us to sit at the table till we were done.
For me it was olives. Growing up in an Italian family, it was hard to escape them, but, I just couldn’t stomach them. Absolutely horrible little things stuck in potato salad, on an antipasto plate or put atop pizza.
Today, some olives (mostly lots of olives) with some wine, roasted peppers, bread and feta cheese, how can you go wrong?
The author clearly wasn’t alone — the post drew 74 comments.
Some of my very favorite indulgences used to turn my stomach. I’d conduct lengthy surgery on pizza with olives to attempt to remove any shred of the offender. I didn’t understand the appeal of red wine, particularly drinking it room temperature. I loved the smell of coffee but hated the taste.
Then my roommate had the Great Banana Revelation. She had always thought she hated bananas and avoided them at any cost. For some reason, one day when she was hungry she decided to eat one she found in the kitchen. Guess what? She liked them.
She realized she’d avoided bananas for years on the memory of not having liked them as a kid. Once she gave bananas a second chance, she changed her mind.
We agreed to retry foods we thought we didn’t like to see what else might deserve reconsideration.
First up for me was olives. I went to uber-deli Zingerman’s and told a helpful employee I felt like I should like olives — I love salty food and anything pickled — but I just hadn’t. He spent the better part of an hour giving me an impromptu lesson on olives, and I left with a container of manzanilla olives I truly liked.
I learned I didn’t hate olives. I hated those nasty, black canned olives so common on pizza and pasta salads.
Do you think you might like olives if you tried something different? Here’s a Guide to Good Olives from one of the founders of Zingerman’s.
Dating John, a former Starbucks barista, made it easier to make friends with coffee. He taught me about vanilla lattes, which were my gateway drug, before helping me try different roasts and different origins of brewed coffee.
Today I know I like South American coffee, like Guatemalan, better than coffee grown in Africa, like Kenyan or Ethiopian. I also know a lot of people make their coffee too weak for me and don’t clean their coffee pots very well, which can let coffee oils go rancid, so the coffee I’d not liked before, I might not like today.
Red wine came after a lengthy visit to a small winery in northern California, when John and I were the only two people in the tiny tasting room and a very patient expert poured me accessible wines and talked to me about the way to describe what I liked and what I didn’t.
I vividly remember him pouring me a taste and telling me to think of green peppers. Yes, yes, I did taste green peppers!
What are the common themes here?
- A willingness to give something another try
- Don’t overgeneralize dislikes — hating bad canned olives is not the same as hating all olives
- The benefit of learning from someone who knows enough to help a beginner
Seems to me there’s a broader implication: what things in life do I think I don’t like, but maybe I would if I tried again?
I thought I wouldn’t like Jazz Fest and I was wrong. Might I like getting up early to work out if I tried it?
Have you given something a second chance and discovered you not only didn’t hate it, you liked it?