Friday, July 26, 2013

Life: Why we enjoy certain foods but not others?

For a long time, I could not understand why I like certain foods for the same reasons someone else does not like the exact same dish... and vice versa. A lot of it explained in the article I read (provided below). It does not quite explain some exceptions. I think there is also non-food psychological reasons to those.

For example, I do not like root beer. I think the reason is that the first time I had it was because I thought it was Coke or Pepsi, and it just tasted completely "wrong" that I just cannot shake that experience.

On a similar note, 粽子 (zongzi) has always been savory. The first time I had a sweet one, I literally bleh'd the food out of my mouth the instant it landed on my tongue thinking it went bad. Fortunately, no one saw me do this as I was a guest at someone's house. I politely asked my aunt what it was, and she laughingly explained that it was supposed to be sweet (common to that region). I did grudgingly eat the rest of it... but it was so difficult to do so with a straight face. A month later, my aunt found a place that served the savory version and served it to the same group. To watch the faces of everyone was exactly how I thought mine looked like when I tried their version. I haven't quite reached 10 times, so I still struggle eating the sweet version. It'll probably be a lot more since I prefer savory over sweeter foods in general.

I also have a cousin who hated vegetables when he was a kid. He had a natural regurgitation if vegetables entered his mouth. My mom had a way with kids and disciplining them (including myself). The only time he ate any vegetables without problems is when my mom was around. Once she is not around, he reverts immediately back to throwing up the food. My mom's trick was that if you didn't like it, you had another serving... and repeat until you ate it. Today, he eats practically anything and way more nutritionally than his younger version.

For me, I learned to eat mushrooms, garlic, bamboo shoots, and 木耳 (mu er, wood ear) after high school. I've had them on several, several occasions before and not exactly sure when I started not disliking them. I still remember when I did not like mushrooms. It still puzzles me how I can have two totally different experiences with the same texture and taste. That fascinates me to no end how there is so much my brain cannot comprehend about the body.


Reference:
http://io9.com/the-psychology-of-hating-food-and-how-we-learn-to-love-476720251