Serious Eats: Talk

"If I didn't eat it as a kid..."

My father-in-law readily admits that if he didn't eat something as a kid, he's not interested in it now. There are a few exceptions, like Chinese-American food and gyros. But he won't touch most other ethnic foods and has a limited number of vegetables that are on the acceptable list. He's the guy who goes to an Italian restaurant and orders a steak.

I think that's (sort of) normal. If you weren't exposed to a food as a kid, you might be suspicious of it or squeamish about trying it later. And even if you didn't try "different" foods in your home, I think that the fact that it's out there and you hear about it probably makes it easier to try when you're a little older and away from the family nest. So kids growing up today hear about tacos and sushi and curry, but those didn't exist in my world when I was a kid. And certainly not in my FILs world.

So here's the question. What foods weren't around when you were a kid - that you only tried when you were an adult - do you like now?

For me, that's Mexican, Indian, Japanese, Thai, and Cuban food. Also Creole/Cajun. Green chili, grits, mustard greens, kale, asparagus, edamame, Swiss chard, dried apricots, sun-dried tomatoes, bok choy and napa cabbage. Clams and mussels. Steel-cut oats, quinoa and couscous. Fresh salmon and tuna as opposed to the stuff out of the can. A whole lot of different cheeses. Chorizo. Jalapenos, chipotles and pretty much any other pepper hotter than a bell pepper. Cilantro, star anise, epazote, and a whole bunch of other herbs and spices I can't think of. Sashimi and any fish that's cooked rare/medium rare in the center. Ceviche, paella, risotto, gazpacho, vichyssoise. Any mushroom except white button mushrooms. Probably more I haven't thought of.

Some of those things I discovered when I was still a young adult - but some of them came along quite a bit later. And some are fairly recent discoveries.

So what about you? What foods did you first encounter as an adult that you have since accepted?

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