Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Changing Tastes

Sunday night I bit the bullet and washed an armload of turnip greens and roots -- well, I had help, as Kate decided she wanted to assist in the endeavor. It took me, no joke, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. to get the turnips washed, stemmed, in the pot and cooked -- along with the peas and rice and cured ham that went with it. I did NOT fix cornbread. The labor in the turnips alone was sufficient to say, "I love you!" to my family.

Kate, of course, took one look at the heap of turnips on her plate and scowled. "I don't LIKE turnip greens, Mommy!"

It took me back: how many times had my own mother washed and cooked fresh-out-of-the-garden greens for me? And how many times had I thanked her by saying, "I don't LIKE turnip greens, Mama!"

I was an avowed greens hater until I came home from college for Thanksgiving and I tried some after years of barely tasting the stuff. They were, gasp, good. Had I been missing something all these years?

Hmmmm ... nope. I don't think so. At the same time I avoided anything green and leafy, I had a few other preferences: milk chocolate over dark; big white-columned houses over the cozier "English cottage" variety; trendy clothes over the classics; Louis XVI over Shaker; cozy mysteries over thrillers; Coca-Cola over tea.

I think that our tastes evolve, just like life. Our tongue becomes more tolerant of the more complex, less straightforwardly sweet tastes as we grow older. Why is that?

Scientists say that babies come into the world with a prediliction for all things sweet, so they can find their mother's milk and survive. That may be true. But I have another, more poetic, theory.

I think as we grow up, life reveals more of its own complexities. We grow and change ... and our tastes reflect that.

What sort of things did you like when you were younger that you can't abide now? (An example -- I adored Juicy Fruit gum when I was little, but now even its sweet smell makes my stomach roil.) What sort of things did you not like as a kid that you like now?


Tawna Fenske said...

I hear you on the evolution of tastes!

I hated asparagus and avocado as a kid, now I can't get enough of either.

On the other hand, I used to love loading my tea up with ungodly amounts of sugar. Now I can barely stand any sweetener at all.


Cynthia Reese said...

Tawna, my dh HATED asparagus when we first got married -- now he loves the stuff, and doesn't consider it Easter unless we have it. (We have it at other times of the year, of course, but at Easter it's de rigeur, or however you spell it!)