Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Seventeen Tries & Tomatoes

According to Antony Worrell Thompson, you have to eat something 17 times before your tastebuds adjust to a new taste. Or at least take 17 bites. I don’t suppose you actually have to swallow the food if you don’t want to, although choosing not to might prove somewhat embarrassing at a posh dinner party. Or even a not-so-posh one for that matter.

I think that's quite an interesting titbit and one I shall remember next time I taste something and decide I don’t particularly like it. Notice that I didn’t say really found it foul though, because if that’s the case then I’m not going to put myself through taste hell seventeen times just to see whether I eventually become accustomed to it. No way. There's a big difference between unpleasant and disgusting.

Seriously though, it’s really worth remembering when you’re teaching children to accept new foods as it’s obvious that persistence is key if they’re actually going to accept a taste that they don’t find particularly appealing to start with. I have to admit that I gave up long before I’d made seventeen attempts, going back to things now and then and trying again, but as only one of my three children is willing to give most things a try, I do feel a bit “if only I’d known that then”-ish.

I used to be very picky myself - probably because my mum was never really interested in cooking so tended to serve the same things over and over - but I’ve improved as I’ve got older. I want to improve even further though. I want to broaden my food horizons and discover the joys of everything nature has to offer our palettes.

The one thing I’ve always refused point blank to even consider tasting though is a tomato. I’ve always hated them. Really despised them. Not the taste or the texture - I wouldn’t know what they’re like - but just the thought of them would make me feel ill (all in the mind, of course). I’ve decided it’s time to overcome that now, or at least try. I shall buy a tomato next time I shop, and will try a tiny piece. It won’t be easy, I know that, but I’m gonna try. And I’m gonna try seventeen times! After all, there must be something I’m missing because everybody else seems to love ‘em!

Sharon J


Other posts that may be of interest:

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Catz said...

Good luck with the tomatoes Sharon! You never know it could work, I never used to like butter beans yuk yuk yuk but recently tried them in a bean salad and they were actually quite nice, what a surprise!

Sharon J said...

Thank you, Catz. I shall report back on the verdict although it may be a while before I've tasted them 17 times (assuming I don't like them before I get that far, that is).

Butter beans... don't think I've actually tried them. Not as an adult, anyway. Will have to remedy that :)

Gavin said...

You will need all the help you can get trying to eat those store bought varieties Sharon. If they are anything like the thick skinned, tasteless tomatoes that our supermarkets sell, you will be in for a shock.

I didn't really know how bland they were until I grew my own tomatoes last year. With seven different types, I was spoilt for choice, with every single one a totally different taste sensation. My favourite were Tigerella and Purple Russian. They are so sweet and juicy, it was an experiance made in heaven just to bite into one of them!

Why not try and grow one of the heirloom varieties in a grow bag? My Mother-in-Law in Southampton has had success growing veg that way! If you find you end up not liking them, you will find many guests queuing up to take the tasty morsels off of your hands.


Richard said...

There's no point in telling her one's better than the other if she's never tried one before as she has no reference.

Tomatoes have very many different tastes. I bought some end of date organic on the vine ones from Tesco a month ago and they were fantastic and they got better a week p[ast their sell-by. I've had home grown ones before and they've been dreadful and if you'd have compared the two at the time you'd thought they were different fruits.

Sharon J said...

Gavin. I didn't realise there were so many different tastes within one fruit! Oh dear, now this is going to make it really difficult, isn't it? What's the betting I end up with lousy tasting tomatoes? Oh well, I guess if I decide I don't much like it, I'll just give it another go with a different type.

It's a bit too late in the season here to start growing my own but if I do like them, I'll try some next year.

Richard. So what am I going to do? Any suggestions? I've gone and ordered a couple of Toms with my shopping now (yes, I know I said I wasn't going to buy my veg from the supermarket anymore but I want to try them asap - while I'm still in the right frame of mind to do it).

Pat said...

I think cherry tomatoes of the kind you use in salads are the best place to start.

Good luck.

Sharon J said...

Pat. Just as you must have been writing that comment, I was amending my shopping order to get rid of the toms because I actually thought of the little ones! I haven't ordered any but will look for some at the farm shop or market next time I go. I've decided that trying a tomato that might be less than 'delicious' to those who already like them isn't the best course of action.

Anonymous said...

Sharon - if you're going to try tomatoes, this is the right time of year to do them. Look for "English" tomatoes as they're more likely to be local and freshly picked (and thus have more flavour than the gas ripened, fake kinds you get in wintertime). I'd agree about trying cherry tomatoes. cut them in half and pop them into a salad, the first time, or serve with basil leaves and mozarella. Once you've tried those and you're ready to move onto big ones, try a simple cheese and tomato sandwich (again, with English tomatoes, as you'll get better flavour, i hope), or ham and tomato. you might find it helpful, when you cut your slices, to cut out the rather tough stalk, on the big ones anyway.

do let us know how you get on! and if you hate the first bite, do try other varieties - in some respects, you might be better off going to a market than a supermarket, as you can get 1 or 2 of different kinds, rather than packs of them. even trying different sources of the same tomato (i.e. cherry) would be helpful as you might've been sold a wishy washy batch...

good luck!


Anonymous said...

I am very similar to you, I was brought up on a very bland diet, which I enjoyed, but I missed out on so many things. We mainly ate meat, potatoes and peas or carrots - I never even tasted rice or broccoli until I was 19 and had convinced myself I didn't like cheese and various other things.

Over the last few years I have become more adventurous (pinching bites from OH's plate!) and have found that I like so many foods that I thought I would hate!

Frugal Trenches said...

Well done you and good luck! As you know I'm doing the same with a few foods and think it's great! I like the 17, apparently with kids it takes up to 22x.
So somewhere between 17-22 I'll love marmite and tofu and you'll love tomatoes? Let's hope so!!!

Jack said...

I actually LOVE tomatos but can't eat them because of a health issue. But I guess the 17 tries rule applies to olives. I absolutely hated olives until I went to Greece no vacation. There were so many of them that I had no choice but to eat some. About 17 tries later it is one of my faves.



Sharon J said...

Kethry. I'll definitely let you all know how I got on. Part of me is kind of dreading trying but I've made up my mind and once that happens, there's no stopping me :)

My Life Makeover Journey. "We mainly ate meat, potatoes and peas or carrots"... that sounds pretty much like the diet I was brought up on, too. We did have cheese though. And cabbage. Horrid, boiled to death cabbage that put me right off the stuff. It wasn't until I was in my 20s that I discovered you could actually eat white and red cabbage raw!

Frugal Trenches. You're brave to be trying Tofu and Marmite. which is another thing I don't much like but haven't actually tasted 17 times. Speaking of which, I didn't used to like Bovril but they kept giving it to me while I was bed-ridden during a lengthy hospital stay and I ended up loving the stuff.

Jack. Olives, eh? There's another thing I'm not keen on. Blimey, when I start thinking about it, my taste buds just haven't had enough stimulation.

Your mention of Greece has me dreaming of beaches, little pavement cafes and sunshine now!

shabby chic said...

I find different tomatoes taste different & the smaller cherry tomatoes or vine tomatoes taste sweeter. When my little boy was very little I used to tell my little boy the cherry ones were sweets!!!. I am not sure he fully beleived it

Sharon J said...

What a good idea, Shabby Chic! I would never have thought of doing that. I really thought I'd tried everything to get my son to eat fruit but he never did. In 30 years, I don't think he's ever actually swallowed any fruit I've given him but not once did I think of that.

Anonymous said...

I love tomatoes! but then there are other thing I've never tasted just because the look, feel or texture puts me of.

Maybe I need to reconsider some of them, such as courgettes and plums!

Sharon J said...

Tomatoes are just one of the things I've avoided, too. I have more on my list but figured I start with the one I'd find most difficult. If I try a tomatoe, I can try anything!