Let's talk about the foods we used to hate and grew to love

Photo: VladimirFLoyd (iStock)

Food phases are normally considered a kid thing, a picky-eating behavior that’s outgrown. But they’re not only a childhood phenomenon, as we Takeout writers can attest. We recently discussed foods we once avoided but have since grown to appreciate or even enjoy, though it’s rare that we could pinpoint the exact reasons we made that psychological shift. Perhaps, readers, you can share your own experiences in this realm in the hope of helping us reach some understanding of how foods we once loathed suddenly became, well, just fine.


My long, fraught relationship with bananas

My first word was “banana.” Truly. According to my mom, I was strapped into my high chair, reaching or pointing to a banana on the kitchen counter, and out popped the word. Clearly, bananas were a favorite food of mine as a baby, but that all changed some time in grade school. Through elementary and high school, I had no interest in bananas whatsoever—didn’t want to look at them, didn’t want to smell them, really didn’t want to eat them. Not even in smoothies. But some switch flipped in college, and as suddenly as my aversion appeared, it lifted. Bananas are great! What a wonderfully portable source of so many nutrients! Now I’m all about bananas, and I can prove it with the ripening bunch on my counter as we speak. [Kate Bernot]

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I finally learned to love steak done medium instead of well

Working here at The Takeout has convinced me I’ve been eating a lot of foods incorrectly. Unfortunately, old habits die hard. I still can’t fathom the thought of runny eggs, for example. But I have at least finally veered myself away from well-done steak. As I tried to explain my hideous former habit during Steak Week: “I know. I’m sorry. It was wrong; I just didn’t realize what I was doing. I had experienced too many run-ins with underdone meat so I erred on the side of gray-brown caution.” It’s the same reason I still like my eggs “scrambled hard.” But venturing into “medium” territory enabled me to appreciate the steak much more: It was infinitely more flavorful and rich when it hadn’t been cooked until only moments away from charcoaldom. Whereas before lighter colored steak used to scare me, now I embrace it. It’s a great job. I’ve learned a lot. I swear, someday I’ll try with the eggs. [Gwen Ihnat]

I used to be scared of tofu—legitimately scared

Once as a child I had a gnarly tofu experience. It was that legumey taste coupled with that squishy texture that created a feedback loop in my brain that repeated: No. No. No. No. No.

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The mind is a fascinating, frightening thing to behold. It interpreted tofu has something I should not only dislike, but fear. Once in grade school my parents offered me a smidgen of tofu at a restaurant and I—no joke—leapt from my chair and ran off. Though my case wasn’t as severe (or theatrical) as the people on Maury Povich with mustard and pickle phobias, I could empathize.

Years later, a plate of crispy salt-and-pepper tofu cracked the door slightly open. Before long, with the help of agedashi tofu, I became a tofu card-carrying member. Looking back, I can’t imagine why the 10-year-old me would react so dramatically to what’s essentially soybeans. But I also got a C- in my college neuroscience class.

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All right Takeout commenteriat: It’s your turn.

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About the author

Gwen Ihnat

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

Kevin Pang

Kevin Pang was the founder and editor-in-chief of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace on Netflix.

Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.