Learning to love a food

When I was growing up, I did not like apples. I didn’t like them as a snack, nor in a pie, nor as applesauce. In my mind they were an inferior fruit. This dislike persisted for nearly five decades, until suddenly I started appreciating them and even craving them. I’m not sure what spurred this change, but I now eagerly seek out new varieties of apples at our local orchards. My husband, who is an apple lover, is tickled by my change in tastes because now he can get the apple desserts he desires.

Maple apple turnovers from King Arthur Baking (Sift Magazine)

Curious about my sudden shift in tastes, I tried looking for articles that might explain it. Many of the stories I found involved training your palate, but I in no way set out to like apples, although I did train myself to appreciate cilantro several years back. Other articles said that a person’s sense of taste changes as they age, predominantly due to loss and atrophy of tastebuds (the horror!). Maybe I just don’t taste the flavors that put me off of apples when I was younger. Another option was that a medicine could be altering my flavor perceptions.

Luckily whatever prompted me to change into an apple lover hasn’t caused me to dislike any other foods. Since I went for a long time not liking apples, I didn’t build up a repertoire of apple recipes. I’ve been digging into my cookbooks and have discovered a few ways to put my newfound apple loving to good use, including apple turnovers, apple fritters, and some savory recipes as well. I’m curious about whether our Members have had sudden shifts in their tastes and now like/dislike foods that they used to hate/love. Also, what are your favorite apple recipes?

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  • Jane  on  June 12, 2024

    I’m not a fan of pies (though I do like tarts) – my favorite apple recipes are both from Dorie Greenspan. Marie-Hélène’s apple cake (the most reviewed dessert recipe on EYB) and Custardy apple squares (which is really just thinly sliced apples, held together with a small amount of batter). Both excellent recipes and both have Online Recipe links.

  • Rinshin  on  June 12, 2024

    I really like adding apples in savory foods. One method used by Japanese cooks to retain the fresh color of apple slices is to soak in ice cold salted water for about 10-15 min. Improves the taste and color retention esp in fresh eating and in salads.

  • KatieK1  on  June 12, 2024

    I love fruit in savory dishes. We recently made and enjoyed Sautéed pork chops with sweet potato, apple, and mustard sauce from One Pan, Two Plates: More Than 70 Complete Weeknight Meals for Two.

    On the sweet side, I’ve been making Jacques Pepin’s tarte tatin from Cuisine magazine for many years.

    EYB Note: Both these recipes have Online Recipe links.

  • franniepie  on  June 12, 2024

    Yes, one of the joyfully surprising aspects of aging is “discovering” things that were already there. Tasted anew, my latest food crush is clove. I tolerated it but, after making a few excellent preserves from old Farm Journal books, fell head over heels. This also happens a lot within music, books, hobbies, etc. A couple of years ago I fell down a Robert Mitchum rabbit hole I still haven’t climbed out of!

  • KarenGlad  on  June 13, 2024

    For me it’s coffee. Grew up in a home where the coffee pot was always on. I still don’t appreciate the aroma….don’t want to drink it. Then in my later years I discovered mocha! Make it mocha I’m in. Just coffee…or coffee flavoured it’s still a no.

  • ldyndiuk  on  June 14, 2024

    True story: when I was a kid I didn’t like French fries. I can’t explain it.

    I don’t make a lot of apple recipes, but I really love the Brown Butter Apple Blondies from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

  • Ingridemery  on  June 15, 2024

    At 25 I shifted from hating raw tomatoes to not being able to get enough of them. At 35 the change was oysters. I’m a year off 45 and not sure what’s next…

  • FuzzyChef  on  June 17, 2024

    There are two classes of food aversions.

    One is the flavors that you have some kind of terrible association with. For example, there’s a kind of smoky fermented flavor that’s somehow associated with a flu hospitalization I had as a kid, and that flavor appears in both black tea and whisky for which reason I’ll never like them.

    The second is just the things you’re not used to eating so you don’t recognize the good tastes in them. For example, as a Jew I grew up without shellfish and found shrimp in particular weird-tasting and too strong. But, my sweetie really liked them so I pushed myself, and now I quite like them.

    The 2nd group of aversions is, for most humans, much larger than the first. So most of the time, it’s not that you don’t like something, it’s that you don’t *want* to like it.

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