Jessica Carter is left with a bitter taste in her mouth after her unfruitful attempts at retraining her palate…
Hard slog and years of effort must be put into acquiring a taste for some things. Why? Because they’re yucky (sorry, that’s my immature palate speaking there). If I ever end up able to enjoy any of the below, I’m sure it’ll just be because I’ve grown too old and too tired to muster the energy to hate them anymore.
I’m sat at the restaurant table, so hungry I’m about to take a bite out of the menu, and what is it that the waiter comes over with to ease my painful pangs? Olives. It’s a cruel joke, and one that’s played on me every time I go out for food, or so it feels. I then must attempt to hush the howls of my empty stomach as I watch everyone else at the table tuck in, right in front of me. This regular occurrence has seen me go from wanting to like olives to wishing with all my might that I could just tolerate them – but after trying them at every opportunity with the same result each time, I’m just not sure it’s possible. My only hope comes from rumours I’ve heard of friends’ second cousins’ colleagues’ brothers and the like, who once detested them but now can’t get enough. Can it be?
As no stranger to a vodka and cranberry, and with a liking for a good old rum and orange, I obviously appreciate spirits and respect their value as enjoyable tipples – when almost their entire flavour is masked by the mixer, that is. I just can’t understand how people can equally enjoy a neat whiskey or brandy. I don’t expect either of them to be utterly delicious and unbeatably refreshing – I just think that if the taste forces you to pull involuntary and rather unflattering contorted facial expressions, something’s not right. The only thing is, other people really seem to like them. And after all, on a winter’s night, I do want to sit by an open fire in a chesterfield arm chair with an old, handsome dog and a warming glass of brandy. I do.
I can get over the whole mould issue (gulp), the blue veins (wince) and the self-forming crust (shudder) – I really can. The one thing I can’t seem to look past, however, is the taste. Every time I try blue cheese I convince myself that today will be different; today, I’ll achieve some level of appreciation for this mouldy dairy product. Needless to say, that momentous day still lies somewhere in the distant future – I just wish I knew exactly how distant. How much longer must I torture myself with the pungent smell, grotesque appearance, decidedly un-cheddar-like texture and sharp, overwhelming taste of this crumbly commodity, before I love it?
Despite my love of almost all forms of chocolate, I’m really having trouble getting on board with this one. If you’re going to have chocolate, why not just go the whole hog and have the stuff you’ll actually enjoy? This mentality is what has ground my acquisition project to a bit of a halt. Yeah, sure it’s full of antioxidants, but so is cranberry juice and I’d much rather have a glass of that. With a Dairy Milk bar. If it was a choice between dark chocolate and no chocolate I guess I’d take it, but if I received a box of chocolates and they all turned out to be of the dark, bitter variety, I can’t say I wouldn’t be disappointed. And I can’t say it wouldn’t show on my face, despite my best efforts at a cover-up (take note man – you know who you are).
Why do I want to like tea so badly? Well, I just don’t feel like a grown up with a hot chocolate. Also, it would seem tea is a cure-all miracle medicine: got a cold? Lost a beloved pet? Been unceremoniously dumped by the love of your life? Everyone’s first instinct is to get a brew on – stat. In fact, the first time I managed a whole cup was after skidding my Peugeot into the back of a poor, unsuspecting Micra one fateful evening. The first reaction of the nice man working in the kebab shop adjacent to the scene was (obviously) to ask me how I take my tea. I didn’t want to say that I, in fact, didn’t, so I just said white, no sugar. As it turned out, it wasn’t all that awful – I even think it helped calm me down. It was either that or the slab of cake he gave me with it…