As long as I can remember, I have always been a picky eater. I remember when my mother made fried egg (telor ceplok), I would only eat the whites. And they have to be crispy, at least on the outside. No soggy egg whites for me. Growing up, I remained picky when it came to food. Even in my mid twenties I would order plain cheeseburgers at McDonald’s. I hated (well, still actually) pickles and didn’t care much for the onions, ketchup and mustard. Burgers with lettuces, tomatoes and onions? Forget it. I’d picked out all of the extras and eat just the bun, meat and cheese (if any).
When I go to restaurants, I usually order menu items that are “safe”. Chicken, beef, pasta, that sort of things. I wasn’t really adventurous. In fact, I remember almost always ordering a burger whenever possible. I didn’t eat the vegs on it obviously.
Nowadays, I’m glad to say that my palate have developed a bit. I used to hate tomatoes. Whenever they appear to garnish a dish like nasi goreng or fish and chips, I treated them as decorations. I never eat them. Now (in the 29th year of my life) I actually don’t hate them. I love the tangy-sweet taste of tomatoes giving contrast to my favorite rich coconut-milky soto betawi,or how their fresh watery flesh give balance to the oily nasi goreng. Only now do I understand the importance of balance in food (kasian amat ya gue). I even ate a slice as snack once.
Other things I used to hate are onions. I didn’t like fried shallots that usually accompany lots of traditional Indonesian dishes such as nasi uduk or mie goreng. Now I find that they are tolerable. Fried shallots are ok actually. I still don’t like raw onions though. I picked them out of my burgers. Quite a hassle so “no onions” is a phrase I always say. But funnily enough, I LOVE onion rings. Always have. Oh, and caramelized onions. They’re sweet so I do like it.
There are lots of things that I used to hate but I quite like now. Bell peppers and mushrooms for instance. I love grilled bell peppers and deep fried battered mushrooms. Having them on my pizza is no longer a problem. I find that some things do take some getting used to. Having an open mind when trying out new food is also necessary. I don’t eat sushi until well into my twenties. Now I crave for sushi at least once a month. I used to order my steak well done. Gradually I learn to appreciate the tenderness of meat when not cooked until done. It was medium-well for a while and now I don’t take anything more than medium. When I was pregnant I actually chose not to eat steaks because I couldn’t have them cooked medium. I’d rather wait.
In my opinion, “acquired taste” can also be applied to other things, such as books, music, films or even people! Sometimes I find that this person that used to be intolerable to be around with, turned out to be okay. I just need to familiarize myself with him or simply ignore him. Suddenly he’s not such a pain anymore :p Some people are just not likable on the get-go, you need to get to know them first. As Indonesians say, “nanti juga ketemu selahnya“. You’ll find something in them. Be patient.
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