I always remember as a child my grandad telling me as I grew older my taste buds would change…
Was that just something that older people knew as fact and experienced or was it just something that they said? I never really understood it fully but I accepted it wholeheartedly.
My grandad is the most intelligent, funny and incredible sense of humored character you could ever meet. I idolise him. My passion for food & writing comes from him and I like to think my dry wit definitely stems from the same gene pool.
Growing up, he would always make sure I had the last piece of cake, or a piece of his special Yorkshire pudding (words cannot describe how much I love these little pieces of heaven) and always the best piece of the fresh loaf of bread straight out of the bakery. I was the baby in the house and I was always by his side. Reading books late into the night propped up on the couch beside him. Amazing memories. He was a Yorkshire man and his love of food – real home cooked food was instilled into us as children. The kitchen was the centre of our bustling house (and bread… lots and lots of bread!) with my grandmother permanently pottering around making or preparing something tasty every hour of the day!
I remember distinctly when I was 11 tasting hummus for the first time and feeling more than nauseated at the sheer notion of ever eating this concoction again. The texture was what killed me. But, I changed. My taste buds matured. Grandad was right. But, perhaps I matured as well as my taste buds. I think it’s imperative to tell you that today, I love hummus. So much. Too much actually! I couldn’t even hazard a guess as to how many types or flavours or varieties I have tasted over the years. And I can categorically say I liked each one as much as the next.
My point is that we change so much throughout our lives. Yes, just like our taste buds. What we may have craved as children we may dislike as an adult. Or we may crave it even more, depending on the circumstances. Perhaps as a comfort food during stressful times. (Every Irish person needs tea & toast when sick… seriously it is basically medicine of Irish mothers!)
Perhaps… as a stress reliever. A switch off button after a hard days work. Take for instance wine. I can tell you now that after my first sip of wine, I was convinced I would not be having another anytime soon. I found it bitter, vinegary and unbelievable offensive to my taste buds. Now? I love wine possibly more than I love most things actually if I am being honest. A world without wine would be a pretty sad place don’t you think?
Okay, let’s move on before I get emotional…
So, what spurns this change within us?
What is the catalyst for such a U-turn reaction? What leads to our taste buds changing and us as individuals as we grow up? Experience. They say if you taste something a certain number of times you ‘acquire’ a taste for it. I believe that.
I have proved that to myself on many occasions. But I don’t believe it’s not just food. Food can be a euphemism for so many things in our lives. The same can be applied to people we meet; places we go or things we try. Perhaps you have a friend that you didn’t like the first time you met them? I am sure if you are friends now then you have clearly changed your view. And of course the other side of the coin… maybe you had friends from your childhood that you don’t really want to spend time with anymore. You grew out of the friendship. Your tastes (not buds or that would be cannibalism) changed. You grow up.
No one likes feeling uncomfortable…
No one really likes taking major risks or chances if they can avoid them. But many of us do just that every day. And have no choice. I did. Many times. I remember each and every time exactly as I do the time I first tasted that hummus. That instant sinking moment in the pit of your stomach, the minute you realise you might have made a bad decision.
That worry if you had bitten off more than you could chew. The second you released you did not like this current situation. It became uncomfortable. And all you want to do is just like your child self would have done. Spit it out and never try it again! But, as you grow up. You can’t just go around spitting things out. (Restaurants frown on that sort of behaviour) Sometimes you just gotta suck it up and brave it out. Many times after I have taken a gamble or a risk in my life, even times when I knew it was the right thing to do until it was confirmed by an action or person I was terrified thinking it could have been wrong.
Doubt. Debilitating self-doubt. Needless self-doubt.
As a child, that is called fear. As an adult, it is called life. Life is full of fear. Everyday moments & decisions that you make, that you may not like or want or desire but that are perhaps necessary. I have made so many decisions in the last year that made me so uncomfortable I can physically remember every hair standing upright on my forearms. Would I change them? Not for all the tea in China. They were my decisions. Am I glad I made them? 120%. Even the ones that might have been wrong for me – because they all led me to where I am now. My mistakes, my best & worst decisions have made me who I am. Gave me the strength that I have. Gave me the sticking power and stubbornness I have to never give up. Ever. Period.
Not just in my career either. But people. Sometimes romantic, friends, family or otherwise. I don’t give up. That is strength. Seeing your decisions and beliefs and ‘tastes’ through to the end. But it also gives me the strength to know when it is time to make those hard decisions to walk away from people or phases in our life that we have grown out of. Sometimes we grow out of love, out of friendship, sometimes even our families.
No one ever said growing up was fun. But they also never said we couldn’t try to delay it as long as possible!…
At the end of the day, you just have to hope that you make the right choices.
That the new food you are eager to taste is going to be delicious and you won’t want to spit it straight out! Sometimes you have to follow your juvenile taste buds and that inner childlike belief. Yes, sometimes they will be wrong. Sometimes you are going to need your napkin nearby. But if you follow that gut feeling in your stomach, then sometimes, and yes just sometimes, you will get to taste something that you will enjoy for the rest of your life. A flavour that captures every inch of your being.
And if & when you do find it – that exact moment that it reaches your lips – that moment that your heart connects to your wants & needs – it is that moment that you know….