Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Food is a sensory issue

I can't stand jelly.  Nor do I like yogurt drinks, bananas, or hard-boiled/soft-cooked eggs.  This isn't because I don't like the flavor of these things, because I do like how they taste.  I don't eat them because I can't stand the texture, the gross, mushy, slimy feel they put in my mouth.

Some people will claim aspies are picky eaters, and I object to that label.  I'll try just about anything you hand me at least once, usually twice, but I won't eat some foods after a while because I know the texture is unpleasant.  This seems to be the common reason for being picky, that we can't stand the textures of foods, just like we can't stand the textures of clothing.  If you can't  stand the texture of clothing, you start wearing only one type of clothing which you know is comfortable. Likewise, if you can't stand the texture of a lot of foods, you start only eating particular foods.

Scientists say that the human tongue is constantly changing and shedding old taste buds to grow new ones, so tastes can change, but I don't think the texture issue would change with that.  My tastes for foods have changed - I used to love cold beets and now don't particularly enjoy them - but my taste in textures never has.  Bananas are still usually too slimy and mushy for me.

I don't like change much, but I will still try foods again and again to see if my tastes have evolved.  Sometimes the results surprise me, like in the case of eggs.  I don't like soft-cooked eggs - anything scrambled or with a goopy center grosses me out - but I recently was persuaded to try an egg casserole which was hard-cooked.  Surprisingly, I loved it!  The change in texture made all the difference in the world, causing it to suddenly become palatable.

Trying new foods or old foods in new forms can really surprise you.  Next time, instead of turning your nose up at something made with whatever your hated food is, try it.  The result could be a new favorite.

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