15th time’s the charm?

According to one of the documentaries I watched today, it can take up to 15 tries before we like a new food. While I’ve certainly never counted how many times I tried a new food, I know that there are some foods that I never thought I’d like that I kept forcing myself to eat and eventually grew to like. This is mostly true for vegetables. I didn’t like carrots or tomatoes or cucumbers as a child (or as a teenager or an undergrad). And yet over the past few months as I decided to become vegan, I’ve found myself eating more and more of those foods. I made a curry recipe with carrots, and I actually enjoyed it. At first I thought it was because the curry flavor masked the carrot flavor, but the more I started using carrots in recipes, the more I realized that I actually enjoyed them. I started adding more carrots to the soups that I was making, something that I never would have done before. In fact, usually I decrease the amount of carrots in recipes.

It was definitely exciting to learn that some of the healthy foods I disliked before were now something that I enjoyed eating, but it’s not just old foods that have grown on me. My mother discovered a whole bucket of millet in our pantry last week, and she asked me if I had any recipes that called for it, as she didn’t want to throw it out but didn’t really remember why she had it. So I looked it up and came across this recipe: Tomato, Basil, and Millet Salad. I ended up using cannellini beans instead of black-eyed peas because I like them better and because we didn’t have black-eyed peas, but otherwise I kept the recipe as it was.

The first step is to toast the millet until fragrant. I was definitely expecting a smell, but I wasn’t prepared for the smell that I experienced: a kennel. I thought it would get better after I added the broth, but it didn’t. If anything, the smell just got stronger. It really smelled like the pound did when we went to find a dog. It was bad. I wasn’t looking forward to eating it, but I already had all the ingredients, and I wanted to wait and see if it got better, so I carried on.

When the salad was mixed together, I tasted it. It was gross. It tasted just like it smelled. I was so disappointed. My boyfriend tried it, and he didn’t like it. I moped around for a bit, sad that all that time and money had gone into making a recipe that sucked. Just for good measure, I tried it again. It wasn’t as bad as I had thought it was the first time, but I definitely didn’t like it. I stood next to the stove, talking to my sister (who is 21 and was just learning how to boil water), and I ended up trying it again because it was there and I was starving. It wasn’t as bad, but it still wasn’t something I was happy with. My sister tried it, made a face, and put the fork down.

I’m not really sure how it happened. I guess part of why my family’s fat is because we eat food that’s in front of us, even if we don’t really like it. Normally I’d say that was a bad thing, but it actually sort of worked out in this case, as the more we picked at it, the more we started to like it. My parents tried it, and they liked it. My sister eventually decided that it wasn’t bad, which is actually a pretty good compliment since she generally hates all of my “weird vegan food,” especially if it involves vegetables of any sort. I actually ended up taking some with me when I went to hang out with a non-vegan friend so that I would have something to eat on the way and wouldn’t be tempted by her fatty non-vegan food. Then I had the leftovers today. Every time I ate it, I just liked it more.

This is definitely a recipe that I would make again. It was simple to make, and once the flavor grew on me, I actually enjoyed it a lot. And it’s good to know that just because I disliked a food the first few times I tried it doesn’t meant that I’ll never like it. 🙂

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