Do you have an adult taste in food?

Ever noticed that as we age, our taste in food drastically changes? As kids, the sickliest sweet option was the best one and we all turned up our little noses at the likes of olives and anchovies. So what changed, and why?

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There are a number of reasons at play for this difference in adult and child taste preferences, starting with the fact that children have more taste buds than adults – as we age, our taste buds stop regenerating. Children too, have a stronger sense of smell than adults, and as we all know smell and taste are very much related. These two factors together basically result in children experiencing bitter or strong flavoured foods as overwhelming.

So which foods tend to become ‘acquired’ tastes as we age?

  1. Olives
    A child trying to eat an olive for the first time generally involves screwing up of the face and exclamations of disgust. Yet as an adult, olives are considered of the finer things in life – along with cheese and wine

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2.  Brussel Sprouts
Since brussel sprouts don’t actually taste like much, their notorious title as a most hated food comes from the distinctive smell they have when cooking. Let’s be honest, it’s pretty stinky. All the more so for kids with their superpower senses of smell.

3. Tomato
Bitterness, and a squishy texture tend to make this not a favourite amongst the little ‘uns.

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4. Chilli
Children seem to be less keen on getting ‘burned’ by their foods than adults. Strange, that?

5. Dark Chocolate
It’s chocolate but it’s not sweet? Children are attracted to high-sugar foods because they need as much energy as possible for the growing process from childhood to adulthood.

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6. Cheese
That is to say, all other cheeses besides sweet Gouda and mild Cheddar. Children tend to spurn the more odorous and strong flavoured cheeses. Ever heard of a kid who likes blue cheese?

7. Sushi
If you tried to explain sushi – raw fish, boiled rice, dipped in a very salty sauce and a topped with a nose-runningly burny paste – you may understand why children are reticent to even try it. But look forward a few years and most adults count sushi as one of their favourite foods.

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8. Anchovies
Very strong flavour, very salty, very smelly – all  things children dislike.  The flavour of anchovies is considered to be ‘umami’ – the most recently recognised type of taste humans can distinguish (the others of course being sour, sweet, salty and bitter). Other foods considered to be ‘umami’ are truffles, mushrooms, fermented fish, and certain aged cheeses.

So there you have it! Of course, some of us may still prefer our sweet milk chocolate over respectable dark chocolate and a mild cheddar over a chunk of blue cheese, and that’s ok too.

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