Acquired Taste

bizarre foods


An acquired taste often refers to an appreciation for a food or beverage that is unlikely to be enjoyed by a person who has not had substantial exposure to it, usually because of some unfamiliar aspect of the food or beverage, including a strong or strange odor. For example: stinky tofu or cheese, durian fruit, kimchi, haggis, hákarl (fermented shark), sulfur infused black salt, asafoetida (a spice also called devil’s ding). Unfamiliar tastes (such as bitter teas or natto, fermented soybeans) and appearance can also be off-putting to many. Acquired taste may also refer to aesthetic tastes, such as taste in music or other forms of art.

Intentionally changing one’s preferences can be hard to accomplish. It usually requires a deliberate effort, such as acting as if one likes something in order to have the responses and feelings that will produce the desired taste. The risk in this acting is that it can lead to all sorts of excesses such as self-deception and pretentiousness. The challenge becomes one of distinguishing authentic or legitimate acquired tastes resulting from deeply considered preference changes from inauthentic ones motivated by, for example, status or conformity.

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