Tastes and flavours

American translations are in brackets. (Parentheses) πŸ™‚

It is Tuesday today, not Sunday, but I woke up tasting an unusual flavour, so decided to ‘think aloud’ on a different day. When I stirred this morning, I felt sure that I could taste candy floss (cotton candy) in my mouth, and it tasted far too sweet. Unusual smells and tastes can be a sign of worrying medical problems, I know, but I am happy to tell you I am sure that all is well.

That flavour soon left my mouth, and my imagination too. It is a very long time since I ever ate candy floss, so I can only think it was some kind of residual from a dream about my childhood. But it got me thinking about how tastes change, and some flavours remain as favourites, with others falling out of favour over time.

I have always enjoyed the taste of salt. I like it on crisps, (chips) chips, (french fries) and eggs. Sometimes, I can actually feel a salt craving, and a real desire to taste some. In modern times, salt has been decreed to be bad for you, and is said to lead to hypertension. Salt alternatives have become available, but like many such things, carry their own dangers too. So I stick with salt; nice natural sea salt in chunky crystals, ground at the time of application.

One of my all-time favourite flavours is Aniseed. I used to like aniseed-flavoured sweets as a child, then I graduated to aniseed-based drinks, like Ouzo, Pernod, Pastis, and Absinthe. Something about the freshness and hint of sweetness has always appealed to me. And I like the way those drinks turn cloudy, if you add a little water to them. Since I gave up smoking, I have also used aniseed flavour liquids in my vaping device, so you could say I am pretty much hooked on that taste.

As I got older, I lost my taste for very sweet things. However, I still cannot get used to drinking unsweetened tea or coffee, so use either artificial sweetener or sugar in both of those drinks. Some sweet things are still desirable to me, especially doughnuts, (donuts) which I have to avoid at all costs, or would eat far too many. And very occasionally, the craving to taste something sweet might lead me to eat something like a shortbread biscuit. (Cookie)

A sign of changing taste in maturity came when I started to like the flavours of various cheeses that I couldn’t stand as a teenager. Brie, Camembert, goat cheese, and others started to taste great sometime around my late 30s, and I still enjoy them now. I never got on with blue cheese though, which I still don’t care for. Cheese-flavoured snacks are always my first choice, when offered, and grilled cheese sandwiches are considered a real treat too. I suspect that is also because cheese delivers my salty taste preference at the same time as its cheesy goodness.

Cucumber is something I also like. It is considered to be tasteless by some people, but I don’t agree. I think it has a distinctive taste and smell, and it speaks of freshness, to my palate. Whilst on the subject, it is worth considering things that seem to have ‘lost’ their taste or flavour too. Tomatoes now taste bland to me, with very little tomato flavour. Strawberries too seem to have lost much of their juiciness, and easily identifiable aroma, and bananas have suffered the same fate, at least in my mouth. Strong-brewed coffee now seems to taste burnt, and too powerful. Even my favourite drink, red wine, can often taste too sweet these days, depending on the grape variety.

Let me know what flavours and tastes you like best. Or if you agree that some things have changed, or your own tastes have altered in later life, as mine have done.

63 thoughts on “Tastes and flavours

  1. I can’t ever imagine taking a liking to 5he taste of olives yet I like olive oil. I really dislike coffee flavoured things like ice cream or chocolate but really enjoy my coffee and after reading your post I now have an urge for aniseed twist.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmm. Let me see…

    Toasted cheese has been an all time favourite. Loved it as a child. Still do. I’ve discovered Cascaval (the most ubiquitous Romanian cheese) toasts very well, so I don’t see that changing any time soon! Don’t like blue cheeses and I’m not terribly fond of that Swiss one with holes in, either.

    Not a fan of salt. I’m the kind of person who throws the little blue salt bag in the bin and curses the Romanians for only selling crisps that have been ready salted! Don’t like bacon for the same reason. The latter smells nice, though πŸ˜‰

    Sugar has become less and less attractive as I have got older. Apparently, science says the less of it you eat the less of it you want to eat and I’ve found that to be true.

    Love dark chocolate – 85% co-op fairly traded being my favourite. Used to buy a 100g bar every couple of weeks in the UK and eat a small piece every day, but not eating it at all at the moment.

    Like both aniseed and licorice, but rarely have them.

    Great fan of fish – especially salmon. Not smoked, though. Smoke improves bacon, but it destroys fish. Yuck!

    Also like roast chicken.

    Very fond of the good old British chipshop chip. Never found them as nice anywhere else!

    Live quite happily without garlic and spices. Cannot eat vinegar, tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, pickled beetroot… They have always made my stomach heave.

    Love fruit – especially strawberries and blueberries when they are freshly picked from the garden (or similar). Oddly enough, when I first had the ME, I didn’t want and couldn’t eat any kind of fruit except bananas because the acid in them set my nerves on edge. In fact, the only thing I really wanted was fish and vegetables. Sorting that out took a long time and I’m still inclined to turn my nose up at any strong flavour, especially on ‘bad’ days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An interesting selection of likes and dislikes, Ros. Thanks for those thoughts on tastes and preferences. I like salmon too, including smoked salmon. I am also fond of ‘Arbroath Smokies’, a Haddock, traditionally smoked. Like you, I avoid mayonnaise, can’t stand beetroot, sweet tomato ketchup, or malt vinegar. But I do have that love for salt, so bacon is high on my ‘munch list’, even though it does often leave me with an insatiable thirst.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  3. Salt, please.
    Yes to cheese. No to Blue Cheese.
    A little sugar in my coffee.
    I love doughnuts.
    No sugar in my Iced Tea.
    What a fun read, Pete. If I were on death row and had only an hour to live,
    I’d eat a bag of Lay’s Potato Chips (crisps, plain).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cindy. Our tastes are similar, save for the unsweetened iced tea, which I would struggle with. On death row, I would have pesto pasta, followed by glazed doughnuts. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete. x

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  4. I am a spicy person overall, and although I like some sweet things (I like chocolate but go for very long periods without eating any and don’t miss it that much) but prefer salty and spicy. I didn’t use to like cucumbers when I was young, but now I eat them. Although I eat a lot of vegetables, I hate celery with a passion. I also like sharp things (have always loved lemon and vinegar, and I could eat most things pickled. I have always loved vinegar and still do). I’m also one for seeds (pumpkin seeds in particular, but like to shell them not have them peeled. It adds to the entertainment value) and nuts, most but try to avoid them due to the calories. I don’t like milk but do love cheese, soft, strong, blue… I’m with you on the grilled cheese front. And yes, I love garlic and onions (onions not boiled, but any other way). And Indian and Greek food….Now I’m hungry…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Salt & Vinegar crisps! (chips πŸ™‚ )I love vinegar for some strange reason, can’t imagine chips (fries) without it. And all things spicy too. Lamb in red wine sauce is cracking, with garlic and rosemary, but sweet things have never been a thing for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I was young, I always had vinegar on my chips, placed there by my Mum, or the lady in the chip shop. Once they started putting it on the counter for you to help yourself, I stopped shaking it onto my chips. Mind you, I do love balsamic vinegar, especially mixed with olive oil, as a dip.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Candy floss (cotton candy to us cowboys) is called barbe Γ  papa in French. I mention this because I think it’s a humorous, and yet very appropriate, term. It literally means papa’s beard.

    I drink a full 64 oz. pitcher of PG-Tips iced tea every day (two bags). I never use sugar. On those rare occasions where I go to a fast food restaurant, I can hardly tolerate the sweetness of the soft drinks. When I was a kid, I used to load my cereal with sugar. I still eat cereal, but rarely add sugar. I think cotton candy would make me sick. Sugar aside, I also tend to avoid salt. But I really lay on the ground pepper (and have been known to abuse peppercorns).

    My favorite tastes? Fresh garlic, dark chocolate, and Maraschino cherries. In terms of actual food, my favorite is crab dipped in melted butter (with a bit of garlic powder mixed in, of course!).

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  7. It is so true that tastes change as we age. I no longer like spicy foods. I can eat and enjoy foods that I hated as a picky-eater child. The lunchtime conversations at school are fascinating. I watched my mother crave sweets when she was close to the end of her life. Apparently that is common.

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    1. My own Mum ate mainly sweet things in the five years before her death. She stopped eating most vegetables and meat, and tended to live on cakes, and sweet things of any kind.
      My own childhood desire for sweet things has reduced by some 90% since I turned 40, and now I prefer salty and savoury food instead.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I am really not a cheese person, we only use the ordinary cheese here but I love blue cheese πŸ™‚ I’m partial to food cooked in coco cream. I love spices too. ah, sometimes, cooking is not complete without pepper…haha!

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    1. Like the old saying says, Andrew. “There’s no accounting for taste”.
      It might be upbringing of course. As I was a child a few years after WW2, my parents had suffered the sugar rationing, so regarded it to be a treat. As a result, we had sugar in tea, (and later in instant coffee) and even things like sugar sandwiches! Bread and butter, sprinkled with white sugar; banana sandwiches spread with jam, and added sugar on the bananas. It was as if they were celebrating the end of the war, and adding sugar and luxuries to anything they could. No wonder I was always at the dentist!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Tastes do morph with age and it has to do with sensory perceptions becoming a little duller with the slow failure of synapse and other transmitters. There was a time when I couldn’t imagine myself eating green beans and now I like them … same with peas and spinach. There is a way around the problem with failing taste buds however and it comes in the form of flavor enhancers such as “Accent” and the various rubs and sprinkles for poultry and vegetables and such.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve heard that our tastes differ as we age since our body chemistry actually changes every 10-15 years. I’ve found many things to eat now that i didn’t when I was young and visa versa, but not once did I ever like anise-flavor anything. I’m more of a red, green or blue licorice sort.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the flavours of aniseed and liquorice do have a ‘crossover’ point in there somewhere, GP, though aniseed is sharper in some products. I have to agree that tastes do definitely change with age.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I also like salt, Pete, especially sprinkled thickly on tomatoes. I suffer from low blood pressure and I find salt on tomatoes lifts is quickly. I developed a taste for dry cider while in the UK recently so have two six packs in my fridge at home. My mom and I share a bottle every evening.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice to meet another fan of salt. I used to work for a brand-leading cider company (a lifetime ago) as a sales representative. I got sick of seeing and smelling cider, so haven’t drunk any since.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Cucumber has to be with the skin on and with salt and if its in a sandwich with butter then I’m in heaven.
    Tomatoes need to be grown outside to develop a true tomato taste, an argument I have settled almost every year when people question why I don’t grow mine in a green house, even if they are organic, if they are under glass then they will never taste as good.
    Apple crumble and custard always takes me back to my childhood, in fact many Polish foods remind me of food that my Austrian mother used to make, no wonder I moved here πŸ™‚
    But my all time favourite taste is our home grown and smoked bacon, which is on my mind almost daily at the moment as we get ready to change our diet for the winter months ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smoked bacon is a must for me too, and I try to buy locally-produced stuff whenever I can. (Norfolk is known for good pork) I wasn’t much of a fan of apple crumble, but I can imagine the taste of a good bread and butter pudding as I type! We used to go to an East European restaurant in London, and have stuffed cabbage leaves, blinis, and dumplings. There is a good Polish restaurant in South Kensington too, called Daquise. http://daquise.co.uk/ I have had some great nights in there.
      Cheers, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I especially love the exotic spices, the flavours of curry, arabic touches too.
    Herbs and especially everything with tarragon is yummydelicious.
    Love your american translations, Pete! They put a big smile on my face. I write on a Mac and even if I go for the British English, my proof reader always tries to offer my the American way. πŸ˜‰ Like WP too! πŸ˜‰
    Best wishes from Cley and a gentle pat for Ollie,
    Dina x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My American translations were a gentle joke with my American blogging friends, Dina. I have to ignore WP corrections too, otherwise, I would be writing flavor and favorite like this, so spelling it wrong! πŸ™‚
      Best wishes to you all in Cley.
      Love from Pete and Ollie. X

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Delightful flavors, Pete. This post is a great example of using the senses in writing.
    I love any citrus flavor — in anything. Unfortunately I’m not supposed to have anything acidic (a bad painful inflammation issue…). Anyway, you had me tasting everything as I read. Well done! Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I love the variety of cheese too, including blue cheese, especially the Italian one, the Gorgonzola. πŸ˜‰ The sharp and fresh taste of the little red radish. And cucumber too, fresh, in thick slices with some salt on it, or as a salad with a mild cream dressing. The taste of fresh baked bread – I often bake bread myself, with dark flour and caraway seed, coriander and walnuts in it. Grand Marnier – the scent and taste of it makes me feel I’m in paradise. Warm, fresh milk – it reminds me of my childhood days in a little Bavarian village. Warm Apple Strudel with a big crown of whipped cream. Scones with strawberry marmalade and clotted cream. A strong black tea, Ceylon or Assam, or a blend of both…
    Dear Pete, I could continue for hours… πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your great list of delights, Kerin. Fresh bread is indeed wonderful, as much for the smell of it baking, as the taste. Your memories of childhood tastes are a joy too.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  16. Nothing wrong with tomatoes picked off the vine or strawberries directly from the garden Pete. It’s the heat that gives them their flavour and by the time we get them in the supermarket that has long gone. The best strawberries I have tasted (other than my tiny ones) were from a market in the south of Spain. They were enormous and I figured they would be tasteless like the ones we get here, but they were absolutely delicious. I like aniseed flavours and liquorice and salty, spicy food, but chocolate is my downfall so I try not to buy it very often.

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  17. A lot of fruit and veg have lost their flavour, not because of our changing tastes but the way they’re grown, I think. Even organically-grown are pretty bland. I realised this as soon as we moved to Crete where tomatoes, potatoes and so on tasted as they had done in my childhood. Aniseed flavours are banned in my house – can’t bear it! x

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hello Pete! I grow my own tomatoes and soft fruit and they taste completely different to what you buy in the supermarket – far more like the fruit and veg I had as a child. Maybe it’s the farming methods that have changed rather than your tastes!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m sure my tastes have matured over time, but I’ve always been an adventurous eater. Some favourite flavours? Dry red wine, cumin, fresh coriander, lime, chilli, most cheeses, rye bread, Vegemite (salt) and tomatoes. I like cucumber too.

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