An Acquired Taste – A Two Way Street

25 Nov 2014

Edited 28 Jan 2015

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,…


When I was a teenager, while eating dinner at a boyfriend’s house, I was offered Blue Cheese dressing for my salad. Having been raised on my mother’s oil and vinegar mix there was no way in hell I was going to put that smelly, clumpy white glob on my lettuce. Several years later I was in the mess hall at Lackland Air Force Base; my flight (dorm group) was a bit late for dinner and the only dressing left was Blue Cheese. Being in an adventurous mood, after all I had just joined the Air Force, I gave it a try. I could not believe my taste buds; the creamy texture with its bits of blue cheese was fabulous, even the smell was enjoyable after the first bite.  To this day Blue Cheese is my preferred dressing.

Ever since my Blue Cheese awakening, I have been open to new organoleptic experiences.  Back in the early days of this century I sold my produce at the Roanoke City Market where I befriended a woman who made goat cheese. Because her product had such eye appeal I eagerly accepted a sample. It was awful. It tasted the way straw smells. I love the smell of straw and hay, but not in my cheese.   I informed the cheese maker of my reaction.  She explained that goat cheese reflects the flavor of the goat’s diet and it is an acquired taste.  For the past ten years I have been trying to acquire that taste, to no avail.

When I stated selling at Grandin Village Community Market in 2009, my customers were requesting arugula. Although I was unfamiliar with this green, I started growing it and since customers were giving it such high praises, I tried it. Like the goat cheese it was awful.  It was bitter. However, like the goat cheese I kept trying it. During my second attempt to appreciate arugula, I discovered a nuance to its flavor that was intriguing. It took several more tries before I decided that I actually liked arugula.

In her book, Eat Well On $4/Day – Good and Cheap*, Leanne Brown states, “More expensive eggs are usually worth the money- they taste so much better than cheap eggs. Even at $4 a dozen you’re still only paying 33 cents an egg.”

Pardon my social media idiom, but my first reaction to this idea was, WTF! My nose really picked up an odiferous scent with this statement. Anyone who places the word “only” in front of any amount of money, when addressing persons with limited resources, needs to be scrutinized along with any assertion that expensive eggs taste better the cheap ones.

I have eaten store bought and farm fresh (expensive ones) eggs for a number of years. My palate has yet to discern any appreciable difference in flavor. There may be a difference in yoke color, which depends on the age of the egg and diet of the chickens, but as far as flavor goes, an egg is an egg is an egg.

As far as money is concerned, depending on sales, 18 eggs can be purchased for $1.99; that is eleven cents per egg, 3 to her 1.

In her “My Philosophy” section, MS. Brown’ asserts “Butter is not cheap, but it creates flavor, crunch, and richness in a way that cheap oils never can.” At the present time brand name butter is running about five dollars a pound or sixteen ounces while you can find canola oil, a healthier choice, for less than three dollars for a 48 oz. bottle.

Where is the cheap in Ms. Brown’s expensive logic? Viewed from the cheap seats, her flavor insights could be seen as pretentious.

What really started me critiquing Ms. Brown’s philosophy were her recipes for Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (pg 11) and her Vegetable Quiche (pg.114)    I could not believe it. Not only does she use 1 ½ cups of sugar and 4 eggs in her muffins, her quiche, a la de da dish in this neck of the woods, requires 8 eggs. Although, David pointed out the protein advantage of her offerings, in my world the scrooge factor wins out and that amount of sugar and that number of eggs for any recipe are reserved for holiday baking, not every day cooking.

Except for special occasions I shun any baking recipes that require more than two eggs. I prefer recipes that require only one egg. I have a slew of them for muffins.  I even have one for a milkless, eggless variety. So when your milk, eggs and money run out at the same time, but you want to give your family a treat, try the recipe below.

Most of my muffin recipes require ½ cup or less of sugar or sweetener. This is my sweetest. If you use the streusel topping it requires about 1 cup of sugar, a combination of white and brown. Add a ½ cup of chocolate chips if you want your muffins to be more like Ms. Brown’s. You can buy a 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips at one of our local stores for less than $1.50*. Though, I am sure that Ms. Brown would recommend using a more expensive brand for better flavor.

Flavor is a matter of opinion and whether recipes are made from cheap or expensive ingredients they all have some kind of flavor and flavor is an acquired taste.  Con


*Recently LEAP has been giving these books free to their SNAP market customers.




*Was less than $1.80.