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Over at The Hairpin, Edith Zimmerman takes a look at how to systematically train oneself to enjoy previously disliked foods. Her process: Shut up and eat the food until you eventually start to enjoy it. Her eight-step plan seems to take several months, which is why it’s a good idea to look back at the original and highly entertaining six-step manifesto on how to learn to love food, written by the esteemed omnivore and Vogue writer Jeffrey Steingarten.
Fortunately, the full text version is available here from The New York Times and requires the following process:
1. Compose an annotated list of disliked foods. This makes obvious sense. You gotta know what you don’t like so you can learn to love it.
2. Immerse oneself in the scientific literature on human food selection. Honestly, this seems unnecessary except for fodder at cocktail parties. (“Oh, no, thank you, I don’t like truffles. But did you know that the neo-Sumerians wrote about the Armorites eating them, and that they’ve eluded techniques of domestication. That makes them rare and expensive. You could even say a Veblen good, if you will.” And then you just sound like a douchebag.)
3. Choose your weapon. Food phobias can be extinguished in five ways: brain surgery, starvation, bonbons, drug dependence, and exposure. Steingarten chooses exposure, much like Zimmerman. This also seems logical.
4. Enact the plan. Go eat all the food you didn’t like. It only took him six months.
5. Final exam and graduation ceremony. PARTY TIME! YOU LIKE FOOD!
6. Relearning humility. Don’t be an ass now that you like things you didn’t like before and have the ability to train your palate. Some people just aren’t as adventuresome as you.
All in all, the pair seem to share views on how to learn to like food. Just start eating. And what’s the worst that can happen, really? Gagging? Vomiting? Food Poisoning? All minor grievances in the grand scheme of life.
So let’s make today, Friday, March 25, Eat a Food You Didn’t Like Yesterday Day! Come lunchtime, embrace your aversion. We’ll be ordering kidneys.