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Tastes that change with age – and living in a new country

July 25, 2005

Think about all the food (and drink) you used to hate when you were a kid… Now pause for a second, do you eat those foods now?…

Tomatoes, cheese, yogurt, coffee, pepper, peppers (paprika for you Finns out there), onions, cauliflower and broccoli – those are the ones that come to my mind. Like I wrote in my previous post I said I wasn’t a picky eater, and I will pretty much eat anything that you put in front of me – except liver! I think about all of the things I would not eat when I was a kid and somehow university (thanks to my roommates) opened my mind, at least I think that’s when it started…

I started using pepper in my food when I was in my second year of university at Lakehead (www.lakeheadu.ca) because pasta and sauce got really boring after awhile. Lots of people wondered if I was a vegetarian during my time at Lakehead. I had to admit many times that, "No, I am not a vegetarian, meat is just too darn expensive." Think back to your school days and you may know where I am coming from… In any case when I went on to do my second degree in Sudbury (at Laurentian University – www.laurentian.ca); I made sure that I never skimped on food. I always ate well. Slowly, things like cauliflower, broccoli, onions and peppers made it into my menu. It certainly was a great combination in a veggie stir fry anyways and a cheap way to eat. My mom somehow convinced me that Triscuit crackers and cheese in the microwave was a great thing – and she was right! It still creeps into my diet when I make a visit home, but somehow they just don’t "go" in Finland. I won’t eat cheddar, but any kind of weak-tasting, light-coloured, "mozzarella" looking cheese will certainly fit the bill. I eat yogurt and cheese and, GASP! I drink coffee!… This a good story for any Finn reading this because I know that you Finns are all bottle-fed with coffee!

I swore up and down and sideways that I would NEVER drink coffee, EVER!… Ahem, let’s rewind back to 1997 during my very first visit to Finland. (First let me pull out my trip diary because I think I wrote about it there.) It didn’t take long to find it… June 6, 1997 I wrote, "…So while Tapani* has been in meetings all day in Sotkamo and here in Hyrynsalmi, I have been out exploring. About 45 minutes ago I drank my first coffee – EVER. I didn’t have the heart to refuse her – the lady that asked me. I sat in a Lapp style cottage (kota) in front of a fire and drank a coffee – it was so cool! I also saw my first REAL Finnish reindeer. They’re not very big at all, much smaller than I thought…" So if I bring myself back to that moment I can tell you that I put about four sugars in that coffee hoping it might kill any horrible taste I was expecting. The whole summer I was here I vehemently refused to drink coffee in the presence of my relatives and insisted on drinking tea all the time.

After I returned to Finland in 1998 to live, it wasn’t long before I was drinking coffee with friends after dinner. I got my first coffee maker in 1999 from a woman who worked at Nokia when I was freelancing. She was a friend of one of my students and knew I was just starting out, so she gave me a second hand coffee maker from her summer cottage. My hubby was so happy that he could finally have coffee at my apartment he immediately went out and bought coffee and filters! We broke down late last year and bought ourselves a new coffee maker, because Anne’s coffee maker was starting to see better days.

I recall writing an email to my mom at some point, which read something like, “Hey Ma, did I tell you I drink coffee now?” The reply was an e-mail with the subject “COFFEE?????!!!” and a commentary of amazed questions and a line that read something like, “What on earth are they doing to you over there? You drink coffee?!”

It just proves that with time, people’s tastes do change, mine certainly have. Got any coffee?

* A good friend of mine who lives in Oulu.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Diana permalink
    July 30, 2005 12:22 pm

    ahh coffee – i was just talking about it to the mister last night over dinner – i’ve been drinking coffee since i was very very little….as you know Finns are notorious for feeding their kids coffee and korppua….now i find that i prefer tea. Yes tastes really do change. (i’ve always liked liver tho’ just not maksalaatikko)

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