When my son was 3 or 4 years old, he couldn’t understand why I didn’t like the same foods he did. He would say “You liked it when YOU were my age!” frustrated that sharing wasn’t working. But, he was appalled by some of the things I put in my mouth, too.
One day, I found an article about taste buds. It said that in the variety and fluctuations that are our bodies, we get a whole new set about every 5 years. And that what tastes lovely to us now may get a completely different reading in 5 years. I told Christopher about that and we figured that I am 6 taste bud cycles ahead of him. That made sharing tastes, and not agreeing about them, more palatable, so to speak.
Several years later, I learned that a dear friend has a recessive genetic trait that causes cilantro to taste like soap to her. My husband adores cilantro. He adds extra to his salsa, tacos, salads. Clearly, he doesn’t have the recessive gene. I taste the soap if there is a lot of cilantro. I suspect that I am heterozygous.
Another instance of taste bud variations involves cardamom. Chuck keeps me supplied with granola. Since he makes it, it is exactly how I like it. He was making it for himself, too, when we weren’t living together. He likes cardamom and added it to his batch. I was visiting and tried it. I was completely overwhelmed by the cardamom. The next time he made it, he decreased it significantly so that I could taste it, but not be overwhelmed. The problem with that was, he couldn’t even tell it was there.
The upshot of all this taste variation awareness is that our response to “That’s too sweet” or “Ew. You have all of that.” is to laugh at how different bodies are.