OK, so this isn't my usual daily post, but I wanted to bookmark this for those who might enjoy this. A blogger by the name of Joe Posnanski recently posted an article on his blog about what he terms "Pixifoods," which are foods that tasted like awesome when you were a kid and now taste like FAIL.
Here's an excerpt from his blogpost:
Baseball Card Gum
As a child it tastes like: Bubble blowing magic.
As an adult it tastes like: Sugared sandpaper.
Tidbits: A few years ago, Topps released a retro set of baseball cards — I believe it was based on the 1952 set. Anyway, it included the gum. I was SO excited. I immediately went to eBay and spent WAY too much on a box of those cards. I got it, and I chewed the gum and … I expect to get the feeling in my jaw back no later than September 2013. More to the point, the inside of my mouth got so raw, you could strike a match against it. What do they put in that stuff? Roofing shingles? I think part of the problem is that they started putting the gum in little plastic packets, presumably so they would not get stale and ruin the back of baseball cards like the old days. But maybe that’s how they lost the magic. As a kid it was great because, really, as far as taste went, you never know where the gum ended and the baseball cards began.
I've been fascinated by age-related taste since I first noticed a lot of comments about it on the Japanese (and best) version of Iron Chef, many years ago. Sometimes the guest judges would say things like, "This would be a pleasing dish for a young child, but to my taste it is too sweet," or "This is too bitter and astringent for me to enjoy, but I can see how I might like this when I am older."
Ask any parent about early-childhood tastes and they'll tell you that, with very few exceptions, kids like things with strong, vibrant tastes. The only kind of taste that they have absolutely no tolerance for is bitterness. You might remember your first taste of coffee or beer as a kid (if your parents let you try that stuff) or grapefruit juice for that matter. In a way, it makes sense, since most toxic / inedible things that occur in nature taste bitter on the human tongue, but that doesn't explain why older people are supposed to have an increased taste for bitterness. Hmmm...