The Evolution of Tastes

How mature are you?


Shakespeare said “all the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” but he was definitely biased. Thespian or not, all the world’s a table, and we are the eaters. After forgetting the plain nourishment of mother’s milk or formula, there is a somewhat predictable trajectory of taste that evolves through adulthood (no one is born with the capacity to enjoy a Negroni), which then, in old age, contracts to something resembling the limited tastes and textures of youth, minus the food coloring. They are in chronological order as follows:


Grass, mud, sand, and rocks: the foundational flavors of playing outside.


Before you know too much of actual candy, these can still seem like a treat.

Grape jelly

Concord grapes are a perfectly cartoonish expression of fruit with a big obnoxious flavor that can only be tempered by the occlusive effects of peanut butter.

Chocolate milk

A classic lunch pairing that doesn’t go with food after the age of 12.

Blue raspberries

The one varietal that you’re never going to find at the farmers’ market.

Black coffee

It’s the most nascent marker of adult taste, and yet some of you haven’t graduated to this one yet.


The aforementioned black coffee consumption might have to be corrected with Tums or Mylanta.


These are a modern marker of adult taste, as they are the secret ingredient in 20% of recipes written in the past five years.

Zucchini bread

Are you over 30? Let me interest you in a slice of cake with all of the calories and none of the fun. It’s moist, though.

Special K

Diet cereal is a kind of hell that should be for adults only.

Dark chocolate

I’m still pretending to enjoy it more than milk chocolate.

Bitter greens

Bitter and green: two terrifying concepts unless you’ve been through a lot.

Mineral water

Unlike the taste of dirt you encountered in childhood, mineral water is like if you made champagne out of rocks.

Orange marmalade

Orange marmalade is the opposite of grape jelly.


It’s hard to understand why mushrooms are good before you’ve tasted pinot noir, but then all of a sudden you’re willing to pay $20 a pound for something foraged.


There’s a region in Southwest France called Agen that is famous for prunes that are soft and plump, but I can only love them because of my old soul.

Blended Scotch

Dewar’s, Johnnie Walker Red, Ballantine’s, and everything else they drank on Mad Men are still primarily consumed by that generation and the teens with access to their alcohol cabinets.


Raisin bran, All-Bran, bran muffins… does food even meet your daily fiber requirements unless it’s dark brown and tasteless?