I remember that as a kid, I didn’t relish eating vegetables. My mother had to force me to eat them. Research says that, as we grow, our taste evolves from a physiological reaction to food to psychological, where we acquire taste from experience or exposure to food. To some, taste becomes a matter of choice as they make a conscious decision to eat particular foods for health or other reasons.
I hated the taste of bitter gourds. I thought that they were repulsive. I didn't like eating mung bean soup either, but it was a tradition in the family to have it on Saturday lunches. For some reason, as I grew older, I came to like mung bean soup with bitter gourd and celery, vegetables that had overpowering flavor. Memories of the entire family eating together around the table had conditioned my mind that these were something I should feel good about, memories whose centerpiece was the mung bean soup.
Today, that family as I knew it then may no longer bring back those Saturday lunches of my childhood, but mung bean soup with bitter gourd still gives me that wonderful gustatory delight. My taste has evolved as a result of exposure to different dishes or cuisines or the fact that I choose to eat more vegetables because it is healthier. I am now loving other vegetarian dishes such as vegetable salads, our version of ratatouille featuring Asian vegetables, varied vegetable soups, etc., and yes, sautéed bitter gourd!