What We Didn’t Eat by
(87 Stories)

Prompted By Acquired Tastes

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Raw fish? Eww! I turned up my nose at sushi on my first trip to Japan in 1965. Now it’s a staple. Photo credit: Kyle Nishioka. Creative Commons license.


Half of what’s in our fridge today, I hadn’t even heard of in 1965!

Yogurt. Soy milk.

Fennel. Arugula. Kale. Kohlrabi. Chard. Avocado (and by extension, guacamole).

Burritos! How did we survive childhood without burritos?

Dry farmed Early Girl tomatoes. Balsamico. Pesto. Cilantro.

Quinoa. Lentils. Farro. Risotto. Brown Basmati.


Maitake mushrooms. Chanterelles. Kabocha squash.

Hummus. Pita. Whole wheat bread. Multigrain bread. Brioche.

Brioche French toast.

Pancetta. Prosciutto. Porchetta. (Well, in my family, any kind of pork—although we ate ham and bacon. Go figure.)

Paté and terrine. (Does chop liver count?)

Paella. Moussaka.

Banh mi. Phô. Pad Thai. Lemongrass. Dim sum.

Did I mention sushi?

Ono. Opah. Hamachi. Opakapaka.

Al dente vegetables.

Apple bananas. Warren pears. Pink Lady apples. White peaches. Fresh figs. (Gasp.) Blood oranges. Meyer lemons. Guava. Lilikoi.

Green tea.

Dark chocolate truffles. (Dark chocolate anything!) Chocolate molten lava cake.

Forget the time machine. Let’s stay right here and order in.

Profile photo of John Zussman John Zussman
John Unger Zussman is a creative and corporate storyteller and a co-founder of Retrospect.

Characterizations: funny, right on!, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Love it! You are more adventurous than I am, but I still eat a WHOLE lot more than I did when I was a kid. Definitely DARK chocolate anything!

  2. rosie says:

    I don’t know many people who are in our age range that ate any of those things. I didn’t even know some of them existed. We did have Mexican food since I grew up in Texas and it was abundant. And surprisingly when I was a teen, my mom started cooking ham! We also ate other things that most Jews would not consider eating such as oysters and other shell fish.

    Sounds like you are eating well now. Life is an adventure, and yours certainly includes, good eats!

  3. Redux yummy!
    And yes John, chopped liver counts.

    • John Zussman says:

      Thanks, Dana. I confess I didn’t much like chopped liver, back in the day. But it was better than the calves’ liver that my Mom persisted in serving, even though she was the only one that liked it!

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    Nice to see this reposted. Such a lovely litany of delicious foods we never had back when—eating has gotten better!

  5. Great response to the prompt, John!

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