I just finished a filling lunch of rice, black beans, salad, and guacamole; All home made and garnished with some raisins and Italian dressing.

About to take a nap, I lay on my bed relishing the lingering delicious post-lunch taste on my taste buds and mentally noted that the meal was indeed sweet.

My 8-year old self was shocked.

Sweet? You call avocados, greens, and beans sweet? What happened to you?

Remember those days when all the Mallams who sold sweets, candies, chewing gum and every other wrapped and sugarized item in tiny wooden kiosks knew you by name, voice, footsteps, and scent. Their kiosks came with a natural glass-less window opening that displayed the menu of the day: Baba-dudu, Goody Goody, Big Bite, M&K, Frunas, Milkose, Buttermint, Chocomilo, Eclairs, Chupa Chups, and Go-go.

You called out Aboki, Sanu, acknowledging the salesman and customer friendship you had already established and bridging the cultural divide by speaking to them in Hausa, their language. Although, you only knew a handful of greetings. Your family had a nickname that meant king of the toothless coined for you, due to conspicuous gaps in your teeth. Still, you returned to the kiosks. This time, in secret and undercover.

Those days were sweet.

It’s funny how our taste buds change and mature as we experience the same foods we were accustomed to prepared in a different way.

My 8-year-old self could not stand avocados. They were bland, strangely textured, and shared a similar color with mold. Need I say more. Now, I love avocados, flavored simply with lime/lemon juice or a full-blown tomato, onion, garlic medley.

Don’t get me wrong, I still indulge in childhood delicacies, but I am interested in the science behind how our taste buds change.

Does anyone know?

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