December 1, 2019


At The Washington Post, Virgil Thomson, via Oanh Ngo Usadi, suggests a variation on the "die three times" theme seen several times here.

There is a saying, commonly attributed to the American composer and music critic Virgil Thomson, that we should give new experiences three tries: Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it.
As we sat on plastic stools in a crowded outdoor market, the Italian tourist, as he turned out to be, said he and his friends had tried durian early in their trip. No one liked it, but the vendor insisted they should give it three tries. My durian partner was the only one who followed the advice, and he was hooked.

I told him of other converted Westerners I knew about: my Brooklyn-born husband, his 80-year-old stepmother and the late Anthony Bourdain. Though the famous chef did say that eating durian will leave you smelling like you’ve just French-kissed your dead grandmother.

Sau rieng, durian, the king of fruits certainly warrants three attempts, at least, before giving up. The advice is good for any new food. After years of exposure with my pizza-loving husband and children, I have found, to my surprise, that I think New York pizza is almost out of this world. The only thing that could improve it would be a certain fruit topping.