Conditioned taste aversion - Gyro me!

It's no exaggeration when I say that food poisoning changes your life forever. Repeated freeze / thaw cycles does wonders for expanding your burgeoning E. coli collection on a rotating slab of gyro meat. And 10 minutes of Chicago-style gyro bliss is NOT worth 10 hours of pitifully crouching over the toilet. Take my word for it, this is one life experience you can do without.

I've only had food poisoning once in college, but for a few years since then, home food preparation has become a serious affair. EVERYTHING GETS COOKED. Chicken comes out dry. Anything to prevent a repeat of "The Senior Year Gyro Incident." 

It took a full 2 or 3 years for me to get over my distrust of thick sliced gyro meat. For some who develop a similar hatred for a particular food, they never get over this association. They have developed a Pavlovian conditioning between that delicious food and horrible nausea / general hatred for their own life. Evolutionary biologists would argue that this phenomenon, called "Conditioned Taste Aversion," has been preserved since our caveman days, when it would be beneficial for Grog to remember that these particular toxic berries should never be an option for the day's menu.

In my case, I was lucky - my conditioned taste aversion was "extinguished," a psychological occurrence when a Pavlovian association is reversed. The conditioned stimulus of delicious, delicious gyros no longer is associated with the unconditioned stimulus of feeling like death. In fact, I might have gone to get a gyro while typing this post.

But I never extinguished my conditioned taste aversion for candy hearts, an experience I have carried with me ever since "The Second Grade Valentine's Day Incident."