>>I didn't eat Chinese restaurant food until I was out of college. I blame my mom; Chinese food in our house was La Choy from a can.<<
That was my experience. We very occasionally had chop suey from a can, topped with those squiggley things - I forget the name. Yuck! That passed for exciting ethnic food at my house. When I had the good stuff, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.
Apparently it wasn't just my family! When I was younger, I (thought I) hated Chinese food. The only Chinese I ever had was my mother's chop suey, which, just, ew. (With the little crunchy rice noodles on top, of course.) I don't think I tried real Chinese food until college, when a friend convinced me to go to a Chinese restaurant even though I didn't like Chinese. Wow--I was shocked to see the wide variety of foods on the menu, and even more shocked to discover that I liked almost every one of them. I haven't eaten mom's chop suey (or anybody else's chop suey) since then.
There were probably a lot of items I didn't eat until I was in college and moved away from home. My mom cooked stereotypical, bland, midwestern--cassaroles (including tuna fish cassarole with crumbled potato chips on top), meat and potatoes, absolutely nothing with unusual or hot spices.
Now, I'm willing to try any food once. I've discovered a lot of fantastic dishes that I love (as well as a few that I could do without--no liver, no brains--yick, yick, yick).
There are several italian deli meats that I had never even heard of, let alone eaten, until I met my DH when I was in my mid-20's (prosciutto, mortadella, capicola). Edited, because my grammar skills were at an all time low when I posted!