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Trying new foods

September 20, 2012

One thing I enjoyed about our experience with our CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) box and now at the Wild Ramp Market is the new foods I am learning to love. While many people prefer to stick with menu items on their plate that they know they enjoy, I am willing to try something new.

Quite a while ago on a business trip to the southern part of Puerto Rico my host took me to a local greasy spoon for lunch. The menu was all in Spanish but since I had taken three years in high school and remembered related  vocabulary, I understood about half of the selections. I purposely requested a menu item that I did not know. Everyone was quick to offer to tell me what it was but I asked them not to divulge what I was eating until AFTER I had tasted it and made my decision if I could continue to eat it.

It was pulpo, which is octopus. It was edible, caused no difficulty either in the first taste or subsequent forkfuls. It was perhaps not the best preparation of the dish, but the experience provided a great deal of personal growth: I learned I could try something new and I also learned that sometimes not knowing ahead of time was helpful overcoming a mindset.

Recently at the Wild Ramp I saw something that was new to me although not quite as exotic as pulpo. Based on color alone I purchased a mess of shelley beans. I had some green beans at home and thought a dish with a green and pink and white combo would be pretty on the plate. Having never eaten shelley beans before I used the internet to search for recipes. They were a hit and I purchased more for the few weeks that they were there.

Your eating habits were influenced by what foods your parents offered and other types of foods you had opportunity to try as you matured.  It may surprise you that I had my first taste of kale this past January, but growing up in New Jersey it was not available and then, when I saw it later I avoided it because of its relative similarity to spinach, one of the canned foods I strongly disliked as a kid. Now kale is a favorite of mine!   

Where you grow up also plays a huge influence on the diet that is offered when you are young. One day my work group had a meeting away from the office in a Chinese restaurant. The boss, who was nice enough to pick up the tab, was excited for me to try a dish he said was one of his favorites as a child. I overcame my immediate “no way!” reaction   because I trusted him, and took a taste. It had a very strong fishy flavor which I personally did not care to repeat. The thing I learned then and there was that the flavors we enjoy are shaped early but as adults we can still expand them.

So, I challenge you! Try something new!  The more new foods you try, the more choices you can enjoy. If you are feeding children it will be a wonderful life skill to teach them as well.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 20, 2012 6:18 pm

    My friend does a Tuscan Kale soup that is to die for, with kale, homemade sausage, potato, onion, cream and a touch of lemon juice. I use kale a lot in stir-fries.

    The one time I tried octopus it was too chewy. Don’t know if that was the way it was supposed to be or bad preparation, but it didn’t tempt me to give it another shot.

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