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What’s it Taste Like?

April 3, 2013

by Beth Rankin

When I lived in Nashville I worked for a doctor who was born and raised in China. One day he shared an interesting story: his father had traveled to a distant city on business and went to eat dinner at a nice restaurant that night. He had long heard that there was a famous local dish and believed this was the opportunity to taste it. He was horrified, however, when the covered platter was presented and inside were 4 live baby mice.  He happily traded the dish with the man at the next table for his bowl of noodles.

The reason behind this tale is to illustrate that in different places and different times, people have enjoyed foods that we consider strange.  Andrew Zimmern shows that each week on his tv show Bizarre Foods.  When Zimmern came to the Road Kill Cook-Off he discovered that Appalachian cooking was something to truly enjoy. He enjoyed cooking and eating ground hog with Chef Tim Urbanic of Cafe Cimino and Farmer/Chef Dale Hawkins of Fish Hawk Acres.bizarre-foods-america_ss_west-virginia_007_596x334

Throughout time the food people ate depended greatly on the climate and what foods could be cultivated or found naturally in the wild. Today we have a vast selection of food available to us that travel hundreds and thousands of miles to our local supermarkets.

Our food preferences are greatly influenced by our parents and how they introduce new tastes to us as a child. In addition there are other factors that cause us to make food choices: our peers, our susceptibility to persuasion by advertising, our income permitting us to purchase the experience of new foods, and apparently also our political leanings. A study done in 2009 showed that liberals tend to be willing to try new foods and will eat more international diets while conservatives tend to eat the traditional meat and potato diet.


Suggesting to adults that modifying their diet to something that has been demonstrated will be healthier is difficult at best. Breaking a habit of any type takes will power and determination.  Don’t be proud that you’re a fussy eater….be proud that you are willing to try something others say tastes great!
Even Andrew Zimmern has changed his emphasis from bizarre to best. Identifying the best foods available in markets and restaurants in the United States is the message in his Appetite for Life program.  “By making just these small changes, we will ease the pressure off of those commodity farms, and by voting with our wallets and our mouths we send a large message to all of Big Ag and Big Food. These are small steps we can take to make a big difference. We have the power to change the way we eat in America, one plate at a time.”

Breaking a habit of any type takes will power and determination.  Don’t be proud that you’re a fussy eater….be proud that you are willing to try something others say tastes great!

So, make the switch, lay off the fast food deep fried daily habit and switch to finding and preparing good local foods at least 3 or 4 times a week.  For a small store, The Wild Ramp Market provides a vast selection of food raised within 150 miles of Huntington. While it can’t offer you woodchuck, you can purchase a variety of delicious meat there that has had no antibiotics, steroids or hormones. You can try new vegetables and expand your taste horizons! Live it UP!!beets

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2013 1:10 pm

    I think finding a new ingredient and then searching one of my favorite foodie blogs for a recipe to utilize it is one of the joys of cooking. Also, love the bottom pic! Gorgeous!

    • April 3, 2013 8:42 pm

      To me, when I see something new at The Wild Ramp that I have never eaten, it awakens an urge to look online for a recipe, not a fear and need to run away. Yes, the beets are great and I only started eating them in the past year! Great example….my experience with beets had been canned….and so, I saw no reason to eat any. For people who like sweet eating, roasted beets are a delightful surprise.

  2. April 3, 2013 1:33 pm

    Eating a variety of foods is good for the body. I think we (industrialized nations) are allowed to be too picky because we have such an abundance of choices.

    • April 3, 2013 8:40 pm

      I think that is a good point. We do have a lot of options for eating and if those were restricted, and we were hungry, we would find ourselves grateful to have anything nutritious to eat.

  3. April 4, 2013 12:22 am

    Can I be proud that I never managed to develop a taste for Wonder Bread or fast food? I’ve learned new ways of enjoying beets these past years, too. They are wonderful! And who knew how utterly delicious brussel sprouts could be if prepared right. The one taste I can’t warm up to is fennel.

    • April 5, 2013 11:11 am

      My mother called Winder Bread “pap”. Took me years to understand that is a term for baby food. We had “hard” bread which I disliked as a kid but enjoy now tremendously. Fast food was also forbidden-she didn’t understand why someone would pay more for a meal that they could fix for less money at home. She didn’t even articulate the relative differences in ingredients and I know she would have absolutely been in line fighting for labeling.

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