As a kid, trying new foods was not high on the list of fun things to do. Sitting at the table, struggling through a helping of overcooked, frozen brussel sprouts often felt like an eternity. The thought of sampling anything that didn’t look familiar or couldn’t be pronounced usually prompted the standard bitter face of aversion. Everyone has a memory along similar lines.
There were occasions though, when I broke free of the standard meat and potatoes stereotype and embraced the unique. My Grandma Flo used to make a wonderful dish of mashed rutabaga around Thanksgiving that was as orange as yams, but had a great turnipy and slightly sour flavor.
As an adult, I hear my friends using the same phrases with their children that my parents used on me.
“You have to try at least one bite.”
“You won’t know if you like it unless you try it.”
As much as the child in us fought against the pressure and held tightly to basic mac and cheese, our parents were on to something. Cuisine today is all about uncommon foods, new flavors or innovative ways to utilize classic ingredients. Trends like fusion and molecular gastronomy, along with a return to classics such as the offal movement and farm-to-table meals have opened the door to vast tastes and dining experiences. The culinary treats of other cultures are available in store fronts across the nation as well.
And what do these ramblings of mine amount to? The recommendation to cook a strange ingredient from time to time, or to order something off the menu that makes you a little nervous. Eat adventurously and more times than not you’ll be rewarded. There are tasty items hiding in every menu and grocery store that are too often overlooked by the cautious diner. You could be missing out on a fantastic dish that you really enjoy. Remember, you’ll never know unless you try it.
*I recently took my own advice while visiting friends in Colorado.
Beet Burger from [Next Door] (above)
Sautéed Sweetbreads from Colt & Gray (right)