Column - My resolution: To explore strange, new, fun foods
Persimmon. Pomegranate. Tomatillo. Collard greens. Swiss chard. Eggplant. Swai. Yellowfin tuna. Arctic char. Polenta.
So, what do these foods - yes, they are foods - have in common? Well, they are either foods I have recently tried or they are on my list of new foods to try in the New Year.
Unlike most of the rest of the world, I am choosing not to make a New Year's resolution this year. Instead, I am making a list - a "bucket list," if you will - of foods I want to try in 2011. If I absolutely had to make a "real" resolution, I guess it would have to be to maintain the healthy lifestyle I am currently living, which includes eating right and exercising - most of the time!
Growing up, I wouldn't have necessarily thought of myself as an adventurous type when it came to trying new foods. In fact, if there was something new on my plate, I would often wrinkle my nose and pretend I didn't like it, whatever IT happened to be. Worst part was, I probably hadn't even tried it before. If it looked weird or different, then forget it, there was no way I was going to try it.
If there was any type of sauce on whatever type of meat my mom cooked, I would promptly take that piece of meat to the sink and wash it off in hot water. Literally. Sauce, back then, was gross with a capital G.
If there were peas instead of corn in tater tot hotdish, I would pick out every last one of them; every single solitary morsel or speckle. I detested peas.
If there was a smidgen of mayonnaise or Miracle Whip on a BLT I ordered in a restaurant, I would send it back and ask for a new one - plain, with absolutely nothing on it. Not even butter.
If there was anything - pickles, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard - on any hamburger I ordered at any restaurant, I would either pick/wipe everything off or just order a new one. I liked my food as plain Jane as it could be.
Forget about eating anything "unusual" - bell peppers, onions, cooked tomatoes, olives (except green, I LOVED green olives), any type of cheese except cheddar, cooked cabbage and more.
But somehow, at some point in my life, all that changed. Nowadays, I would definitely call myself adventurous when it comes to trying new and what I now like to call "fun foods."
Shrimp. OK, maybe not a "fun food," but one I have tried...over and over again. For some reason, I keep thinking I should like it and so, I keep trying it. But not once have I ever discovered that I like it. Not one little bit. Although, I have to say, I think it's a texture thing, not a taste thing.
Mushrooms. Again, a food I keep trying, but not particularly one of my favorites. Although, I have found I like them raw, but not cooked. Again, I have to blame the dislike on the texture.
My husband and I, awhile back, started having Saturday night "date nights" at home. Most often, he will find a new recipe - either out of the numerous cookbooks we own or on the Internet. And most often, the recipe is healthy - or we will tweak it to make it healthier. Then, we head to the grocery store - or should I say stores, considering we usually end up at more than one - in search of our ingredients. On a rare occasion, we can't find something, but I have to say, thus far, we have been impressed with our local grocery stores.
Then, we head home, crank up the tunes, and start cooking. We have tried so many new and fun recipes over the last year or two. And so many of them call for items we have never tried before - eggplant, couscous, taboule, collard greens, papaya, mango, swai (it's a type of fish), lamb, Greek yogurt, ancho chili, mirin, tahini, leeks and the list goes on.
But, my list isn't complete. There are so many other new and "fun" foods I want to try.
So what's up next?
I think I hear the ugli fruit calling my name.
"It's Our Turn" is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.