Sunday, January 16, 2011

Diving Into the New


It's always a risk to jump into something new, whether it's a new job, new town, or even something as simple as a new genre of fiction or movies. You just never quite know where you'll end up, if you'll like it or not. I am, however, a firm believer in giving things a chance.

For instance, today I tried beef tongue. I have always recoiled in horror at the idea of "out of the ordinary" items, and beef tongue always seemed hideously disgusting to me. However, due to watching such shows as "Bizarre Foods" and "Man vs. Food", I subsequently decided to go wild. Today at Chompie's, which is a local New York deli restaurant, I tried a beef tongue sandwich. And you know what? It was freaking delicious! The most awkward moment came when I picked up a stray piece of fallen meat--and it looked exactly like a tongue. For obvious reasons. It was nearly enough to make me go back and throw it down, but the taste was so delicious I kept eating anyway!

A couple of weeks ago, we were at another local favorite, Cajun Seafood Corner. I ordered my husband and myself an order of frog legs to share. Another first. And they were aMAZING! The batter they used was great, and the texture was like a slightly sweeter, lighter chicken. I would even bet I could get my son to try them, if the little legs were taken away. But yum!

At the moment, a friend of mine is taking a risk and is going to be jumping into a paranormal romance. She's generally not a fan of romance, and after some discussion with me but mostly persuasive arguments from the author herself, my friend is going to read one. I personally really like that style of books, but they're not my friend's cup of tea. Will she like it? Maybe. Will she hate it? Maybe. But she's trying it anyhow!

This is the same type of lesson I try to teach my son, which my parents tried to teach me, and everyone just has to figure out on their own: if you don't try something, you will never know if you like it or not. Over the years, I've given olives their fair chance to convert me on multiple occasions; they have failed. Mushrooms have been a lost cause on me forever; it's a texture thing.

I keep trying to persuade my son to try new things. He's getting so much better: if we offer him a bite of something new, then offer as a reward something familiar, it goes over a lot better. Carrots are now something he eats without my prompting, which is awesome. He even tried fried alligator! They looked like chicken nuggets, and he tried them.

I've noticed that the older I get, the more new things I want to try. I do not know if this is a by product of realizing that time slips away so much faster this side of 30, or my mind has finally opened up enough to accept new and uncomfortable things.

There are a few things I will never be comfortable with: starting new jobs. Prime time TV. Mushrooms. The slip and slide of fashion as it harkens back to the 70's and 80's. (Although in that instance, I was young enough during those decades I never had a chance to fully appreciate the fashion culture nor pop culture in general, so it's worth a shot in some cases.)

In my teens, I was rebellious. I would do anything I could get my hands on, but was still intelligent enough to know when to say no. Sometimes. In my twenties, I was marred by a mentally abusive relationship and it took me a long time to find myself again. Then I had my son, and everything shifted. Familiar was comforting. Familiar was safe. But there were also new things to be tried. Here in my thirties, I find that culinary adventures are exciting and quite attainable. While I may not be packing up the family to move to Ireland on a spur of the moment whim, I can still wander into the nearest restaurant and find something new to try, or go to the bookstore, grab a random book and possibly find a new favorite.

So in conclusion, always find something you've never tried before. Food's my new adventure right now, and I like the ride so far.

Happy trails!

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