Friday, August 29, 2014

what's the worst that could happen?

I worked late last night and wanted to blog but had no motivation. Andrew offered to do it for me, and he hasn't written a post for me since last August, so here are his two cents today.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Long time no talk, blog people. I'm Andrew, Lauren's husband. If you read along, you surely know we eat out a lot and are fairly adventurous eaters. I know many people are picky, and some who claim to not be picky eaters actually are quite selective in their meal decisions; they just may not realize this. As Lauren is sure to edit this and weed out some of my lengthy chatter, I'll do my best to be succinct. No promises though.

Signs you may be a picky eater:

1. You tend to order the same type of entrée on most of your dining out occasions. While there may be slight variations, you stick to a fairly small comfort zone, drawn to culinary buzzwords and phrases such as "baked to perfection" or "mango-habanero." Honey-chipotle is another chain restaurant fave as they try to maximize on the sweet heat trend that appeals to so many. It is a common food crutch. I can look at a menu and predict what my father will choose before he ever sits down to the table.

2. You have a standard order at multiple places. We all have our fallbacks. When you go to place ABC you always order XYZ. I don't fault you for it., I have my food staples too. But if you start to notice that you have an "I'll have my usual" moment at numerous local restaurants, you may be stuck in the dreaded comfort zone.

3. You intentionally avoid ordering a dish based on one ingredient that is part of the plate, and you have not tried that ingredient since you were less than 18 years old (i.e. a yuck that has mushrooms moment). I'm a big supporter of try everything as an adult. I promise, tastes change. If they didn't I would still eat nothing but bagel bites and Oreos.

I tell you all of that to tell you this: take a chance. It's the only way you'll learn to appreciate more types of cuisine. I'm not saying go out to the fanciest, most expensive restaurant in town and order something you're relatively certain you won't like. I don't expect you to empty your wallet in the name of risk. But the next time you go to one of your normal spots (which I assume is fairly affordable because most of us don't have a regular routine restaurant that costs a fortune), order something you wouldn't normally order. What's the worst that could happen? You don't like it and don't order it again. It's one meal in your life that didn't satisfy, but at least you tried.

I say these things not as a food snob, but someone who adores the experience of dining and the endless possibilities involved in it. If you're at a restaurant where the chef has earned your trust, either through reputation or personal experience, then put your faith in them that they would not put something on the menu that they don't feel you'll enjoy. And when you start to turn your nose up about a plate of food based on an ingredient, try to remember the last time you tried the ingredient. So often the answer is either "never, I just know I won't like it," or "my mom made me eat it growing up." We all love mom, but let's be honest, she was capable of messing up a meal from time to time.

I don't expect everyone to want every meal to be an experience, I know I'm a nerd about food. But I hope minds continue to stay open to new things in a culinary sense. One of the things I love about my city right now is the growing willingness for the community to try new things. Try to put aside common misconceptions about different ethnic cuisines. Not every Indian dish is heavy on the curry. Not every Mexican dish is smothered with cheddar cheese. Vegetarian food is not just tofu, I promise. Great barbecue has NOTHING to do with sauce, and please do not be happy when your ribs "fall off the bone." It means they're overcooked- please believe me that this is fact!

Food is fun, food brings us together and is an integral part of so many of our memories. Turkey and fixings surrounded by family around the table, shoving cake into each other's mouths on our wedding day, a greasy burger on a hot afternoon. You never know when you're going to make your next food memory, but the opportunity is always there.

16 comments:

  1. i fully agree with this; unless it's the weird food of my peeps like duck tongue or chicken feet or tripe or what not. no matter how tasty it may be, i can't bring myself to eat intestines or duck tongues.

    other than that, bring on the different cuisine! i also encourage my 6yr old to do this which is why she has such a wide palette and not only eating chicken fingers, plain pasta and chocolate milk.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm a picky eater and I know it, if we go someplace new I do try to branch out and pick something out of my comfort zone.

    I also don't mind trying things other's recommend to me as being delicious. I just hate to take a chance and then end up disappointed and still hungry. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I do tend to be picky eater. The past couple of years I have worked on expanding my food horizons. And I have surprised myself by liking things I thought I hated.

    ReplyDelete
  4. So sweet that your husband is willing to write on your blog! He did a great job :-)

    My husband and I are both incredibly picky, but about different things. I'm not a fan of most meat, and he doesn't like most vegetables. We're kind of impossible to cook for, but we're working on it. Our nieces and nephews always have to take two "no thank you bites" before they can refuse the dish, so now we make ourselves do that too. It works! Also, I did not know the ribs falling off the bone thing! Interesting!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ummm and what is wrong with Bagel Bites and Oreos??!?! Haha :)

    I have really started stepping out of my comfort zone as an adult and trying new things all the time. I do have a few places I get my usual at, but I don't ever feel I am in a food rut because I love to try new dishes and new places as often as I can! Love this! Maybe one day I will have the privilege of dining with the two of you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ha! My husband could have wrote this. I'm the picky one. Just the other day I said I don't like cottage cheese. He asks-have you ever had it? My answer-No. I just don't like the way it looks!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I could not agree more! I just hate when people do not give unknown foods a chance. You can't tell me you do not like it until you have tried it!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I used to be super picky but I will try anything now. I have totally found that I like things I used to think I hated. I still hate pickles though. Barf. My husband is totally picky and he didn't think he was, yeah, he will eat anything - as long as it's meat & potatoes! Haha. His order at pretty much any restaurant is a Bacon Cheeseburger. It's okay that we differ on this, he's a good sport if I really want to go anywhere different but mostly I do my eating adventures with friends (like you.)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am a little bit of a picky eater but every year I try to add 6 foods that I am going to try and make dishes using those ingredients.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Tastes definitely change!

    When I eat out, I try not to order things I cook at home. I want to try something different, be it an ingredient or just a method of preparation.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm bad about ordering the same thing places we always go - but they are SO GOOD I just can't resist getting them. Branching out would be good though. I also totally agree with trying new things as an adult you didn't like as a kid - some of my favorite foods now I hated as a kid (hello salsa)!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I get really annoyed when people I'm with say they don't like something without trying it. Expand your horizons people! Also, I didn't realize the meat falling off was a bad thing- oops!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh no! That's me! Except I wouldn't consider myself a picky eater. I will try anything & like most things...but when I go to places I know what I like and so that's what I usually get ha.

    ReplyDelete
  14. LOVE, LOVE this and could not agree more! Lauren, you know my view on people who won't try new things ;) People are missing out on a whole world of experiences when they make their "will eat" list so small...it makes me sad.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am ashamed to admit I used to be a very picky eater. Luckily, I've since expanded my tastes and now join you in food nerdiness!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I fully admit that I can be a picky eater--and when I'm paying at a restaurant I do tend to stay with safer choices because...money. :P I think I take a few more risks with home cooking and making up new combos. Since moving here we've definitely taken more risks because we've ordered items off the menu even when I didn't understand what the characters meant: "Tree Ear? What kind of is Tree Ear?"....when we saw the dish, "Oh, I guess it's a kind of mushroom...that makes sense now..."

    ReplyDelete

I like comments and read them all but I'm not great about responding to them, so please don't be offended. I would much rather visit your blog instead!