I’m not sure why, but many people are unwilling to try foods they have never tasted before. Several years ago, David and I took some friends to a deli, which, to us, is not very exotic, given that we live in South Florida (and I grew up eating at Wolfie’s a sorely missed Miami Beach icon). These friends, however, were reluctant to go to a deli and once there, unsure of what to order (note to the confused: when in doubt, a turkey sandwich is usually a safe bet). Other friends of David’s and mine, for example, Bob and Nancy, with whom we went on our “trip of a lifetime” to the land of The Beatles, are eager to try new food. During our 2019 trip to Great Britain, our first foray into the world of “different” food was at The Great Nepalese, a restaurant that David and I had been to in 1992, following the recommendation of a friend who is from London. As it turned out, neither Bob nor Nancy had ever tried Indian or Nepalese food before, but they enthusiastically tried all of the wonderful food that was served. Nancy took charge of finding restaurants for dinner on most nights during our 2 week vacation and she thrived on finding new, interesting, things for us to try. These days, food in England and Scotland is much more interesting than fish and chips! In South Florida, David and I are fortunate to have numerous restaurants that serve ethnic food that goes well beyond pizza or tacos. Close to our home is a Lebanese restaurant that serves excellent food. If one looks around, there are many options for getting out of one’s comfort zone when it comes to food choices. There’s no need to be afraid of trying food one has never eaten. What is the worst that could happen?
Apropos of Melissa’s post, she and I just tried a new (to us) cuisine yesterday – Turkish. With kebabs and wraps, of lamb, beef, and more, it reminds me of Greek or Lebanese food, – but don’t ever tell the Turks, Greeks, or Lebanese that! It was a wonderful experience and I’m sure it will be the first of many visits to this restaurant, which is relatively new to our neighborhood. Not knowing what the menu would be, meant, to me, “I want to find out.” That’s how I approach new foods and new experiences. Today, with the internet, it is easier than ever. In England and Scottland, we looked at the menus in the window; putting them there is a wonderful practice in many parts of the world including increasingly so in the United States. We’ve written before that, sometimes, “ethnic” cuisine is different in the U.S.A. when compared to the country of origin, that is, many foods get “Americanized.” That may not be a bad thing, but it can lead to some surprises. Yet, part of the experience when traveling, especially, is to see how a food item is prepared in its home county. Trying new foods, even in familiar restaurants, is a way to keep out of rut. The Great Nepalese was as wonderful as we remembered, and we now have an extra memory of dining there with Bob and Nancy, and John, a friend I met many years ago in Sydney, Australia. John introduced me to many new foods, including squid/calamari. To me a kid from Jacksonville, fresh out of college, squid was bait, not people food. But, John took me to a little fish shop in the central business district (CBD – a term I learned in the process). Calamari and chips, take away, to be eaten in nearby park, was a wonderful introduction. Jon Peters gets credit for introducing me to escargot – snails! That was another “new” thing to me at the time, meaning that my family would never have been inclined to eat something like snails! I’ve had a few new tastes that were not to my liking, but that doesn’t stop me. It has been fun introducing people to new tastes and seeing their faces when something is a hit. That has happened many times and we’ll keep sharing the experiences!