I generally try to stay away from foods I can’t pronounce. This has served me well over the years, steering me away from exotic foreign fare and towards things like chicken nuggets. My mom never claimed to be a great chef, and since she worked full time we stuck with the family standards: frozen pizza, spaghetti, fish stick sandwiches and hot dish. Many of these foods are still my favorites today, but lasagna was about as “exotic” as our meals ventured. When I went to college and moved to the big city I was instantly surrounded by a seemingly never ending smorgasbord of new and exiting food. I tried a myriad of new genres of food: Mexican, Brazilian, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern. I desperate wanted to like the new and exciting food, but I didn’t. I pretty much hated mostly everything I ate. My chief complaint was always that the food was just too darn spicy! If I wanted to add some heat to my meals, I’d add ketchup. I couldn’t even handle mild salsa! It seemed like I couldn’t even taste most ethnic foods because my mouth was overpowered by the heat. Once, I ate a jalapeno and instantly threw up. Yes! I vomited at Champs thanks to a jalapeno. Why do people eat food that hurts?
This left a bad taste in my mouth (HA!) for trying new foods. After hundreds of dollars of meals left barely eaten (followed swiftly by a Subway run) I resolved to stick with meat, potatoes, chicken nuggets, pizza and corn pops. (they count as a vegetable just like candy corn!)
Careful coaching from friends has coaxed me into trying and liking a few new things: sushi, pho, bubble tea and figs for example, but my initial reaction to trying new foods still remains “no thanks.”
That is – until I walked into a work lunch to encounter a buffet of Middle Eastern food. I could have easily settled on a chicken pita and salad but NO – I was feeling bold. I was going to try and dominate the most exotic and weird looking thing on that table and that thing was: Falafel. This is the epitome of something I generally would not ever attempt to eat.
The name is weird. It is obviously filled with a mystery substance. I hate food surprises, even jelly donuts!No one else was eating them.
Fork in hand, I rolled a few onto my plate and sat down with my friends to eat the feast.
My friends at my table were obviously more adventurous than me, because before I could coax myself into eating one, several people at my table had conquered a falafel or two.
Melissa, my friend, colleague, and blog mentor Melissa went first. Yum! (check out her blog when you get a chance: marketingmama.com)
Next was Sam.
Neither of them made a gross awful face; that was encouraging.
I gathered my courage, then stabbed the falafel with gusto.
“I’m going to eat you!” I shouted at it.
And I did eat it, and I didn’t die.
I survived the Falafel! (That should definitely be on a T-shirt)
It wasn’t disgusting. All that stress and angst was for nothing. It was surprisingly ungross. In fact it was actually kind of bland. I thought only American food was bland.
Now I’m ready for my next food adventure. What do you think I should try next? Give me a suggestion in the comments section below.