We, or our ancestors, came to this land seeking new opportunity – more fertile hunting grounds, land ownership, better agricultural lands, greater business opportunity. All hallmarks of higher socioeconomic class. Each step up that ladder brought with it new neighbors, different styles of clothing, and new types, varieties, and preparations of food.
As we learn to eat more affluently to improve our health, we too need to learn and to embrace new foods – foods that feed our minds, our bodies, and our souls.
In my old Girl Scout Handbook, girls were advised to try new foods by asking for “three bites, please” – enough to be polite and to determine whether or not we like the new food. It’s the same method mothers have been using for their babies for decades.
The issue often is, how we, as adults, can do this at home.
We all understand how to isolate the food, to test before and after, to find recipes that use the new food and fit our dietary and cultural needs.
What often stops us is finding a way to limit the resource requirements (time, money, and storage space) needed for those “three bites”.
Try only purchasing small amounts (a partial scoopful or spoonful from a bulk bin, a single fruit or vegetable from the greengrocer), or sharing a single serving (or recipe yield) with family and friends. Or purchase a spoonful or so from a pay-by-weight salad bar or hot-food bar.
Set small goals for experimentation. One or two foods a week are enough to expand your vocabulary without breaking the bank. If you are trying a completely new food, rather than a new recipe using ingredients you already know, don’t serve it as a main dish – serve it as a condiment or a side dish or a tasting dish.
Small trials and sharing new tastes with others can provide meaningful social contact while adjusting us to healthier portion sizes. With each new food we try, we gain confidence, understanding, and broader cultural awareness. We learn something new about our bodies. Hopefully, we improve our health in the process.
In exploring new foods, we enrich ourselves.