This I Believe

Kristen - Holland, Michigan
Entered on June 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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To Eat or Not to Eat: That is the Dilemma for Picky Eaters

Cornbread-Stuffed Chicken Roulades with Orange-Apricot Marmalade. Roasted Cornish Hen with Panzanaella Dressing and Sautéed Broccolini. Do these culinary dishes whet your appetite? I’m not sure if they taste delicious, but I am thrilled to give them a try. I believe in the adventure of eating. New foods and flavor combinations are among the simple joys in my life that bring excitement and wonder.

Why, when visiting Australia, does my friend Eric dare to run with a pack of emus and jump off a jagged cliff into the mysterious ocean, but refuse to drink a cup of Earl Grey when tea is served just because he thinks he won’t like it?

Why does Susan refuse to eat my Summer Salsa containing black beans, white corn, and mandarin oranges? “I don’t eat crap like that!” she says, especially upset by the foreign-looking black beans. Why such an adamant, not to mention offensive, objection? Black beans do not even have a distinctive taste in my sweet, delicious salsa, (which other friends rave about)!

Why does my 29-year old roommate, Ellen, admit that never in her life has she eaten a tomato because it looks unappealing; yet, a few months later, she tells me she has tried tomato for the first time, enjoys its sweet taste immensely, and starts incorporating it into her everyday cooking?

In a society that strongly values diversity and tolerance, my friends would not dream of judging a person based on appearance; so why do they prejudice themselves against food based on appearance? Have they not learned since childhood that one mustn’t judge a book by its cover? I believe the same holds true for food. Do not judge a bean by its seed coat! Just as a variety of multicultural experiences have enriched my life with an understanding of cultures I never knew existed, so have a variety of flavor combinations enriched my palate with sensational tastes I never knew existed.

I admit that when I tried escargot for the first time, I decided to make it my last. Also, when I initially tasted dim sum with excited anticipation, my gag reflex instantly triggered an aversion to the slimy-textured Chinese appetizer in my mouth. Not every culinary adventure is successful, but the thrill of experimenting with new foods satisfies me with delight.

Our planet provides gifts of fresh meats and produce, herbs and spices from around the globe. The variety astounds me. I sadden to think that my friends may never take advantage of the assortment of flavors, textures, colors, and shapes Earth’s foods provide. They may never experience the unexpected synergy between flavors like prosciutto with melon or French peas with mint. Sweet pleasures and tart surprises. Crunchy fulfillments and salty satisfactions. Juicy amusements and nutty delights. Such harmony of flavors!

Why settle for another plain cheeseburger when you could order Pan-Roasted, Lime-Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Mango Salsa from the menu? Just try it! You might like it! Bon appétit!