Try Something New Today
In Jamie Oliver’s TV series, Food Revolution, he visits an elementary school in Huntington, West Virginia and encourages schoolchildren to expand their culinary palates and enjoy more nutritious, healthy foods. Kids that try new foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are given a sticker that says “I tried something new today” and learn to love (or at least tolerate) items they originally shunned.
Eat like a local
During my round-the-world trip, I will also be challenging my taste buds by trying regional delicacies and authentic local cuisines. Food is one of the many joys of travel, and sampling local specialties provides an opportunity to better understand and appreciate everything a destination has to offer. Of course, this may occasionally require stepping outside my comfort zone and trying new things I would ordinarily decline.
I’ve already surprised myself by trying new foods, even though my trip has only just begun. Currently, I’m in the city of Merida, Mexico – the hot and humid capital of the Yucatan state. One way Meridanos have learned to beat the heat is with ice cream. The city has become famous for its ice creams and sorbets, and you’ll often see families strolling around the main square enjoying a delicious helado in the evening.
While ice cream is certainly a familiar item, many of the flavors here were completely new to me. Some, such as flan, sounded delicious. Others, such as sweet corn, sounded very strange. Yet others, such as guanabana, I had never even heard of before. The hot and sticky weather gave me a great excuse to sample all of these ice creams, and enjoy some exotic flavors that completely exceeded my expectations.
In particular, the Yucatecan sweet corn elote ice cream surprised me the most. White in color, interspersed with kernels of real corn, this ice cream was smooth, only slightly sweet, and incredibly tasty. I’m already trying to figure out a way to find this back home, or learn how to make it.
Picky eaters, give it up!
Trying new foods is not just for travelers and schoolchildren – it’s important for all of us to adapt our palates and challenge our senses, especially those of us changing our lifestyles by adapting healthier eating habits. Sometimes this might mean rediscovering an old friend, like those brussels sprouts that remind you of Grandma’s dinners. Other times, though, this will require venturing into the unknown and trying something completely new, like wheatgrass, goji berries, acai berries, or cacao nibs.
Sure, you might not always like these things, but you never know, you might just surprise yourself and find your own elote.
I’ll continue reporting on interesting foods, and the differing cultural aspects of growing, preparing, and enjoying foods throughout my journey. In the meantime, if you know a culinary specialty you would like me to sample on my journey through Latin America, please leave a comment with your suggestion.
Have you tried something new today?
Calorie Count co-founder Erik Fantasia and his girlfriend, Heather Curtis, are currently traveling through Mexico as part of a trip around the world. You can follow their adventures on Facebook at facebook.com/aroundthisworld