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Monday Mom Challenge: Try a new food

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Open your mouth open your mind

You want your kids to try new foods, now it is your turn. Most of the adults I know rarely try new foods. We have our repertoires, typically a wide enough range of food stuffs, and, hey, we're adults. We don't *have* to try new foods. But what could we be missing?

How often do you serve a food you really like, hoping that - this time - your kids will try it and like it? Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't. Sometimes, in our house, debate ensues: the kids want to know why I would serve something I "know" they won't like, I declare that I would never serve something I wouldn't eat myself, I'm sure they'd like it if they really gave it a chance....then they ask me when was the last time a tried a new food and liked - or even reversed an opinion on a previously unliked food when I tried it anew. While I've managed to downplay it, they have me on that last point.

Open your mouth open your mindYour tastes may have changed

The foods you dislike from childhood may still be the foods you dislike, but maybe your tastes have changed. Maybe you really would like the zucchini or the parsnips, or even eggplant if you tried it now.

I used to just despise squashes. All varieties and preparations. Period, end of story. But then I was at a friend's house for dinner and they served zucchini. I *had* to at least take a couple of bites. And it wasn't bad. In fact it was pretty good. After that I was willing to try other squashes with a new openness - and thus a whole new category of vegetable matter was opened up to me. While I wouldn't say it's my favorite, it's pretty high up there. Well, mostly anyway.

Something totally different

This winter, I decided I needed to be more open to more and different foods. I bought a fennel bulb for the first time in my life. I'd not intentionally not eaten fennel before; I just hadn't been exposed to it much so I braised it, and it was...fine. Not fabulous, but fine. I didn't love it, I didn't hate it, and I might even look into a different preparation of it for another attempt some other time.

"New foods" aren't just for the vegetable matter category. There are different meats (ostrich, anyone?), fruits, different preparations of foods, and food from other cultures. While I've never been a big fan of pickled items, I now think they have a place and I am much more accepting of them in and around my other food.

More than an example

Trying new foods is more than just being an example to our kids in terms of eating a variety of foods - it's an example in being open to new experiences, and we get the total benefit. When we open ourselves up to something new and different - food-wise or other wise - we open up whole new worlds. You won't like everything you try, but at least you will have tried.

Trying new foods is a small, simple and easy way to start opening ourselves up to new and different experiences. In our rapidly changing world, I think being open is important. Now, anyone want to try some fennel risotto with me?

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