Monday, June 9, 2008

Off The Beaten Path

My young daughters almost like broccoli. We’ve done the slow, patient approach – try it every time it shows up at dinner, and now it’s a familiar, if not requested, vegetable. Other than sugar-loaded snacks, just about everything a child eats is an acquired taste, isn’t it?

Look up "acquired taste" on Wiki. The page includes a crazy list ranging from things we love -- wine, dark chocolate, coffee, seafood -- to the exotic -- insects, prairie oysters (bull or deer testicles), feet (cow, pig, duck, camel). Camel's feet might be one of those "when in Rome," situational ethics kind of foods.

What puzzles me is why adults would refuse to attempt a new food or beverage. My father is a meat and potatoes man. If it's off the beaten path in even a Paula Deen cookbook, he balks. And I often hear "I don't like white/red/sweet/beer" from both inexperienced drinkers and connoisseurs. Sometimes we limit ourselves to our favorite things out of a reluctance to spend $10 or more on an unknown bottle, or because we don't want to experiment at a dinner party. Those are reasonable concerns, although new wines or beers make for a fun dinner party theme. Just remember how great it feels to take a chance and discover something new.

Baby steps, if you like. Next time you're in kybecca, tell us what you love -- perhaps it's zinfandel. Request something similar, but new -- a Spanish monastrell has the big fruit of a zin with a little warm spice on the finish. Try a new grape, a new wine region, a new beer every week.

Really -- how can you go wrong?

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