I’m sure there’s a statistic out there related to the percentage of adults who eat the same thing over and over and rarely try anything new. I’m sure it’s out there – I’m just not finding it. What I did find though was an article from 2011 titled Unadventurous Britain: How one in five adults has never eaten an olive. On one hand, I’d like to think that Americans are more apt to try new things but then I look around and realize I’m probably giving the US population more credit than due.
The article reads, “It (a study) found 68 per cent of adults would refuse to try some foods, such as liver, sprouts and sushi – even if it was bought, prepared and served to them free.
A third have never tried mussels or sea bass, 45 per cent have never eaten goat’s cheese and one adult in five has never consumed an olive, asparagus or aubergine.
More than half of adults (53 per cent) say they have no desire to try new foods and 40 per cent do not encourage their children to experiment.”
Now before I get too busy patting myself on the back for all my adventures in eating, I’m certainly no Anthony Bourdain or Andrew Zimmerman. And it wasn’t so long ago that I met my husband – a midwestern boy that was brought up on canned and boxed food. Any spice beyond salt & pepper was exotic. And ethnic food was definitely something for which he didn’t have a palette, or desire.
He’s made big strides and is a good sport. He still tries whatever I might put on the table in front of him – Thai, Mexican, Asian inspired. In fact, he’ll even eat sushi now. Big progress indeed! We’re taking baby steps and that’s ok because I know for him food is a source of comfort and it wouldn’t be fair to turn that world on end overnight. I’m proud of him though – for trying new things. And I know his palette is expanding. When he makes something from the old days, he comments about how bland and one note it is.
I think it’s easy to get stuck in a rut too. Everyone is in a hurry these days, so they reach for the ingredients that are familiar – that they know what to do with them once they get them home. I’m guilty of this too but recently Boise got a Whole Foods and this is a game changer for sure. There are lots of things I’ve never experienced in this store but everything is so beautiful and seductive that it’s exciting. So much so that my husband and I often have Friday night dates here. I know that might sound completely lame to some people, but we stroll the aisles – particularly the produce, meat counter and cheeses – dreaming of what we might make. Wondering about the things we don’t know about. We always end up at the bar that our Whole Foods is lucky enough to have, munching on something delicious and drinking wine. It’s really a pretty great date.
I’d been eyeballing the pomelos on these Friday night cruises through the produce department for some time. I’d never had one and didn’t really know what to expect except that they are in the citrus family and I like citrus well enough. So I decided this was the week to try something new and picked one out. Coincidentally one of my favorite magazines, Fine Cooking, featured pomelos in their “try this” section in the current edition. It must have been fate.
Saturday morning I couldn’t wait to cut into this baby and see what it was all about. I was amazed by how much of the fruit wasn’t really edible (although the magazine does say that the pith and rind can be candied or made into marmalade) – it had this thick spongy border that must have been about an inch wide. The magazine had also suggested that pomelos are best not only separated from the peel but also from the membrane that separates the segments. This is definitely easier said than done. I was earning my breakfast here!
Finally I had set them all free and it was time for the best part – eating it! We (yes…my husband too) tried it both plain and sprinkled with chile and salt which is the way it is eaten in its native Southeast Asia.
The pomelo was sweeter than a grapefruit but not as sweet as an orange. Pleasant indeed. It seemed like a lot of work for what you got and then factor in the $4.50 price tag for one fruit and honestly it probably won’t become a regular in the fruit bowl but more importantly, hopefully I will never become a statistic of a population that stops trying new things, food or otherwise.