You want me to try WHAT??? How not to be a food fuddy duddy.

I’ll admit: I don’t set the perfect example when it comes to trying new foods. Last week I nearly lost my ever-living cool when a friend ordered the Pho Chin, Gan (beef brisket pho containing a horrifying ingredient called soft tendon) and insisted that I try a spoonful of the hot, gelatinous goo for myself. My response? Pure repugnance and adamant refusal.

Sometimes you just have a visceral reaction to a food item. Your gut tells you, Do not touch that thing - not with a 10 foot pole, not even with your fingers, and definitely not with your teeth, tongue, or stomach lining.

I see this kind of reaction every now and then in our Community MVPs class, both in response to the usual suspects like mushrooms and olives, and to more unique items like a salted duck egg or a can of fresh sardines. But I’m consistently impressed by the way our teenage participants overcome that feeling and just take a bite anyway.

Like when Ronnie resisted adding mushrooms to a dumpling recipe and then decided to just try one raw… and liked it.

Or when Asya asked if we could leave out the pomegranate from a recipe because she didn’t like it, then announced proudly she had changed her mind at the end of class after trying it in a kale salad.

And when Dayshaud learned he actually loves spaghetti squash with homemade pesto and wanted to take home a recipe to share with his family.

At Brainfood we encourage everyone to try a food item prepared in three different ways before declaring a distaste for that item. Don’t care for creamed spinach? Try a fresh spinach salad with a citrus vinaigrette! Can’t stand stewed lentils? Try a lentil chickpea veggie burger with green harissa!


Our students’ willingness to try - even like - new and scary food items is an inspirational reminder for me in my day to day eating. And while I’m not sure I’m anywhere close to swallowing down a soft tendon soup, I can definitely try a little scary mayonnaise whipped into a deviled egg or hidden in a tuna salad.

Progress... Bite by bite.


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