One of my absolutely favorite things about the world of cuisine is the experience. There is nothing more breathtaking than overcoming your fears to try something new and different. My personal belief is that I will try everything once. I do indeed mean everything. I’ve tried many “exotic” foods before on whims because even I have to resist the urge to try scorpion tail.
One time, in my travels in New York City, I was walking through Chinatown when a man selling fresh fish offered me to try some baby octopus. I told him I was researching new foods and cuisines so he was more than happy to oblige my culinary misadventures. The only advice he gave me was to chew fast and swallow. I didn’t understand at the time, that was until I saw the plate. They were alive! The little jelly-like aliens were squirming all over the plate he presented to me, writhing around in what looked like some sort of pink fish sauce. Mustering all my courage, I grabbed it with my hand and threw it into my mouth, chewing voraciously like I was told. As much as I chewed, this little critter didn’t want to go down. Our battle ensued, I chewed and chewed, and when I finally swallowed, the entire way down I felt every sucker on its legs try to push its way back up my throat. My face was covered in sweat, as it finally rested in my stomach. The toughest meal I’ve every had but well worth the adventure. Now I love squid and octopus in all forms.
Another time, at the CIA campus in Hyde Park, NY, I was lucky enough to try blood sausage for the first time. Most people find blood disgusting, the thought of even eating a sausage made of blood nauseates them. I, however, love eating meat rare. Meat has its most flavor when served rare, and on occasion I have even eaten steaks blue rare, or barely cooked. when I was offered the option of blood sausage, I jumped at the opportunity. It was like nothing I have ever tasted before. Its rich texture, the feeling of umami on my tongue, it was just exquisite. My take on food isn’t for everyone, but for those of you willing to do a little bit of adventuring in your lives, don’t think about the taboo or your reasons for not eating it. Instead, just do it.