Wednesday, July 11, 2012

If it Looks Good, Eat It

I used to be a little bit of a picky eater, not terrible like some kids are. I mean, I turned my nose up at carrots but absolutely loved beets and spinach. As I grew up I reevaluated my tastes (for the longest time I swore I hated clams and, at a birthday party for my brother in law and father I sat there, eating my brother in law's steamers while claiming I hated clams. Guess what? I like clams) and started trying new things. I tried liver again and realized I still didn't like it. Realized that, as beautiful as it is I just don't like salmon. Realized good German sauerkraut is actually very good. I started to experiment in my cooking and realized I love the simple fresh (and sometimes pungent)  flavors of Mediterranean food. I learned how to detect the flavor notes in the things I had in restaurants and reproduced them at home.

I love food. I'm pretty damn passionate about good-quality ingredients and making delicious things from them. I'm so damn excited that my 20 year old niece is now starting to cook now that she's out in Montana (she has access to wonderful game meats and I am so jealous) and my youngest niece, just 12 years old, has been taking over my sister's kitchen for over a year now. But she isn't so willing to try new things yet. My sister needs to quote Hannibal Lecter to her: "As my mother told me, and I'm sure your mother tells you, it is always important to try new things."

Lately, I have been wanting to really explore new things in the world of food.  I blame Andrew Zimmern.

That's right. The guy that eats bugs and stuff

Really, he's kind of an inspiration. He travels all over the world, talks to people in villages who raise and produce food. Right now I'm watching an episode where he's in Finland, and it's absolutely delightful, the interaction he's having with the people he's meeting. He seems to appreciate the sustainability of crops, herds, and fish. He's so respectful everywhere he goes and he is so excited to try the new foods, no matter how gross they may seem to Western sensibilities. He even ate hákarl with grace. Also, he really opened my eye to organ meats (often referred to as offals).

I want to try organ meats. I want to buy a beef heart from the farmer's market. I want to try a lamb or calf's brain. I want to make my own bacon out of a slab of pork belly, grind by own beef and pork for burgers and sausage. I want to try more game meats (I've had deer and moose, in Maine it's hard not to). I want to make my own artisan breads (scary!) .

 Moreover, I want to travel around and try foods from different places, both in the US and abroad. I've expressed an interest in doing this locally but I have no one to explore with. What fun is it to find a hole-in-the-wall place and try something new if you're alone? The problem is, Maine is a huge state, so it would take a considerable amount of time to try to explore with the intent of eating, unless I and whatever intrepid soul just jumped in the car and drove, stopping at whatever place struck our fancy.

For now, I'll try to focus on scouring the supermarket and farmer's market for new things. I've been eying the persimmons... and waiting for the nopales although they're usually expensive.

For more info on using organ meats (really, why are we so wasteful?) Offal Good is an awesome blog.

1 comment:

  1. Spot on. Zimmern has made me consider eating things I NEVER would have, given the right surroundings and people.