How To Be an Adventurous Eater

The dictionary defines adventurous as “willing to incur hazard, fond of adventure, daring, or courageous.”  It seems that a common theme I see in food shows from various countries is that the (usually American) host is dared to eat some kind of local delicacy that I am sure most Americans would not normally try.

This topic came to my mind when I saw a recent episode of CBS Sunday Morning (from Nov. 22, 2015) which was devoted exclusively to food (something that is appropriate for the Thanksgiving week).  One of the segments was about “Food Preferences,” which explored the reasons why different people have different tastes in food.  In the segment they visited a Japanese restaurant in New York City which was well known for serving all types of cow body parts.  They do not disguise it as “mystery meat” and for people from certain parts of Japan it is perfectly natural to eat things such as cow’s tongue and cow testicles (both of these are found in many other cuisines as well).

The CBS show described diners ordering these items as “adventurous eaters.”  They described how some people are brought up on certain foods so that they have a taste for them, and to these people this type of food is not adventurous.  I suppose that how people would define “adventurous” depends on whether they consider it to be a positive or a negative.  If I think being an adventurous eater is good, I would have satisfaction in eating certain foods that most other people do not.  If being an adventurous eater is bad, then I would consider people a little bit off if they eat foods that most of us would not touch.

I still remember an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 in which Brenda and Donna were in Paris eating at a restaurant.  Not wanting to look too out of place in a French restaurant, they ordered something at random from the menu without asking for a translation of it.  When it arrived they were quite shocked to discover that they had been served brains.  Their common sense kicked in, though, and they did not eat it.  The moral of this is that even the best cuisines in the world can sometimes require that adventurous eating be stretched too far.

In my blog I encourage people to try things at restaurants that I think most of us would like if we just knew what it was and how to order it.  This task is made difficult by culture and language differences at many ethnic restaurants, so I do the best I can to unravel these mysteries.  I can do a better job with the cuisines I know best (mainly Mexican and Chinese), but I try to explore others as well.  In any case, I attempt to give readers a variety of options, both for those who would be considered adventurous eaters and for those who like to stick with more traditional fare (although I keep in mind that the latter is generally well covered by other web sites).

No matter where people are on the “adventurous” curve, there are plenty of others at the same place. I hope to challenge people to be adventurous in trying new things because many of them are quite delicious (at least in my experience).  If they turn out not to be so delicious, I will give readers the benefit of my experience.

People are either adventurous by nature or they are not, but I think most of us can be stretched at least a little bit.  I think it is good, though, to know what we are getting into (as the fictional story about the girls from Beverly Hills demonstrated).  In any case, eating at restaurants should be fun and maybe an adventure (but the adventure needs to be within our comfort zone).