I am going to start off by saying that since this is a new blog, I have decided that my readers should know who I am and why I have decided to blog. So I am starting a new series called "Behind the Lens" which will be separated into – at this moment – an unknown number of parts in order to get to know who the woman behind the camera is. They will give you information about me along with little stories to send you on a journey through my life.
Growing up, I was one of the pickiest eaters out of the entire family. Which, if you know me know, would shock you. The strangest part is that I would even make up the grossest – not to me – concoctions that anyone ever heard of for my meals, including a butter and ketchup sandwich with no crust on white bread. Today, I cringe at the idea of eating that. It was to the point where the doctors were concerned I wouldn't eat enough because I wouldn't "like" it. I take after my mother in this sense because she, as well, is a picky eater.
One time a while back (to the point that this is my father's version of this story because I do not remember this event happening) I was visiting my family, when we decided to go to a bakery. This bakery had so many options to choose from with food I was allowed to pick out including donuts of all sorts, baked goods, and some sweet cookies. However, being the picky eater, I choose to eat the one thing I liked in that whole store, a plain roll. That is all I wanted.
As I started to grow up, I got to a point where even it looked gross – the better word would be just plain unappealing – I wouldn't try it. Until one family vacation changed my food experiences forever.
On this vacation, we went to Georgia. My family owned a time share that allowed us to go on these family vacations. I remember that I was in my middle school days because I had my braces, my hair was not damaged by a straightener and I had contacts instead of glasses. I also remember that my sisters were still annoying me at this point in my life. We were in the woods and our backyard was a river. From what I thought, it was awesome.
The best part of this vacation, for us children, was that we had a television that provided cable for us. Back home, we did not have cable. Our parents believed in the philosophy that if we are paying for it, we should be using it all the time, and they did not want us to become lazy and large children and encouraged the outdoors instead of a television. Back then, I thought it was the stupidest and meanest thing they could do as parents, but now I thank them for that because even though we were never up to date or in sync with the rest of the kids at school on television, we learned that the outdoors is not evil. This is where I discovered my now favorite show "Chopped" which airs on The Food Network. I became interested in this show because it showed all of these things that I did not know about or could imagine. It got me interested in different types of foods besides what my father put on the table for dinner or what we ordered when we went out to eat, which as children were chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. This show just peaked my interest into the food world that I knew NOTHING about.
While this trip was pretty fun, it was hard for us to imagine that we had to take a 30 minute trip just to get into town, which only seemed to have one restaurant. As a family, we decided that one night we would go and try this restaurant out. When we arrived, Dad informed us that it was Cajun food. My sisters and I were looked at each other and then him as if we were saying, "Can you speak our language please and not this nonsense?" We proceeded to sit at a table to eat, we ordered our meals, and then the food arrived at the table. I cannot for the life of me remember what exactly I ordered, but I know it was something ordinary like a cheeseburger or something of that nature you would find on a kid's menu. I looked over at my dad's plate and I immediately dismissed it.
"What is that?" I asked with disgust on my face.
"Jambalaya," he replied. "Want to try some?"
"Ew, no," I replied.
"You know, you shouldn't say you don't like something until you try it," were the words my dad said that changed my life forever.
I said "Okay, I'll try it." Dad stuffed a fork-load of the Jambalaya making sure he got every piece to make this the best bite of this dish I could have. He handed me the fork. As I put the fork to my open mouth, I could see Dad's joy on his face that I was going to try something new, but at the same time nervousness about what I would think of it. I still remember the fireworks my tastebuds had at that moment. This was DELICIOUS! This was the moment that changed my life.
I made a vow to myself that instead of dismissing food before I even tried it, I would have to taste it before I decided if the food was good or bad. Now, of all the food I have tried in my life I only dislike a few items in food or beverages. This list would include: celery, mint, and dark or "hoppy" beer. I have still a lot more to try in the world of food – especially after watching on "Chopped" all the wild ingredients of the world – but I am never scared to try anything new.
As of now, I am trying to now make healthy and delicious food for my boyfriend and I. Dad now has a lot of dietary restrictions and one of my sisters is a vegetarian so it has become easier to eat healthier. However, that does not mean that I do not try the wonderful ingredients and food when I am out and about. The one thing I try to do if I find an ingredient I don't know about is to research (or Pinterest) meals or dishes I can make with those ingredients. I have been taking my Food Network knowledge that I have gained throughout the years and started to learn to cook and make amazing meals. So for now, I am an aspiring amateur chef. Who knows? Maybe after watching "Chopped" for so many years, maybe I could apply for the amateur rounds. We will see.