Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Reflections on my 30 by 30 Project

Well, it's my birthday! I'm officially 30 years old, and my 30 by 30 list has come to a successful end.

For those who don't remember, last year I proposed this project as a way to cast aside my picky eating and cultivate a more adult palate. I would try thirty new foods before my thirtieth birthday. In some ways, it was harder than I had expected. While I still label myself a picky eater, I had begun expanding my horizons before this list, so I had to search more diligently than I'd expected to find foods that were completely new to me. And sometimes (as with the kohlrabi, which, upon tasting it, I realized I'd had as a child), I got it wrong. But a review of the list shows how far I've come in becoming a more adventurous eater.

Out of my thirty new foods, I liked twenty, tolerated seven and disliked three. Some of the things I liked, including all the greens, have become staples in my kitchen. A few items moved from tolerate to like over the course of the project. I know I wasn't very keen on chard the first time I had it, but it grew on me quite quickly, until now it is something I am really excited about (I jumped for joy when it appeared at the farmers market last weekend). Sometimes it just takes time. I imagine more of those acceptable items will become enjoyable as I slip them into my kitchen repertoire.

I've also learned how much the preparation of the food makes a difference. While those beech mushrooms I had last week were a punishment to eat, I enjoyed the flavor they lent to my fried rice. I wasn't thrilled with the flavor of harissa, but plan on experimenting with the rest of my jar to see what it might pair better with. I still need to figure out how to get rid of my stash of frozen poblanos in a less than palate-searing way.

Besides these foods that were totally new to me, there have also been a number of old enemies that have become friends. I have always hated raw tomatoes, but I've come to enjoy them almost any other way (as long as the squishiness factor has been reduced). I have stopped worrying about picking mushrooms out of my food (to a certain extent) - while I don't want a big chewy one, I can handle, and even enjoy, them thin or finely chopped. I used to hate the flavor of zucchini, but now I'll eat it any way. I've become friends with beans of all varieties and preparations.

So my little self-improvement project has expanded my horizons far beyond what I had expected. While I don't have to like everything, I will no longer be afraid to try anything. And I will be a much happier foodie for it.

1 comment:

  1. Your comment about the chard is funny! My sister and I did this once and called it grain month! We swapped pasta and rice with beans, hearty grains , etc. and we discovered how many great beans there are, too ! Great idea.