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spicesI once heard that every person has about 20 foods they happily eat over and over again. This was certainly true for a friend of mine – and probably still is! Her main go-to foods were based on “red sauce” (Italian marinara and Mexican enchilada sauce/salsa), plus red licorice, seared ahi tuna, and artichokes. Yes, I teased her about it.

Although I have my favorites, I’m quite adventurous when it comes to food. I like to try different cuisines from around the world (Thai, Indian, Moroccan, Mediterranean…), different spices, and cooking methods. I’m particularly interested in big-flavored condiments and different meat alternatives like jackfruit.

It wasn’t always this way. Growing up in the Midwest, the trusty kitchen companion of my Mom, my Grandmas, and those of my friends was the church cookbook (except for the holidays when we made all the traditional family recipes from, in our case, Sweden). In 1965, just about every Mom or Grandma in Minnesota could whip together quite a meal with staples like a pound of hamburger, a can of cream of mushroom soup, noodles, a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, plus a Jello “salad.”

From these roots grew my search for FLAVOR! I eventually learned that there were more spices than salt, pepper, and allspice. I turned the corner to a whole new world and kept going.

If your style of eating is more safe and predictable, rather than curious and open to trying new things, you don’t know what you’re missing. In fact, the rest of your life could maybe use a little spicing up too!

It’s in trying new things that we choose to grow and learn. In a very basic way, food is a part of the deeper connection we all share. We all have to eat to live. The difference is the ingredients. When we try another culture’s recipes, we can taste what they taste and what their Moms have been making for perhaps thousands of years – on the other side of the world! I think simple “peasant” foods can be some of the most delicious. They are made of fresh, locally available ingredients cooked with love.

So, today, I encourage you to try tasting something new. Instead of going to an “American” restaurant, how about one with food from another culture you’ve never tried before (pizza with different toppings doesn’t count)? Pick up something at the grocery store that you’ve never tried before like a mango. Even better, try making a new recipe.

What new food have you tried that surprised you by being delicious? What is it you like about it? Leave us a comment or your recipe so we can try it too. Lately, my new crush is Thai yellow curry. The spice blend and the creamy coconut milk mixed with veggies (and optionally, fried tofu) over rice is SO good. I only wish I had tried it sooner!

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