The Great Lifelong Adventure
What if I told you about an exciting adventure you could embark upon that wouldn't cost much, would last a lifetime, and always present something new? You'd like that, wouldn't you?
Here it is. Eating! From the time a spoonful of strange stuff called pabulum was stuffed in your tiny mouth (you probably spit it right back out) you were already on an adventure into the unknown. At first maybe you were leery of it, but pretty soon you were thinking "milk, milk, more milk, ho-hum, milk, HEY! PABULUM!".
I read that the average family has between a dozen and two dozen different meals they usually eat, just rotating between them. Maybe you think that's logical; you know how to make them, have the ingredients on hand and your family will eat them. It's easy, foolproof and familiar.
For readers among you, how about you had to select, say, 15 books you were familiar with. Those are the only 15 books you can ever read for the rest of your life. Over and over again. Yuck!
Movies: pick a few of your favorites. Those are the only ones you can rent or see at the theater, over and over. No new ones, no oldie-goldies. Just the same-old same-old, forever.
Couch potatoes: pick 15 to 24 shows (not programs; individual episodes). Now, you can only watch those episodes over and over and over. "What? We have to watch that episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer again?"
Nothing new; no experimentation, nothing to challenge your thoughts, tastes, ideas, expand your mental health and knowledge, ever. Ridiculous? Sure! But that's what all too many people in affluent countries do with food, for no good reason at all.
There are many thousands of cultural and ethnic food combinations, untold ways to cook the same item, hundreds of flavor and texture variations in the same category, such as squash/pumpkin, greens or potato. Hundreds of seasonings and many thousands of ways to use them. Hundreds of different kinds of beans and legumes, for instance. Variations in flours, a plethora of vegetables and fruits. . .
Well, maybe I'm getting carried away, but I cannot imagine eating the same things over and over again. When I repeat a recipe once every four to six months or so, it's like finding an old friend. I can still remember the exact look, texture, smell and flavor of outstanding dishes I had over fifty years past. I'm constantly looking for and trying variations of foods I know about and sampling completely new things. It's an adventure every day.
People who have an extremely varied diet are lucky. First, they are probably getting a lot better nutrition. Those who have a limited variation in diet, either by choice or by necessity, frequently have deficiencies too. A broad range of foods gives you a better chance of being healthy.
You can eat more economically, choosing items on the basis of price, quality and seasonal availability, instead of a narrow range of what you are familiar with.
You're a joy to have as a guest; you'll happily eat anything put before you.
In addition, those who are willing to eat almost anything are survivors. Around the end of World War II, famine conditions killed hundreds of thousands. Those who were willing to eat things like boiled nettles and other weeds, seeds, hedge-fruit, ants and odd roots were able to survive. Those who were unwilling or unable to eat such items frequently died. Couldn't happen here? Don't bet on it. I know too many people who at some point in earlier years had to survive on what they could gather or trap, like squirrels, possum, pigeons, songbirds brought down with a slingshot, young milkweed and plantain leaves, cactus pads, wild beans, etc. What about the dust bowl and the depression? Same story. Survival; it's an excellent thing to prepare your children for!
Here's a New Year's resolution you might like to make. Be a survivor and an adventurer. You be glad you took that better, tastier path!