Trying New Things

I tried mushrooms for the first time this summer. For so long, I resisted the peer pressure to try them because I had some self respect. But then, summer came, and my standards were lower and my need for something new kicked in. So I gave in and ate one of the tiny button mushrooms in my fettuccine alfredo. I wasn’t sure what came over me as I stabbed my fork into that shroom instead of pushing it aside into a reject pile like usual, but I did it, and it thrilled me.  

My parents were shocked as they watched me, their picky-eating daughter, eat a fungus, without even a grimace or a glare in their direction. At this point, they had given up on me and my stubbornness to try any food that wasn’t pasta or cheese or pasta with cheese, and so the conversation paused at the dinner table once I popped that sucker into my mouth. But even more shocking to my parents than the fact that I tried a mushroom completely unprompted was that I continued to eat them until they were all gone. 

I expected high praise from them, but instead, my sister’s face fell with disappointment once all the mushrooms were gone since I had promised her that she could eat my mushrooms. But my act of selfishness took that away from her, and I had encroached on her territory. Yet I felt no guilt – I could only taste the deliciousness of those mushrooms. 

My once anti-mushroom worldview held me back, but my new pro-mushroom status has opened doors for me. Now, I eat mushrooms all the dang time. In pasta, on sandwiches, in salads, sometimes even by themselves. My next goal is to learn how to cook them, which I am sure will take a great deal of patience on my mother’s part, since she’ll be the one teaching me – she isn’t aware of this yet, but I assure you it is going to happen.

After trying mushrooms and realizing how much I enjoy them, I felt courageous enough to break out of my picky-eater shell just a little bit even though nothing quite outshone the deliciousness of the mushroom. I have tried fish, crawfish etouffee, gnocchi, and a black bean burger all within the last three months. And if you know me, that is a big deal. My usual rate of trying new foods is about one new food for every one and a half years. 

So now your question must be what food will I try next? But the real question should be whether I will simply return to my average one new food for every one and a half years. Indeed, according to the psychological principle of the regression toward the mean, I will definitely return to my average, which is probably true because if I’m honest all this new food has been messing with my stomach (or at least that’s what I’ve convinced myself). 

Ultimately, I am sure I will remain a picky eater, but at least I’ll be less of a picky eater thanks to my little experimentation with mushrooms. Plus, because of mushrooms, I got some sense of clarity: that I could try new things and not hate them. People haven’t been lying to me for my whole life that trying new things is good for you. Sometimes you just need to take baby steps, and that is a-okay.