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4 reasons why new food is awesome

3 Aug

1) New food is a hot commodity

You can’t get new food anywhere. I mean, c’mon, I’ve had a lot of food in my life. It’s not every day I can get my hands on something I’ve never tasted!

2) It’s exciting and mysterious

I love surprises. I love not knowing what something will taste like, or even what’s all in it. The thrill of experiencing the hustle and bustle of a new city is on par to tasting that city’s specialty dish (mmm!).

The meal on my flight to Japan might have been more mysterious than exciting…

3) You can more fully experience small details

Think of meeting a someone new. You say hello, shake hands, maybe ask a few general questions. Five minutes into your conversation, you’ve judged whether or not you like them. If you do, you talk longer and discover a smidgen of their past, their favorite places to hang out and other details that make them unique. Accordingly, when you spy a new food, you scope it out. Give it a cautious sniff and inspect its ingredients. Then you take a bite. If you like it, you eat more, and as you do, you experience its notes of flavor fully and form adjectives for certain characteristics of it in your mind. Granted, you might learn more about a food each time you eat it, but that first bite has your total attention, allowing you to fully enjoy the details.

4) It tells about a country’s identity

In nearly every culture, meals are a time for community. What get-together doesn’t have food in the mix? A lame one, believe you me. If you want to call up that friend you haven’t seen awhile, you ask her to meet you for coffee or at a deli. Why? Food lightens the mood. We’ve been trained to associate food with good feelings (aka, coffee and friendship). Since food is such an important part of everyones’ lives, the things a person eats tells you a bit about them.

I’m not sure what this snack says about me…

Why do you enjoy new food?


Visiting an American classic: key lime pie

27 Apr

Pucker up, baby!

In the summer, I make key lime pie all the time. What’s not to love? It’s cool, creamy and tangy. It’s also super easy to make and requires only four ingredients. It makes a great breakfast snack at any time of the day!

The limes used in key lime pie are, of course, key limes, as opposed to the Persian limes you find in the store. Key limes are tarter, smaller and more rare than the Persian variety.

Key lime pie was invented in the Florida Keys. Legend has it that sponge divers were the first to whip up the pie. Apparently they had a lot of sweetened condensed milk to use up. Hmm, what can we put with this stuff? We DO have a ton of limes laying around….

Since key lime pie’s invention, Floridians have quarreled about what makes a pie authentic – graham cracker crust or no? Meringue or whipped cream topping? The one thing everybody agrees on is that if a key lime pie is green, it’s not the real deal. Key lime juice and the egg yolks in key lime pie are both decidedly yellow.

The Florida Keys hold more than elusive key limes. South Florida boasts a laid-back atmosphere that often comes within close vicinity to the beach. Tourists stream in for swimming, snorkeling, fishing and every water sport imaginable.

The ocean used to scare me out of my wits. I mean, you’re swimming in a large body of water that contains millions of (terrifying) creatures and plants and even underwater mountains! Plus, two of my siblings have been stung by jellyfish, and a shark swam right past me when I was 12. For real. It wasn’t a really big fish, I promise!

Despite my salty scars, long-lost treasure from the ocean has always intrigued me. At the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, they have the largest collection of 17th-century artifacts salvaged from shipwrecks, including Spanish jewelry and relics from a British slave vessel.

Apart from the ocean, they know how to party in the Keys. Cuban culture abounds in southern Florida, and last year during the aptly named Cuban Fest, revelers participated in a coast-to-coast conga line. Olé!

I’ll leave you with an awesome fact about a man who felt even more strongly about his pie than I do. In 1965, Florida representative Bernie Papy, Jr. proposed a legislature demanding a $100 fine from anyone who advertised key lime pie but didn’t use real key limes in it. The legislature did not pass.