Don’t Hoard Hob Nobs

This past summer, while my husband and I were on one of the many flights during the two weeks we were on honeymoon, I watched the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” I had seen a preview for it, but didn’t realize it had even been in theaters yet. Maybe it hadn’t. I don’t know how in-flight movies work… I watched it. I loved it. I recommend it. The basic plot is that a handful of – dare I say – elderly British people go to India to retire (or other various reasons). That doesn’t sound terribly interesting, but it’s really a great movie.

One of my favorite characters is played by Maggie Smith. She is a woman who needs an operation, and she is the only not-completely-willing participant in the trip. She is a slightly racist old woman who feels she can speak her mind no matter who she might offend, but I think we all know someone like that. While she is in India, she refuses to eat the food her servant brings her, clinging to the Hob Nobs and other British goodies she stuffed in her luggage before leaving the UK.

I won’t ruin the movie for you, because I genuinely want you – yes, all of you – to see this movie. I just think it is a good picture of how a lot of us live our lives. Do you find yourself stuck in a culinary rut, either completely apathetic or too darn stubborn to try something new? I’ll grant you that it’s probably not as extreme as facing malnutrition on a diet of chocolate covered cookies (or biscuits, as my new relatives in England and Scotland would call them). But why do we ignore the amazing world of tastes and flavors that are waiting with bated breath for us to notice them? Even now, having tried Indian food and fallen in love with it, I couldn’t tell you where to find an Indian restaurant in this city, a place I’ve lived for 21 of my now 23 years of life. We get tunnel vision, focusing on the places we know, even if they aren’t that good.

I want to issue you a challenge. Sometime in the next week, actively choose to try something you have never had before. If you’re going out, try an ethnic restaurant that you haven’t ever been to. Try Indian, Vietnamese, Laotian, I don’t care! Just try something! If you’re cooking at home, use familiar ingredients in a strange way or strange ingredients in a familiar way. I want to hear about your experience, but you have to find it first!

So, get out there. Try something new. Tell me all about it.

Until the next taste,