My husband and I have very different experiences of food. I like to try new things and am constantly surprised but what things I discover and grow to love. He is much less experimental and is easily turned off by new smells or flavors. I love a variety of foods, and he is what I would call, “picky.” Our differences have certainly made shared meals difficult. I have learned to use meals with friends or colleagues as my time to play with food. And I have also learned what common foods we like and can share on a weekly basis.
When we had children, I was desperate to instill in them a love of the varieties of food – not because I think my husband’s preferences are bad necessarily, but more because I want them to be willing to try new things. That has meant introducing things to the kids at an early age, treating new foods like a fun experiment, and learning how to use “thank you, please” bites (a practice in which the child has to try at least one solid bite of a new food – every time it is served). The experiment has taken time. Things I introduced early did not go so well. But over time, my oldest has become more and more interested in new tastes and textures.
This week, on a mommy-daughter date, I decided to try sushi again with my oldest. She tried it once before (in a gracious, “thank you, please” bite), but I figured it had been a year or two and we could try again. I got a sampling of sushi, and she bravely tried every kind. She had miso soup for the first time, and proclaimed she loved it (I waited to tell her what the green stuff (seaweed) and white stuff (tofu) was until after she ate it first). She also tried some noodles as a backup plan. As we were wrapping up our fun lunch, my daughter said to me, “Mommy, I like trying new foods.”
I was thinking about her adventurous spirit and realized we could all use a little more willingness to try new things. Your thing might not be food, but there might be other areas of life that you have been avoiding out of a sense of fear or trepidation. Maybe it’s a new clothing style, a fun recreational activity, or a book. Maybe it is a new form of prayer, an outreach opportunity, or a new style of worship or liturgical music. As I look back at these first nine months at Hickory Neck, I realize we have both been doing a lot of experimenting – I have been trying new things and so has the parish. Some of the changes we have loved, some have been a bit awkward, and some did not work at all. But knowing that we are committed to the adventure has made the trying of things less intimidating – and I think more exciting! We are probably not going to like everything we try, but a good, “thank you, please” bite won’t hurt. Here’s to more adventures, Hickory Neck – with God, with one another, and with the world!