are you an adventurous eater

Are You an Adventurous Eater?

Do you consider yourself an adventurous eater? Has your level of culinary daring varied over time? I was thinking about this the other day when I was describing Mr. Magpie to a new friend and mentioned that he was “the type to order the wildest thing on the menu.” (Which is true and not true — he’s not the type to do anything to impress anybody (i.e., this is not for shock value), but he likes to try things that are difficult to come by or prepare, as he is such an excellent cook that he can pull off most menu staples handily at home. As an example, he will usually order fried artichokes or calamari if they are on the menu because they are both painstaking to clean/prepare on your own, and frying anything is an undertaking, and if there is anything with squid ink or morels or ramps — ingredients that have short seasons or are just difficult to find — he’s all over it.) My friend then asked: “What about you? Are you an adventurous eater?” I had to think on this. I am in general less of a risk-taker than Mr. Magpie and would never consider myself a daredevil in any category, but I have to say I believe I am a fairly adventurous eater, mainly thanks to Mr. Magpie. We both eat and drink nearly anything put before us.* I am specifically recalling anguilas (tiny, tender eels served as pintxos on bread) in Barcelona; just-barely-set fresh tofu with caviar at our last meal out in NYC at Contra; and a variety of forcemeats and sweetbreads and the like at the outrageously inventive Le Cou Cou (including their near-iconic navets en guise d’escargots, or “turnip, mussel and sea urchin disguised as snails”).

But I was not always this way. Before we were married, I was so hyper-aware of calories and so firmly on the salads-all-the-time bandwagon that I had tunnel vision looking at any menu. As we began to seriously date, I learned that Mr. Magpie eats three square meals a day, and likes to have a protein, a starch, and at least one vegetable on his dinner plate. I slowly began to venture out of my comfort zone and then, almost overnight, our new marriage permanently varied my diet, as I wanted to be able to sit down and break bread with my new husband at the dinner table every night, and this meant accommodating his more balanced and diverse approach to meal-planning. I grew more comfortable with eating red meat and fried foods and all the things of which I’d deprived myself in pursuit of what I perceived to be a healthy lifestyle, and now here we are — a pair of omnivores willing to eat their way through any destination.

What about you?

*Except for beer. I am simply not a beer drinker, despite many attempts. I wish I liked it! It feels like the appropriate beverage for so many instances — seafood boils/clambakes, ballgames, porch sits, camping excursions — but it is just not for me.

**I always get requests for weeknight menus/meals/recipes. It is so hard to serve this up to you since Mr. Magpie does all the cooking at this point and so many of his recipes are blends of three or four sources, or his own creation, and he is very difficult to pin down on the specifics, I think because he is a perfectionist and skittish about mis-sharing the exact proportions or offering up a recipe before it’s tried-and-true. I’ll keep working on him because I think a “Mr. Magpie Cooks” series would be SO fabulous. In absentia, I will share the last few meals he’s created:

BLACKENED TILEFISH, ANSON MILLS’ CAROLINA GOLD RICE, BROCCOLI IN BUTTER

MARINATED SKIRT STEAK, ROASTED POTATOES, GRILLED PEPPERS IN VINEGAR AND OIL

EGGPLANT PARM, SAUTEED BROCCOLI RABE WITH GARLIC AND ANCHOVIES

GRILLED BURGERS ON SESAME BUN WITH THINLY SLICED RAW ONION AND ONE SLICE OF AMERICAN CHEESE (KRAFT), OVEN FRIES WITH MALT VINEGAR TO DIP, GREEN SALAD WITH GARLIC EXPRESSIONS DRESSING (IYKYK)

PASTA WITH CHERRY TOMATOES AND BASIL FROM OUR GARDEN — INSANELY FLAVORFUL…HE IS SO GOOD AT MAKING SAUCEY PASTA; IT’S SOMETHING ABOUT DEEPLY SEASONING YOUR PASTA WATER WITH SALT AND THEN RESERVING THAT STARCHY WATER TO MIX IN WITH THE COOKED PASTA

SERIOUS EATS’ FAJITAS AND ALL THE TRIMMINGS, INCLUDING HOMEMADE GUACAMOLE (LANDON LIKES HIS WITH TOMATILLOS IN IT), BLACK BEANS, RED RICE

Post-Scripts.

+A summer bread salad you must try.

+I love picnic food.

+Chic food storage finds.

+All our favorite cookbooks.

+Some recent musings borne of a baking project.

Shopping Break.

+Another great wedding guest dress option. Love that blue!

+Adore this oversized slouchy mohair sweater — $135!

+Veja vibes for $20.

+OMG – did I already share this organizer for your little one’s Matchbox cars?

+This little sign is so cute. Paints a picture of your lifestyle, doesn’t it?!

+These $10 jammies in the dino print would make micro’s heart sing.

+Love this scalloped trash can. Eyeing it for our powder room!

+More stylish bathroom decor finds.

+This dog pillow would be so cute in a little one’s bedroom.

+Platforms are back for fall 2021. We really are heading straight back to the 90s, between clogs and these! I am swooning over these plaid beauties.

+Speaking of clogs, this is how you wear them with dresses. TRES CHIC.

+This top reminds me of Loretta Caponi.

+Love this linear chandelier.

+Gorgeous, versatile blue dress.

+$10 gingham everyday dress for a little lady.

+Just added one of these Stoney Clover-esque pouches to my cart for mini’s school backpack, for keeping her glasses, eye patches, bandaids, etc in one place.

+More great pouches for every occasion.

+This stylish oil cruet would be such a chic gift for Mr. Magpie, or any food lover.

+$10 seamless sports bralette in sophisticated colors.

+Cute socks for a little gal’s fall wardrobe. (Pair with Mary Janes or Cientas.)

+A great organization option for open shelves in a closet.

+Love this ottoman as a coffee table.

+Lots of coffee table books to consider adding to your collection.

+Another chic bar/counter stool option just arrived at Crate and Barrel. (More chic stools here.)

13 Comments

  1. The most adventurous thing I’ve ever eaten is basashi (horse — I feel awful saying that out loud) sashimi, during a family trip to Tokyo when I was maybe 18 or 19. I don’t think I’d try it again, but in general I try to be more adventurous while traveling.

    I think my preferred heat/spice level has increased significantly ever since I married my husband, who is the type of person who will ask the server if they could provide a sampling of their “back-of-the-house” hot sauce since he said it tends to be hotter than what they typically serve their guests. Though I’m not quite at your Mr. Magpie’s level of home cooking I also do try to order something I can’t make at home, for a different experience!

    PS I love anguilas too! Yum!

    1. “Back-of-the-house” hot sauce! So clever and I bet that would hold true!!

      xx

    2. Oh yes. He always breaks out in a sweat when he tries the “back of the house” hot sauce, haha!

      Also coming back here to add — when I wrote “I feel awful” in my original comment, my intention was towards any horse lovers reading here. No shame towards Japanese cuisine/culture (or any cuisine for that matter!).

  2. I want to say yes…but I am not an adventurous eater. I wouldn’t say I’m picky, but there are whole categories that I am not interested in. No weird meats, please (even most sausage, who knows what they put in there before they grind it all up?!) I don’t like melon, and strongly believe it does not belong in fruit salad because it makes everything else taste like melon, too! And after a food poisoning incident a few years ago (when I was newly pregnant and worried about poisoning the baby, too) I have given arugula – and salads in general – the side eye ever since. And I loved arugula! So I guess I fall somewhere between ordering calamari and organ meats, and ordering chicken fingers with fries 🙂

    1. Oh for sure — there are certain foods tied to certain bad memories that I feel similarly about. Honestly, I couldn’t bring myself to eat rice/grain/salad bowls for a few months after contracting COVID because it was the last thing I ate before falling violently ill and…AHH! I knew they weren’t linked in any way but I couldn’t untether them in my mind. I so get that!

      xx

  3. My gustatory path is similar to the one you’ve described — I have become much more adventurous over the past decade, namely due to the influence of my partner. We love to eat and love to eat adventurously! It’s funny when we cook for my parents, though, as they are accustomed to a much lower level of spice, so we have to adapt a bit 🙂 I bring this up because it speaks to how I ate much blander food when I was growing up, and it wasn’t until I spent my junior year abroad that I started coming out of my shell when it came to adventurous eating. That year was really formative in that way, I think. But then I reverted to counting calories and being really simple in terms of food during my years in NYC, with the exception of eating at restaurants (which I did A LOT, and usually adventurously — thinking of a particular meal at St John in London when I was 23!) Anyway, when I think about it, it wasn’t until 7 years ago, when I moved in with my partner, that I became much more adventurous in terms of regular/daily meals!

    xx

    1. That’s so interesting, on how your childhood food experience does or does not feed into your preferences as an adult. I also know people who are very picky as adults and say it is precisely because they had more simple/less seasoned fare growing up. It makes me a little anxious with my own children, as I’d LOVE to expose them to everything but they are in that standard picky-toddler mode at the moment…

      xx

    2. I know it’s much easier said than done, but I wouldn’t be too anxious about your kids’ pickiness — they are still so little, and from the sound of it, you & Mr. Magpie eat really ambitiously and adventurously. It sounds to me like they’ll be exposed to a lot just by virtue of dining with you as they grow 🙂

  4. I have tried so hard to like beer and I just….don’t. I remember in college drinking copious amounts of it because I thought I “should” and then one day just realizing that I just didn’t like it. I feel a bit high maintenance in those moments when everyone is kicking back with a beer and I seek something else, but at this point it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

    1. Right on!! I am the same. I feel similarly high maintenance requesting wine in these situations…but I believe myself to be go-with-the-flow otherwise so…!

      xx

  5. I was actually just thinking yesterday about how I have become much less adventurous about food during the pandemic! I was watching an old Anthony Bourdain show where he’s eating lots of grilled organ meats at a Korean/Japanese restaurant in the West Village, and just seemed really unappealing to me. I used to not think that way! Eating at home more often has gotten me into a food rut. My general philosophy is that I will try or taste anything, but I probably won’t order an entire meal of something that I’m uncertain about. At restaurants, like your husband, I always scan the menu for dishes that I know we won’t cook at home (but it sounds like my list is longer than his!).

    1. So interesting how the pandemic has influenced so many parts of life — I was just saying to Mr. Magpie that I think the pandemic has made us far more set in our ways and routines than we were before, including where meal planning / eating is concerned! We have actually found life in our new home/community a lot more prone to drop-bys, last-minute play-dates, etc and we are loving it but also startled by the change and its impact on our otherwise highly regimented daily lives. Just an adjustment, and we’re trying to embrace the new. But wanted to chime in and say I think you are spot-on in identifying the many ways the pandemic has influenced daily life!

      xx

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