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Expanding your palate

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It’s amazing to see how our travels expand our perspective and cause us incorporate what we have learned into daily life…

Expanding your palate through travel

I was reviewing the menu at a Mediterranean restaurant, and decided to get the falafel side dish as part of my lunch. As I was sitting there eating, I realized how much I really like falafel, and it’s something that I previously would never have eaten. I came to enjoy it from my travels to Israel, which I visited three times between familiarization trips and then ultimately taking a group there.

My enjoyment of that falafel made me think about how travel expands our palate, and how it opens us up to try new foods. There were numerous opportunities for me to eat falafel here in Atlanta over the years and I never ever wanted it. Travel helps broaden our perspective and creates a willingness to explore in a way that daily life doesn’t.

I started to think about other ways I have changed my food likes and dislikes because of my travels. In the past I wasn’t much of a fish person at all, but I got into fish-and-chips from visiting Ireland so much. Now when I go to Ireland, I have to make sure I have a fish-and-chips meal because I love it. Now I’ve moved from the yummy (but not very Weight Watcher friendly) fish and chips to a broad range of other types of fish – all because of my travels.

In anticipation of a cruise around Japan, I made a specific effort to eat more fish and become familiar with more fish options for the year before the trip. I ordered the seared tuna appetizer regularly and tried the various fish specials at our favorite restaurant. While sushi will never be a preferred food for me, I was able to enjoy a wide variety of delicious meals in Japan featuring the abundant fresh fish ingredients, and a truly amazing kaiseki dinner at the ryokan we stayed at. When I just traveled to Alaska, I found myself seeking out a halibut burger in Anchorage – a few years back, I would have never done that.

During a cruise around Italy I started drinking cappuccinos, as my husband and I developed the habit of taking a cappuccino break every afternoon while touring. From my visits to the United Kingdom, I started putting mayonnaise on my French fries (it’s really better than ketchup).

One of my favorite cocktails is a Kir Royale, which I was introduced to on a river cruise on the Seine from Paris to Normandy. It was one of the specialty drinks on the cruise since it’s a French Champagne cocktail (Champagne and Creme de Cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur).

After learning how to ‘make the perfect Irish Coffee’ in Ireland, we started a tradition of having Irish Coffee on Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings.

So – what type of foods have you discovered in your travels that you really like? Have you found that traveling makes you more open to trying new foods that you might not normally experiment with when you’re at home?