Trying new foods is scary but worthwhile

Once upon a time in the land of suburbia, there lived a 4-year-old girl with a perm. (Hey, it was the 80’s.) One day, her evil mother offered her a strange and foreign food, but the little girl said, “No.”

Her mother was persistent, “You’ll like it. Just try it.” The little girl was convinced it was a poisoned apple — or worse, peas! — so she refused. But the evil mother sat on the little girl, pinned her arms and *gasp* force fed her the suspicious food.

I haven’t always been great at trying new foods. Just ask my mom. But I’ve slowly gotten more adventurous, and now I love trying new foods… the weirder, the better. My brother even convinced me to try bugs.

The NPR says “Insects are nutritious, plentiful and better for the environment than other sources of protein, like beef cattle.” Do it for the environment!

My brother and I ventured to Four Belly in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood to try their fried caterpillar. Only $4 for adventure and glory. The caterpillars were smaller than I expected, only about an inch in length.

Fried caterpillars from Four Belly

Fried caterpillars from Four Belly

I put on my game face, picked up my chopsticks and took a bite. The flavor was a mild Thai herb. The texture was mealy, almost like peas. Yuck! One thing that hasn’t changed since I was 4 is that I still don’t like peas.

Four Belly is a great, low-risk place to try bugs, but make sure you grab some of their delicious ramen to wash it down. Lesson learned: Trying new foods is risky but worthwhile. I didn’t like them, but I guess didn’t die either.

So what happened to the little girl? Did she fall under an evil spell? Turns out, the suspicious-but-delicious food was cherry pie. Cherry pie! The silly, little girl has loved it ever since. And she ate happily ever after.

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