Author Rita Golden Gelman (Tales of a Female Nomad) says whenever she gives talks, she encourages her audience to try something new as often as possible. While for her that’s often been living in a new country, she realizes that may be a big step for most folks, so she says: next time you go to the grocery store, buy something you’ve never eaten before, and learn how to cook it.
This is what I loved about one of the produce delivery services we tried last summer: they brought the new and unexpected right to my door. A couple of times I had to resort to Google or my Facebook friends to figure out what that strange-looking thing was in my box. So for the first time in my life I (knowingly) ate a persimmon, kale, and leeks.
This year, I planted kale and leeks in my garden. The garden has also expanded to include broccoli (still under the grow light inside), garlic, beets, and mesclun, none of which I’ve ever grown before.
I got out of my cooking rut by buying a couple of cookbooks and now have new staples in my dinner repertoire (leek and potato soup, red pepper and potato sauteed in olive oil, macaroni and cheese bake with spinach, and red lentil daal).
But trying something new isn’t all about food, of course. New experiences help keep the brain nimble. Last year I bought a bicycle; I hadn’t ridden one in nearly 30 years. Once I got comfortable I started to run short errands on it, riding on the street (something I’d never done–previous rides were all on trails). In May I hope to participate in bike-to-work month. (I will, however, be taking the bus home as it’s all uphill. I want to be fit but I am not a masochist. Fortunately Seattle buses are equipped with bike-holders in front.)
I learned how to make all sorts of things last year too, and am doing my best to continue that journey this year. I got over my lifelong fear of sewing machines and took a class to learn how to use one. I made a tote bag in class, and napkins for my son’s lunchbox out of class, as well as finally mending a few years’ worth of ripped clothes.
I make my own face wash and tooth powder, and am experimenting to find a homemade deodorant that works without giving me a rash. This week I am going to try making yogurt for the first time.
What new things have you tried recently? What would you like to try this year?