The Joys of an Open Minded Palate


The joys of an open minded palette. (2)


An open minded palate invites the potential for excitement and adventure right on your plate. While everyone is entitled to their preferences and dietary restrictions, I believe that judging a dish before trying it is the equivalent to judging a book by its cover.  If you do not share these same sentiments, then you are missing out. Big time.  Whether you have a closed or open minded palate, this post is for you.  Here are the best things about having an open minded palate.

You make the best use of your senses

In most cases, your first encounter with a dish is through your eyes and ears. You read or hear what you’re offered. If you automatically assume that you won’t like something based on those 2 senses, then you’re neglecting your remaining 3 senses. With an open minded palate, all 5 of your senses are fully engaged in the dining process. Some eclectic  dishes work, others do not. Whether or not the meal is executed as you hoped, curiosity is the compass that guides you toward that meal. That in itself is worth giving your 5 senses a chance.

Your palate is also a forgiving palate

As I mentioned previously, a  dish that sounds or looks good isn’t always executed equally. The difference between people with an open minded palate and a closed minded palate is their willingness to give a dish another try. Maybe that dish didn’t meet your expectations. But does that mean you won’t give it a try if it was offered somewhere else? Or even on another day? People with an open minded palate would most likely say “yes.” It’s like research. In order to validate your opinion and come to an informed decision, you try again until you have reached saturation.

You gain a true appreciation for other cultures

Here’s something we should remember: before food became a source of pleasure, it was always a source of survival. People from various parts of the world used their local resources to create dishes that were nourishing. Through experimentation, some of the most interesting flavour combinations were created through the use of local supplies. That’s how the element of satisfaction came into the dining equation. I am honestly so thankful for many cultures for their resourcefulness and sense of adventure. Some really interesting examples that challenge my open minded palate include the Aztec civilization’s discovery of the phenomenal combination of chocolate and chilli, Thai people’s use of coconut in their savoury dishes, and Moroccans beautiful use of  fruits and nuts in their savoury dishes. So although these aforementioned combinations may sound strange, they are also practical from a geographic standpoint. Thanks to the amount of cultural diversity in North America, you can learn about other cultures right on your plate without having to use your passport.

 Hosting becomes a lot more exciting

When a host takes the time and energy to dazzle you with their culinary imagination and skills, the food can be liveliest guest at your party.  This is because the food can be a conversation starter in itself through compliments, inquiries about the preparation process, and comments on the complexities of flavours. If a host has  taken your dietary restrictions, preferences, and allergies into consideration with menu planning, the least you can do is have a tiny sampling of a dish that seems new or unusual to you. Especially if your host has a reputation for being a great cook. If you don’t like what you’ve consumed, then remain polite with your reaction. Unless your host has done some major food handling safety no-no, you won’t be harmed.  Your host will most likely appreciate your effort in giving that dish a chance. It’s a gesture that mirrors the respect and trust you have in your friend’s ability and passion for cooking.

Your range of choices is extensive

Let’s say you like maple syrup. Let’s say you also like salmon. But you automatically assume that you won’t like the two together in a maple mustard glazed salmon. Well my friend you are limiting your choice and an opportunity to experience something amazing.  People who have an open minded palate have a  plethora of options. This reality is especially helpful for those who have certain dietary restrictions. Although I have my own dietary restrictions prohibiting me from consuming foods with pork or alcohol, I know can still be playful with my open minded palate. Even when I’m cooking at home, I am always open to experimenting with new flavours. Which comes in handy on those days when I don’t have a fully stocked pantry or fridge. I use what I already have and all of a sudden I’m able to create something unique and often times enjoyable.

I’m sure many of you who already have an open minded palate can happily relate to what I’ve said here. Even if I haven’t persuaded all you meat and potato types out there, I have two simple requests  for you. The first is to start small, even if it means adding cherries and slivered almonds to a leafy salad with red onions and a simple vinaigrette.  It’s delicious by the way! Also, the next time your adventurous “foodie friend” shows excitement about a dish they tried, try not rain on their parade with your negative comments.  Especially if you are not willing to partake in that excitement.  You’re entitled to your opinion, but you’re also unaware of what you’re missing.  Which could be a lot.

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