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Food is a huge, essential part of everyone’s lives. Beyond its nutritional value, it brings conversation, culture, imagination, and joy into our lives. A world without access to a variety of food is not only filled with death, it suffers culturally as well. If you refuse to try new foods, you’ll suffer in areas way beyond your taste buds.

Almost everyone has experienced this in some capacity. Either you, someone you hosted, or someone you have traveled with has had such a narrow scope of what they’ll consider eating, that it becomes an issue. I’ve traveled with people who only eat “American” foods, won’t eat any Asian foods, won’t try new vegetables, won’t eat “woman food”, or only like a fine-tuned list of items. Denying new foods signals to others that you’re closed off to much more than a menu. Here are three reasons to try a new food to improve your life:

1. You Will Have Better Etiquette

Unless it’s a religious reason, real allergy, or serious belief system like vegetarianism, it’s really rude to deny what someone has prepared for you or spent money giving you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a scenario where a host bought or prepared food, and someone loudly proclaimed, “I don’t eat ____!” They usually then proceed to make life difficult for everyone around them by requesting something different or making everyone take an extra stop. This objecting individual may even insult the culture someone comes from by appearing to say “your country’s food isn’t good!” —whether you mean it or not. Be gracious of what is offered to you even if it’s something you wouldn’t normally order. Your complimentary behavior will go far with your peers and hosts.

2. You Will Have More Quality Experiences

 

By generally being more open to new experiences, including food intake, you will receive more opportunities. If you’re known as a picky eater, you’re less likely to be invited to exciting events or socials. If you make things difficult for your group, they’ll make note to not invite you next time to save money or time. Going to new venues and learning about different cultures through meals is a very quality way to expand all your horizons. If you travel to another country to take in all their art, architecture, and history, it would be a disservice to yourself to not understand them through their food as well. It will also be a huge pain to everyone to constantly be on the hunt for burgers and hot dogs.

 3. You Will Bond Over Your New Meal   

Almost nothing draws people closer together more than trying a new food together. You take a small risk by “going for it” at the same time and discussing your reviews. This is an opportunity to see their genuine reactions, expressions, and personality. (Try to not be dramatic if you don’t like it) If you both try it and it’s really bad, you’ll have a laugh to share. If you both love it, you have a new shared favorite. It may even bring up new information one of you has on the background of a state, country, or dish. When a colleague or friend inquires if you will try something new with them and you accept, you flatter them by valuing their thoughts. It’s unlikely that they will forget you.

Pro Tip: If there’s a food you ate as a child that you had a bad experience with, try it again as an adult. There may be an emotional reason you didn’t like it that has nothing to do with the flavor. Maybe the place you’re going to makes it differently. Try it again.

The bottom line is this. If you try a new food, the worst thing that can happen is you not enjoying it. The best thing that can happen is exposure to new cultures, people, and ideas. You won’t be sorry.

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