It Was a Very Good Year

As we are fully aware of, this time of year always brings out “Best of” and “Top Ten” lists, so in the spirit of the season, I have compiled a list of my Top Ten Firsts of 2012:

10. Red Robin – While not an earth-shattering first, it still deserves mention, because I got to share the experience with my best friend, Rob. The food and service were phenomenal and have been every time I have gone since. Now if only Rob could say the same…
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Out of the Box B-“ugh”-ffet

On my quest for out of the box living, I knew that, at some point, I would have to deal with food. I have a very selective diet, and it’s very difficult to get me out of that very comfortable box. I like what I like and I don’t like what I don’t like and never the twain shall meet. But…I want to change that. I want to at least be able to come up with a valid reason why I don’t like what I don’t like. So, I took the opportunity of a lunch date with a friend today at a Chinese buffet to sample things I’d never tried before.
Unsurprisingly, this experiment met with the most resistance. I was intending to start immediately sampling new things, but convinced myself to get something familiar for the first go-around and try the new stuff on the second trip. I did break away from my usual sweet and sour chicken, but I didn’t stray too far, having something called Hawaiian chicken. Yes, technically, it was a new food, but would only qualify as sticking my big toe out of the box, if even that.
Then came the moment. The first plate was done, and it was time for the second plate. Again, I almost decided I would save the food experiment for another time, but finally managed to convince myself to go through with it. This is what my second plate looked like:

One mussel, one shrimp, one seafood donut, and one crab rangoon. Again, I found myself ready to call it quits as the smell rising from the plate was not agreeing with me, and I even set the plate aside in order to allow my stomach a moment to settle. After the moment passed, I set the plate before me again. My friend, who had decided to step out of the box at the buffet as well, tried a mussel, which she immediately spit out. She suggested I might not want to try that and said the crab rangoon would probably be the best one for me to try out of the four. I broke the rangoon in two, dipped part in sweet and sour sauce – smothered would probably be a more appropriate word, anything that would help to make this easier – and took a bite.
At this point, I would love to say that the crab rangoon was absolutely delicious and I found something new to add to my culinary repertoire. I would love to say that, but I can’t. The moment the rangoon hit my taste buds, I knew I was in trouble. Instead of discovering a brand new taste, I was on the verge of rediscovering the Hawaiian chicken. Thus I found myself perched in a precarious epicurean position. Do I spit it out and run the risk of spitting out more than the rangoon, or do I try to swallow it and run an even greater risk of disturbing the very uneasy balance upon which my lunch was resting? I opted for the latter. I attempted to drown the taste of the rangoon with Coke. A lot of Coke. And, although the outcome was in doubt for some time, I finally won the battle and managed to keep the chicken, the rangoon and the Coke down. At that point, I declared the experiment over. Some might say the experiment failed, but they would be missing the point. The point was not to discover something I liked, or even to try every one of the four items. The whole point was to take a step out of the box and try something I’d never tried before. And, using that as a parameter, I declare this experiment an unqualified success. Plus, as an added bonus, I now know that there is a reason I do not like crab rangoon. At all. Here’s to life out of the box!