Diversifying my choices in food



I’ve always been a meat and potatoes kind of guy. I grew up on mom’s good old fashioned home-style cooking. Most nights of the week dinner was staple dishes like meatloaf, beef stew, burgers, and baked macaroni and cheese. Sunday dinner was usually something big — like pot roast, ham and chicken and dumplings.

Ethnic foods were also a part of my upbringing, but only on a limited basis. Tacos, goulash and spaghetti. That was about it. My tastes were narrower back in my youth.

Over the years I opened up to new types of foods. As a pre-teen I acquired a taste for Chinese food, starting with dishes like egg foo young and then I moved on to other Chinese foods. As an adult I delved into Thai cuisine and while it was a bit harder for me to enjoy, I did find some dishes that were good and not too spicy. Thai food is the only spicy food that has ever made me sweat — profusely.

Most recently I embarked on a new food adventure. For the first time I went to a Japanese steakhouse and found the food to be quite delicious and the preparation of it even more fascinating.

If you haven’t been to a Japanese steakhouse, you’re missing out. The preparation of the food by a Japanese chef right there in front of you is a fun, exciting and interactive experience.

The chef prepares everything, from the fried rice to the main course, right there as you watch. As he cooks, he demonstrates his skill in cutting, flipping and dicing the meat and vegetables. There’s fire — nice big flares of fire including one the cook makes inside a “volcano” of onion rings.

As the chef prepares the food, he typically jokes with the customers. Often you can’t understand what he’s saying, but you get the point. Like when he extinguishes a flare up on the grill with a water bottle shaped like a man who looks like he’s peeing on the fire when you squeeze it.

Nothing like a little bathroom humor when you eat.

The real interactive experience then takes place when he lines up several pieces of zucchini and flings them at each person seated at the table.

He started with me, asking me an unintelligible question to which I nodded my head, not knowing what I had just agreed to.

So he instructs me to open my mouth as he flips the first piece of zucchini at me, attempting to make a basket with my mouth. His first attempt fails, shooting over my head. His second try was a bull’s-eye, landing right in my mouth. Having never eaten raw zucchini I reluctantly chewed it up — and discovered to my surprise I liked it.

Overall the experience was enjoyable, one I’d recommended to anyone who hasn’t tried it. I avoided the sushi, however, not ready yet to take my culinary adventures in the realm of uncooked fish. But maybe someday, I’ll give it a whirl. ggould@mihomepaper.com

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