95. Eat something I haven't eaten before (preferably something edible)
When I initially wrote this one down, I had images of the Survivorman, trekking through the jungle for days and sucking the bone marrow from a freshly killed Rhino. I definitely hadn't eaten Rhino before. But as I ventured to conquer number 95 and put a dent in my list, I soon realized that there can be varying degrees of defining how to complete each task.
For example, there were a few foods I was exposed to this past month, where I thought to myself, well I've never had that before, and I ate them all: goat's milk, kim chi, Rice dream, soy ice cream. Yes, I ate them all, and yet I felt ashamed to check off number 95. Why? Well, the night after I ate kim chi, I looked up how to make it only to realize that I've had all of the ingredients separately. The same thing went for the rest of the new foods I've tried, so at this point I decided to set guidelines for my list. I may not get to suck the bone marrow from a Rhino, but every task will be complete when it has a great story to back it up. That will make the seemingly easier tasks a little tougher. So, my story...
My mom always told me to never ever eat mussels. She only vaguely recalls the absence of mussels from her family dining experience. I blame the fact that dining with the Collings family in the 50s had been overshadowed by liver and onions, which was apparently a favorite. My mom never shared by whom. I think at the time, that would have been the deciding factor of which grandparent I loved more. Both grandparents were gravely allergic to mussels and warned my mother against them. She had successfully avoided them until her later twenties when she started cooking macrobiotic foods and incorporating more seafood into her diet. The next few years would teach her that mussels may as well be a notable substitute for ipecac syrup, and crustaceans would cause her face to swell to great proportions, increasing with every bite. Now she is forced to carry an epi pen in case the food she eats is even cooked next to crustaceans. She used to love lobster. When I was really young, we went to Legal Seafoods and she was so submerged in the lobster, I actually thought, wow, mom needs a bib more than I do. But a few years ago, when I asked if she missed the taste of lobster, her eyes widened, and with direct response she exclaimed, "No. Not after experiencing what it can do to me. It's not worth it at all." I used to think I was allergic to lobster. I remember being sick from eating lobster, but in hind sight, it may have been from eating a WHOLE lobster when I was eight. I avoided lobster for years. I even refused the free lobster we would seldom be offered at Community Boating after discovering a function had leftovers. But one time I was traveling for business and the special was lobster ravioli, and I just figured, what the hell. And it was delicious. I hadn't inherited the lobster allergy gene. And I thought, what else am I not allergic to? Should I take into consideration that my dad is allergic to mussels too? Mussels would be my next venture, and after eating them, I would deserve to cross 95 off my list.
Thursday February 18th, 3PM. I was hungry, there was a Belgian restaurant right across the street from where I was staying, Petite Abeille, and I knew they served mussels. I texted my friends, I'm going to eat mussels now. They assumed I was being my usual obscure self, which I was, to which they replied their ambivalent standing, and off I went.
I ordered the appetizer bucket and started shelling and eating...and it was delicious.