I realised while breakfasting at the Watermill Inn in Stillwater, Minnesota, this morning that I am becoming stagnant. I have been too long in one spot; my world is closing in to be confined by the self-imposed mores of my neighbourhood.
How do I know this? Because I baulked, just for a moment, at trying something new. On the menu were two intriguing items; an omelette made with lightly sautéed apples and brie, and eggs devilled in a Bloody Mary.
Now it would have been sheer gluttony to try both so I coerced my breakfast partner to try the bedevilled eggs, whilst I went for the omelette. Neither it turned out were gut-churningly different compared say to fried locusts on a bed of wilted kale, but I almost didn’t find out for myself.
I have, in my day, eaten durian and sheep’s eyes. Neither delicacy became a favourite. Kangaroo and crocodile have also been gnawed but all of the above more in the realms of once tried, twice refused unless it would cause a breakdown in diplomatic relations, in which case I would graciously accept the offering again, for Queen and country.
No, what really shocked me was my instant eye jump to the more usual fare; you know the sort, eggs Benedict or sausage, egg and cheese muffin. And then the knife that has jabbed at my occasional disinclination over the years fortunately kicked in and I gaily ordered for us both.
My stomach has over the years been stuffed with food from stalls all over the world. I have always worked under the policy that if I’m living in a country I have at least to try the fare of the land and that the sooner my body adjusts to the nasty indigenous microbes the better. I blithely worked under the same premiss for my children with the result that they both also have cast iron tummies. I note with approval that my granddaughter is being subjected to the same upbringing and happily eats roti and curry, an early introduction to the spicier side of life.
Now readers of my ramblings know I am dearly attached to my current host city, Houston, but this morning’s near miss has got me thinking, nay believing, I must get out more. I live in a cosmopolitan city so I don’t have to subject myself to the rigours and unpleasantness of international air travel; no I just have to explore more, head down to Chinatown, or Koreatown or Harwin Road, that haven of all things Indian. I might miss the quixotic sights and smells of Shanghai, or Seoul or Simla but I can certainly taste the foods, all readily available in my own back yard.
Be damned and bedevilled – I will try the thousand-year old eggs, with or without the Bloody Mary! I’m sure the rice wine would work equally well.