Add some flavor to life

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For the first 41 years of my life, I was a very picky eater. I was a meat and potato kind of guy. Perhaps that’s one reason I loved being stationed in Germany so much. Those Germans love their meat and potatoes.
Once, while stationed in Germany, I was at a catfish fry on my base near the town of Kaiserslautern. Someone offered me some corn on the cob but I declined. “You don’t like corn on the cob?” they asked. “I don’t like corn on the plate. I don’t care what you put it on. I ain’t eating it!” I replied.
When I was still in the single digits, my mother bribed me with a whole dollar to take a bite of corn. I took her bribe but it wasn’t worth the gagging that would soon follow. I’m tearing up at this moment as I reminisce on that torture from 35 years ago.
She wanted me to try the corn, but she usually cooked around me, as did my grandmother. For example, if either of them made potato salad, they’d leave a little bowl of plain potatoes on the side for the picky one. I appreciated it then, and I appreciate it now; however, now I love potato salad. I can thank the Germans for that.
My dad and step-mom weren’t as willing to make exceptions for me. They would make me eat everything on my plate. They even made me eat squash. I didn’t appreciate it then, but I appreciate it now. The truth is, however, that I didn’t eat everything on my plate. They just thought I did. You see, my dad was blind and my step-mom was legally blind, so the dog ate well whenever I was around. It’s a good thing the dog liked squash.
Although I’ve always had a love for lima beans and cucumbers, green food was the worst. Even the thought of eating okra, asparagus, or broccoli would make me feel sick at my stomach. I was picky –  way too picky.
Then, a few years ago, a funny thing happened. I was at a friend’s house eating a steak. He’d also grilled some asparagus. I tried it and loved it. It’s now one of my favorite things to eat. That was seven years ago, but I was still way too picky.
I love to eat and always wished I liked more food, but I was always hesitant to try anything new, but a funny thing happened last year; I got married. My wife cooked steamed broccoli one night, so to please her, I tried it and loved it. She didn’t even have to twist my arm. I eat it all the time now and have yet to eat it with cheese. Plain, simple, and healthy.
My deli sandwiches used to be plain and simple but not necessarily healthy. I would order them with meat and cheese on white bread. Sometimes I’d get wild and crazy and order it on sourdough. Today, my favorite sandwich comes in a spinach wrap and packed with spinach, peppers, onions, olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers. They have never tasted better. My favorite sandwich shop is Block & Barrel Deli in Auburn. As I bite into the magical wrap, each flavorful bite is better than the one before, but with each bite I could kick myself on the back side for being picky for so long. I missed out on so much.
It took 41 years, but I’m no longer picky. I’ll try anything. I used to hate squash. Now I love it. Plain grilled squash is incredibly tasty. I like everything. I want to try new things wherever I go.
It’s easy to live with what we know. In fact, it’s too easy, but it can also be monotonous and down-right boring. It’s never too late to try something new. You may think everything is great now but you have no idea what awaits you when you are willing to open your mind up to trying and doing new things in this fascinating world.
For the record, I still love meat and potatoes.
Jody Fuller is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com.

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