Kara and Kate’s Curious Food Adventure

Kara and Kate are a newly engaged couple who recently moved from Ontario to Fernie, seeking the adventurous lifestyle it has to offer. Kara works full-time at her new marketing position, and Kate is just getting settled into her security job. They both love hiking and spend most of their free time exploring the mountains. Back in Ontario, they spent many of their evenings cooking and enjoying time inside. Since their big move, however, they’ve found the calling to be outside has given them less time than ever for cooking and exploring new recipes. The ”same old” is feeling a bit boring, and they’re looking to re-spark their curiosity for cuisine.

As children, we’re all curious eaters with an innate desire to explore the sensations associated with trying to new foods. It seems that as we get older, we’ve learnt our taste preferences and tend to stick to those foods we like. However, branching out to new cultural foods can provide many benefits! Ethnic foods provide a link to our ancestry, provide eaters with the opportunity to experience new cuisines and cultures and spark our curiosity for trying attractive new foods. Think of the last time you smelt warm Indian spices, prickled your nose at the heat of wasabi, or explored the variety and flavours of fresh tapas with your hands. Trying foods from around the world has health benefits as well; it gives us an excuse to make foods in a traditional sense. Using real, whole foods, cooking dishes from scratch and utilizing herbs and spices are the backbone of a healthy diet. Look at the Mediterranean diet; it is still one of the most researched diets with its health benefits for heart disease including eating primarily plant-based foods and fats, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, olive oil, and nuts. It utilizes herbs and spices to flavour foods instead of salt, enjoying meals with your family and integrating activity as a daily part of life. We’re meant to explore the world around us, and I think food is the perfect outlet to re-learn our curiosity!

Follow these three simple steps to spark your cultural cuisine curiosity!

  1. We’re so lucky in Fernie to have an immense variety of ethnic restaurants as a source of inspiration. I’m thinking Nevados, Yamagoya, Curry Bowl and Himalayan Spice Bistro – just to name a few. Head to one of these restaurants and try something you’ve never had before, and take note of the flavours, textures, colours and smells. This is a great time to employ mindful eating, slow down and to truly savour the experience. Think of how children eat, they’re constantly asking questions and “playing” with their food – maybe they’re onto something!
  2. Once your home, use your restaurant inspiration to search a recipe variation online. Cooking these meals at home will allow you to customize to your taste and health preference, such as adding extra veggies and limiting added fats. Some easier options may be chana masala, poke bowl or spiced black bean salad.
  3. Keep a recipe folder or note on your phone of some of your favourite new dishes as go-to options during those busy weeks when your creative brainpower isn’t quite running full throttle. Every few weeks, start back at step one to ensure you don’t get stuck in a food rut.

These three steps will allow you to stay curious, and keep your food-brain engaged. Try a new cuisine this month, and fall in love with food and cooking again!