Minnesota, and the Twin Cities in particular, are home to a diverse array of cultures and people, and with it their traditional foods and flavors. You likely have experienced new foods through travel, restaurants, and family food traditions. What foods are part of your diet on a regular basis that have ties to your own culture or family traditions? What has inspired you to try a new flavor or food?
Growing up in a family with German and Polish roots, I have very fond memories of being at my grandma’s house while my mom, aunt, and grandma all spent the day turning crisp, green heads of cabbage into, in my humble opinion, the world’s best sauerkraut. Fermented foods, like sauerkraut, are found in many forms around the world including kimchi, olives, sourdough, and miso. These foods give us unique flavors and probiotics that support and improve gut health.
I had the opportunity to visit a spice farm during a trip to Costa Rica several years ago. The sweet smell of fresh cinnamon, the sight of hundreds of vanilla beans drying in the hot sun, and the taste of a cocoa bean right from the pod have made a distinct and lasting impression. Spices are a great way to experience new flavors. Next time you are at the store, check out the spice aisle and try something new. Try adding a new spice when you sauté or roast vegetables, potatoes, or a lean meat (ex. Chicken, fish, ground turkey, etc). Spices also contain components that are health-promoting and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Experiencing new flavors from around the world can also happen through visiting a local restaurant, market, or trying a new recipe. Check out your own neighborhood and challenge yourself to go someplace you have not yet been, ask questions when you are there, then share your experiences with others. For more ideas, recipes, and suggestions for adding new flavors to your routine, visit the American Dietetic Association website at www.eatright.org. Make March a month of trying new things and experiencing flavors from around the world.
 Dennett, MPH, RDN, CD, Carrie. “The Facts About Fermented Foods.” Today’s Dietitian, Vol. 20, No. 4, April 2018, P. 24. https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0418p24.shtml