January 05, 2012

she tried it, and...

One of my goals for 2012 was to try new foods. This goes hand in hand with not only trying new foods but also at times trying to be more healthy. I figured I'd start a new little thing of "She tried it, and...." I'll let you know what I've tried and whether or not I liked it, or hated it.

I got the year started off right - almost by accident with this goal of trying new things. I hoped to at least once a month, try a new food. After a long, emotional day on New Years Day. Saying good-bye to Mike's great uncle and witnessing the most amazing military funeral, his family and I decided we would meet up for dinner. Not many places, of the affordable nature were open on New Years Day so we opted for Cracker Barrel. Yes I realize that this isn't really healthy eating 101, but it was homestyle, comforting and nice to have the family at a table together, and for once letting his mom who usually prepares all our family meals, get a chance to rest after her long weekend of caring for her Aunt and family.

I settled on the Chicken and Dumplings and lots of veggies. Sure they were covered in butter but like I said I was going for comfort food. That being said, I did make an effort to not eat myself silly. All of the items on my plate were things I had tried before, but Mike's brother's girlfriend, B had brought his father some Black Eyed Peas from her grandmother. The tradition of pork and black eyed peas is a big one here in the South and Mike's dad was not going to be content until he had some. This also was not a new meal for me. Mike's father passed around the bowl of good faith and luck to us all who wanted to eat a bit and Mike and I took our share of a few bites on our plate. They were tasty and I could almost feel the happy thoughts for 2012 fill my belly.

B also had another bag hidden in her purse and passed that out as well. Apparently her grandmother armed her with an arsenal of good luck food to come to our meal with. Almost as if we were at the movies smuggling in our own candy we passed the bag around the table. Normally I would have freaked out when she told me what it was, but I'm feeling more adventurous these days. B explained it was hog jaw. Funny, it looked like bacon. Mike grabbed a bit and handed his brother and I the bag. His youngest Brother [he has 3 brothers and 2 sisters, big family!] and I agreed to split a piece but with a rush of courage I stated that NO I would just get my own and try it all.

Here I was sitting at a table holding a bit of hog jaw in my hand. It looked like bacon, it smelled like bacon but it was much thicker than any slice of bacon I'd ever eaten. I took one moment to think about it and then quickly took a bite. Immediately the flavor filled my mouth and it was amazing. Better than any bacon I had ever tasted. Not quite as gutsy as say eating a pigs foot or cheek but I was eating hog jaw. WOW! And I like it... a lot!

The second item B got me to try was a bite of her cooked cabbage she ordered as a side. I've never liked cabbage unless it was red, raw and in my salad as a child. I'm not a huge fan of coleslaw either but will eat it from time to time if it's tasty. I was hesitant that I wouldn't like it but after taking a bite realized it was delicious. And I started thinking something I might like to add to my book of recipes to cook. The scent of cooked cabbage far outweighs the taste for sure. I was expecting a pungent flavor but it was mild and very, very enjoyable. Eating this takes me one step closer to trying a Reuben sandwich, for which I was always fearful to eat with the tangy cabbage on top.... or SourCRAP as I called it when I was a child.

Boiled Cabbage & Hog Jaw
VERDICT: Delicious! And while I would never make hog jaw at home, I might have to stop by B's grandma's house in the future to get my fix!

P.S. I wasn't 100% in love with the chicken and dumplings from Cracker Barrel. The rest of the veggies were tasty though. I really hate going out to eat and feeling like I could have made the meal better at home, myself. Tip for 2012, if you can make it at home, it's best not to order it while out unless you know it's going to knock your socks off.
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Allyson said...

Even though my grandparents were "from the country" and loved pickled pigs' feet and all that, I can't say that I've ever had hog jaw. It sounds a little disgusting but when you link it to bacon like that...maybe not so bad. And once you've conquered your fear of the reuben, I have a Weight Watchers reuben recipe for you.

Natalie said...

Not really a fan of black eyed peas.. Have you ever had cowboy caviar? It's black eyed peas, onions, cilantro, tomatoes & red wine vinegar. It's probably the only way I'll eat the peas.

Cooked cabbage? LOVE. I like it boiled.. I even like it as saurkraut.

Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic said...

Natalie that Cowboy Caviar sounds really tasty... way more tasty say than Rocky Mountain Oysters! ;)

Ally I will let you know ASAP when I try a reuben. It's on my list of things to try for sure!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't like cabbage, but I do like black eyed peas. I'm not a big fan of Cracker Barrel's chicken and dumplings either. Then again, I tend to only love my grandmother's homemade dumplings. Yum! Yay for trying new things. And I love your blog design. I've been meaning to say that.

Kallay said...

Cabbage and I were never friends until a couple of years ago. My uncle made coleslaw for our family reunion and everyone kept going on and on about how great it was. Never being a cabbage/coleslaw lover myself, I decided to try it. Then I fell in love. I'm picky though. I don't like the weird watery stuff. It has to be fresh and it's so easy to make that I rarely buy it anymore.

Also, cooked cabbage? I finally figured out that the egg rolls I've been loving forever had cabbage in them, so why wouldn't I like any other cooked cabbage? On New Year's Day my grandma has always made pork and sauerkraut. I've always snubbed my nose at it and have eaten around it. In a moment of bravery, I finally tried it last year, and now I'm addicted! We had it this year, too, and I couldn't wait! The great part about it is that it's healthy!

I haven't had a Reuben though. Thousand Island dressing is a whole new frontier. When I get to Cycle 2 (in two weeks), we should do a "she tried it" challenge and try a Reuben "together" and see how we like it! What do you think?

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