“If you can only have one item on the menu for the rest of your life, what would it be?”
This is a line I have found myself asking more and more often when I go out for food.
Why you might ask?
Well aside from it getting a chuckle nearly a quarter of the time, it is to expand my culinary horizons past the four or five dishes I consume on a regular basis.
Worst case, I hate it. Best case, I love it. And, all things considered, the opportunity cost is low.
If it is truly horrendous, you can send it back (or for my fellow non-confrontational folks, wait a couple of hours until your next meal.) It’s not the end of the world.
And anecdotally, in my five months of scarcely ordering for myself, I have yet to eat something so abysmal that I am filled with disgust. In practice, the worst thing that happens is that I am indifferent to it.
And if it’s the best case, I have discovered a new dish and enjoyed a delightful meal.
But what this is, more than anything else, is an exercise in getting out of my bubble. I think that, as college students, we have a lot of untethered hubris considering how little life experience most of us have lived and as a result, we often wall ourselves off from different viewpoints and unfamiliar situations.
Our gastronomic preferences are just one example of this – because we generally know what we enjoy and what we don't, we don't try new things out of the fear of having a bad meal.
It seems irrational to believe that our tastes, at 20-something years old, are a finished product and that we know exactly what we love and what we don’t.
The irony is that UP supposedly teaches us to be critical thinkers, yet many of my peers, and often myself, are trapped in our circles – the comfortable known being better than the unknown, no matter how discontent and unhappy we are with our current situation.
So next time you go out for food, consider leaning into the unknown. It is a tiny thing you can do to experience a lot more.
William Seekamp is the News and Managing Editor of The Beacon. He can be reached at Seekamp22@up.edu
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