I love food. I love the never-ending tastes, identifying the different textures, new dining settings and how food never fails in bringing people together. I'd happily cite food as a hobby - whether it's the excitement of dining out somewhere new or somewhere loved, trialling a brand new recipe or putting together an old favourite dish. I get excited about food and I love sharing that with other people.
The plot twist of this bio? I used to be a frustratingly fussy eater.
My palette was reserved for 10-15 dishes, max, most of which were incredibly beige. I rarely tried anything new and if I did I'd usually set myself up not to like it before I'd had a taste. Flavours didn't dance on my tongue like they do now, I didn't get a mouth-watering craving at the prospect of a new cuisine and I would be the last person to start a food blog with some of the weird and wonderful things I try now.
Case in point, this is six-year-old me's favourite dishes:
As with most things in life, food is definitely something I grew into. Up until I was about 18, the fussy eater remained for the most part, occasionally trying a different mouthful without a predisposed dislike. My time at university is to thank for what was a very slow and steady expansion of my taste buds into what they are now.
I began to try more and more and genuinely enjoy trying different things. Food I'd forever claimed not to like was now amongst my favourites and whilst uni still wasn't the height of my flavour exploration, it definitely started the adventure.
My own food awakening came from trying food. And that's just it, it was an awakening. If you love trying new things and always have done, you probably think this is a pretty dramatic phrasing - if, however you're in the fussy or picky camp, you will know exactly what I mean.
A fussy eater is a mindset, for good or bad. It's something that you need to shake yourself out of and unless it's just a little help here and there, I'm a believer that nobody else is going to shake you out of it instantly.
Even as a reformed fussy eater, even having being in the same situation, I still get frustrated when I meet a version of past-me now. This is mainly down to knowing they're a spoonful away from realising how many tasty meals, new experiences and new flavours they're actively closing themselves off from.
Food doesn't need to be daring cuisine for every meal or a brand new flavour every time you dine out, but the option that it could be? That's what is exciting and that's what you, as a fussy eater, are denying yourself of.
My advice to all fussy eaters - whether it's a real limitation or there's just a type of food you're refusing to delve into - try it. And keep trying it and other new things.
So you hate something new you try - it's nothing that can't be cleansed with a different flavour, but at least you know.
I've claimed not to like eggs my entire life - I've had eggs weekly in the past few months since I realised this wasn't true.
I used to be the person that had scampi at an Indian restaurant - I now crave Indian food and am obsessed with the intense flavours from Indian cooking.
You're not going to like everything you try but you're going to try everything to see, or how else will you know? Go small with a bite of someone else's dish, or be brave and do an entire meal, but just try it. Start small and build up like me and seafood - the one area where I still retreat from when I get the chance to try it. But, I am trying and that's how I'm starting to like it. Find a gateway, whether like me it's going in with mild fish and realising I love salmon, or weening yourself onto it like me liking prawns cased in tempura but not yet about to eat them alone - a first step is still a step.
For some this might be a tiny new step to change, for some it might be a massive deal - just do you.
As cliche as it might sound, the only thing holding you back is you. You could take this post to be someone else telling you to 'just try it', or you could take it as someone who's seen it from both sides and is now fully where the grass is greener... Which will it be?