I come from a meat and potatoes family. I wasn't very adventurous about food until I was well into my 20's. I was raised on fried chicken, meatloaf, mash potatoes, green beans, your standard plain country food which was cooked two ways -- fried and boiled. My mom kept a coffee can of bacon grease on the counter if that gives you any indication.
My pre-college boyfriend introduced me to the wonders of steamed broccoli. While now that seems a strange thing to consider new and unusual, at the time it was not a "normal" food. I fell madly and deeply in love with the broccoli. Also with the boyfriend, although my romance with broccoli lasted far longer. (This was also the year I learned about how potatoes can sometimes explode in your oven if you don't prepare them properly for cooking.)
My college boyfriend introduced me to the wonders of moo shu pork and crab rangoon (neither of which I'd ever heard of and neither of which could be procured in the small town in which I grew up). And while his boyish charm and the mysteries of the East lured me for a while, they could not hold me forever.
My post-college boyfriend (okay, yes... I am a serial monogamist) introduced me to a smorgasbord of vegetables. He was a pescetarian (a vegetarian who eats fish) with an adventurous palate, a love for protein shots and, unfortunately, a very annoying habit of telling other people what they should eat. Specifically, as opposed to in a general advisory manner. For example, ORDERING FOR THEM IN RESTAURANTS. But that's another whole story. From this unique human I found my fondness for parsnips, marinated artichoke hearts and the occasional brussels sprout. Oh, and I can't forget chocolate, peanut butter and banana smoothies with organic whey or energy protein powder. (It's really not as gross as it sounds.)
After a while, the novelty of "crazy genius" begins to wear thin, as does the weirdness of not being able to pick your own food and so I was single again.
My husband helped me conjure the courage to try cottage cheese and with remorse I think of all the years I could have been eating that wonderfood and didn't. He showed me the divine miracle of whole artichokes. He is the one who masterfully duplicates recipes that we fall in love with at various restaurants. He fearlessly tackles nearly any type of recipe not matter how involved and intimidating it seems to me. He has documented recipes from my mom despite how they sometimes fight like cats and dogs just so those recipes will never be lost. He has convinced me that "we don't need no steenkeeng restaurants!" And has, in fact, ruined me for many restaurants because I love his food so much.
And did I mention he's also cured me of my chronic serial monogamy?
Do you have any good stories about new foods you've discovered later in life? What is your favorite unfamiliar food?