Under my skin

When it comes to fashion, educational trends, or parenting, I can honestly say that I am not afraid or embarassed to try new things. If I had Princess Beatrice’s ugly hat, I would wear it proudly and everywhere.

Random person #1: Hey, who’s that with the ugly hat at Target?
Random person #2: Why, it’s the fabulous and hilarious writer of NavyWifeChronicles on WordPress, that’s who!
Random person #1: She sure does know how to work that hat!
Random person #2: Word.

If Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of Washington, D.C. public schools, called me personally to try out a new innovative program geared towards educational reform, I’d test it out on our children and then hand it over to our PTA.

And if my pediatrician told me that girls who own Coach purses had more chances of getting into an Ivy League college than girls who don’t, I would… well, our daughters are on their own for that one.

As the daughter of Filipino immigrants, I thought I was exposed to a lot of different and exotic foods, many of which I have not eaten and don’t plan to. Everyone salivates over lumpia (BTW, do NOT call it an eggroll) and pancit but who’s had the vegetable dish called pinakbet with bittermelon and fish sauce? What about balut? Yup, that’s the unfertilized chicken egg. Who can forget about chocolate meat which, as you know, is SO NOT chocolate?

It wasn’t until I started dating my husband that I really knew what trying new things actually meant. One of the first dinners he made for me was paella. Before you say “AWWWWW”, this was before the days of Food Network and the Cooking Channel and Google. I had never even heard of it.

He also served the paella with rabbit.

No, not a pet rabbit. He was not a granola-eating vegetarian who wore Birkenstocks. He was a sailor who liked to cook and eat animals. Obviously. He expected me to eat rabbit. I didn’t even eat goat let alone anything Velveteen-y.

I didn’t want to be rude seeing as he was trying to impress me and all. I looked down at the piece of meat and all I saw was the image of a cute, snowy white rabbit. I saw every single rabbit picture book that I had ever read. The image of every rabbit cartoon I ever watched.

“What’s the matter?” he asked.

“Uh, nothing,” I said. Velveteen Rabbit. Peter Cottontail. Bugs Bunny. Tiny Tunes. Looney Tunes. Thumper. White Rabbit, Asian candy with rice paper wrapper. Wait… what? “I’ve never had rabbit before.”

“Try it,” he said. “It’s not going to hurt you. It’s dead.”

OMG. Did he just say that to me? I just met this guy. Why was he getting under my skin? Why did I let him?

I gave him a Look and eventually ate it. Looking back, I could have sworn he was smirking as I ate that damn rabbit.

But it didn’t stop there. We sampled cuisine from all over the world in that tiny little town of Monterey while we were dating. Japanese. Italian. Greek. Indian. Mexican. Yes, even British food from the infamous Mucky Duck on Alvarado when they served food back then.

Our kids now have his attitude when it comes to trying new food. They won’t eat everything we eat but they’ll eat something wherever we go though I’m not sure about Sam’s Club. I told them they could try wasabi cheddar. A refused, M tried it and ate half, and L? Well, she tried it but said it was too hot and freaked out. Oops, my bad.

And while I hated that my husband knew exactly what to say to me to get me to try it, I have to give him credit. If it weren’t for him, I would have never tried Indian or Greek food or any of the more exotic fare. I would have never applied this gusto to other things in life like submitting my work to magazines and educational publishers or making a life-long commitment to someone who gets under my skin but also gets me.

If it weren’t for him, I would never have realized that it doesn’t hurt to try new things, even if the carcass was previously a fluffy snowy white bunny. And no, I have not eaten rabbit ever since.


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