My philosophy has been to eat and see as much as I can, however foreign to me. Because you never know what you will miss out on if the chance is not taken. There are many foods out there we are hesitant or fearful of trying because we think we won’t like it, or consider it ‘weird’. We all grew up eating different things during which our culinary comfort zone is developed.
Lobster is a delicacy in the United States, but is banned by Kosher law. Durian, a fruit native to Southeast Asia, tastes delicious to some but stinks to high heaven, and is therefore banned in many enclosed public spaces as a result. Tripe is commonly eaten in the Mexican dish Menudo, but is not common in the States outside of Mexican and Asian communities and increasingly upscale cuisine.
I wasn’t always open-minded when it came to food, as it took time. As a teenager, I could not believe anyone would eat raw fish. Blasphemous!! Now, I could eat sashimi every day for the rest of my life with a genuine smile across my face. Same with pork belly, caviar, and veal cheek. Boy am I glad I took those steps.
I first learned about this combination while living in Amsterdam, from someone who had lived in Greece as a child. He told me one of the many colorful stories of his life. This particular gem including dancing on a beach in Eilat, Israel overlooking the Red Sea while eating watermelon and feta. The latter detail being what took me aback. ‘Watermelon and feta cheese? Together? I don’t understand.’ But in Greece, it’s very common. Karpouzi me feta, as it’s called. For me, watermelon was always served by itself. Most of the time eaten outside during the summer due to the mess that would ensue from seed disposal.
I had to try it for myself. And as he first described it to me, it truly was an “explosion in the mouth”. The flavor combination was incredible. Just like pairing fine cheeses with wine, we first ate the watermelon and then the feta, and then the feta first and then the watermelon, and then finally, both together. The tastes were different each time, all fantastic. Such a simple treat, no recipe required, but so unforgettable.