Marina Mayer, managing editor, opts for plain foods versus trying something new, but she dares you to change her ways.

Ms. Won't Try

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a finicky eater. Just forget it if the salad contains spicy tortilla chips seasoned in avocado dressing or if the menu offers side dishes that I’ve never heard of or can’t pronounce.

    I’ve moved on to the burger section.

    In fact, while I was growing up, my late grandmother nicknamed me “Ms. Won’t Try.”

    “Try new things and expand your horizons,” she’d say.

    Then my late grandfather would chime in, “How do you know if you don’t like something if you don’t try it?”

    Easy. It looks gross.

    “Okay, be a Ms. Won’t Try then,” grandma said.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. You say looks aren’t everything. You say it’s what’s inside that counts. I don’t buy it one bit.

    Let me explain. As a picky eater, I conduct a pre-screening process where certain foods have to meet certain standards for appearance, texture and appeal. Then there’s the sniff factor. If it smells like something dogs would eat, I’ll pass on that.

    The worst is when I’m at a dinner function. The restaurant staff is bringing out plates of frog legs, alligator and fly wings. Everyone is digging in and crunching down while I’m desperately searching (and hoping) for the hidden cameras of Punk’d.

    People say they’re delicacies in other countries, ya’ know.

    What? Sorry, I live in the United States. Substitute a breadstick for a frog leg and I’m in.

    Ironically, writing about new products is now a part of Ms. Won’t Try’s job.

    And thanks to today’s innovative snack and bakery manufacturers, today’s new products can include anything from organic bread with goji berry seeds to Thai toast to tortilla chips with nuclear-charged spices that make me sweat. In many instances, they are products that rely on wacky flavors and exotic ingredients.

    They’re perfect for the person who eats everything and is looking for something new.

    But for me, one who is content with plainness, I’m still learning how to do my job.

    Don’t get me wrong, invention is fine, but if I have to close my eyes and hold my nose before tasting something new, then it may not be meant to be.

    Pineapple pizza, anyone?

    I love pineapple, and I love pizza but together, I don’t think they make a great couple.

    So this is the deal I’m going to make with you.

    I dare you to convert me to be more adventurous. I challenge you to send me products that I normally wouldn’t try, but I will do it for you. And I dare you to challenge me to like it.

    For someone who picks and points at food, I certainly love to eat. However, it has to melt in my mouth, not rip the insides of my gums apart. It has to taste silky and smooth, not scratch the back of my throat.         And it has to taste like food, not make me feel like I’m on Survivor.

    Make me a Mrs. Will Try. Who knows, pour a little chocolate and sprinkles over the frog legs, and I may have myself a tasty, little snack.


Marina Mayer, managing editor

**Note: This column was printed in the October 2008 Buyer's Guide.