During the pandemic, I became weirdly obsessed with cooking shows on the Food Network.

One in particular that I really like is called Chopped. The premise is contestants have to open a mystery basket containing four obscure ingredients that most people would not only never consume, but probably don’t have handy in their pantry.

The contestants need to think on their feet and, while these items need to be the main component of the dish, the cooks have unlimited access to the fridge, pantry and deep fryers on set.

An example of some of the show’s past quartet of ingredients included watermelon, canned sardines, jack pepper cheese and zucchini 

Another grouping included goat chops,  pickled eggs, beet hummus and raisin bran.

  Watching this program took me back to my childhood, when I was in elementary school and went to my friend’s home for lunch. Her mom served me a peanut butter, lettuce and mayonnaise sandwich.

It was so flipping fantastic.

I recently took to my social media platforms to ask if others have some weird food concoctions that sound nasty, but are delicious.

Here were some of the many responses:

• glazed donuts with mustard;

• toasted peanut butter/tomato sandwich;

• French toast with ketchup and onion salt,’

• peanut butter/onion sandwich;

• peanut butter/horseradish sandwich;

• spaghetti with sugar on it.

Out of so many responses, it was evident that peanut butter is the main go-to ingredient choice. 

I think peanut butter and horseradish sounds disgusting as a combination, but it obviously works for that person and, if you think about it, we all had to try our favourite weird dish for the first time.

Perhaps before we turn our nose up at these suggestions, we could have an open mind and just give it one little taste.

 If we are willing to try food combinations that otherwise we would never consider, why, then, can’t we do the same thing with people? 

I know people who go to the same restaurant and order the same meal. I have been guilty of that, too.

I always have the intention of trying something different, but I end up sticking with what I know.

I am going to challenge you next time to let your friend, spouse or date order for you.  As long as you let them know allergies, intolerances and foods you truly cannot stomach, let them give it a whirl and surprise you. You may be pleasantly impressed.

That’s what happens when people let me choose matches for them. I had one woman say that the man I picked was someone she never would have chosen at all as he was not her type. She decided to open up her mind and heart. She took it slowly and now they are really digging each other.  

Maybe a fun date idea would be for two people to create their own mystery baskets for each other, then have fun preparing them together.

Regardless of whether it’s a food you never thought of trying or a person you might never have chosen, don’t even think about discounting them until you have had a little taste.

After all, it might lead to dessert.

If you are happy, single and hungry, contact me by email at holmes@wheretheheartis.ca and let’s get cooking.