During the summer, I spent five weeks working as an au-pair in Galicia, a beautiful part of northern Spain, and the pinnacle of the finest Spanish seafood!
Before my experience as an au-pair, I wasn’t very adventurous with seafood, avoiding anything that actually resembled a fish… However, as I don’t eat meat (I’m a pescatarian) and my au-pair family prepared meals every day that tended to include something from the sea, I was exposed to a whole new variety of food. I was encouraged to move out of my comfort zone (to be polite) but it also opened a door that I haven’t closed since!
I was quite concerned at first, when a plate full of shells filled with what looked like slugs was placed in front of me. However, I watched the five year old, tucking into squid tentacles with a huge smile on her face. So I imitated her actions – if she could do it, I could do it! I copied the seven year old, who showed me how to chop off the head of a king prawn, pull off the legs and then remove the outer skin, before tossing the middle part into my mouth - which to my surprise – turned out to be delicious! As the weeks progressed, I was no longer fazed when a full fish: head, eyes and teeth included, was placed on the table. I would help the family prepare homemade sushi and would willingly choose a fish option I had never tried on the menu.
Although it’s become apparent that I do enjoy a wide variety of seafood, I do still have my boundaries! I spent one afternoon with the children and their grandparents who eagerly ordered the Galician delicacy – octopus. It was something that really did not appeal to me; however the grandparents were watching me expectantly to try some. So hesitantly, I took a bite, smiled awkwardly and then spat it into my napkin when they weren’t looking! I felt like I was chewing a balloon that popped in my mouth.
So my advice to you is to try new things, but things that you feel comfortable with. Who knows, you might surprise yourself by discovering a new favourite food you never thought you’d like! Or, on the other hand, you might need a few extra napkins on the table …