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Food Adventure-How to Try New Recipes Without Fear of Failure

Updated on February 5, 2013

Make 'new food' tasting an adventure

Stay positive, and introduce new foods gradually, and in small amounts.
Stay positive, and introduce new foods gradually, and in small amounts. | Source

Rate your cooking comfort zone:

How would you rate yourself as an explorer of new recipes?

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Do you like routine or change?

Trying new recipes can be a daunting experience, but at some point one will never move beyond the routine menu if one does not become adventurous, and give an eye catching recipe a try. With food prices steadily rising how can one experiment with a new flavor or main menu item without worry that the family will go hungry if it bombs? Here are some ways to gradually introduce new foods, or new recipes, to the family with positive results.

Asian Cuisine: Stir Fry

Having your child help make stir fry with familiar veggies may encourage them to eat it.
Having your child help make stir fry with familiar veggies may encourage them to eat it. | Source

Expanding your family's cuisine experience: Tips to follow:

1. If you want to introduce a new taste to your family experiment outside the home first. For example, a new ethnic flavor can become an adventure. Take your children to visit a restaurant of that country and share dishes that you plan to add to their diet. If your children are old enough you can help prepare them for the outing by encouraging them to do a little research on the internet to discover fun facts. Their reactions to new food at the restaurant will let you know how they enjoy it-or not.

2. For a less expensive excursion take in a lunch, rather than a dinner.

3. Know what your family enjoys and introduce a new way of preparing those foods. If they are beef eaters, for instance, and always have burgers turn it into a meatloaf, or a night of spaghetti and meatballs, or a…well, you get the picture.

4. Let them help you with the cooking. Most children who help prepare the evening meal will be more eager to consume the product of their hard work.

5. If the new meal is too sophisticated or complex ask them to be your wingman and place the spices and tools onto the counter pointing or asking for the next item in the recipe. Not only does this give you an opportunity to bond with your child, but it allows them to see that cooking is a manageable and natural part of a person’s daily routine. It will help prepare them for their future independence, and you will be at ease knowing they’ve been ‘cooking’ long before they left the nest.

6. If it is overwhelming to even consider a ‘helper’ being underfoot when dinner has to be promptly finished, then set aside a cooking night that everyone can look forward to.

7. For less enthusiastic little folks, start introducing new flavors in small quantities as a side dish and soon they will adapt to new dishes at dinner.

Where to find family recipes

My mother was an avid cook and a diehard recipe collector. Not only did she collect cookbooks and recipes, she would actually try them out. We would be her guinea pigs when we were growing up, and later, as we left home, she would share her cooking with co-workers and neighbors.

How did she constantly come up with new ideas for the same old foods? Because cooking was one of her passions she was vigilant to what was available wherever she went. A wait in the doctor or dentist office was never an annoyance. She merely passed her time examining the latest magazines for recipes she found interesting and either jotted them down or asked for the magazine if it was an old copy.

Later, as she settled from Detroit, Michigan, to her new home in North Carolina, she watched the food network show wowing her new Southern friends with her culinary skills. Rachel Ray and Ina Garten became her constant companions in 2003 as she sat through her chemotherapy.

Magazines are a cheap source for recipes

Library magazine recipes are free!
Library magazine recipes are free! | Source

New recipes can be fun and interesting

Where do you go for your recipes? My advice is the same places mom went to-magazines, newspaper food sections, and friends’ food swap at parties and potlucks, cookbooks, online sources and for a visual, the food shows.

Don’t be bashful about trying a new recipe. Remember the old, Life cereal commercial with little Mikey and his big brothers? Well, that is a good philosophy to apply when you are expanding your taste for something different on your menu, “try it, you’ll like it.” And, if not, well there is always the next recipe, just turn the page!

What ethnic cuisines have you cooked?

How many types of ethnic foods have you tried a new recipe?

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    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi braydonmoore-thanks for visiting the site. Glad it was of use to you. :)

      Hi lemonderdz-thanks for your vote and gee, too bad dad is missing out on so many great recipes! :)

    • lemonkerdz profile image


      7 years ago from LIMA, PERU

      I think my dad needs to read this hub, he is a Brit through and through and believes he has ventured into a new culinary world by buying a box pizza. I definatley did not get my love of cooking and being adventurous with food from him.

      There is a whole new world out there if people were just willing to at least try new foods.

      I placed my vote :-) Thanks

    • braydonmoore profile image

      Braydon Moore 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for advice and giving me new recipes . I love cooking.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Kitty-there are so many changes in our diets that I avoid the old recipes. They are usually filled with ingrediants that are not the healthiest. But, my mom loved to collect cookbooks, so I do understand the appeal. Thanks for reading the hub and commenting.

      I do love to try new adventurous-eat differently, LOL

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Kitty Fields 

      9 years ago from Summerland

      very good ideas here, denise! i am an avid cookbook collector, more specifically vintage & antique cookbooks...but i am a little shy of trying out some of the recipes yet. maybe i'll get up the courage to do so now! thanks for sharing! :)

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      LOL YOu have a unique way of handling the questions...I suppose you know your family best. Thanks for reading and please, let me know if you do try them and if you enjoyed or not --Have a great w/e.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Denise, you have included some very intersting recipes. I definately will be trying them. Great tips and advice. Sometimes it is hard to introduce a new food or blends of foods to your family. I often don't let them know what's in the recipe. When they ask I just ask them if they like it. If they say yes, I tell them that's all they need to know.

      Wonderful hub voted up, useful and bookmarked.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      maquisberriesblog-thank you for reading and commenting on this hub. I didn't even consider the 'good parent-bad parent' angle, but yes, that may make a difference for some people. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi RT-thanks for reading and commenting. My mother was a young bride and yes, a smart lady...she learned and improved along the way. With six kids, she had lots of guinea pigs to try new recipes on, LOL

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Your mom was a smart lady and evidently a talented cook. Thanks for sharing about her work, and for the tips. Recipes look yum!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Jamie-nice to meet you. Welcome to hubpages.

    • jamiecoins profile image


      9 years ago from ireland

      great hub an great recepie ideas

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Acaetnna-thanks for your comment. I am passionate about food the way you are passionate about your husband, LOL

      I hope you enjoy the recipes. I know we find them delicious-both of these recipes.

    • acaetnna profile image


      9 years ago from Guildford

      Denise you always come up with some great tips recipes for me to try. Thank you.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      You remind me of my mother in that respect. Cooking was my mother's passion (one of them) as well. She was Italian and family and food went together like a hand and glove. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about cooking. I very much agree that cooking with kids will serve as an opportunity to bond. Wonderful advice.

      Let me know how Sunday lunch fares for you and don't despair that the fruit is canned-the original recipe called for that and the pear juice as well. I improvised using the fresh pears.

    • viryabo profile image


      9 years ago

      Cooking is one of my passions. I barely eat much, but i love cooking and just enjoy watching people eating (enjoying) my dish.

      And i love to experiment and create new dishes.

      I love the pork chops recipe already, and will definitely try it out. I'll have to make do with canned pears, but luckily we have sweet potatoes growing here in abundance.

      With cooking, its always more exciting to sometimes deviate from the normal day to day boring recipes. Makes eating so much fun.

      I love the idea of cooking with your kids. Its one of the best ways to get close, and bond with them. And because you chat (or even exchange ideas)together while the cooking's going on, it guarantees a good rapport with them that will grow deeper, as mother and child grow older.

      Thanks Denise. Bookmarked for Sunday lunch.


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great idea to take the family out to taste new flavors. That way, if they don't like it, you aren't the bad parent because you made them eat what you tried to cook. If they like the dish, then start making it at home. Nice post, thanks!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      hello midnightbliss-nice to meet you. Please try the swiss olive galette and let me know if you enjoyed it. I also have watched the cooking shows. Thanks for commenting.

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 

      9 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      your recipe seems delicious. i love cooking and experimenting with the new ingredients. i get my ideas on every cooking show i see on TV.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hello SueJanet-nice to meet you. Thanks for reading this hub and commenting. I hope you do try the recipe. Let me know what you think...

    • suejanet profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks I love to try new recipes.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      GG-I'm confident you will love this recipe if/when you try it. Thank you for your comments.

      Lamme-Thanks for visiting the hub. These are two meals that I've enjoyed both preparing and eating! Enjoy. :)

    • Lamme profile image


      9 years ago

      Your recipe for pork chops w/sweet potato and pear sounds delicious! I can't wait to try that. I'm a foodie as well and the source of new recipe ideas is all around us, thanks for contributing to my source of inspiration.

    • gypsumgirl profile image


      9 years ago from Vail Valley, Colorado

      What an awesome hub! I have bookmarked it so I can come back and try the recipes at a later date. They sound scrumptious. Thanks for sharing ideas about how to be innovative regarding trying routine foods in new contexts. I will be sharing your ideas with my sister who has two extremely picky sons. They are not huge risk-takers when it comes to trying different foods. Thank you!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi ChatKath-oh, I hear you sister! I look at my refrigerator and freezer; walk around the grocery store and ask, "what now?" Food can be soooo boring if we allow it to be. My mother loved to try new recipes and now I understand why. Thanks for your comments.

      @Audrey-I wish YOU were my next door neighbor as well. We'd have so much fun, wouldn't we: music, dance, food and writing...what more could a couple of gals ask for in life? Sounds like heaven on earth...

      @LoraKayAlexander-Yes, I'm sure she will enjoy it. Be sure to share it with her, have her whip up a batch and share THAT with you, LOL Sounds like a good deal to me!

      @Nina-yes, it is fun to be adventurous, in life and in the kitchen. My late husband would always order the tried and true at a restaurant. ANY restaurant. He would always marvel at how I would find an item on the menu "interesting" and give it a go with the risk of not liking it and being 'stuck' without a meal. That has never deterred me from trying new foods. Thanks for your comments.

      @Karanda-it is amazing how we don't 'think outside of the box' sometimes when combining flavors. I remember once tasting a food I was cooking and it missing something. On a hunch I added cinnamon, b/c it was a spice that was associated with a particular country. It was just the right thing. The cinnamon enhanced the flavor of the dish and it was a melt in your mouth result. Sometimes our inner kitchen guru comes out in full force, LOL. Thanks for your comments.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Cheapsk8-I hope that you find peace at the dinner table, haha and perhaps they will enjoy taking turns as chef. Good luck.

      Danette and Cara-let me know how the family liked the recipes. I brought a couple of pieces of the galette to work to share and they raved over it. I felt like Nona! haha.

      b.malin and Pam- It's really difficult pleasing picky eaters. Good luck to you both and thank you for commenting.

      @Rhonda-I don't care for hot spicy food. The chops do not have that bite to it. They are merely flavored and the pears and pear juice add a sweetness that counters any curry.

      AlwaysExploring-try the chops with a side of apple or cranberry sauce but hold off the gravy, which will probably cover the flavors, until you know for sure that it is needing that extra heavy sauce. Good luck. Let me know if you do try them without the gravy, LOL

      @Genna-I absolutely encourage the swiss olive galette. And, be sure to use the kalamata olives, not spanish olives. It really makes a difference. You'll love it and let me know how it works for you. I'll be making it again soon.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      To all of you who have left comments earlier this week-my apologies for the delay in my reply. My computer crashed and needed to go to the 'doctor's'.

      @SilentReed-I actually do not use this recipe with a sauce. I would eat it as is, to enjoy all of the wonderful flavors. The sweet pear flavor (I like the anjou when they are available) offsets the curry and the curry is not heavy or harsh, so don't be put off by that ingredient. You may want to try it with a side dish of apple or cranberry sauce or perhaps some fresh pineapple on the side. I hope you try it.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Maria-I LOVE Thai food the best. I love the combination of flavors that it brings. I'm sure you were able to enjoy all of the wonderful ethnic cuisine offered in a place like N.Y. Thanks for reading anc commenting.

    • Karanda profile image

      Karen Wilton 

      9 years ago from Australia

      Great recipes Denise. Looking forward to trying out the pears with the sweet potatoes, I never would have thought to cook them together.

    • Nina'sWorld profile image


      9 years ago

      I used to be hesitant to try new recipes but now, I love looking up great recipes in books and online. Nice hub !! :-)

    • LoraKayAlexander profile image


      9 years ago

      Yum. Yum. My sister will love this. She collects recipies.


    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      9 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Denise - Thank you so much for this marvelous hub! Your tips are the best. I especially liked #4. I wish you were my next-door neighbor. With these recipies and your talent for cooking - well - I would be hanging around for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Rated up on this one!

    • Chatkath profile image


      9 years ago from California

      How did you know-this is just what I need, really! I get so sick of the same thing every night, this will inspire me to try something new! Great hub, very well done, thank you!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      9 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Yummy...that Swiss Olive is something I will definitely try. Voted up! :)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      9 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I love pork chops. I have never had sweet potatoes with them. I will try your receipt. I guess pork gravy will be good with it. I use the canned gravy, it is really good. Thank you.


    • Rhonda Waits profile image

      Rhonda Musch 

      9 years ago from The Emerald Coast

      I love all different types of recipes. As long as you leave off the hot spices, I am allergic to them. Great hub.

      Voted up and awesome.

      Sweet wishes Rhonda

    • cardelean profile image


      9 years ago from Michigan

      Looks like Swiss Olive Galette will be added to the menu this week! I already have all of those ingredients in my fridge except the leeks. Luckily the fruit market is just minutes from my house. I'm not a curry fan but maybe I could try it with corriander or cumin instead. My kids love to cook and they are great eaters. We eat a wide variety of ethnic foods and my kids are never afraid to try them. Great hub, thanks for the recipes!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Your hub gave some great advice and good recipes. I love to try new things and like most everything but my problem is my husband is very picky. I I try new things anyway but he doesn't always eat them. Thanks for the recipes.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      9 years ago

      Great suggestions, because kids when they are younger, won't try anything new. Now that mine are grown they try I will pass this one on for the Grandchildren, who won't try anything New! Thanks for sharing this Hub with us, Denise.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      9 years ago from Illinois

      They both sound good and I'll have to give them a try. I love sweet potatoes (NOT in the marshmallow topped casserole) and am always looking for ways to cook the vegetables I get from La Vista. Voted up and useful. Thanks for sharing.

    • cheapsk8chick profile image


      9 years ago

      These are good suggestions to get the kids involved with the new recipes. I try at least one new recipe a week, and I would say half the time at least one of the family doesn't like it! Maybe if I had them all help, they would be more adventurous and not whine about whatever it is I'm putting on the table! Voted & rated!

    • SilentReed profile image


      9 years ago from Philippines

      What kind of sauce or gravy would go well with the pork chops given that it has curry powder in it? Thank you.

    • VioletSun profile image


      9 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Being raised in New York, I enjoyed Thai food, Chinese, Italian, Brazilian, Indian, Latin, and Greek foods. Since my sister married an Arab, I also enjoyed her husband's dishes. My most favorite are sweet and sour dishes from the Far East, they are very satisfying to me. I like the pork chop recipe, thanks for the ideas!

      Voted up!


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