I was thinking about some of the different foods I had been enjoying this past year as I walked along Wildcat Boulevard the other day. Recently, I enjoyed a salad with purple tomatoes. I jokingly asked the cook if purple tomatoes tasted like grapes. They looked like large grapes but tasted like regular tomatoes.
Someone else gave us some yellow tomatoes. When cut up they looked like sliced lemons, but again they were good and tasted like tomatoes.
Over the years, I have been introduced to various new foods. When I was in the United States Army and stationed on the East Coast, I began eating and enjoying Chesapeake blue crab cakes and Maine lobsters. I even tried steamers and little neck clams.
We didn’t have these foods when I was growing up on a small farm in Minnesota. We did eat fresh oysters for Christmas, but that was as exotic as it got.
A few years ago, we visited Washington state during the cherry season. While there we stopped at a local fruit and vegetable stand where I bought some Mt. Rainier cherries.
Kay’s niece and nephew, who were living near Seattle at the time, were with us. Their parents did not stop at local stands. The kids tasted and enjoyed Mt. Rainier cherries. In fact, they ate them all during the drive up the mountain.
We try to eat local specialties when we travel. Who would not eat fresh corn-on-the-cob in Iowa? How about alligator or fresh crayfish when in Louisiana? Or freshwater smelt deep fried in beer batter near the Great Lakes?
In the last few years we have traveled to Florida where I ate freshly caught ocean fish and oysters as often as I could. Not too long ago, I was in Houston, Texas, where I dined on calamari and alligator. I found both to be delicious.
One evening we even had the opportunity to eat at a restaurant which had a fresh seafood buffet. I had to ask what some of the choices were. All were wonderful.
I have not tried to eat any sushi. I have tried raw oysters: edible but not to my liking. Somewhere I heard a line in a country song that summarizes my thoughts on sushi: “I like my sushi Southern fried.”
Take a walk, try different foods from various parts of the country, use those signal lights, and see what you notice while passing along Wildcat Boulevard.
Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.