I was not gifted with a wide palate for culinary cuisine.
Growing up, I ate a lot of white rice and a lot (or so it seemed) of pork chops It was what my dad loved, possibly what he grew up eating, so it's what we had for dinner. I was a generally picky eater and liked/like food that's pretty simple and bland.
The first time I had anything that was in anyway very different was on a cruise my family went on when I was fifteen. I don't even remember what I ate (I think I may have tried Caviar), but I remember being out of my meat-and-potatoes sort of bubble. Up to that point in my life, Ramen was a cultural experience.
Then I went to Ukraine and ate things that I couldn't pronounce and it FREAKED ME OUT. One year (this is terrible), one of my roommates and I were so convinced that we were eating rabbit that we waited until our hosts left the room and scraped the bunny off our plates. I cringe thinking about that now. I have also eaten rabbit since that point.
I went to Germany and tasted sauerkraut (sorry, not a fan), to Greece and had Mediterranean meals (the best) and to China where I ate strange foods (and learned to eat with chopsticks - which I now use all the time). The other places I've traveled didn't provide much of a challenge for my taste buds because I'm pretty sure that I mostly ate pizza and other safe foods. Living in Spokane actually gave us some tastes for different foods - I tried Thai, Ethiopian and some other cuisines while we lived there.
So now what we eat is more of a hodge-podge. We'll have breaded chicken and salad, typical pastas, red meat occasionally, white rice never (we use brown) and usual, basic meals. Thanks, however, to the birth of Pinterest, whose praises I've sung several times, we have enjoyed new and different meals that have become favorites in our house.
Most recently, I made Gyros, following this excellent recipe, which I'll hope you will click on because you should make it too! It's not too crazy out there if you're a pork chop and rice kind of person, but it has a lot of flavor and it's different enough to feel special.
Here are my tips, should you decide to make this:
I made the Tzatziki sauce and marinated the chicken before I went to work the day that I made it, which was about six hours before dinner. I recommend that you make and refrigerate in advance to achieve maximum flavor.
We also cut the chicken into strips/pieces before cooking and next time I'll marinate them sliced up.
The recipe calls for red wine vinegar, but I accidentally overlooked it and just bought the white wine vinegar, which worked perfectly.
I also forgot to serve with tomatoes, which didn't really bother me since I'm allergic, but Carson thinks that they would be really excellent in this.
I found a cucumber salad recipe here that I felt went with the cucumber theme of the evening. This tasted so similar to many of the salads I've had in Ukraine (it's because of the dill), but it still went perfectly with the Gyros. The modifications I made were to use plain Greek yogurt instead of light sour cream, I used white wine vinegar since it was out, and I probably used more dill than recommended since I didn't measure it. It turned out well and I think we'll have it again - I'm looking for more creative ways to serve veggies than just leafy salads and boiled green beans and this fit the bill.