Yes, you read that title correctly. I am suggesting that you play with your food. I don’t think you should make sculptures from your mashed potatoes. What I’m recommending is that you play with food as you’re cooking. Think about flavors you like. Try combining them.
This is what I was doing when I discovered Egg Nog French Toast and Egg Nog Hot Cocoa. I was playing. I was thinking about things that I enjoy and trying to decide how I might combine them or make them better.
I’ve learned that adding freshly-grated nutmeg to many savory dishes (like macaroni and cheese) adds a wonderful note. Adding cocoa or coffee (but never both) to chili makes the flavor fuller and richer.
Have there been flops? Of course. I once tried a beer-raised pork butt that was completely inedible. (In my defense, I was trying a recipe, which I followed to a T.) I made macaroni and cheese with an aged gouda. The first time was delicious. The next time was definitely not. Proportion is vitally important.
I do realize that I am blessed with The Furry Guy. He’s willing to try just about anything. If he doesn’t like something I’ve made he’ll either doctor it up to his liking or make something else for himself. And, I no longer have little ones at home. Though, when I did I didn’t hesitate to try new things. New things were almost always paired with old favorites when our son was very young. Once he was into late elementary school, he was given choices. He would try things ( sometimes reluctantly), but was never forced to eat what I’d made for dinner. If he wanted something else, though, he had to eat leftovers or make himself something we approved of.
I must admit that I grew up a fairly picky eater and remain somewhat finicky to this day. But, our son is a very adventurous eater. I think playing with food and encouraging him to play with food helped with that.
So, your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to play with your food tonight. Try adding a new spice or a secret ingredient to something. After all, it’s food, not brain surgery.