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The Tiger's Nest in Bhutan. Photo by Chelsea Ferrel.

10 New Foods in 4 Days

Intro: Hi my name is Ava Frankel. I’m 15 years old and I’m a picky eater. My whole life I have been a picky eater and have been scared to try new things. Especially food. I have distinct memories from my childhood of stuffing unfamiliar food (aka not chicken nuggets), under the table for my dog. Also, I used to rearrange food on my plate in order to give off the appearance that I tried it. Later in my life I realized I needed to try new things in order to get the most of out life that I could. So I decided to go on a Dragons trip and face my fear of trying new foods. These are my experiences:

Soy Sauce and Momos (Dumplings): What even are these things?!?! Like, I’ve never seen a food shaped like that. Ya what? And I was like ok…I casually sat down at the table and my friend Raif looks and says, “Ava, you want a dumpling?” And I was like, “Errr”. And I had an inner freakout attack and I just wanted to cry, I didn’t want to try it. I was having a mini-panic attack, I was like OH GOD. And I told my friend I had never had dumplings before. He was like “whaaaat?” And I was like “Yaaaa”. I put this weird smiley faced thingy in my mouth, I bit down on it HARD, and it went , “eahrgh”. You know what? It had vegetables in it. I was NOT ready for that. AND, you know what? It was okay. It was OKAY. And then, they were like, “put some soy sauce on it,” and I was like, “SOY SAUCE??” I wasn’t about to mess around with no soy sauce. I wasn’t! Ya, no! And they all chanted “try it!”. So I felt inclined. Peer pressure can be sometimes good, kids. And then I was all like, “Fine… I’ll try the soy sauce”. I put the soy sauce on it. AND THERE WERE VEGETABLES. 3/5 for both. Actually 2/5 for soy sauce.

Boiled Eggs?!?? I have never liked boiled eggs. EVER. They smell nasty and they’re so weirdly shaped. OH MY GOD they smelled TER-I-BLE. Oh my god, they were just whack w/out a h. Ok, TBH I’ve never tried a boiled egg but with the way they look and smell, I was like HECK no. Ya, but you know what, I was sitting at breakfast this morning and I had this urge. I was in a different country with people I met 5 days ago and I had a new confidence to try something different. And I just put it in my mouth and it tasted kinda like nothing honestly. I’m going to give it a 3/5. I could eat it if I had to but I wouldn’t want to.

Pumpkin Soup: Ok it’s like weirdly sweet. I’ve NEVER tried pumpkin before. Not even the Pumpkin Spice Lattes. But, you know what? I tried it. It was sweet? I didn’t really love it, I can’t lie. I’m going to say 2/5, 3/5.

Spring Rolls: It looked like this circle fried thing. I was like “What is this?” and then Jack said there were vegetables in it…I did not want to try it. Then I was “Well Ava, time to woman up and try this new food.” I put this weird long fried thing in my mouth, and I was like “err” and then I started tasting the vegetables, but they weren’t as bad as I thought, ya know? It tasted like vegetables but better. I rate it 3/5. It was not what I wanted it to be.

Tea: Tea. What even? So a lot of people drink tea when they’re um sick, but I don’t. So apparently it was this hot liquid stuff. But I didn’t know, I was new to it. So okay, I have this instrctor named Nick and he really likes it so I had a good feeling about it, ya know? So I’m sitting with my WTBD people and I get a little plastic cup that’s full of this thing was very viscous. So I drink out of it and it was piping hot, my god! It’s piping hot and I was like “lakjdfliuqlekfinzdslk” and everybody is drinking it with ease but I was struggling and it tasted just so weird man. It was like milk but not. Uh. Not pleasant.

Cauliflower: Cauliflower. Uggh. It’s like broccoli’s weird cousin. It is. It’s like wack. Um so, I try it today at lunch. It was “ehhh”. I give it 3/5. It was aight.

Lentil Soup: Ok. It sounds nasty. Lentils kinda remind me of staples for some odd reason. Um but I said “Ava it is time to be a fully grown woman”. So yeah I tried it with the rice and it was surprisingly good. 5/5 baby.

Tofu: Tofu is whack. It’s like chicken, but not. It’s like weird, ya know? It came in squares, like perfect squares. Cubes, ya know? The taste. Weird, I did not like it. 0/5

Digestive Cookies: Ok, can we talk about the name? Um, digestive? Is it supposed to make me poop? Low key I’d love that. Um so I tried the digestive cookies and my friends told me they were good but they lied. Um 1/5 yuck.

Pickles. What even. I never knew there wasn’t a difference between cucumbers and pickles. I thought they grew separately. Pickles are, once again, WACK. Um I tried it in this thing full of other stuff.It was aight. It was okay. Um I’m going to give it a 3/5.

I realized I always had courage and strength inside of me, but I wasn’t able to access it. Since I was afraid of being uncomfortable. But Dragons has shown me that it is okay to be uncomfortable. In fact, that it is important for growing and learning. Dragons has also given me the chance to be around smart, interesting people. These people have encouraged me to face my fears and to be a better and more courageous version of myself!