I have a reputation amongst friends and family of being the picky eater. Granted my dislike list of food is longer than the Nile, but I've spent the last 10 years or so trying to overcome that.
Funny enough, I credit the Food Network. When we moved to California in 1999, we discovered the Food Network. Shows like Emeril Live and Good Eats blew my mind. I grew up in a home where we ate out a lot, and food came in boxes and cans. We would sometimes visit my grandparents on the farm and eat food grown from the garden. Those meals were yummy.*
Emeril & Alton gave way to other chefs like Tyler Florence, Morimoto (and the original Iron Chefs), and Mario Batali. Now I watch Top Chef and remark on the chefs that I've heard of.
Once upon a time I couldn't eat "fancy" food without it wrecking havoc on my stomach. Now the thought of Jack In The Box or Applebees make me cringe.
There are still many fruits & vegetables I've never tried, and ethnic cuisine is a slow process too. But the girl who grew up eating Minute Rice is making risotto this weekend.
I don't dream of one day opening my own restaurant. I do dream about having my children experience food and get excited by it.
Eat well my friends.
"Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity." ~Voltaire
* I still won't eat my grandmother's signature dish, cabbage rolls. This upsets her.