How do you feel about evolution? Don’t worry I’m not going to get all book smart on you and start on Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. (Um, because this is a food blog and not Scientific America…and because I would need someone to explain it to me first.)

I’m curious if anyone has written a theory on the evolution of food preferences.

Basically it could be a theory on trying new foods. Probably categorized somewhere in the psychology department, I think we can all learn to eat ALL foods if we learn to stop psyching ourselves out and make them at home first…mixed with foods we already like. (My metatheorist friends should all be tapping their fingers right now saying “Ahhh, tell me more.”)

Given I used to be a super picky eater, I think I the best person to speak on this topic. I was the kid who would only eat a burger at a restaurant no matter what was on the menu. I would pick the onions out of spaghetti sauce even if I could barely taste them. I can remember getting chills when I’d see my food touching. I was the worst!!!

Obviously over the years, I’ve changed.   I learned that you need to taste everything….a couple times… because you may not like it the first time. (Heck, I didn’t even like my husband after our first date…but I tried him out a little more and look where we are now!!)

Think about it…how many times have you snubbed things that you were offered because you “knew” you didn’t like them? You’ve tried it before and there is no possible way you will like it now…or will you? You’ve gotta give it a chance.

The first step is all psychological. Stop telling yourself you won’t like something. You are writing the ending to a story that hasn’t even begun. (I got this great advice from either Dr. Phil, Donahue or an Archie Comic…I don’t remember the source.)

Second, figure out how to add just one or two things to a recipe you currently love so you can pinpoint what exactly you don’t like or more importantly…what you do like.

Remember….start small and just add a little bit of the new ingredient.   (Think about it….you learned the ABC’s slowly. You didn’t learn the whole alphabet at once did you?  You did?  Wait…you didn’t even get stuck on that whole L-M-N-O-P part?)

Next, don’t think about it….just pop it in your mouth. (This also applies to some other things in life….)

Finally, rinse and repeat. (Because if it works for shampoo…it should work for everything.) After you take the bite of the new food, take a sip of water and then take another bite. New textures and flavors sometimes take a few minutes to register in your brain if you like them or not ESPECIALLY if you have spent the last umpteen years convincing yourself you don’t like something.

I’m sure if Darwin were alive right now, he would be nodding his head and clapping with joy over my theory. (Or he would be saying that he might need to go back to the drawing board because I’m not very evolved.)

So let’s stop twiddling our opposable thumbs and put my theory to work on one of this year’s trendiest foods… Korea’s gochuchang.  (You know the funky, fermented chili paste.)  If you try one new thing in 2017…THIS IS IT!!!  (Unless I learn about some other trend.)

I love Korean food but I know some folks are afraid of it because of the heat that comes from Gochujang.  It is probably one of the more popular ways to heat up food but it is unique because it is a little sweet.

I decided to transform my “standard” fried rice into a Korean-Evolving your taste bud version. (Now that I type this…I never once looked to see if there was already Korean fried rice so I could be reinventing the wheel.)

I used a lot of the flavors that I would find in one of my favorite Korean beef dishes (bulgogi) and used it as seasoning for a ground beef fried rice. I added some veggies that were familiar like red peppers, green onions and bean sprouts and kept my seasoning basic with garlic, ginger and soy. The only thing that you may have to adapt to is the Gochujang.

Now I would never claim after you eat this….you will love all Korean food BUT I think it is one step toward standing erect in the food evolution department.

Gochujang Beef Fried Rice
A simple fried rice with a little Korean flair.
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1/4 light soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Mirin
  • 1/2-1 Tbsp Gochujang (Start small…you can add more.)
  • Dash of sesame oil
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 4 cups cooked rice (day old is better)
  • 2-4 Tbsp ponzu
  • 1 cup of bean sprouts
  • Optional a couple fried eggs
  • Sesame oil
  1. In a large wok or saute pan, brown your ground beef.
  2. In a small bowl mix, sugar, gochujang, soy, mirin and sesame oil. Toss on ground beef and cook until all the sauce is absorbed by the beef.
  3. Remove from pan.
  4. Add a little sesame oil to the pan..
  5. Saute the pepper and green onion over medium heat until they are just soft.
  6. Add the ginger and garlic. Cook until you fragrant (1-2 minutes)
  7. Add the rice and the beef.
  8. Mix it up but also give it chance to form some brown bits by leaving it alone for a couple of minutes.
  9. Add about 2 Tbsp of the ponzu. Mix up again and then let it just sit. It should be making a crackling sound.
  10. Take a taste. If you need to add more ponzu or gochujang….do it now but mix it up well and then let it cook for another minutes.
  11. Serve with bean sprouts and extra gochujang for folks to mix in.
  12. If you like an egg on top of your rice….do it!!