When my friend Scholke gave me the idea for the 50 Countries Challenge, he first proposed trying out 50 ingredients I've never used before in cooking. I was fairly sure that I'd gotten around enough in cooking that I would have to start buying REALLY exotic things. What worried me more was that I would have to do things I won't do on principle, like make lobster or octopus.
However, recently I've realized how much doing this 50 Countries Challenge, as well as being part of The Daring Cooks, has forced me to step outside of the box. I've been keeping track of ingredients new to my World of Cooking, partly for me, but mostly for Scholke. I've found 24 "new ingredients" as of January 2nd--almost as many as there are countries I've visited on my challenge. Awesome.
For interested parties, those ingredients are:
Mo Qua (Fuzzy Squash)
Hearts of Palm
Dangmyeon Noodles (Sweet Potato Noodles)