“Take chances, make mistakes, get messy.”

The above is the mantra of Walkerville Elementary School’s renowned 4th Grade teacher, and—OK—fictional character on the popular children’s television program The Magic School Bus, Ms. Frizzle (AKA “The Friz”). If you’re unfamiliar with the show, the eccentric—and mildly off-kilter—educator implores her students with that message as she leads the class on absurd, fantastical adventures via a school bus that transmogrifies depending on the subject she’s teaching that day.

It’s good show, sure. But, more pertinent to this column, it’s Ms. Frizzle’s mantra that I’d like to focus on. Not to get too far into the weeds, here, but the idea of making mistakes and getting, at least metaphorically, messy is one rooted in educational philosophy and, lately, real world application. The constructivist theory of education suggests that we develop our own knowledge and derive our own meaning from our experiences. When we encounter something new, we have to reconcile it with our previous ideas and experiences, possibly changing what we believe. We, the theory goes, are active creators of our own knowledge. And what better way to do that, than to dive in headfirst? After all, your mistakes, or the mess you will likely make, will only serve to show you what to do (and what not to do) in the future.

Likewise, if you’ve heard the phrase “failing forward,” then you may now understand that everyone from tech-world entrepreneurs to self-help authors have been riding The Magic School Bus.

Taking chances and getting messy can be a delicious endeavor, as well. A broad look at the current state of the food scene in North Florida—and the features  in our Bold Bites Issue (on newsstands now)—bears that out. This region’s entrepreneurial spirit has been burning bright for the last half-decade or so, with more and more folks rolling the dice on mobile eateries, pop-up operations, and brick and mortar joints, in many cases serving up wildly creative dishes involving obscure ingredients, creative or dissonant combinations, ungodly portions, and true to Friz-form, messy presentations.

In these incredibly divisive times, there are few things as controversial as the chili dog. Whether the thought of ingesting such a messy concoction makes your stomach turn or makes your moth salivate, you’re certain to be intrigued by what the inventive folks from the popular food cart, Hot Dog Party cook up as they pop up around Jacksonville–including the vegan chili dog featured on the cover of Void Magazine, Vol 9, Issue 11, Bold Bites.

Bold Bites is a celebration of that spirit. From the artistry of Jamie Rice’s fancy coffee cocktails (“Show Pigeon and Tell” by Nicki Wolfe) to the unlikely coupling of fried chicken + ramen (“A Perfect Matrimony in Mayport” by Josué Cruz) to the ways in which an assortment of North Florida establishments are now viewing the humble donut as a blank canvass for everything from abstract expressionism to surrealism (“Donut Call it a Comeback” by Darby Moore), Bold Bites is food for the adventurous—or EpiCurious (wink).

So go grab a copy of our newest issue. And let’s get messy.

Cheers,
Matt