Thursday, July 29, 2010


Food is such an important thing for us, both biologically and culturally. If it's one thing we can all agree on, it's that we like food and we have to eat. Culturally, food stands for many things and is often the reason for or part of the ritual of gathering. From Thanksgiving dinner, to going out for coffee, food plays an important part in our social lives. Growing, processing, and serving food also plays a huge part in our economy. Food can express many emotions - we cook or bake special meals for the ones we love, we often picture 'romantic dinners' in special occassions like anniversaries, and we turn to 'comfort foods' when we are upset. The type of food you choose to eat reflects one's wealth and status.

We can all agree, that we love food.

I was once a very picky Western child. My parents would often lament that there were people starving around the world who would kill for the food I refused to eat. I realize that the whole notion of being picky is a Western concept, as it is a luxury for us to be able to refuse food. We also live in such a cultural mix that we are able to sample different types of food any time we want.

As I grew older, I became more accepting of the foods I didn't want to eat. As a child, mushrooms and raw tomatoes turned me off. It took me a long time to enjoy these foods. I just recently started liking tomatoes. I also have had the opportunity to expand my palate, dining on sushi and thai food.

I once worked as a waitress at a chinese restaurant, and I would be appalled by some of the things I heard while taking orders. I had a family call and tell me that there couldn't be any sauces on the food, and absolutely no vegetables as their kids would not eat them. Being a past picky child myself, I do realize that some food can be unappealing. But my parents always made sure I would eat vegetables, and there were all vegetables that I did like like carrots, peas, broccoli, cauliflower corn, potatoes, lettuce, beans, cabbage and squash which I thought justified that I would not eat onions, radishes, raw tomatoes and spicy vegetables. I would get ragged on all the time for not eating onions. I just didn't like them. I didn't like their texture, whether they were raw or fried. I didn't like their taste. I just didn't like them. Why couldn't they accept it? I wasn't turning my nose up on vegetables - I loved most vegetables. I just didn't want onions. But for parents to allow theit children to eat anything but vegetables? No wonder our health is the way it is.

To this day, my elderly neighbor criticizes my parents for not making me eat onions. She said they should have forced me to stay at the table until I had eaten them. If that was the case, we would have been there all night. My mom tried to sneak onions into my meals but I always found them, and picked them out. If I ate dinner elsewhere, I would do the same. She once tried to tell me that boiled onions were cabbages and I refused to believe her.

I fully believe that picky children shouldn't be allowed to eat hot dogs and pizza for the rest of their lives, but I do think that everybody should be allowed a few leeway foods that they just don't like. If you avoid going to a majority of restaurants because you won't eat any of the food there, you are way too picky. If you just have an avoidable vegetable, I think that's fair. I think most people have at least one food they don't like. For me it's onions. It used to be more, but I've eaten a lot of foods I once didn't like and love them now... but I still can't eat onions.


  1. My wife and I talk about the prevalence of food often. It's so pervasive in our culture that it's actually become a staple of societal interaction. How many meet-ups with other people do you go through that DON'T involve either a meal or a drink? It's pretty bizarre when you stop and think about it, and can often even become a point of contention in some instances.

    I actually hate mushrooms, but my wife loves them. Pasta and pizza have the potential to be disastrous affairs.

    I've recently claimed Cucumbers, Zucchini, and Squash as vegetables I previously claimed hatred for but now love. Raw tomatoes I still can't do.

  2. It took me 24 years to get over raw tomatoes,so I totally understand, and it was actually pizza that made me change my mind about mushrooms.