It’s not what you think…
In the rash generalization that is my mind, I think of food snobs as those who demand the best at all times. Joanna Stayton in Overboard insisting on the finest caviar, rather than “fish bait”. French champagne instead of the sparkling wine we pass off for bubbly here in the States. But that’s not the type of food snob I am. I’m much more like your 7-year-old son snob.
Every kid is a picky eater. Not a single dish in culinary history has been placed before a child without a nose immediately turning upwards. It’s what we do. If it’s not the same meal we’ve had the previous 12 lunches, then we don’t want it. The difference between your child and me, however, is that Junior’s taste will eventually, likely, grow up. Mine never did.
To pigeonhole me as a strictly meat-and-potatoes consumer would actually sell me short; I need to know what kind of potatoes they are first. Mashed? That’s a good start, but they aren’t garlic mashed potatoes, right? Because that would be gross. Set them down in front of me, and my head will snap back like a dazed welterweight with fresh smelling salts under his nose. Oh, you’ve substituted mashed parsnips for potatoes? Please cancel my order, I’ve just been paged into surgery.
I’m in my 43rd year of guarding my discerning palate. (I don’t remember the first 3) It has nothing to do with wanting to like something. It’s about my taste buds accepting the taste. I have no more control over my ability to like a flavor than the human body has in deciding to accept or reject a transplanted heart. Either I like it or I don’t. There is no thought process involved.
Sure, in earlier times there was a more cerebral approach to eating. Lasagna is now one of my favorite foods, but as a child I claimed to hate it simply because it looked like it had way too many things going on under that cheese. Basic is better for me. Meat sauce = good. Add chunks of…well, anything really, and it becomes a stew gone horribly wrong that you’ve now decided to heap onto my pasta. Do not challenge me. I’ll sit at your table and pick out every hunk of tomato, mushroom, pepper and onion I can find in there before I can truly enjoy that recipe your grandmother handed down to you. It’s not her. It’s me.
People who know me for any length of time rarely invite me to dinner without telling me what they’re having. It’s nice of them to be concerned, but it’s also embarrassing. Trust me, I’d rather be able to dig into whatever is put on my plate. I’d prefer to order anything off a menu. (I have yet to resort to ordering from the child’s menu, but I’m not above that if everything else looks gross.) I wish I could try the plethora of international cuisines available is a big city like Chicago. But I can’t, and I won’t. There are just too many yucky things out there.
Still feel like making me dinner this weekend?