Like many people, I love food. I love eating it, talking about it, reading about it… Without getting too philosophical (what’s more eye rolling inducing than waxing philosophical), the consumption of food in its many forms in which I can absorb it is part of my existence…my being, my fabric. “Inextricably linked,” as so many writers are apt to say these days.
I like reading about grilling, canning, different kinds of salt, the many ways with zucchini, amino acids. I’ll dabble in eating raw, I’ll entertain conversations about paleo diets and even ask some questions, because I’m interested. I’ll ask questions to people who are cleansing. I won’t ask how are you doing it–most of my research has concluded this is ineffectual, rather, I’ll ask, how are you feeling? What’s it like to go without caffeine for a day? While it’s not necessarily helpful for your body, the stories are incredibly interesting. I like hearing from people who are changing your diet. Plus, I always applaud people for accomplishing something that is personally challenging.
As much passion as I have for food, I do have a line in the sand. I haven’t fully processed why this line in particular, let’s just chalk it up to being part of the line and therefore threaded with the grotesque that I associate with anything past the line, or touching the line: people who talk about hiding food within other foods so that picky people will eat said food.
Honestly, I don’t care. I don’t care that you’ve chopped it up real fine, that you’ve hidden it in jell-o, that you prepared it in a new way so that it no longer looks like its original form. I’m sorry that you have to do all that, and I’m glad you seem to have some solutions. However, I don’t want to talk about this, I don’t want to hear trade secrets. Line, drawn. There’s nothing I can do about it.
Now, I say this, and I have a story that I will relay in a moment about hiding food. So, clearly my line in the sand has moved a bit. Perhaps my tolerance is increasing now that I’ve legitimately played a hand at this poker table. This might seem like sudden change of perspective. I just devoted so much time to talking about how much I don’t want to discuss hiding food, and yet, here I am with a story about it. Funny. Well, it is sudden. I’ve spent more time in the latter camp, than the former: those with stories about hiding food.
Until this moment that I will tell shortly, I had many a conversation about foods that people don’t like. We all have those foods–irrational or otherwise, there are some things we don’t want to eat. I don’t like goat cheese. I don’t like cilantro. Olives, yuck. I can’t stand mushrooms. I don’t like grilled watermelon with feta finished with a touch of lime juice. Okay, have it your way. I’m cool with that. I’ll talk about that with you.
Until this moment, if you were on the other side of things, if you were the food preparer trying to tell me about a food that such and such a person doesn’t like, but you somehow snuck it onto their plates and into their mouths, I was literally doing the hands over my ears, “la la la,” I don’t want to hear it.
With the workout buddy, he has a long list of things he doesn’t “like.” My retort, “yes you do.”
Maybe I* just don’t have a heart when it comes to these matters.
He’ll say, “I don’t like tomatoes.” I’ll say, “yes you do. You eat them all the time.” I argue he just needs to eat what Pollan describes as a “real tomato.” Not a rock hard, mealy tomato from somewhere halfway across the world in the middle of winter. No one likes those tomatoes.
Hey, if you have a food at its peek of perfection or prepared in such a way that brings out the most amazing features of that food, and you still say you don’t like it, well, then, fine. I’m not going to then chop it up, dehydrate it and put it into your trail mix. However, I do believe there is hope for most of us who just don’t like a certain food. Keep trying it. I know I used to hate okra, and how many of us didn’t like broccoli or brussels sprouts or asparagus until we realized years later our parents were preparing it in the worst of all possible ways imaginable. And, given the following conversation with the workout buddy, I might just start to like this hiding food thing:
Workout Buddy: I’m hungry.
Me: Okay…um, do you want some toast with almond butter?
Workout Buddy: Yeah, I don’t really like nut butters. I don’t like peanut butter, almond butter, all that.
Me: [Of course I know this purported dislike of nut butters of the workout buddy. When it comes to food, I have an uncanny memory. He told me this like day 3.] Okay.
I go off and suggest some other snack foods that are more aligned with the workout buddy’s tastes.
Fast forward one week in discussing lunch. [Scene: via gchat.]
Me: I know you don’t typically like coleslaw, but how was it?
Workout Buddy: It was really good! I liked it.
Me: Right? I really liked it, too…the dressing had almond butter. [To self: meheheh.]
* It’s been a little while…since I’ve talked about a trigger. Well, this is one. Whenever I say or hear, “Maybe I-” My brain immediately launches into “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Wings.