One of my favorite people I follow on Facebook is the 80-year-old mother of one of my favorite high school teachers, a brilliant longtime educator herself. The stories she selects for her feed feature thoughtful comments in flawless grammar, often with a nugget of wisdom and the challenge to explore the topic further. Basically, she is a model Facebook citizen and more people should be like her. So when I saw Mrs. P had commented on food site Mashed’s inexplicable “picky eating list,” I went ahead and clicked.
Yikes. Are we doing this? Publicly proclaiming our abject hatred for blue cheese and our staunchly held beliefs that tofu is not real food, despite at least a quarter of the world’s population depending on it for protein or eating it ’cause it rocks? Are we hating on food as one of our last posts of 2017, seeking to lift up the suffering of people constantly exposed to tuna? Is it a celebration of picky eaters worldwide, or an elaborate plan to expose and convert them? Whatever the answer may be, I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest it might be in poor taste.
It’s my theory that the rise in overall desire for diversification of the traditional American palate has played a large part in the success of modern food media. Food magazines have been popular since the first issue of Gourmet hit newsstands in 1941, and today you’re far more likely to see a brightly colored dumpling betwixt chopsticks, exotic pasta shapes or a spicy fried chicken drumstick on a cover than, say, roast beef. Experiencing new flavors and textures, following culinary trends and even celebri-fying chefs are de rigeur for the cool, modern American, so why does this crazy-ass list (which contains dumb typos — surely one can spell “lettuce” and “white chocolate”) have 21,000 comments?
Here are a few of their voices:
“Fish and seafood are disgusting lol. If it grows on land, chances are I’ll eat it. Not a fan of eggplant either, but I’ve had a parmesan I didn’t know was eggplant until after so if it’s cooked right I guess I’ll eat it.”
“I don’t like condiments, so that knocks out ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard and ranch right off the bat. I’ve never tried blue cheese but I probably won’t, I don’t like raw or cooked fish, only fried beyond recognition, not willing to try oysters or snails, didn’t like the texture of tofu when I tried it, don’t like lettuce, cabbage, or tomatoes, brussels sprouts are my least favorite food of all time, I don’t really like zucchini, bell peppers, spinach, cucumbers, eggplant, mushrooms or pickles, nor do I like beans, olives or avocado, I’ll eat wheat bread but don’t like it, I don’t drink coffee and I don’t like the texture of raisins.”
“Nasty stuff liver pudding.”
Editor’s comment: Neither liver, pudding, nor liver pudding is on the list.
“Tofu is bean crud. Why would anyone eat bean crud.”
“I won’t eat a slice of tomato, but will eat salsa — preferably not fresh though; must be aged.”
“I’m a pickier eater then I am a speller…for all those being picky about the spelling of some of these words just to let you know spelling DOESN’T count on FB.”
Editor’s note: It does, ask Mrs. P.
“I have always found eggplant to be vile. And I don’t even know what Nutella is, but it sounds gross.”
“Raisins are just humiliated grapes.”
“Bananas should be eradicated. Coconut, tofu (is that really food?), and grapefruit. All others OK, in the right circumstance. Olives have NO place on pizza!”
Editor’s comment: Bananas could very well go extinct, so you’re good there. Oops, one of the olives fell off my pizza.
People, everyone can see your comments. This isn’t your LiveJournal. If you’re not going to try sushi a few times until you love it, you’re going to get left behind when all your friends go out for a raucous night of raw fish and sake-based excess. Then you won’t be in any of the photos or get the new inside joke about “Itsuki cannonballs.” Whatever that is, doesn’t it sound like fun? You’re not going to be in on it, because you were so busy hating sushi that you didn’t go out with them. Is that satisfactory to you? You can do this! You can be part of it!
In conclusion, this list, while stupid and poorly constructed (a lot of people commented just to point out the typos) is also pretty enlightening. The information contained within is not as useless as it sounds. Folks seem to get bent out of shape pretty quickly when it comes to food dislikes, and this powerful capacity for self-deception is an important lesson. The epidemic of pickiness is wedged firmly between “allergies: perceived and real” and “neuroses: deep-seated and unlikely to budge without organic motivation.” The most Googled recipe of last year was beef stroganoff, an objectively boring dish. And unless we know and utilize this all, the hope of getting people into oysters and Nutella — and I cannot believe I’m defending Nutella in this manner — is nil.