Monday, December 06, 2010

Picky PIcky

I was surprised and slightly heartened to see this article about picky eaters. It's nice that someone even floats the idea that picky eaters are not people who just don't want to eat healthy food, or who just don't want to try new things. I'm a little miffed at the speculation later on, however, that picky eaters may still be made, not born, by unpleasant experiences at the dinner table or stomach issues. They still can't quite bring themselves to accept picky eaters completely, it seems.

My name is Barb the Evil Genius, and I am a picky eater. It started in babyhood, when my skin turned yellow. My concerned mother took me to the doctor, only to find out that I did not have jaundice. Instead, it was my refusal to eat strained green vegetables that led to my skin tone. My current general practitioner is skeptical about the tale, although I have met another extremely picky eater who claimed her skin turned orange as a child, for the same reason.

Later on, when I graduated to solid food, I lived for a time on hot dogs and applesauce, being all that I would eat. It's easy to say, now, that my mom should have simply waited until I was really hungry. A neighbor tried this with my youngest sister, who refused to take a bottle. My sister outlasted the neighbor, and screamed for what she wanted the whole time to boot.

I am blessed to be able to say that my picky eating has not negatively affected my marriage or my social life. I did get scolded once on a college group outing to Louisiana and back, when a Chinese restaurant was chosen one night for dinner. I don't really eat Chinese, and there were protests as to why I hadn't spoken up. It was difficult for me to explain that I hadn't really wanted any of the other choices, either. And I didn't want to chain the entire group to my pickiness.

Mr. BTEG urges me to try new foods, but it's not a relationship issue if I don't like something. Occasionally the family will go out for something like Chinese, and I will eat something from somewhere else. It's not the end of the world. I will admit I can now eat sweet and sour fried chicken (hold the sweet and sour) and white rice, but not enough to really fill me. My daughters also eat more kinds of food than I do, although they also have likes and dislikes. My eldest currently favors a four-alarm level of spices, but then she ate salsa with a spoon when she was two.

I do find it interesting that we picky eaters tend to have very similar tastes in what we eat and drink. To me, it points toward the idea that we are indeed wired differently somehow when it comes to eating. I also look to the example of a pastor we used to know, who had his own taste preferences. He did not care to eat anything sugary. To him, it all just tasted like... sugar. No variation in the flavor experience. However, he could not get enough salt. That always tasted wonderful to him. For me, I have to agree with the final quote of the article: "We don't all have the same experience when we eat."

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