Known Johnson

January 28, 2009

Eating picky

Filed under: Eating picky — Tom @ 12:32 pm

I took a bite from the apple and knew instantly that I was in trouble. Soft. Mushy. Not good. Maybe it was a bad spot. I turned it and took another bite, hoping it was just one bad area and the rest would be fine. It was a good looking apple – shiny, smooth, deliciously red like its name suggested it would be. It was not. More grainy mush inside. Bad . . . for me. I think, however, that most people would probably have been able to eat it just fine. I have issues, you see.

I don’t talk about this much and I don’t know why, but as I attempted to eat that apple it crossed my mind: “Why don’t I talk about being a picky eater more often?” I’ve mentioned it before but never really bother to expound on it, and that’s a shame because I’d say that this is one of the bigger issues in my life. I’m extremely picky, Alissa is a confirmed supertaster (I thought I was one too until we took that test.) It’s a big deal. It affects nearly everything in our lives that involves food, and how much of our lives doesn’t involve food?

I wanted to eat that apple yesterday, because I like apples . . . basically. But I’m very finicky about the particulars of apples. No bruises. None. That’s very hard to find. Sometimes I have to give in to a few minor divots, but if there’s any kind of soft spot, well, that apple is out. And if I bite in and anything is off, that apple is out. Apples have to be crisp. They need to have that sharp snap. If they’re even remotely mealy inside, I can’t eat it. And a lot of apples are like that. Others are too fragrant, almost flower-like, making my eyes water and my gag-reflex kicks in. I spend a lot of time at the store picking out apples.

The thing that boggles people’s minds about this is that I enjoy what I eat the way I eat it. I eat all sandwiches plain. Hamburgers? They consist of meat and bun, no condiments. I frequently eat peanut butter sandwiches – no jelly, no thank you! I even often have spaghetti with no sauce, just some butter, but I happily will eat spaghetti with sauce. I eat a from a limited menu, and that’s okay to me. It would probably drive most people insane, but I don’t really care – most food simply grosses me out. I shouldn’t have to apologize for this, and I don’t, but I also don’t feel like I should feel so self-conscious about it, and sometimes I am. The world is not built for the picky, but that doesn’t mean you all have to gape and stare when we ask for everything on the side. And, trust me, I see it all the time.

Just a short while back, Food Network aired a show about picky eating adults (because we know that kids just go through that phase and emerge on the other side as normal eater.) We are out there and there are more of us than you realize. More than that, I have no reason to hide this. The more I talk about it, the more normal it becomes for you, the “normal” eaters out there. It’s one thing for me to sit here knowing what foods are fine and why, but another to get upset when “normal” eaters express disdain at my disinterest in certain foods . . . without explaining why I can’t eat them. I may not be responsible for people’s rude reactions to me, but as Mahatma Ghandi famously said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” If I explain my reactions to food, perhaps others will have kinder reactions to all of us.

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