Friday, April 10, 2009

Something I've noticed about food

Like everyone else, I have my likes and dislikes when it comes to food. Whereas I can eat some foods without being hungry, others will make me all but vomit on contact with my taste buds. Some of these tastes are deeply rooted within me, while others have shifted over the years. When eating out, I do my best to accommodate these tastes and burden others with them as little as possible. Likewise, I don't judge others for any likes or dislikes they may have.

Once in a while, however, an unpleasant dialogue occurs, almost always with the best of intentions:

"You should try the cheesecake."
"No, thank you. I don't eat cheesecake."
"It's good."
"I'm sure it is, but no thanks."
"You don't eat cheesecake?"
"No. I don't like cream cheese."

Often, the exchange ends there. But not always.
"That's just because you've never had mine."

What do you say to that? What can you say to that? Either you indulge the person and then make them feel bad when you inevitably don't like it, or you're made to feel guilty - and generally come off as the jerk either way - and all because someone doesn't have the forethought to respect your tastes.

Chances are, if I can't get over my distaste for cream cheese after the 23 or so years I've been grossed out by it, the fact that you took it off the shelf at the store isn't going to be the catalyst.

Believe it or not - and most people don't - I cook. People are generally polite about trying my food, much in the way people buy lemonade from children who've confused Lemon Joy with Country Time. Points for trying.

Despite hailing from south Louisiana - or maybe because of it - I have never liked seafood. Accordingly, this exempts me from liking about 90 percent of Cajun dishes. And though the small fraction of Cajun food I like I do so with fervor, it has always, always led to this exchange:

"Have some crawfish."
"No, thanks, I don't eat them."
"You...don't...eat...crawfish?!! Where are you from?!!"
"Lafayette."
"You have to eat crawfish if you're from Lafayette."
"Can it just be enough that I eat some corn and Zapp's with a Tabasco chaser?"
"Come to think of it, you talk funny too. Like you're on the TV."
"Um...sorry?"
"Eat some crawfish."
"No."
"I bred them myself."
"They look great."
"You're making me feel bad."
"I'm not trying to."
"Are you saying I can't cook?"

I remember my grandfather - full-blooded Cajun and one of my favorite people in the world, ever - introducing me to one of his friends thus:

"This is Ian, my grandson. He eats bad."

He probably had a point, but still...

Let's do lunch!

1 comment:

rhonda said...

my parents used to feed me mayonnaise sandwiches when i was too little to grasp the concept of child abuse.

fucking mayo sandwiches. it's one of the most disgusting things i can think of, and it's very taxing for me to even watch someone else eat that today. i would gladly eat a whole block of cream cheese before i'd eat even a single bite of that, and my relationship with cream cheese is only slightly better than yours is.