Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Is something wrong with me?

I don't like food.

OK, let me clarify: I like food. But talking about it tends to bore me to tears. 

It's such an infinite and subjective topic. And I'm a picky eater.

When it comes to traveling, reading or most other experiences, I am as adventurous as they come. I'm open to all sorts of things I didn't even realize I wanted to do until I did them. My only limits are stupid risks and anything that might hurt my back (without promising something awesome in return). But when it comes to food, I'm often physically terrified. Does that have mayonnaise on it? Is one of those cheeses cream? Does this have trans fats in it? Please don't use that dirty knife on my sandwich! Yeah, I pretty much suck.

Which is why talking with me about food is like asking me to do calculus: I can tell you calculus is some form of math, but that's it.

It probably doesn't help that I come from south Louisiana (from restaurateur stock, no less), where food is a personal expression and refusal is seen as a personal affront rather than as a matter of individual taste. That'll kill a picky eater's appetite (and social confidence) quick. 

I guess I just like eating food more than I like talking about it. Or that I know I'm stupid about the subject. Maybe both.

That hasn't stopped me from writing about it, though, because talking about things about which you know little is the American way.

In fact, about a year before I became the liberal columnist for the UL Vermilion, I applied to be food columnist (hey, it was an in). I wasn't even going to try to follow the genuine foodie who preceded me, so my planned approach was to review the local fast-food places and other nearby dives as if I were a stuffy, four-star critic (and they were four-star restaurants). Somehow, the editors liked my pitch and asked me to turn in samples. I wrote several killer reviews, among them Taco Bell and McDonald's. 

However, it was not meant to be. Minutes before the submission deadline, I approached the editor with my clips, which were handwritten, and she refused them, saying they had to be on floppy disk. She had neglected to tell me this beforehand (and I'd been allowed to hand-write trial submissions in the past). My guess is that she had second thoughts about the idea in the first place. It was probably a good call.

Maybe those clips will find a new life here, if ever I find them.

Guess I do care about food after all.

1 comment:

Kelli said...

I think that everyone is picky about something, and your something is food. You likely share that compulsion with more folks than you think. I could make short list of my neuroses if it would make you feel better, but I don't think that it's necessary. Our wide and varied characteristics and quirks are what make each and every one of us interesting as individuals. Or hopefully so.

In regards to your specific case, I do my best to accommodate everyone that I serve when I prepare a meal. It may seem gratuitous to those less obliging, but people keep coming to my house to eat so I must be doing something right. It's all about being kind for the sake of kindness. For those other inhospitable and judgmental people, you should have nothing for them and owe them even less.