Picky, Picky, Picky

Sep 18


HostessWithTheMostessReally? So what are you: A vegetarian? A vegan? A person who doesn’t eat a)dairy b)carbs c) gluten d)all of the above?

If you are none of the above, you’re seriously out of step with the rest of America.

Ask any hostess worth her beans. Perhaps I should rephrase that. I’m sure there’s something dire about beans beyond their well-known power to create enough natural gas to power the city of Cleveland.

(And why is it always Cleveland? Don’t things go wrong any place else like Sheboygan or Chattanooga or Newark?)

Anyway, I read a piece in The New York Times, “The Picky Eater Who Came To Dinner,” about savvy hostesses who slavishly cater to the tastes of their various and sundry guests. Personally, I dislike sundry guests. Too much cleaning up after them. But then, I don’t do much entertaining lately. Or ever.

But when I do, I am the opposite of savvy: I’m more of an I-spent-a-lot-of-time-cooking-this-stuff-so-eat-something-already kind of gal. And I wouldn’t love it if people showed up with their own food in single-portion Tupperware as more and more people are wont to do.

Okay, okay. I get it. Some people are genuinely allergic to certain foods, so it’s nice to check first before putting nuts in the brownies. Others have real conditions, like lactose intolerance or celiac disease, and that’s not funny. Although, as the Times so snidely points out, self diagnosing on the web doesn’t count. I want a note from your doctor!

Apart from real illnesses or allergies, why this rash (you should pardon the expression) of picky eaters? There are a number of fascinating theories floating around out there . . .


I Am Vegan, Hear Me Roar

VeganFoodPyramindOne is that in a world of increasing isolation, it gives certain persons a group to belong to, creating a special identify for them. Okay. I guess. But why don’t they just join the Elks or something? Vegans don’t even have a secret handshake.

Another possible reason for all this pickiness is the mountain (never mind the pyramid) of information, misinformation and conflicting information out there about food. Protein is good; protein is bad. Carbs give you energy; carbs make you fat. An egg is the perfect food; an egg is the devil incarnate (even before you add the mayo and paprika).

Paleo Is The New Vegan

Vegan is so last year. Did you know that there are some people who refuse to eat any grains, legumes, or dairy as part of a new “paleo’ diet. I get the dairy, sort of, but what—no broccoli? And I thought that grains were really good for you. Silly me.

Let’s face it, there’s no place for moderation . You are forced to take a side. Any side.

And that includes the die hards (and we know who we are) who believe that a hot dog with sauerkraut and mustard covers all the major food groups and thinks that life without ice cream is not worth living.

“Eat and let eat,” as someone must have said at least once.

Although even this laissez faire attitude can get out of hand. I get hives thinking about the annual party for carnivores known as Meatopia. (Why does that remind me of Jurassic Park?) Although I do think the founder of that group, Josh Ozersky, is on to something when he says that the rise of these fragmentary diets is due to “growing infantilism and narcissism.”

ProseccoInteresting concept. But the most reasoned approach to this issue came from an Italian, Fabio Parasecoli (and Italians know so little about food), who said that “For me, food is very social, and I would never show up at someone’s place with Tupperware,” warning that all these dietary choices are preventing people form “fully participating in a social life.”

You, Fabio, are my kind of dinner guest. Tupperware is for on the way out, not on the way in. Just bring some prosecco. I’ll supply the glasses.

One slogan I kinda like is “Never to eat anything bigger than your head.” I will never do that. An interesting one is avoid anything with a face, which makes you a vegetarian, or a vegan, or a paleo (paleoinian?), or some damn thing. No faces? I promise I will not eat a watch or a clock, but that’s as far as I’ll go.

And no one, not even my Italian grandmother could get me to eat eels. Or that horrible sheep’s head thing Norwegians serve on holidays. And come to think of it, I’m not crazy about tripe or kidneys either.

Not that I’m picky or anything.


For another take on today’s tastes in food, see: 
Fried Butter On A Stick



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