Picky eaters


Partner suggested recently that we have dinner at Greggs, a local Rhode Island family restaurant.  I am in fact a Greggs Frequent Diner member (with a Double-Layer Membership!).  On Mondays and Tuesdays, they have a terrific special: beverage (within reason: coffee, soft drink, domestic beer), appetizer, main course (with extras), and gigantic dessert (their specialty), for $12 – $15.  You can’t beat that.



Partner had the turkey club and French fries. 



I had the liver and onions.



As a child, I was the pickiest of picky eaters.  I wouldn’t touch liver, or scrambled eggs, or raw tomato, or dill pickles.  I was the kid they had to order special food for.  My mother would never have thought of cooking liver; my screams would have been horrible.



Sometime around the Bicentennial, my mind/body changed.



I will eat just about anything now. I love trying new things.  Organ meats?  Love ‘em.  Broccoli?  My best friend. Alligator? I like it raw.  Liver has a silky texture and a sweet/savory flavor.  Whenever I order it, Partner always makes the same crack about the liver being the cow’s carburetor.  So what?  Maybe I like eating a big slab of cow carburetor, with slimy fried onions on top.



Recent studies have shown that childhood pickiness may be genetic.  It may have, in fact, protected our ancestors’ children from all kinds of dangers.  “If I do not recognize it,” Confucius said in Book 10 of the Analects, “I do not put it in my mouth.”  So says every child in America (and, probably, the world).  In the early history of our race, no doubt this squeamishness saved lives. 



Nowadays, however, it’s just annoying.



Then, even more annoyingly, some people take this squeamishness into adulthood.



Take my father.  He liked about ten things: beans, hamburger (cooked until it was gray, with lots of pepper), spaghetti, eggs with ketchup, things like that.  Mom cooked and cooked, but every meal had to include things Dad liked.



Mom was actually very unadventurous too.  She was terrified in restaurants, because the food was unfamiliar to her; it might not look the way she expected it to.  She preferred local Northwest burger joints like Burgerville, which (while very good) never surprised you with something new.



Not me, boy.  I want novelty.  I want sensation.  Gimme a platter of scallops fried in lard and topped with chicory and cilantro, with a side of hard-boiled duck eggs, and a glass of cranberry wine on the side.



Life’s too short to be picky.



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

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