As a picky eater, I’ve gradually tried, in my adult life, to integrate new foods into the repertoire of things I like. That makes it easier for me when I go to new restaurants, and it makes it less embarrassing when I’m a guest in someone’s home, say, and I have to tell them that I’m turning down what it is they’re offering me because I don’t care for it, or even am completely grossed out by it. Still, there are certain situations that arise where my dislike of individual foods or ingredients rears its head, and the best I can do is hope to ride it out.
A good example was a few weeks ago, when me and my wife went to a restaurant in the neighborhood, a self-styled English pub that we’d been to a few times in the past. The special this time around was a “porky burger,” which essentially was a hamburger with mozzarella cheese, bacon, pulled pork, and coleslaw piled on it. Definitely pretty decadent, and about a zillion calories, but I figured, it was an occasional treat, and hey, what is life about but treating yourself once in a while?
The only thing on the burger that didn’t appeal to me, as you may have guessed, was the coleslaw. No problem; I just told our server, who seemed new to the job and a bit flustered, to leave it off. So the food came, and the burger looked good, but rather than check it to see if any of the offending coleslaw was on it, I just took a big bite. Big mistake. The coleslaw, which turned out to be chock-full of onions, had been left on, and I had chewed it up and swallowed it before I was really aware of it. It was only as I was really experiencing the taste and aftertaste of it that I realized what had happened, and, needless to say, I was pretty grossed out by it.
What we are talking about, really, gets at the heart of being a picky eater. Did anything physically harmful happen to me here? Was some sort of physical torture inflicted on me? No, of course not. But the experience, which would have seemed so minor to most people, really turned my stomach. I felt like I wanted to puke, I was queasy, and it really took a good deal of effort to maintain my appetite. What I ended up doing was scraping the coleslaw off as best I could, but it seemed like all the other ingredients had been permeated by the taste of it. I was unable to finish the burger, and it kind of put a damper on my evening.
This is what it’s like to be a picky eater. You have to be constantly vigilant, and while there are plenty of people that can’t understand an experience like this, for someone like me, it’s a real problem. Life is full of these little episodes. The best you can do is laugh them off…and next time, try to remember to check your burger, or sandwich, or whatever else, before biting into it!