One of the very first posts we ever did here concerned folks who take their appreciation for cuisine to a level to which I simply can’t relate.
I mention it because I recently was privy to a conversation where two such people were complaining to each other about the lack of locally available Arame (it goes on a salad, I guess?) and then began trading superlatives over the palatability of something called Bottarga (no clue…). When one of them began to discuss how Haggis was literally wrecking their marriage, I left the room.
Hey, I’m a simple guy with simple tastes. If food does it for you, knock yourself out. It’s only when it starts to ruin other people’s lives that I have to draw the line.
Which is what made me think of this post from last April. And so, here it is:
Let’s get it straight who I’m talking about first. Not “foodies”: Food FREAKS. Cause I’m definitely not referring to your normal, everyday person who just likes food, or really good food, …or even kinda weird food (e.g. my Bottarga aficionados above).
I couldn’t care less if somebody DVR’s the Food Network during the day, or if their kitchen looks like it’s ready to handle tonight’s dinner crowd at the Four Seasons.
Nope. I’m talking FREAKS, such as the ones discussed in the following letter/response on the cooking website ruhlman.com:
I am the mother of the bride. My daughter is a third culture kid, having grown up outside the US for her teen years. Consequently, she has been exposed to a wide variety of cultures and cuisines.
Her one request for her wedding day was to have a small luncheon for close friends and family to celebrate the occasion.
This sounds fine so far, right? Keep reading:
Our problem is my husband’s siblings “special diet” issues. They embody the evangelical wacko dietary fads that consume a certain slice of the upper middle class. We have every variation of diet extremism from the paleo-diet to variations of the casein/gluten/lactose/sugar-free philosophies which means they are limited to brown rice, some grilled meats, and some fruits/vegies. Apparently they are worried about leaky guts and fingers swelling from gluten exposure.
To compound the problem, there are quite a number of them who follow variations of this extremism—10 to 12 people out of a party of 75 or so.
Since we are hosting our luncheon at an Italian restaurant, we will embrace cheese, pasta, gelato (and wedding cake) etc. with gusto. My husband wants to include his siblings in our celebration. However I have no desire to pay hundreds of dollars for meals that will be picked at, ignored or otherwise snubbed because of their food fascism.
I will not have them ruin my daughter’s day by taking up space, refusing to eat.
If it were a matter of vegetarian vs. meat eating–that’s easy to accommodate. However this dietary demand goes beyond mere plant vs. animal.
And I gotta say, I’m on this lady’s side.
Now before anyone lays into me about “But, but, but…they might have a food allergy” or some such thing, that’s not what this is. I know: I’m the only non-allergy person IN my house. My two boys have food allergies; they know what to do, and they don’t submit a list of “menu suggestions” to their buddies’ moms before they agree to stay for lunch.
Heck, my wife is allergic to an entire panoply of foods, along with 95% of what normally constitutes ‘air’. SHE’s figured out ways to adjust without being a pain in the tokhes to her friends; these people in the letter could, too.
This is a food preference issue. Or better yet, a food insistence issue.
But, seriously, was this ever a concern in YOUR family when you were raised? Ever? A conversation along those lines simply never would have happened in my house:
“Hey, Ma? Rocky, Kell and Tommy are all coming over for dinner, so just to remind you:
Kell only eats brussels sprouts FROM Brussels, and Rocky is on that 1,452 hour cleanse, so right now he can only consume twelve-day-old goat cheese and/or rainwater that was retrieved from a catch basin in the Himalayas.
Tommy has relaxed his diet, and is completely fine with organic, cage-free, summer raised, white meat/chicken breast, ….grilled only. And well-done, too: not soggy. You remember last time, right?
He’ll have his own rub and spices, too, just like always.”
C’mon…… When we had meals that didn’t require a pair of scissors to access them, we were pretty pumped. And that was that.
Where did this come from? I know it seems to be a metropolitan, elitist, over-educated thing, but even THEN it’s ….a tad overboard.
My suggestion? Round ‘em all up, lock ‘em in a hockey arena, put ‘Gilligan’s Island‘ (all 3 seasons) up on the Jumbo-tron, and feed them nothing but grilled cheese, Oscar Mayer bologna, Campbell’s soup, and cold cereal.
Some beef jerky wouldn’t hurt, either.
Tap water; not bottled. They could still have coffee (hey, I’m not heartless), but not the fancy stuff. Folgers or Maxwell House only; their choice.
Either that will re-calibrate their brains-&-taste-buds back to “socially acceptable human” level again, or their heads will explode.
Win-win, I say.