Thursday, January 12, 2023

"Picky Eater"

You hear words or phrases that become popular in our culture all at once.

I rebelled against the term "foodie" quite a while back.  It is sad, but America has become obsessed with bad food.  Back in the day, maybe we had Julia Child, Jacques Pepin and "The Galloping Gourmet" and we thought they were pretty sophisticated.  Today we have Guy Fieri and Gordon Ramsay who often don't even make any food themselves, but review restaurants that serve burgers and pizza.  How far we have come.

Worse yet are the "cooking shows" which have gone from Julia's now-reviled "dump-and-stir" format to a reality television contest format.  Teams of people are tasked with making something from ingredients that often are not even food.   The result isn't about the resulting dishes, but about the bitchy personalities involved, and who gets voted out of the kitchen.   Are we really a nation of gossip-hounds?  I just can't wait to read Prince Harry's new book, "Spare" - it has all the royal dirt in it!

I digress. I feel better now.

One of these recent trends I am seeing online is the use of the phrase "Picky Eater" which like "Foodie" makes me throw up in my mouth a little.  The word "Picky" brings up images of going through the carcass of a three-day-old Thanksgiving Turkey, looking for white meat.  "Picked over" comes to mind - that and "Pick your nose" - nothing appetizing about connecting the word "Picky" with food.

It also brings to mind passive-aggressive people and how they have a long list of demands when it comes to just about anything, as they are "Picky" as if that was some sort of disability that needs to be accommodated by the ADA.  Often, these "picks" are over silly things, such as preferring Coke over Pepsi (or vice-versa, the sign of a real gourmand!) or, as one friend of mine insists on, eating only the "flat" part of a chicken wing and not the "drumstick" part. (WTF?).

Why this phrase has come to prominence in the last few months is beyond me.  It must be on Facebook or Tick-Tock or one of these other mindless social media sites.   Usually it is used in conjunction with some long diatribe about how someone was treated poorly because their insane dietary choices were not respected.  It is not that they have a severe shellfish allergy that would lead to hospitalization or death, or even an imagined case of Celiac disease, but rather a case of "I'm just a picky eater and I didn't like that!"

Here's a clue:  You aren't a picky eater, you are just not hungry.   Yes, that.  If some food item doesn't appeal to you, chances are, you are simply not hungry.   If so, then don't eat.  It is pretty funny how that works.  When we went to Japan, we were confronted with a lot of food items we weren't used to.  I still have a problem with any food that is looking back at me like a fish head or something.  So I didn't eat that.  And in a few days, I was hungry enough to eat something else.  If I waited even a few days more, a fish head would seem appetizing.   Funny how that works.

But "Picky Eaters" will have none of this.  Appetizing (to them) foods must be provided at all times.  Not only that, hosts and hostesses must guess in advance what their "Picky Eater" friends will like and be sure to serve them a special plate of food!

Note that I am not talking about vegetarians or vegans.  Most real vegetarians or vegans realize that their life choices (which are sometimes connected to health issues) are not other people's problems and when their family goes out to a restaurant, they may be relegated to the boiled "vegetable platter" and a side salad and yea that sucks, but eating out with friends and family is about the communal experiences and often less about the food.

And yes, once in a while you get a vegetarian or vegan who complains about being a "picky eater" - but I suspect those are people merely posing as vegan or vegetarian to get attention.

That, indeed, is the whole point of picky eaterism.  Someone wants to be a special snowflake but they can't fake a case of Celiac disease as they like bread too much.  So that's out.  Lactose intolerance?  They love orange cheese too much!  What about veganism or vegetarianism? No go - they love a good "meat lover's pizza" from Pizza Hut!   Allergies?  Again, doesn't fit the narrative, as they love shrimps.  So what does that leave?  You want to be a special snowflake and make people dance to your tune and make you special platters of food.  What to do?  What do you say?

"Oh, I'm just a picky eater"

Not on my watch!