I am a picky eater.
You know the kid that feeds their Brussels sprouts to the dog? The kid that specializes in mashed potato sculptures? Yeah, that’s me. (In my defense, they call it culinary ARTS. I am only continuing a long standing tradition. And, I don’t know what it is, but there is something definitely wrong about Brussels sprouts.) To clarify, a picky eater is not someone who merely doesn’t eat or doesn’t enjoy food. A picky eater is someone who is selective in what they will or will not ingest for reasons of taste and politics, ethics and culture.
I am a very picky eater.
We, quite literally, are what we eat. The food we eat is broken down into amino acids,
lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins, etc. These basic components are then absorbed into our bodies and used throughout to repair and maintain old cells while creating new ones. Basically, the food we eat becomes the building blocks for the cells in our bodies. We are constantly being created from the food we chose to eat. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my cells being made from Twinkies.
Don’t get me wrong, I love fake sugar and food coloring as much as the next person. (Starbursts in particular) But I know that it will make me really, really hyper, and then I’ll crash. It’s not pretty, nor pleasant. The same thing happens with caffeine. Then there is also the prospect of becoming addicted. Knowing this, I chose not to ingest these foods often.
However, food is something to be enjoyed. It’s not just fuel like gas for a car. Food is a comfort, a gift, a pleasure. Hell, the way some people cook it can reasonably be called an art. Though I appreciate and enjoy new foods, my favorites are still what my family would make: toasted peanut butter and honey sandwiches, ranch potato salad, zucchini and onions. Granted, it would be pretty hard to beat my sister’s chocolate chip cookies. These foods remind me of home, and there are memories attached to their smells, tastes, textures. Nothing will ever be able to truly live up to that.
There are some foods that I won’t eat at all. For instance, I don’t eat meat or fish. (Why fish aren’t often considered meat is beyond me…) I am a vegetarian because I do not believe that animals were treated humanly. It’s kind of ironic, but I’d like to think that it had a good life before I ate it. Instead, it was probably bred and mistreated and killed just for me to buy it at the lowest possible price There is no sense of thanks, no gratitude for the animal that is essentially giving its life so that we can have food on our table. In hunter-gatherer and pastoral societies, there is tremendous respect for the animals that are slaughtered. There are entire rituals and prayers giving thanks to the animal. We don’t have that respect. Without that respect, it is impossible to believe that the animal was treated properly while it was alive. I cannot, in good conscience, eat an animal that I know has been mistreated.