“Don’t be a picky eater. People who are willing to try new foods lead more interesting lives.”
Now some of you can see the problem with the logic of this advice right away. It is based on the erroneous assumption that a person should want a life that is interesting. You know who doesn’t want to live a “more interesting life”? Smart people, that’s who.
Smart people want to live boring lives with good retirement plans. My mom could have taught me, “Be a picky eater and marry a boring banker with a good investment portfolio.” But she wanted me to live “an interesting life” and manipulated me into thinking that I wanted to lead one too. And I bought it, hook, line and sinker, because nothing, aside from the obvious other thing, has affected the trajectory of my life more than my willingness to try new foods.
Think I’m exaggerating? I based an entire romantic relationship on food for goodness’ sakes! I talked about it at length here, but the tweet version for the ADD among you is this:
“He asked me out to dinner so I moved in with him for two years.”
What does that tell you about me? (Well, other than I was probably pretty easy.) It tells you that I was really hungry. The 60s and 70s food was TERRIBLE. And the childhood years of really awful food made me ripe for the picking. Marc came along and single-handedly rescued me from the world of horrible American potluck casseroles and weird food. Like Jello salad.
Here are some true examples of real jello salads from my childhood.
Um. When is it ever really the time for olives, celery and CHEESE submerged in lime jello? And notice that we had to eat one at least once a week.
And then there is this:
What the heck is it with LIME jello and cheese anyway? That stuff is just gross and it isn’t improved by the addition of cheese. Or Seafood.
Not even Thanksgiving was safe.
Look at those poor kids.
Why? What was it with this fascination with floating a mélange of completely unrelated food items like marshmallows and carrot shavings in a brightly-colored gelatinous mass of congealed melted horse hooves? It’s gross and it was served everywhere when I was a child. And it wasn’t just Jello. There was SPAM, too.
This SPAM recipe isn’t so bad.
But here’s a meal I like to affectionately call, Vomit in a Peach:
|Vomit in a Peach|
SPAM came up with an ad like this that convinced moms that SPAM every night was like having seven different meats.
SPAM served seven different ways is still SPAM!
Then the processed food manufacturers conspired together with Ladies Home Journal and Woman’s Day and came up with recipes like this:
|Pork and Bean Pizza|
Yes, that’s Pork and Bean Pizza.
And then there is the infamous Candle Salad culled from the pages of the 1957 Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for Boys and Girls.