Friday, December 26, 2008

Give it to Mikey, He Hates Everything...

I have always felt a bit sorry for those with Food-phobia.

You know who you are...the one with an intense fear of foods, flavors, aromas, or textures outside your comfort zone. You shudder at tasting the unfamiliar, your taste buds are tortured with thoughts of foods unknown.

This could be anything from gorgonzola cheese to fried squid. So why is it that the thought of trying something new or different sends some people into a panic? Their palms sweat, knees begin to buckle and they begin to contemplate a death by hunger scared for their life they will be unable to find something to eat, destined to die of starvation among plates of green curry, Pad Thai and eel rolls. It is like someone put them in a time warp back to when they were two and their determined mother tried to force feed them strained peas.

I have seen this condition strike those traveling to some exotic location (umm, let's say London), or after scuba diving with sharks, or bungee jumping in remote Africa. These erstwhile adventures who wouldn't blink at jumping off a cliff, swimming with great whites, or putting their bodies in some immediate peril, shrink like school girls at the thought of munching on pate. What is this tastebud torture they are putting themselves through? You would think inviting them to a new Indian restaurant was like asking them to spend the evening waterboarding at some CIA prison. To me part of the adventure of travel beyond the sights, culture, new sounds and people is the unique experience of sampling different foods. Sampling something a bit exotic ( and I don't mean fried ants) in its native habitat.

So I wonder what trauma was inflicted upon them while young to have them recoil at the thought of eating a noodle smothered in something other than butter or tomato sauce. I mean, I don't want to judge someone to harshly who doesn't find a particular thrill at the experience of finding something new and fantastic to eat and add to their repertoire, but it does seem like if you have the ability to challenge yourself in other areas of your life why not with food? If you don't like something or it tastes bad to your buds, spit it out, vow to never eat it again, but why deny yourself the chance to find something new that you might end up loving.

I don't want to deny you your Cheerios or favorite french fry comfort food, but hunting for a Big Mac in Rome or a KFC in Thailand has to be as depressing an experience as someone telling you "No, I won't try it".

But then, I guess some people will always be five.

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