Tuesday, 18 June 2013


This is a somewhat different blog for here, but it was inspired by a friend stopping herself from ranting last night. You know who you are!

My friend has a strong dislike of onions. She gets teased about it (I tell her how I feel sorry for her husband) and she takes it in good humour, but there's something not funny about it. People who think they know better than she does, and try to sneak it into things they feed her, telling her it's only a little, it's red onion, it's sweet onion etc.

This annoys her, and it annoys me too.

I love onion. I put it in everything. I would waste away without it. But as in so many aspects of life, I am capable of sympathizing with someone whose tastes are different to mine, and I've written some pretty strongly worded stuff on my regular blog about this.

So, briefly, what is it about some folk that they can't get their effing heads out of their arses for ten seconds to understand the numbingly simple concept that tastes vary? I can feel my hackles rise every time a person insists that their tastes are somehow "right". It is food bigotry. It is also patently absurd.

I mention my friend specifically because dislike of onion to that extant is fairly unusual, although far from unheard of. If you dislike a food that is commonly disliked, you're fine. The mob say it's OK. If you profess to a dislike of liver, or green vegetables, or fish, etc, you are in so much company, you'll get away with it. Even those who like these things themselves will allow it.

For some reason if you dare to dislike a widely popular food, you have problems. Socially. Some people will get angry with you. Why?

Everybody is picky. Everybody has things they won't eat. The reason may not be taste. It may be texture (more common than you might think, actually), it may be ideals (Vegans fall into this category), it may be snobbery (the Queen likes Heinz ketchup, ACTUALLY), it may be fear (some health extremists won't eat lard). All sorts of reasons. But there are so few people that will eat ANYTHING, that we can largely ignore them.

In addition, people have preferences. Foods they would eat if that's all there was, but they'd really much rather have something else. This is so common as to be normal, which is a tricky word but you know what I mean.

No, when you claim somebody is picky it means one of two things.

The first meaning is actually incorrect, if you think about it. This is when it is used to describe somebody who eats a very narrow range of foods. It's common in children, but is often caused by parents (don't get me started) and they grow out of it. But some adults are very limited in what they eat. Using the term picky to describe them (and we do) is "off", really. It suggests careful choice, but this is more to do with lack of experience, unsophisication, lack of courage, laziness, and so on.

The second, and far more correct meaning, is someone who tastes things and having done so, declares them unsuitable for their palate. Why is that unreasonable?

We are not dealing with starving people here. If you are truly hungry, in the famine sense of the word, not the privileged modern, western sense, you'll eat anything.

But we are not starving. We can choose. In fact, eating something you don't enjoy is plain silly.

Would you poke yourself in the eye? Would you deliberately get a sunburn? Would you remove a layer of clothing when you're already cold? I could go on, but you think up your own examples of deliberately doing something unpleasant to yourself....it's bloody stupid, isn't it?

I don't walk on gravel in bare feet, if I can avoid it, so why would I eat something I find unpleasant? It makes no sense whatsoever.

Therefore, rather than deriding the validly picky, I say they are the WISER among us.

I know what it's like to sense the frustration coming off other people. Pretty much all the food items I actively dislike, to the point that the taste is so unpleasant to me that it puts me off my other food, or makes me nauseated, and generally miserable, are typically popular and enjoyed. Mention one of these and you will be teased. Mention several and even the kindest folk start to get irritated by your pickiness.

And when they show their frustration, and call you names, what they are really saying is "Why can't you just be like me?" An attitude we frown upon in other social and political areas. An attitude of ignorance and immaturity. It's rude. It's uncaring. It's ignorant.


  1. Right. Thank you. It is nice to be understood.

  2. I love onions, but I can understand how someone wouldn't. I don't like raw tomatoes. I am a texture eater. I love the tough outside skin of the tomato, but I shudder at the gel stuff inside. I tell people that for me it is like eating an apple with a slug inside. People think I am off my rocker, but I have tried and retried and I just can't stand the texture of the inside of a raw tomato.

    1. Amy, I totally understand. I eat them raw just fine, but cooked tomato has to be sliced, otherwise there's something about the texture I can't deal with. Same with egg white. I'll only eat it hard-boiled. And think how often egg white crops up. I just don't even bother eating breakfast out.

  3. Allergies. I'm just using them as an excuse not to eat certain foods. Logan - gluten and lactose intolerant - "His mother must have been lazy." Kyle - allergies - "Oh, he's just a picky eater!" Yeah. Okay. We're all picky because, you see...spending hours in an overcrowded, smelly, substandard emergency room isn't among our favourite things to do.

    If someone declines a food - shut up about it and look at it this way..more for you.

    1. The problem is that some people ARE using the word allergy to get out of eating certain things. I have actually challenged one of my kids' friends, "No, I don't think you mean "allergic", I think you mean you just don't like it." The reply? "Same thing.". No. As always the idiots in our world make things difficult.