Scary food: conjures up a multitude of images - food poisoning, goat cheese, sashimi, cooked fish, the list could go on forever depending on who is asked. For me, the idea of scary food is limited to just a few things. Although, if forced to pick only one item that scares me to no end, I must admitt that nnothing scares me more than cauliflower. No joke. I simply won't eat it. I'm a grown up and I don't have to. Nothing less mature either, right?
In developing a theory on picky eaters, I find that I am limited by a serious lack of a definition. How do we as a culture define picky? As an example, my son is not a picky eater in my definition. My mother thinks my son is the pickiest of eaters. My son thinks my mother is a picky eater. Go figure.
Once a person decides they don't like the taste, texture, or smell of a food does this make that person picky? I think it depends on a variety of factors. Most adults would not be labeled picky - most adults also don't have totally bad-ass tantrums either when the cookie breaks. "Not two pieces!! I don't want two pieces..." you know the drill. Most adults feel that they understand what they like and don't like about food and drink.
Think on this, my son never, not even as a 6 month old child, liked zucchini. Roasted, steamed, seared, grilled, oh I tried them all. He took one bite, every single time, and had the same reaction - "woman, I already told you I don't like this blasted squash. Enough already." I finally asked if maybe, just maybe would he eat that dreaded zucchini in bread? As in a carbo-sugar loaded cupcake type item, with a possible smearing of cream cheese frosting. Would he deign to try it then? Rave reviews, he loved it. Who wouldn't?
In my mind, I believe that not forcing him to "like" or "enjoy" the zucchini to appease me meant that maybe, just maybe he allowed himself to be more open to different ways of preparing it. I think that if I had not been forced to eat cauliflower steamed or raw over and over and over again, I might be more open to trying it now. I don't know. Now, it's a matter of control. I don't have to eat it, so I'm not going to. Also, Alice Waters recently expressed that she could feed 20 people with 2 cauliflowers and all that person had to know to do so is cook. We all know my issue with dear Alice, so she can keep my portion of the cauliflower for someone else.
Anyhow - moral of the story, what is picky? It's my best guess that we all like and dislike foods in equal amounts. And as long as no one forces me to eat the cauliflower on the veggie tray I'm comfortable, then I feel confident that the children who don't have to either might some day decide they want to try to cauliflower pizza at Delfina. Who know?