Picky politics

By Tamara Cottle

There is a special place in etiquette hell for picky eaters. With the exception of individuals suffering from severe allergies, people with mechanical problems — like no teeth — and cantankerous two-year-olds, being open to trying new foods should be a given for all able-bodied adults. 

As our society becomes more culturally diverse, with an increasing abundance of food variety, we are seeing a drastic reduction in food preferences among North Americans. Could this be an expression of cultural protectionism, a bold faced affront to globalization? This could be the case in some instances, but for the vast majority, the aversion to putting some icky-looking particle into one’s mouth has a deeply unconscious seed. 

Corporate-contrived self-indulgence can be largely to blame. A generation of insolent eaters were weaned on processed pseudo-foods laced with artificial flavours and texturized to sit just right on the palate. No wonder adults can’t bear to eat something as banal as vegetables.

Be that as it may, we should make an effort to put our conditioned aesthetics aside and acknowledge the absurdity of not liking brown rice because it is too chewy. With effort we can change the way we taste our food, just as we can learn to appreciate good art. 

Furthermore, a highly processed diet consisting of limited choices has been implicated in cardiovascular disease and cancer. To improve health and vitality, it is important to include a variety of “real” food in your daily routine and omit the corn, wheat and soy that have become ubiquitous in the standard American diet.

What about those health food nuts who refuse to eat the typical garb? Do they fall into the category of obnoxious picky eaters? Arguably, the food elitists can be as annoying as the food mono-culturalists, but there is an important distinction. The former are making a conscious choice about their health and environment, choosing to use their forks in a politically active way. On the other hand, the bread and milk kind are largely unconscious victims of an agricultural industrial complex that is systematically eroding the planet’s vital resources and destroying health. 

To the picky eaters out there, do yourselves, the health care system and the cultural cornucopia a solid and take the first bite into a new world of conscious experience.

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