Sunday, November 21, 2010

To all the Girls I've Loved Before

Many of my greatest stories involve people I have loved and many of these stories do not portray them in a flattering light. When you tell a story in person you have control over your audience, you can tell who is in earshot, you can tell who you are talking to and usually know who they know. Word of a story can travel, but it usually not very far. With the internet you never know. Everything is public and this is frequently forgotten, but not by me. How can you tell a story about a pathological liar, when he could easily read it? How can you tell a story about someone afraid of food, when he will see the link and the subject to your food blog. Some people have a good sense of humor. Some people don't. One thing I never aim to do with my writing is hurt anyone, but what you think of as endearing or mean without offense, can attack someone's weakest point.

For six months I dated someone with cibophobia, fear of food. There was a list of food items he would eat, and he was terrified of anything else. Perhaps it came from his weak stomach and the fact that he would constantly claim to have food poisoning after meals that left me completely fine. Regardless, it meant that the idea of going to a new restaurant filled him with fear, loathing, and usually an upset stomach. He would scan the online menus of restaurants for items he could eat, he would order items without sauce and would stick to the mainstream chain menus that he had eaten his entire life. I couldn't cook for him, due to his fear that he wouldn't like what I made. Perhaps it was his grocery-store catered Thanksgiving dinners, perhaps it was constantly eating out, perhaps it was his lack of exposure to vegetables, but even the idea of a new sauce would send him into a frenzy.

He went to therapy for it, found that he still didn't want to eat cheese, and never went back. With one standard dish he could order at each type of restaurant, he could at least give lip service to eating out with friends, but the amount of plain burgers and substandard Jewish deli sandwiches, eventually began to drain me.

I never realized how much I enjoy eating new things and going to new places as much as after I stopped dating him. Once the worlds of Korean, Caribbean, Japanese, and all the strange foods that one can find in Los Angeles were re-opened to me, I found that life tasted sweeter, spicier, more bitter, more sour, and had much more umami*, and not just when it comes to food.

*a category of taste known initially only in Japan which refers to savory, brothy, or meaty. 

1 comment:

  1. It's very special when one's love of food transcends the necessity of food for survival.

    Show me a world without cheese, and I will show myself off the next bridge.