Casual inspection might lead one to believe that Zack is the person in my household who is difficult to feed. After all, there are lots of foods he doesn’t like: coconut, cucumbers, mango, mushrooms, vinegar, mustard, eggs in most formulations, mayonnaise (except in Waldorf salad), sauce of any kind when applied to sandwiches.
This conclusion is incorrect, however. His pickiness is deterministic: avoid the things on the list and he’ll eat whatever you serve him, delighted to have someone else making the food decisions. My pickiness, on the other hand, is mystifying. What I am willing to eat changes dramatically from day to day, and convincing myself that I have to eat a thing because food is necessary for survival is an uphill battle. At thirty, my body seems to have the palate of a food critic with the temperament of a toddler and the sass of a surly teenager. Consider tonight’s internal discussion:
Brain: We’ve got to eat again.
Body: We just did that like three hours ago. I’m not interested.
Brain: Yeah, well, we’ve got to do it anyway. Can’t you hear our stomach rumbling?
Brain: So what do you want to eat?
Body: A fresh corn and tomato galette with goat cheese.
Brain: We don’t have any goat cheese. Also I don’t want to make pastry. How about a bowl of cereal?
Body: UGH. FINE. Fried rice with the broccoli rabe we thinned from the garden today.
Brain: There’s no rice made, and it’ll take forty-five minutes to make more. By the time the fried rice would be ready, we’ll have passed out from hunger. How about scrambled eggs with the rabe thinnings and tomatoes?
Body: Do you have goat cheese? Because I’m not eating scrambled eggs with tomatoes unless there’s goat cheese involved.
Brain: *rubs at temples* Would you eat a sandwich?
Body: I’d consider eating a charred corn crepe with tomato salad …
Brain: You would?
Body: … if there was goat cheese.
Brain: Leftover cauliflower paneer?
Body: WE JUST HAD THAT FOR LUNCH WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU
Brain: What about cottage cheese with tomatoes? We had that the other day and you enjoyed it! And the tomatoes are really fresh–we just picked them this morning!
Body: That’s not even cooking. Also, too cold and squishy.
Brain: You’re a jerk, you know that?
Body: FINE. I will accept your paltry offering of a sandwich, but it had better be a FANCY FUCKING SANDWICH. WITH PEACHES, SLACKER.
Brain: *googles ham, arugula, and peach sandwiches to solicit cheese suggestions*
Body: I notice that all of these sandwich recipes call for goat cheese.
Brain: Well, our options are Swiss, havarti, or cheddar. So you’re gonna have to deal.
Body: I can’t believe you’re not grilling this sandwich
Brain: We’re out of propane and we don’t own a grill pan. Also, I didn’t want to get our fingers oily when we ate.
Body: *side-eyes the sandwich in the toaster*
Brain: I should have just let us faint from low blood sugar.
Body: *picks every piece of arugula off the sandwich*
Brain: I thought you liked arugula.
Body: And maybe if you’d grilled it, I would.
Brain: Why do I hang out with you?
Body: *shrug* Also, I’m still hungry.
Honestly, it’s amazing that I’ve survived as long as I have.