The other day my wife sent me an email spelling out all the food rules that I have set down during our nearly 24 years of marriage.
In addition she recruited my best friend to go along with her in putting together this list of over 80 items which include things I won't eat, ways things are prepared that I don't like or things I don't want to have happen during a meal.
When she sent me the list I passed it around the Sun Advocate office and let a few of the women here see it. They all asked me how I can be such a picky eater.
I believe there is a conspiracy going on here, but I just can't seem to prove it. I think they all got together to turn me into a culinary pariah.
Everyone has likes and dislikes, especially when it comes to food. Remember Mikey, in the old Life cereal commercials.
"Give it to Mikey. He will eat anything."
No one is like that. But for some reason my wife, my friends and my family think I am a picky eater.
So I told my wife I was going to take it to the public and let them decide. I can't list all the rules they came up with, and the reasons behind them, but below are a few of the ones the "list makers" came up with.
Worse yet, over Thanksgiving weekend they added five or six more.
The point of this exercise is to (1) prove that everyone has at least a few food rules and (2) to prove that I am not the pickiest eater anyone has ever seen, based on assumptions of those that have actually read this hideous list of condiment conduct. Most of them are ridiculous.
Rule number one is a good example.
"You can't eat the same food twice in one day, no matter how it is cooked, with the exception of Thanksgiving when the rule doesn't apply."
This is a generalization about me. I have eaten hamburgers for lunch and dinner before and liked it. This rule incidentally doesn't apply to such things as bread, tomatoes, carrots, milk, etc. The "list makers" are only talking about the entree of any meal. No I don't like to have scrambled eggs in the morning, hard boiled eggs at lunch and quiche for dinner. Does anyone?
Another rule concerns canned tuna. I like it for lunch, but too much of it makes me gag. So I spread it thin; I always see it as if I am conserving fish resources, but the "list makers" don't see it that way. Heres the rule.
"Tuna fish must be mixed with minimal amounts of mayonnaise only (about a tablespoon), and one can will yield 4-5 sandwiches if spread to the proper thinness."
So I like my tuna light. Who should complain about efficiency?
Now I am not disputing that the above rules aren't true, but don't I have a right to prefer some things over another.
In the list there are also some groups of rules that relate to each other. For instance take rules 17-19.
"The best cake is yellow with chocolate icing (17). The second best cake is chocolate with chocolate icing (18). The third best cake is spice with vanilla icing (19)."
No wonder the "list makers" ended up with so many rules; this one for example should all be one rule, that goes something like, "He likes cake." Who doesn't prefer one kind of cake and icing over another? Am I the only one?
Then there are rules about my behavior. For instance rule number 45 says "Never hand him something and ask him to taste/smell it and see if it is bad." My wife and her cronies conveniently forget to add that this directly relates to rule number 46 which states "If he does eat food gone bad the rest of the meal is ruined and so is his appetite."
The two rules go together. Milk that is five weeks past its due date does not go well with brussel sprouts and steak, no matter how you play it. I think that most of you will agree with that.
But as I thought about this list, it all comes down to not what I dislike, but what my wife doesn't like, about what I don't like or for that matter, do like as well. Rule 80 illustrates the thinking behind all the previous rules. It is a rule designed to defame me and make me eat things I don't like, or don't want at a certain time, just because they have been prepared.
"If you are saving leftovers for dinner the next night, a DO NOT EAT note must be attached to the food, because no matter how many times you tell him not to eat it for lunch, he will. Then Rule number one goes into effect and the dinner must be made from scratch."
In the almost two and a half decades of our marriage I can count on 10 hands and two feet the few times I have not liked something she has cooked me. I'd say that was pretty compromising.
Now I ask, do I sound like a picky eater to you?