Midcentury Modern Eating

The talk about food diversity has been intriguing as well as a bit daunting for me. Whether it’s from being spoiled as a child and having a limited kitchen or just something wrong with me, I’ve always been a very picky eater. The answer is probably a bit of both.

Though my parents grew up in a small mid-western farming community, I don’t believe either of them had much in the way of home grown gardens and vegetable variety (and after all, there is no other food in central Illinois besides corn and beef and cow plantin’ time only comes once a year). Another thing I believe that’s had a big impact on their diet is that they grew up in the 1950s and 60s and it must have suddenly seem very convenient for their parents to shop at these new supermarkets popping up—after all, the war was over, the kids were hungry, everything was new and improving and soon we would have space colonies on Venus. As such, my house has always been stocked with food strictly from the grocery store, always in boxes and lots of excessive plastic packaging, packed with salt and, of course, fully processed so as to still be around until the last grocery store closes/is taken by the mutant vegetables. Just look at the intense surge of food advertising and homogenization in the baby boomer generation, the fast-food mantra of having the same burger no matter what greasy teen ridden drive-in you get it from, the very idea of “convenience” and space age advancement.

It's suggested to get your baby started on cigarettes by age 3.

It’s suggested to get your baby started on cigarettes by age 3.

This is the kind of  (very American) world I know and the kind of food that I am used to eating. Fortunately, we have always had some vegetable with every meal and we’ve never been that family with 5 bags of Cheetos in the cupboard and a constant supply of Coke, at least. It’s not a marvelous display of health, but it could be worse compared to the diet of a lot of Americans.

Looks great—put it on everything!

The other side to this is that I jut can’t seem to eat a lot of different foods, which may coincide with the above as mentioned.  I’ve always been a picky eater and very little has changed—a lot of foods I put in my mouth just honestly make me gag from either a foul taste or a bizarre texture. I can count the fruits I can eat without gagging on one hand and vegetables don’t fair much better. I hate the smell alone of any seafood, I don’t like dark meat or meat that hasn’t been cooked enough, I only drink water and tea, and I would basically not survive in another country. My diet consists of a lot of grains and not even a wide variety of that. I basically survive on turkey sandwiches and dreams of the innocent. I suppose an upside is that I have an aversion to a lot of foods people have to take out of their diet in the first place, like mayonnaise, barbecue, alcohol, fast food, french cooking (no yolk, I hate eggs), etc.

I have to turn down a lot of dinner party requests (just kidding, I don’t get any). I’ve realized personally that not having a wide food variety in your diet has an effect on your social life and it’s very embarrassing informing people that you eat like a 7 year old. In addition, I think a lot of people end up thinking I’m spoiled and “should just eat more foods”, so I give them a hearty demonstration of my complete inability to swallow any kind of squash.

One thing I constantly ask myself is, if I really was forced to eat all these things I don’t like would the picky eating problem clear up at all? I can’t say, because I definitely won’t be forcing it on myself and I will probably die from my corn reliant diet like modern society wants me to. I do strongly believe in the idea of people as a whole taking up a better diet and decreasing their reliance on what has now become so normal (which 100 years ago didn’t exist), as it’s obviously better for man and environment alike, but I have no idea how that’s going to happen with picky eaters like me ruining everything. Fingers crossed, right?

Ironically, I actually like broccoli

Ironically, I actually like broccoli

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3 thoughts on “Midcentury Modern Eating

  1. I am totally with you, buddy. I am a picky eater. I always have been since I was adopted from the Philippines. I always ask myself the contributions to my unhealthy diet: my poverty as a toddler (lack of access to different types of food, especially healthy, luxurious kinds); malnutrition; eating just Rice Pops, refusing to eat most meats (except for bacon, pepperoni, wings, chicken, hotdogs) and some vegetables (with the exception of cucumbers, carrots, onions, a bit of salad); being spoiled by parents who by high school gave up on my bad eating habits; not willing to try new things while sticking with pasta, sandwiches, buffalo wings, ramen noodles, pepperoni, miso soup, crackers, cheese, etc??????? I exercise than most of my friends and yet I feel like I still have some chunkiness to my body…deep inside, I know it’s because of my horrible health.

    I TOTALLY feel ya about the social aspects of a diet. It IS very embarrassing informing people that you eat like a 7 year old. It’s one of the things I fear in my adulthood when I graduate college, when I meet new friends, when I try to lunch out with my new colleagues or bosses, etc. I don’t want people to judge me. I’ll be graduating leaving the friends who accept my diet yet affectionately encourage me to improve my diet. I hope to find friends like that out in the real world…

    It makes me wonder…if I solve my unhealthy diet, I’d be more willing to improve my garden, other people’s bad eating habits, figure out what are smart resources that help the environment and humanity, etc…..Honestly, I feel like our environment is affected by the typical American diet: the fast food = obesity = laziness = litter = unwillingness to change anything…..

    • It’s good to know that’ I’m not alone in this, haha. I actually always feel surprised when people DO like this immense variety of food, since I grew up mostly just being around my family it seemed normal to not like or eat a huge chunk of food (another reason for all this??).
      I think someone else mentioned it in a blog post, but environment does have such a big impact too, which I’ve been thinking about more since I made this post. And America does just have a very unfortunate perspective as a whole when it comes to eating.
      Anyway, I definitely have a lot of anxiety about social events with food and probably think about it way too much. I think in the same way that people expect picky eaters to just ~magically change~ people will also be surprised or find it hard to accept people who choose not to eat what has become a typical American diet, especially if you’re in certain places in the country. I suppose the easiest way to change is to align yourself with people with the same kinds of beliefs or to just keep quiet about it (which is not really a step forward for anyone).

  2. Dont hold me to this but i heard that your tastebud refresh (regrow?) every couple of week so if you want to get to like a food you just have to keep eating it. as much of a struggle that may be you may be able to vary your diet. possibly you are picky because you haven’t had that much verity in your diet?

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