I like to consider myself open minded as well as respectful of other people’s opinions about food. Even when it comes to vegetarians, my dispute comes not from their choice of food, but rather from the level of sanctimony that seems to accompany a small percentage of the vegetarian population. To me, it matters not if you like Doritos or Dim Sum, Betty Crocker or Beef Bourguignon. A person likes what they likes, and I realize that my little blog and my two cent opinions aren’t really going to change someone’s affections.
But then I ran into my roommate’s daughter.
It was a casual remark, said when I offered her a plate of puttanesca, one of the handful or recipes that I can make without thinking. I asked is she’d like some sauce; to which she replied:
“No thanks. I don’t like garlic.”
“I’m sorry…what?” I said.
“Could I just have some pasta with some cheese on it? I don’t like garlic.”
I was taken aback. How could someone not like garlic? How could someone, who not three days earlier was bragging to me about her home made pierogies tell me that they didn’t like garlic?? That was akin to saying that they don’t like breathing, or that they despise laughing. Was she insane?
As she was a guest in the house, I let the uncomfortable moment fall to the ground and sit there where I would ignore it. It was only on the drive into work this morning that I examined the problem.
Realistically speaking, I know that the problem is my own. Taste in food is an odd beast, and people like what they like (or in this case, don’t like). They aren’t to be faulted.
But c’mon. It’s garlic! It’s one of the world’s most popular flavors, adding depth and complexity to everything from pastas to stir fries to chili, and a multitude of dishes in between. In my heart, I feel if one does not have a love for garlic, then they have no love for food itself, and to claim otherwise is to be a pretender.
What I realized is that there are a few tastes that bring such joy and love to myself, that when others espouse a dislike for my preferred tastes, they have blasphemed my own food joys.
My guess is that everyone has certain foods or flavors that are so loved, that when another person states their distaste for them, they are looked upon a bit more unfavorably, a sort of karmic asterisk beside their name. “Oh Rich is a nice enough person, but for some reason he doesn’t like chocolate” or “What’s up with Karen? She doesn’t like ice cream? Who doesn’t like Ice Cream?” are common forms of how these blasphemies are shown.
To me, the three foods mentioned above are sacred to me, at least on a personal level. I cannot understand why or how someone cannot enjoy them. And to state as such will draw, at the very least, a raised eyebrow. They are my own shibboleths, and to dispute them means we may have trouble getting along.
What are your own sacred foods, the ones that if a potential romantic partner tells you that they “do not like”, you immediately begin re-evaluating the status of your relationships.