Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tongues of Steel

(Pre-Script: This post will cause you to chew and swallow slowly when read as the song, "32 Flavors," #21 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

If you can't stand a controversy, it will behoove you to stop reading now, and have a nice day. Go read a Charlie Brown comic instead.
("Behoove" is one of those words I learned from reading a Charlie Brown comic. By "one of those," I actually mean "The only one I can think of.")
When I was small wee child living under the care of my parents direction and leanings, I had to eat the food that was on my plate. At dinnertime, this often meant broccoli or Brussels sprouts. And there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. The broccoli went down with much gagging and facial deformations. I never got over the feeling that my mouth had been brutally assaulted, both taste and texture wise.
There are people who say that if you encourage a child to try every kind of food, he or she will grow to like it, and eat everything, naturally. Folks, don't believe it. In fact, run, don't walk, away from the teaching of anyone who's logic is that this type of theory applies to every child on the planet, naturally. Some people are more or less sensitive to different foods.
Now, my illustrious medical career may have stopped at high school Anatomy and Physiology, but that doesn't mean that I didn't learn a few things about, well, Human Anatomy and Physiology. And one thing I learned is that we only taste 4 different things, namely, Sweet, Salty, Sour, and Bitter, on different places of the tongue. Bitter is in the back. This is why certain foods have a bitter AFTER taste; you literally don't taste the bitterness until it's hit the back of your tongue. And some of us may just maybe might have a more sensitive bitter spot than others. Or maybe not, but the point is, I never ever ever learned to like foods like broccoli or Brussels sprouts. I never ever ever got to the age where I will just eat anything, and like it. Certain textures (hello, Large Chunks of Onion!! aka, LCoO!! Hello, Skin of the Potato! aka, SotP!) still make me gag and wiggle if I am ever going to swallow them. In fact, if anything, I think my throat constricts MORE now if I try to swallow these certain foods.
SO here is the life lesson I learned: How can any food which everything in my natural body is trying to reject, from my psyche to my physical gag reflex and throat tightening, be good for me? How?
THINK about it, people. Don't just take my word for it, or anyone else's.
And isn't it a mystery of great proportions that all people have the same 4 basic taste sensations, yet our own personal experiences with the foods we taste can be completely different from one person to the next? Isn't it?
For example, I am a great lover of the fruit commonly known as "banana." Now friends, this is a very controversial topic, I know. I have known many people who can't even stand the thought of a banana, or the sight. Yet I love the banana. I love banana bread, banana cake, AS LONG AS no one tries to sneak a nut in there. Nuts do not belong in breads or cookies or muffins or cakes; this is my steadfast belief. Chocolate chips do, though. Semi sweet, preferably. So you see, we have our textures and our tastes all contending together to make a harmonious and glorious masterpiece when they hit our mouths, or a disaster of equal proportions. To each his own.
And now it's time for a little thing I like to call, "True confession #537," are you ready for it??
(...And behold, when she imagined she had heard a small crowd cry out "YES!" She proceeded to share her secret thusly:)
I do not make my own children eat broccoli or Brussels sprouts, ever, ever, ever. Someone is giving me the stink eye right now. Someone else is mentally cursing me, calling out "unfit! unfit!" and you know, think what you want about it, but it won't change my own personal conviction that forcing a kid to eat a certain food does not necessarily create a non picky eater; a kid either likes or doesn't like a food, period. But the main reason I don't make them eat it is because I don't want to be a hypocrite. This, my friends, is what it boils down to, and I have mentally gone back and forth with this decision; but we aren't born perfect parents, we are all learning as we go, and making the best decisions we know, based on how we were raised, what we took away from it, and the people we became. So you can give me the stink eye, or whisper about me, or call me names, but it's not going to change me, since these tactics rarely do cause a person to change.
"But Michelle,"
Oh, do you hear that? It's my Dear Imaginary Reader, once again interrupting my written thoughts! Yes, Dear Imaginary Reader, I am glad to hear from you again; what do want to say?
"Michelle, thank you, I just wanted to point out that the other reason parents tell kids to eat their broccoli and Brussels sprouts, or whatever, is to teach them to eat whatever is served to them."
Well, Dear Imaginary Reader, I appreciate you bringing up that point. But there are certain things I'd rather go hungry than try to force past a closed throat and gag reflex. But thanks again for stopping by.
"You're welcome."


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