Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Picky eater

I don't generally consider myself a picky eater. I'm lucky not to have any food allergies, and I'll generally game to try just about anything once. I love the cuisines of the world, and have eaten at Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Indian, Afghan, Mexican, Salvadoran, Bolivian, Peruvian, Brazilian, French, Italian, Greek, Spanish, Chilean, German, Lebanese, Ethiopian, and Cuban restaurants many times. (And other types of international cuisine I'm forgetting at the moment.) Most people who don't me very well wouldn't think of me as a picky eater. I've eaten frog, alligator, turtle, tripe, octopus, and snails - no problem. I'm not saying I love all those foods, but I've tried them without any fuss. That all changes when confronted with a "breakfast food 24 hours a day" restaurant. When confronted with a plate of eggs, THAT's when I balk. That's when my crazy comes out.

The thing is, generally all the things I'm picky about eating fall into the breakfast food category. Eggs being the top offender. I like eggs, and eat them at home all the time, but that all changes when eating out. I don't like them fried or poached, only scrambled, well done. I don't like eggs to be runny in any way. "So what about hard boiled?" you ask. Well, in that case, I don't like the yolk. Omelets suffer from my disdain for eggs that are runny or shiny in any way. When I do order order eggs scrambled well done, half the the time they're burned, so I can't eat them anyway. In summary: I am extremely picky about eggs, so I generally don't eat them out at all. I know, I have issues.

Don't even get me started on all the other typical American breakfast items. I love bacon, but like it well done - another picky issue when eating out. Ditto for sausage. Love pancakes and waffles, but hate pancake syrup - I prefer honey, another thing that causes issues and wary looks. I'm picky about  orange juice: I like it, but only if it doesn't have any pulp. I like my coffee strong, and turn my nose up if I can see the bottom of the cup - which can be an issue when eating at breakfast all day type of establishments. I like french toast, but only the fancy kind made with brioche or challah, not the soggy stuff made with loaves of plain white bread. I could do a whole other post on my issues with cereal and milk.

The thing is, if we were traveling around together, chances are you would never realize my crazy food issues. I tend to avoid restaurants with breakfast foods like pancakes or waffle in their names. At a diner, I would order some yogurt and granola, or a bagel, or a fruit plate, and maybe tea instead of coffee. Maybe I'd have a muffin and a banana. We'd go to a Malaysian  place for lunch, a cool Peruvian/Asian fusion place for dinner. You'd think I was a foodie. You'd be none the wiser.

But here I am, confessing to my crazy. Now, I'm not the type of picky eater that won't eat something because it sounds weird or because my friend didn't like it or because it's covered in caviar. (Tiny little fish eggs are actually something I'm generally super OK with, weirdly.) I don't eat fried or poached or soft boiled eggs because I've tried them and didn't like them. There is method to my madness. 

Tried it all, even though fried rice contained eggs
I bring this up because this weekend I had the good fortune of going to one of my favorite Chinese restaurants with some friends, all foodies. We had a great meal, including Peking Duck, which the place is known for. We talked about how nice it was to eat out with a group of people who aren't afraid to try new things, and appreciate international cuisines. And the whole time, I thought about how fortunate it was we weren't having brunch.

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