I’ll never forget the words I heard from my 11th grade AP English teacher. We were all on the topic of foods that we like and don’t like when a student was being particularly vocal about some dish that she thought was terrible. The teacher chimed in by saying, “When there’s some food that I don’t like, I don’t blame the food, I blame myself. The truth is that I’m the one at a loss because it means that there’s one less thing I can enjoy.” And the more things you can enjoy out of life, the better. Makes sense, right?
Now I do believe there is a time and a place to be preferential about food. At a special occasion, the food should be just that: special. And when we are craving particular foods, then definitely it’s fine to go find something yummy and get satiated. I also believe it’s totally fine to say no to foods that we won’t eat for specific reasons, like religion, personal beliefs, health requirements, or even from past negative experiences which are connected to us emotionally.
But outside of the things mentioned above, I can’t find a real benefit in being outright picky about food. When I say “picky” I mean having so many personal preferences to the point that it’s a constant inconvenience. Face the facts: a person who is very picky about food is merely limiting their choices and by that also increasing the cost needed just to eat something they can still enjoy. Yes, foodie snobs. I’m talking about you.
We all know this feeling: I don’t prefer the burgers at this restaurant, so I will drive another 30 minutes to the next one or eat somewhere that happens to be far pricier. I’ve met people who go to those great lengths and then maybe even still skip eating completely because they were unhappy with the taste. It baffles me that when presented with some dish that they don’t fancy (and even paid for), some people would rather choose to stay hungry.
As a side note I’ll say that the value trade-off between eating something “better” and being “inconvenienced” is obviously up to each individual’s priorities and situation. If I was quite wealthy, then having the pricier burger wouldn’t be much of an issue. Or if I have no plans for the day, then traveling the extra mile is fine for me.
So conversely, a person who is willing to eat most things immediately available to her will have more options to enjoy from and also more options to save her time, money, and/or energy. Honestly, it’s freeing. Short on cash or time? There are still options left. This person can make easier choices based on necessity without having to also pile on the complex requirements of personal taste. We already need to decide our meals 3 times a day, why make it harder on ourselves?
What’s the single benefit of being picky about food? Well, you’ll eventually get to eat only the things that you really enjoy. But then again, if you’re willing to eat more foods, then I think the same argument still stands: you’ll get to eat only the things that you really enjoy, but probably a whole lot sooner.