Monday, October 13, 2008

Grow the fuck Up,

I am always annoyed by people's irrational preferences. I associate food preferences, e.g., "I can't stand onions," with childishness. Kids think things are gross. Kids think kissing and sex is as gross as tomatoes or Brussels sprouts.

Most of us grow out of thinking kissing and sex is gross, so why not the food thing?
I think I can honestly say that I have liked everything I have ever eaten as an adult.
If you are one of those people who gets grossed out by olives, you should consider developing a taste for them; it's part of growing up. Stop being a baby. It was cute then. It isn't now.

Preferences might come from our parents like everyone says everything else does.
But I've been thinking about that lately. How long are people supposed to or should be permitted to blame their parents for everything? 25. After 25, you have to start picking your own friends and thinking differently from how your parents do. Some people start earlier, and some start later, but after 25, you can't use your parents as an excuse anymore.

I know a lot of people who have people in their lives whom they call friends they hate because they grew up in the same neighborhood. Just because your parents bought a house next to some ass hole when you were 12 is no reason to stay friends with him. After 25, if you are still hanging around some racist piece of garbage you met when you were a kid, you need to reevaluate what's important in your life. It's part of growing up.

This goes for religion and politics, too. You can't say that yo vote republican or won't date black girls because it's the way you were raised. At some point, you have to employ your intellect and start doing the thing that separates us from animals: decide your own destiny. The shackles of your upbringing melt with just a little mental effort--way easier than mind-bending spoons.

So when a critical mind asks you why you hate coffee, and you can't reply with a slack-jawed "just cuz" or "I was raised that way," what will you say? Some give up an anecdote set in a much more recent past than childhood, but such anecdotal rambling is just as irrational as its slack-jawed cousins.

If you cannot think of a reason to hate pickles or certain sexual positions or the color purple, and you think you are a rational person in possession of a critical and curious mind, you should feel a great stress called cognitive dissonance. That feeling will go away when you either abandon your idea that you're smart or behave like a grown up.

Irrational preference does not make up for a lack of personality.

Before you email me:
If something hurts, you usually shouldn't do it.
Veganism is about ethics and health based on logic and reason.
If you are drunk or hung over or pregnant or otherwise physically impaired, you're excused. But when you join the breathing world again, you should join it as a full-fledged grownup.

8 comments:

Willie Ziebell said...

Acquired taste in food can't always be attributed to eroding initial preferences or circumstances.

Children think Brussels sprouts are grody because they chemically transmit grodiness to most children. Our tastes change over time because our changing taste buds receive the information differently with age. Barring situations involving starvation, there are chemically legitimate reasons for not eating something.

See esp. tasters vs. supertasters.

Right on with religion/politics/whatnot, though.

Jack Morgan said...

I think what you're saying is that adults who still think that Brussels Sprouts are grody are chemically still child-like. That might give them an excuse, but my claim remains unchallenged.

I have a hard time believing that my girlfriend, who doesn't like olives, is somehow physiologically different from me. And even if she were, people can overcome such differences.

I read a study a long time ago saying that religious people were chemically more likely to respond favorably to Republican tenets. And people with less education were chemically more likely to be more religious. But that does not give them an excuse unless we start calling the religious Republicans disabled.

Some people cannot properly process alcohol. They are therefore disabled and cannot overcome that disability. But most people try brandy for the first time and hate it. After a few times, they like it.

I think the same thing happens after a Republican hangs out with black people a few times, and I think the same thing happens when a grownup eats olives a few times.

It sounds like a stretch, but I don't think it's a big one.

Willie Ziebell said...

It sounds like a stretch because it's oranges/apples. Or oranges/drill bits.

For sanity's sake, let's not define maturity or intelligence by the ability to shovel every commonly accepted foodstuff down our gullets.

I guess I didn't spell it out, but it's entirely likely that your girlfriend is physiologically different from you. (Or, more truthfully, a certainty.)

I'm not talking about chemical levels in the brain, which is where you're going with the religious tangent. I'm talking about chemical receptors in the tongue, which are objectively different from person to person, often depending on gender or ethnic background after millennia of DNA swapping. Seriously.

Again, look up supertasters.

I'm not sure why people would want to "overcome such differences" when these chemical reactions are pre-wired. Tongue says no.

That's not to say that people don't avoid foods they hated when they were children, but there are, again, unpleasant chemical reactions that can occur when tongue hits food. Just because you don't experience them doesn't mean that others shouldn't.

And alcohol use was a poor example. Most people--those with working livers--can "process" alcohol (though I question the use of the word properly). Some people can't hold their liquor (due to physiological/genealogical reasons). Some people are more prone to alcoholism than others (social/psychological/genealogical reasons). Social situations pressure individuals to consume alcohol more than they pressure individuals to eat Brussels sprouts.

Learning to stomach alcohol and having a predisposition for alcoholism are not the same issue.

Also, alcohol is a drug, not food. All in all, it's too problematic an example.

You're confusing social sciences with the physical.

Jack Morgan said...

You might be right about everything, but:
I was talking about the people who have the disability, the gene, that makes them get an instant horrible hangover before they're done with their first beer.

I understand supertasters and that people are different, but all of our eyeballs are slightly different, but only very few are so different that their perception of the world is discernibly special.

It isn't apples and drill bits to say that people who allow their childhoods to affect them well into adult hood, no matter what it is, are copping out. I think it's safe to say that most people who hate tomatoes do not have a major chemical or physiological difference from me.

MORE SAY said...

AWESOME PROSPECTIVE I totally feel you. You go to a spot and there always someone that drags you down like " i don't eat sushi" sigh* and olives can be added to so many dishes and prepared in oil's so many different ways, if you haven't tried them all you cant say you don't like "olives"

alun said...

What a load of nonsense you obviously have very little understanding of psychology or biochemistry.

anon said...

I know this is an old article, but Im going to post this anyway. You are a moron and a liar. No-one loves everything they've eaten, unless the only time you eat is when you are litarally starving to death. I challenge you to go overseas and eat some of the things they eat in Japan or China, or try eating something that isn't normally accociated as food, but has nutritional value all the same, like tree bark, or clay. Tell me then you love everything you jackass. Shut up and don't write anymore, you just make yourself look fucking stupid.

Jack Morgan said...

I love you anon. I lived in Japan and enjoyed being ripped from my comfort zone in regards to food. I've eaten several different insects and animals not on the Westerner's menu. I regularly eat tree bark in the form of lapacho; I drink it and cook with it. I can't say I've eaten a lump of clay, but there is a delightful clay taste in many wines and other drinks. I like it all because it is all interesting to me. It isn't like I put something in my mouth and I go "yum, this is amazing!" every time, but I do always say "hmmm" because I enjoy flavor analysis.

Since I wrote this, my girlfriend is now my wife, and she likes olives now. I have earned my first level sommelier certificate. We own a restaurant and wine bar together. I talk about tastes and flavors and tolerances every day with industry professionals and restaurant guests. If we were all snowflakes who taste things totally differently, we wouldn't be able to blind taste wine and arrive at the same conclusion. We wouldn't be able to taste a dish and simultaneously know it needs cardamom. We can develop preferences, but that's all they are, and if you can't base those preferences on anything critical, grow up.