I'm not a "foodie." Don't take me wrong, I eat when I'm hungry, I eat well, and I enjoy the companionship of a shared table. But I don't really enjoy cooking, and frankly, eating is a chore. To be perfectly honest, if doctors could install a small nuclear device into my stomach that only had to be refueled once every two-decades, I'd be fine with that. Okay, now it's been said.
So the usual response when I note this perspective to my character is, "Wow! You just don't know what you're missing!" And this is generally stated as though I am either a strict raw-food vegan or a McDonald's addict, or as if I've never eaten anything home-cooked, or had a $200 meal. However, such an assumption about my life experiences is little more than a supposition based in ignorance.
Just to be clear, I am most certainly an omnivore, and I won't eat at McDonald's until the "McEdible" appears on their menu. I frequently cook for myself.Â And when I eat out, I prefer either local family restaurants where they take pride in the quality of their food, or ethnic places where I can at least enjoy the atmosphere (if not some high-quality fermented products).
I also like to sample new things -- just in case. From Thai roti in Chiang Mai to tarantulas at the riverside markets in Phnom Penh, there isn't much I haven't at least tried. I've also eaten in venues from the Lao Pa Sat (Festival Market) in Singapore to the Hakodate Asaichi (morning market) in Hokkaido (arguably the world's best seafood). And it's only a 5-minute water-taxi ride to the Granville Island Farmer's Market from my place in Vancouver. And at least once a year, I am treated to a ridiculously expensive dinner.
Of course, there are a few things that I have decided not to eat again, konowata, or sea-cucumber entrails being one. And I've learned to be careful about foods interpreted from outside of their own cultures, particularly those which involve fermentation. But mostly, my eating experiences have been good, at least to the extent that they have involved pleasant social contacts that I might not otherwise have experienced. However, I am still not particularly interested in food in itself as a source of joy.
In fact, food has many ways of being little more than a persistent nuisance for me. It can be time-consuming, difficult to find, distracting, and is frequently available only in the fast variety that I simply refuse to ingest. Sometimes, it can even make a person sick, and it can be difficult to tell when that will be the case. So my take is that given the choice, I will generally pass on making any more of a production out of eating than is absolutely necessary to maintain my good health.
Regardless, my life without the compulsion to eat every meal as though it were my last is far from empty. The exhilaration of living seems to have found it's way into my consciousness without the focus on food. Whether awash in the fragrance of Spanish Broom while riding a motorcycle down a mountain canyon with the wind at my back, or tasting the salt of my own sweat while watching the sun rise from the top of a mountain, my senses and my wonder for life are none the less fulfilled without worrying about whether dinner will be cooked in a gourmet kitchen or over a 55-gallon drum.
I have no problem with others who love food, perhaps even to the point where it is the central figure in their lives. Passion can be a great thing. And with discipline and within reason, it can cause a person to accomplish much.Â As long as one is not overindulgent or simply engaging in sugary distraction, I see no reason to object to that which brings joyful emotion.
But please, don't shed any tears for my ignorant bliss; I wouldn't have it any other way. And to those who still can't resist the urge to remind me that I don't fit their Jell-O mold, my response is simply that, "I can't grow another stomach just to please the chef."