Dinner this evening consisted of delicious pancakes and fantastic maple syrup.
Believe it or not, that statement could not be more relevant to this post. Last weekend I tent camped in Door County, WI. One of the mornings, breakfast ended up being pancakes and syrup. I was not impressed. I don’t like “pancakes.” Or “syrup.” Now that you’re reading between the previous statement and the opening line, let me rub my hands with glee at having your attention.
I think there needs to be a distinction made between two reasons why a person might turn down a certain meal. Here, I humbly offer my attempt to explain what I call “Pickiness versus Preferentiality” (I may have just made those two words up).
I am picky about my flapjacks and their toppings. Growing up, my father made the best pancakes — thin, crepe-like, foldable, and chewy. I thought (in my innocent, childlike naïveté) that all pancakes were like that. Then, as I saw more of the world, I noticed that other people eat these thick, airy, floury-tasting, round things they call pancakes. To this day, I associate “regular” pancakes with cheap restaurants and boxed mixes. Those pancakes are nothing like the homemade ones of my childhood.
The same goes with maple syrup. Though I grew up in the suburbs, our family was blessed to have several mature maple trees in our yard. My father learned to tap the trees for sap and heat it to make maple syrup. Besides providing me with great memories, Dad’s hobby provided the family with real syrup. Like him, I will have nothing to do with the Aunt Jemima high fructose corn swill they sell at the store. (And don’t even suggest putting margarine on pancakes either).
Some definitions for picky include the following: fussy or choosy*, or exacting especially about details.** Being picky, therefore, is completely different than being preferential.
Everyone has foods they don’t eat. I don’t know many people who state “I hate lima beans” or “I hate liver,” and hear the words, “You’re so picky” flung their way. Why not? Disliking lima beans or liver is purely a preference. If someone likes everything edible, they probably have a show on Travel Channel. But most people have a food they prefer not to eat. I don’t like green beans. You can’t do anything to make them enjoyable to chew and swallow.
[I do find it interesting that some people talk about being picky like it’s a bad thing. Other people, however, will hear that you don’t like something and then say “Well, if you tasted the way my mother makes it, you would love it.” Thereby attempting to make you picky about something you don’t prefer.]
If people roll their eyes at me and say, “Oh, you’re a picky eater,” I just answer, “You betcha.” The last laugh is mine. Wait until they find out the finicky ways I eat eggs. Ha!
* Merriam-Webster ** wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn