For those who don’t already know, one thing that I find irritating (although not as irritating as putting something down and then two minutes later forgetting where I put it – which invariably results in a big tantrum and a veritable tour de force of foul language – but I digress) is the existence of foodstuffs that I won’t eat. I have a firm policy that if I go to a restaurant, I should always be comfortable with the idea that I could – even if I never actually do – wilfully ignore the menu, say “get me what the chef recommends” and be as happy as Larry.
I just don’t get the concept of fussy eating. Food to me is like colours, music, or indeed anything: I have no real concept of “good” and “bad,” but instead of well executed and badly executed – the right combination and the wrong one, an approriate situation and an inappropriate one. Concepts such as not liking garlic or thinking all heavy metal is fantastic or thinking pink is a girl’s colour are all totally alien to me.
The list of “refused” items is, deliberately, quite a short one, and has in past years been well populated with seafood. I’ve been working diligently to eliminate whole swathes of briny delights from it, and although my one weird phobia (crustaceans) still provides for the occasional refusal at langoustines, instils a deep uneasiness with lobster (largely untested for budgetary reasons) and entirely prevents me going within several feet of unprocessed crabs, I do like the meat; and similarly I’ve coerced myself, with varying intensity of self-persuasion, into eating whitebait (which I can’t get enough of), mussels (also a firm favourite, provided I don’t discover too many more with tiny crabs hiding in them), crayfish, clams, scallops, oysters, squid and baby octopus. The notable aquatic monstrosity which remains out of bounds is the whelk, and frankly it’s likely to stay that way.
However, today did mark a minor milestone as the last vegetarian item on the list was crossed off. The last time I tried a lychee must have been 15 years ago and it’s always stuck in my memory as an unpleasant experience.
But today I had one, and they’re officially acceptable.