Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September Q & A: French onion soup and the dangers of food variety

My friend Jasmine, teaming up here with my cousin April, asks, “Why do you hate French Onion soup?”

To explain this one, I have to explain two things. The first is that I somehow managed to avoid having ever seen what is apparently one of the most popular types of soup in the country until earlier this year, when I saw one of my college friends eating some at another friend’s going away dinner. Being the calm, collected individual that I am, I responded as any such man would: by pointing at the bowl and going “what the hell is that?!?” See, if you’re like me and have never seen such a thing before, it’s basically soup with a layer of cheese on the top, which makes it look suspiciously like the chef had just yanked it all out of a nearby swamp (yes, we have those in New Jersey). It’s a completely hideous looking food, and anyone who eats it should be completely ashamed of themselves.

Of course, as Jasmine knows, my childhood/early adulthood was spent largely shunning most foods, and it’s only been over the past decade that I’ve really started branching out at all. My childhood food mindset tended to operate along the following lines: I couldn’t wait for pizza to cool down before I bit into it when I was six so it burned me, therefore pizza is disgusting and I should never eat it ever. Nowadays pizza is of course one of my favorite foods, but that’s only after a good fifteen year-or-so boycott of the foodstuff.

Another boycott I recall is of McDonald’s, which used to be one of my go-to places as a child, until one day in late elementary school/early middle school I bit into a McNugget and found a bone. I wouldn’t eat at any of the chains again (well, aside from their fries)until probably only four years ago until my friend Jasmine visited me and demanded McDonald’s. This is a somewhat more justifiable food boycott I had enacted, in part because finding a bone in a McNugget is pretty damn gross, and partially because the food at McDonald’s is pretty uniformly terrible. Outside of their fries, of course.

My friend Tammy also loves to tell a story about my first encounter with dumplings at a Mongolian restaurant near Rutgers. I was still testing the waters of Asian food at the time (this may have actually been only the second or third time I’d ever had Asian food in my life, so while I may love it now it was utterly foreign to me then), so since it was a buffet, I just put on my plate whatever my friends told me to. When it came time to eat I was mostly holding up okay until I got to my first dumpling, which I bit into, and then promptly spit out while exclaiming something along the lines of “there’s stuff in it!” Which there absolutely was, I say for the record, so ain’t nobody can call me a liar here. Could I have handled this startling revelation a bit better? Almost certainly. Do I feel that I should have handled it better? Absolutely not. That food is goddamn deceptive and sneaky, so you think it’s going to feel and taste like one thing while it smuggles Greek soldiers into your mouth. I for one shall not stand for it!

In addition to Asian cuisine sans dumpling, here’s some other mostly really common foods I found I enjoy from late college onward: hamburgers (I hated them too when I was little, don’t remember why), pasta (I never had anything specifically against it, just never tried it), Indian food (just tried it for the first time last year), seafood (this one’s more my mom’s fault, as she hates seafood so we never had it when I was younger), hot wings (I still don’t like ones with bones in them, but I have discovered a great, enduring love for boneless wings), and chicken noodle soup -- my soup options as a child were limited to tomato or a different can of tomato, which I guess helped lead us to today’s question.

For those wondering, here are some foods I’m still not a fan of: McDonald’s cuisine, Mexican cuisine, anything that gets my hands sticky (ribs, etc.), Brasilian food (it tends to have this wonderful combination of crunchy and bland that I wasn’t a huge fan of), whatever the hell the food was at my friends’ Stacey and Kevin’s wedding (sorry guys, but you had like jellyfish and kelp and shit, what was that?), and Burger King (with the exception of the Angry Whopper, which they’ve discontinued because they’re dicks). I’m sure there’s more I’m blanking on, but that should be quite well enough for you to plan out my surprise 30th birthday party with nothing but good food available.

No comments: