Field of Science

Rainforest Field Trip - Picky Eaters

This post could go several different ways and maybe you're expecting specialist herbivores or specialist carnivores, but actually it's about a much more mundane group of picky eaters that in particular are found in the great 'Merican midwest, our students. One thing about field trips is that you spend a lot more time with your students than usual, and on most levels this is a good thing. Students find out we are more or less normal, approachable people, and not quite as intimidating as they thought. On the other hand we often find out more about students than we would like. So here is an observation and a big of advice that arises from our 3-meals a day experiences at a tropical field station, which by all reasonable accounts does a very good job of providing decent interesting food, and besides for a few days you can stand to eat more rice and beans than you would like.
Mothers don’t let your children grow up to be picky eaters. To some extent that's tolerable, but the fact that they are not just choosy mind you, but down right crazy, loony, nothing new or different will cross these lips picky, is your fault as a parent. Who was in charge when your child was young? You don’t let a fox watch the hen house and you don’t let 5-year olds dictate the menu. You are not doing them any favors especially if they ever plan to venture beyond the great Midwest, and oh,they have, so put quite simply being irrationally picky is not a characteristic that one associates with being smart, educated, sophisticated, professional, or accomplished. Now certainly the human brain is quite capable of maintaining a considerable disconnect between its rational thought on some issues and its irrational leanings about others, but it’s a sign of growing up when you put the rational part of your brain in charge and put the childish irrational brain to bed for good. With few exceptions food is not going to kill you, so when someone simply refuses to try a new food, for ridiculous reasons, what other people observe is an indulged little kid who is still engaging in very childish behavior. Granted in my tropical wanderings there have been a few times when something new was really was not very good, something that did not at all appeal to me, but nothing so terrible, ugly, or foul it could not be tried and survived. So do your kid a favor, do yourself a favor, feed them adult food, teach them about food as an adventure, and do not cave in to their childish likes and dislikes, and if they are this way because you are this way, well, what can be said because this message will only elicit indignant responses, and anyways by the age of 20-something, it’s too late for most of them now anyways, so the Phactor hopes the world is kind enough to let them live comfortably in some little Midwestern town. Is the Phactor being too harsh?


Unknown said...

Is the Phactor being too harsh? That depends on what he means by "picky": a traveler who won't try the fried plantains because they look like bananas and everyone knows you don't fry bananas, or a traveler who won't try the monkey brains? I don't have much sympathy for the former, but I'd have to side with the latter: where I come from, everyone knows that a monkey's brains belong in his skull.

Mary said...

Late to the party here, but I do agree with the Phactor. In any country, any culture, the most rude behavior you can exhibit is to refuse to eat your host's food.

Do not any of these picky eaters consider that they might want run for President of the United States one day? Probably not, but, still...