Tuesday, September 10, 2013


I love food, but I only love food that I love.  I was a very finicky child but I loved my grandmother's cooking.  When my class went on field trips, my grandmother had to pack my lunch because I did not want to eat anything that was unfamiliar to me.  I was never curious of what my classmates' were eating.   My 15 individually wrapped marinated chicken drummettes kept me satisfied.  In fact, I was the one whom the other kids wanted to trade their lunches with.

My grandmother had to get up early to prepare, cook, wait for the drummettes to cool, and wrap them.  She did not mind though.  She was more than willing to go out of her way to accommodate the only grandchild.

Tomato is my mom's favorite food.  She eats them like apples.  I remember when I was 4 or 5, I saw my mom sitting in our courtyard in China, munching away on a tomato, commenting on how delicious it was.  When I saw her eating the red tomato like it was an apple, I imagined in my mind how it would be sweet and crispy, like an apple.  Of course I asked for a bite, but my senses went into shock because it was the complete opposite of what I had imagined.  The texture, the taste, and the smell were so unexpected, I spat it right out.  To this day, tomatoes and I still have not become friends.

My father introduced me to Filet-O-Fish, French Fries, milkshake, and apple pie from McDonald's when I was 6.  For the next 20 years, those items were pretty much the only things I ordered from McDonald's.  I've tried other items as well, I just tend to come back to the ones I am familiar with.  I find it especially true when I am tired, in a hurry, or stressed.  I don't like to try anything new when my mind is preoccupied.  Under those circumstances, knowing what my food will taste like before I consume them brings me comfort. 

On a side note, McDonald's does a great job of keeping the taste of their menu items consistent.  I know because I've ordered them from McDonald's in Los Angeles, Dallas, Saint Louis, Houston, Austin, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Beijing.  If T hadn't stopped me, I would've confirmed my faith in McDonald's Filet-O-Fish in Taiwan and Shanghai as well.  

My father played a pivotal role in my path-to-be-less-finicky.  After I came to the States, he introduced to steaks, sushi, and many other food I was not forced to try in Hong Kong.  He wanted me to be more open-minded about food (on top of many other things).  He felt to be finicky was to be unappreciative of how privileged I was, considering so many people in other parts of the world were starving.  He did not force me to continuously eat food I did not enjoy.  He did force me to try an item before rejecting it.

I've learned to take a middle-of-the-path attitude with food.  Nowadays, I still tend to gravitate towards food I am familiar with.  New stuff, however, reminds me of my father's teaching, and I am no longer resistant to trying it.  I see trying new food not as a challenge or fulfillment of curiosity, but more as a form of respect to our good fortune of being in a country with an abundance of food. 


  1. What a feel-good story! What a wonderful grandmother, you were one lucky little girl! Thanks for sharing.


  2. Thanks!! My grandmother really spoiled me. She was an awesome cook and really set the standards for my taste buds. For whatever reason, my husband, who is the cook in our house, says it is a bad thing, LOL!