Have you ever gotten the feeling that people requesting special preparation of their food in restaurants, at catered events, on airplanes, etc., might be acting just a little . . . entitled? I know, I shouldn't judge -- there are plenty of people with legitimate needs, like the ones who swell up like a blowfish when they eat peanut anything. I'm not talking about those.
I'm talking about the people who live such privileged lives that we can decide to eliminate or require any number of specific foods and expect to be accommodated in any situation. I used to ask my catering clients if there were any special dietary needs among their guests, they'd inevitably answer no, and, again inevitably, someone would be allergic to strawberries or wheat or milk or something that was in everything we were serving.
We all have preferences, of course. One of the great pleasures of living in such an affluent time and country, and having access to so many amazing foods, is that we get to choose. I love, but should mostly avoid, all breads and baked goods. I don't particularly care for red meat or shell fish. I can live without organ meats. I really want to keep my distance from head cheese. I like mostly vegetables. That doesn't give me the right to make serving me a meal a living hell for the poor cooks and waitstaff who have to deal with difficult people all the time.
What would we have done in pioneer days, when we would have been lucky to grow enough vegetables for the family, where meat was eaten when meat was hunted, and most people rarely experienced fresh tree fruits?
What would we do if we lived in India, among the most crowded and poverty-stricken people in the world? Would we turn up our noses at the cabbage and rice someone was offering us, likely causing them to go hungry out of politeness? Of course not.
Downtown, where the affluent site-seers and the miserable homeless intermingle, I often see hungry people pawing through the trash cans. They find a lot of good food in there, by the Saturday Market where so many food vendors ply their wares. I find myself wishing that instead of throwing away their unfinished plates, some people would set them on the concrete wall alongside the trash. I guess that wouldn't be appropriate, but heck, there's got to be a better way.
For my part, I'll eat what there is, and be grateful for it.