In Vietnamese, if you don't like a certain food, it's said that you don't know how to eat it. I resented that when I was young and picky about my food. I didn't want to not know anything. I simply did not like onions.
But now I at least appreciate them. And I can appreciate the cultural value the saying reveals. I think it's more about a willingness to expand your horizons. I find that when I meet people who have a long list of things they don't like to or won't eat, I judge them a bit harshly, and probably unfairly. Like it's not really just about the food. You know, like how bad tipping is not ever just about the tipping, it's generally a sign of some greater lack of generosity? I sometimes equate the fussiness with willful ignorance. And I find that some people have the long list of no-no foods not because they have tried everything and simply don't like it; it's an excuse to not try anything new at all because of the potential to not like it.
Now, I'm not saying this about everyone who is a picky eater. Also I know it is incredibly hypocritical of me to say; there are things I don't try. I've never seen an episode of "Lost," and I know a lot of people who like it. I just have never tried it. No reason. So I'm looking at myself too.
And let me spin it a positive way: I'm impressed with people who are willing to try new things. It shows the spark of an adventurous spirit, and I really respect that. In the food realm, that spirit is very important in our marriage. We go anywhere and try anything, particularly if some ethnic group really loves it. I always think, hey, millions of people can't be wrong.
I guess I'm thinking about this right now because I found out that my friend Mary is moving to Malaysia (!) to help a company establish the first nationwide broadband network. It's going to be an amazing adventure, and I could not be more excited for her. Way to go, Mary! I respect the hell out of you.