When I got home from work last night, I found that L had made a big pot of stew. Beef, carrots, corn, potatoes, green beans, onions, etc. Man, it was good. I had two bowls of it and I’m looking forward to tonight when I can have more.

Wanna know what’s weird about me and stew? I actually like it. Y’see, I’m a picky eater. I like hamburgers (plain…bun, meat, bun), pizza (also plain cheese), cheese ravioli, chicken (breaded), French fries, raw vegetables (carrots, celery, green peppers), corn (not creamed) and…..well, that’s more or less it. I will never ever mix food together, which is why I don’t like tacos, burritos, etc. There’s just too damn much going on at one time. So the fact that I eat beef stew is somewhat of an anomaly.

I think the single biggest reason that I don’t eat a lot of food is that I just don’t enjoy the texture of it. Never have. When I was a kid, my mom would make me special meals, separate from everyone else. When Thanksgiving dinner was going on, and everyone was enjoying turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes, I had cereal. Maybe even a peanut butter sandwich. I simply wouldn’t eat what was on the table.

And it’s not like my mom didn’t attempt to get me to try things. She did. I just refused. That whole tactic of “You’re not getting up from the table until you’ve eaten the food on your plate” didn’t work. I just stayed at the table until I fell asleep for the night. Then there was the whole “If he’s hungry enough, he’ll eat what’s given to him” plan. I would eat cereal for breakfast but I wouldn’t eat lunch, snacks, or dinner. That went on for about a week before she finally would feed me things I would eat.

I don’t want you to misunderstand anything. I wasn’t participating in a battle of wills or anything. It was never a contest about who would give in first, I just didn’t want to eat what there was to eat. So I didn’t.

Now, as I’ve grown older (notice I didn’t say “matured”), my refusal to eat certain—pronounced “a majority of”—foods has occasionally turned into a battle of wills. For instance, the first time my wife and I went out to dinner with my friend Marty and his then girlfriend, we went to Red Lobster. They all ordered “normal” food, i.e. crab, lobster, salads, blah blah blah. I think I got popcorn shrimp. It’s breaded, which means I’ll eat it. Anyway, during our conversations over dinner, it was revealed that I had never had crab meat. Marty was absolutely amazed and he wasted no time in offering me a bite. I declined. I assume he thought I was playing “the etiquette game” because he assured me that it was ok to take a bite of his food. Again, I declined. At that point, there was a subtle shift in the air and it became apparent that battle lines had been drawn. He kept insisting…and I kept resisting. It got to the point where we were becoming a bit loud. My wife was telling me to “just try it, for the love of god” and Marty’s girlfriend was telling him to “just let it go.” He eventually “just let it go.” Not because my will was stronger, but because no one wanted the evening ruined. He still teases me about it, sometimes relentlessly.

I have tried crab meat since then and, while it wasn’t horrible, it’s not something that I would voluntarily eat again. I don’t like the way it feels.