Something has been on my mind this week concerning food. Perhaps it’s a luxury to even have this problem, but I still wonder if it’s either a virtue or a vice. And I think, even though it’s about food, it hints at a larger issue with my character.
Painful Ice Cream Lesson
You see, last Tuesday, I got ice cream from a nice local restaurant called Leatherby’s. Their big selling point is offering more ice cream than one human can normally consume. Or at least that’s my take on it. It’s too much of a good thing, which can be fun. I’ve gone there a few times and mostly enjoyed it. However, last Tuesday night I tried to eat their apple pie parfait, which is basically an entire slice of hot apple pie wedged between two generous helpings of vanilla ice cream. And I got sick a few hours later. That led to a painful night and following day. Thankfully, my stomachache eased by Thursday.
Long after the pain went away and the flavor faded from my taste buds, I can’t help feeling like this experience left a bad taste in my mouth. My opinion of that restaurant has soured. And I think it’s probably permanent.
Here’s my flaw. Whenever I have a negative experience with food, I avoid it from then on. I don’t think Leatherby’s is a bad restaurant, but I’ll never be able to go there again without thinking of the pain I experienced as a result of eating there one time. That’s all it took.
The same is true of Red Baron frozen pizza and cranberry-flavored anything. I fell ill for days after eating those two items more than a decade ago on separate occasions. It could be a coincidence that I got sick after consuming them. I couldn’t definitively prove anything about them negatively affecting me. But that doesn’t stop me from associating them with suffering. And I don’t know if I can ever separate them from thoughts of revulsion in my own mind.
I pride myself on being able to learn from my mistakes. That’s a very Anne Shirley quality. In Anne of Green Gables, the precocious red-haired heroine happily declares that she never makes the same mistake twice. Although I admire that quality in her, I can’t help wondering if it’s a nasty flaw in myself. While attempting to avoid making the same mistake twice, do I inadvertently make another mistake? Do I deny certain foods the possibility of redemption?
As Mr. Darcy put it, “My good opinion, once lost, is lost forever.” And the point of his character’s change in Pride and Prejudice is to learn to swallow his pride and realize that first impressions aren’t always accurate. He gradually comes to love Elizabeth despite her real and perceived flaws. In the process, he becomes a better man than he ever imagined possible. While his first proposal to her left a bitter taste in his mouth when she rejected him, it didn’t stop him from trying again. Imagine if he hadn’t proposed to her a second time. What a tragedy that would have been for both of them!
Now that I think about it, Anne Shirley got proposed to twice by her childhood rival/friend Gilbert Blythe. I shudder to think of what would have happened if he had given up on her completely after she rejected him so forcefully. She wasn’t ready for marriage the first time because of her lack of maturity. And she didn’t offer him any hope that she would ever change her mind. I can empathize with his despair at hearing her words and wondering if she would ever love him. It’s only when she fears losing him to Scarlet Fever that she finally understands she always loved him.
Food and Love
Hopefully it wouldn’t take nearly dying to snap me out of my distaste for certain food items. Food is in a different category from love. But they do have one thing in common. They’re both necessary for life. One keeps the body alive, and the other motivates the soul to keep living.
I have a habit of learning lessons painfully. In my youth, I sometimes callously hurt people’s feelings and then asked forgiveness, promising to do better. Those experiences made me not want to get into situations where I feel the need to be forgiven. That is admirable, but it’s not the whole picture. If I always played it safe, I’d never have new experiences. I just need to keep my temper in check and try to be better.
How can I apply that lesson to food, though? The heart wants what the heart wants, and the stomach is similar, I suppose. I don’t want one negative experience to forever deprive me of a good meal. Or a good friendship. I haven’t quite worked out how to untangle this flaw in my character. But I’ll keep an eye on it to see if there are ways I can improve. After all, I managed to let go of my frustration with movies. If I can do that, I might have a chance at changing another part of myself that I know isn’t perfect.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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If you’d like to support the Deja Reviewer, please consider donating a few dollars to keep this site going strong. I’ll even send you an original joke if you do! Try it, and prepare to enjoy a good chuckle.