The other day someone asked me what my favorite food was. I hate that question. I also hate being asked my favorite color, favorite movie, favorite author, favorite song, favorite musical group, favorite flower, favorite perfume, favorite city, favorite . . . you get the idea. I rarely have a favorite. I have a bunch of favorites. More than I can easily name off the top of my head.
Take colors, for instance. I like red--intense blood red. Also deep purple. And lime green. And teal or turquoise. And cobalt blue. I'm also fond of fuchsia. And lemon yellow. I used to think I hated orange, but now I'm very fond of a sort of intense, saturated reddish orange. And there are certain combinations of color, like clear pink and charcoal gray, or lime and forest green together, or--
You get the idea. Favorites. Plural. Life was simpler back when I was a kid and adopted red as my favorite color. But not as interesting.
And if you think the color question is bad, imagine what I can do if asked my favorite food. Favorite food? Singular? Hell, no.
So when my friend asked me to name my favorite food, I tried to explain that for me there are five tiers of food:
Foods I love. I will actually cook to be able to eat these foods, or go out in the middle of the night to satisfy a craving for them. This tier would include Diet Coke. Bacon. Clementines and tangerines. French fries. Utz potato chips. Potstickers. Kibbe. Beef Shawarma. Tart, tangy apples. Steak au poivre. String beans. Pork chops with sage. Perfectly breaded or battered and fried flounder. Caesar salad, with or without grilled chicken. Cobb salad. A good tossed salad with a nice tart vinaigrette dressing. Birds Eye Steam Fresh Garlic Cauliflower. Ham. Cheese. Good French bread. Orangina. Cherries. Raspberries. Gummi bears. Mom's cheesy broccoli casserole.
Foods I like. I will choose these foods over other foods in a buffet. This category would include cooked broccoli. Lima beans. Oranges and grapefruit. Ordinary (i.e., non-Utz) potato chips with no seasoning. Competently fried flounder. Corn. Bananas. Kiwis. Blueberries. Blackberries. Chocolate ice cream.
Foods I will eat.
Chocolate cookies. Chocolate cake. Brussels sprouts. Raw broccoli and cauliflower. Most non-chocolate ice cream.
Foods I will eat only to be polite.
Most non-chocolate cakes or cookies. Salads with sweet dressings. Potato chips with any kind of flavoring on them. Yams or sweet potatoes. Dried cocoanut.
Foods I will not eat, not even to be polite.
Shellfish and crustaceans. Tuna. In fact, most fish that isn't fried flounder or cod. Artificial banana-flavored anything. Avocado. Anything with more than an invisible dab of mayonnaise. Sandwiches that come premade with condiments on them (especially mayonnaise).
You'll notice that the top and bottom categories are the most fleshed out, no doubt because it's easier to remember the things we feel strongly about. And foods that are superlatively done can migrate from category 2 up to 1, and some of the foods in group 4 are ones I'd put in group 5 in a different mood.
In case you were wondering, yes, I was a picky eater as a child. The sort of dreadful picky eater who would shriek if two foods touched on my plate. I probably still qualify as a picky eater, but I'm not nearly as bad as I used to be. As a child I assumed (or perhaps was told) that when I grew up, I would eat all the foods I refused to touch. I wasn't quite sure if I was supposed to learn to like them, or just shoulder my adult duty and suffer them. Either way, didn't work. My food vocabulary has expanded, but I still like the things I like and would rather go hungry than eat the rest.
Then again, I recently discovered that I am probably allergic to one of the items that has always lurked at the top of my dislike list. My allergist thinks there may be some merit to the theory that if you have a visceral dislike for something, your body may be protecting you from something to which you are allergic. Thus I'll continue avoiding not just crabs but most seafood.
So is it weird to have forty or fifty favorite foods? Does the fact that I still balk at mayonnaise mean I'm basically immature? Or are my food foibles actually pretty normal?
Okay, favorite movies? Not a complete list, mind you, but here goes. Bedazzled--the original. The Richard Lester Three/Four Musketeers. Days of Heaven. The Twelve Chairs. The Duellists. Sixth Sense. Arsenic and Old Lace. Holiday. Becket. Philadelphia Story. Body Heat. Chinatown. Murder on the Orient Express. Death on the Nile. My Dinner with Andre. The Girl from Petrovka. Die Hard. Rear Window. Harold and Maude. The In-Laws (Peter Falk version). Just Cause. The Manchurian Candidate. The Maltese Falcon. The Nightmare Before Christmas. Four Weddings and a Funeral. Ninotchka. Roman Holiday.. Sex, Lies, and Videotape. Taps. Wargames. Terminator. Time After Time. Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx. Young Sherlock Holmes. The Wrath of God. True Confessions. Truly Madly Deeply. Behind the Red Door. Blade Runner. The Wrong Box. The Warriors. Vampires. Vampires: Los Muertos. Nosferatu. To Kill a Mockingbird. Swashbuckler. Manhunter. The Silence of the Lambs. The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh. Thomasina. The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea. Paris is Burning. Ordinary People. Rent. The List of Adrian Messenger. Lord of the Rings. Magic. The Magnificent Seven. Just Between Friends. A Different Story. The Crimson Pirate. Don't Look Now. Eddie and the Cruisers. The Fighting Price of Donegal. A Few Good Men. Foul Play. Hopscotch. If. Jack's Back. Jurassic Park. A Night at the Opera. A Day at the Races. Aguirre the Wrath of God...........................(fade out, still listing)