Kevin Drum, Matt Yglesias, and Will Baude are all talking about food, one of my favorite topics.

I've always had food issues. When I was a little kid, I was a horribly picky eater. I would rather have starved than eaten a peanut butter & jelly sandwich; I would get the dry heaves (and sometimes wet heaves, if you catch my drift) when forced to consume vegetables. I could only drink orange juice if it was completely pulp free and 1 part juice to 2 parts water. When eating with my friend Julie's huge Italian family, I would request they give me the pasta before they added the sauce.

And then there were fruits. Other people in my family ate strawberries like they were candy - all I could feel were those tiny little buglike seeds on my tongue. My mother would make me a ham & cheese sandwich with lettuce and tomato, and I would have to deconstruct and eat just the bread, but not the part of the bread that touched the ham. If you had seen me eat a piece of toast, you would have seriously wondered if I was from another planet - I used to lightly toast the bread, then peel the two sides of the bread apart and scrape off the soft middle, which I would roll into a ball and eat, and then I would eat the slightly crunchy sides.

If a little bit of meat juice got into my spuds, I couldn't eat either. Gravy? No. Mayo? No. Mustard? No. Ketchup? Ew, no.

Now that I'm a grown-up who handles pretty much all the food preparation in my family, I am much less picky. I still don't like everything (I don't think I will ever like olives), but I have become an enthusiastic try-er of foods. I discovered that all melons are wonderful, better than apples. Peppers are great when they're raw. Fresh fish is the best thing to cook when you don't have much time. Olive oil and garlic make nearly all cooked vegetables taste better. Almost every kind of lettuce is better than iceburg.

I am especially enthusiastic about trying different cuisines. I grew up eating Irish-American food - meat, potatoes, root vegetables, and fish on Friday - all of it boiled. (We joke that my mother used both spices, salt & pepper). As an adult, I'm dismayed that I spent so much of my life afraid of so many foods.

So buck up, Kevin, and give something you don't like a try. I still haven't eaten a pb&j sandwich, but my life would be much poorer without dim sum or goi cuon with nu oc mom.

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