it was in the last month, i observed with almost amazement, how little i actually knew about people by observing what and how they ate in a restaurant. i am not talking about if they have impeccable manners or extraordinary skills with a culinary knife-play, but rather how open or closed someone would be to change in their lives simply by going someplace new and being able to try a new dish, taste, or cuisine.
this thought has come out, as i was going tor write about something completely different, yet, the time i hold dearest to my heart for the time of the day, the waking moments when the best time to pray, meditate and create are available for us with a rested mind, was wasted, talking about things that might be important to another's world view, but mean little to mine. it brought me back to a sales presentation i used to use with our road vendors, who were equally bored sitting in a room listening to someone explain "why" they were doing what they were doing. the root was "have you ever imagined what the normal day in the life is for someone that comes to see our shows?"
each of us is our own unique make-up that likes and doesn't like certain things. some of this might simply be made up with our body chemistry, some are allergic to things others might not be, still others might be heavily influences in the way we were raised in our home lives, and as we get older, perhaps it is simply the rules or way of life that is accepted as the "norm" at any particular part of the planet that dictate what one thinks. yes, i mentioned thought, not talking. as a species, man really can talk about not much of anything for hours on end, myself included.
someone asked me years ago, aside from looking into someone's eyes, how could you tell a lot about a date. i said, "watch how they eat." once again, it is not about the formality of what many look at with etiquette and cutlery skills, but in the sense of trying something new, eating an unfamiliar dish, or saying, "you know, i just truly enjoy this one dish...it's my favorite because (they insert the reason why.)"
i am writing this as i realize how we age, how much we tend to resist change and desire to create a world inside a box that is safe for us to walk out however much time we have on this planet, trying to survive and avoid the foods that life presents to us that are different, spicier, cooler or hotter than we might desire. after traveling the planet, i can only think of 3-4 dishes i have tried that i really would not like to have to try again, stinky tofu, balut, rat, and durian are far cries from a pierre herme dessert, yet, i tried each of them.
you do learn a great deal with what and how a person eats. will they go outside of their comfort zone? stick into a niche they only know? when presented with a myriad of choices, will they revert back to only what is known? will they ask, "do you know what this is? is it good?" or will they just dive in and try anything without asking?
they say that a business tycoon would take an executive he was considering hiring to lunch. if the man put salt upon his food without tasting it first, the executive would not be offered a job. the rationale was that he didn't take the time to first taste to see if the dish even needed anything.
i used to watch dates eat, were they picky, would they try something new...would they sop the garlic butter out of the bottom of the dish with a piece of bread, or would they just leave it there. now that i think about it, you can tell a lot about someone not simply by their table manners, but rather the passion behind them - what and how does someone eat, will they try something new. will they just go through life trying to live inside the comfort zone they know.
there is no right or wrong answer to the previous paragraph, it is merely a question of how flexible one person might be with respect to another. each of us has our own unique and tasty recipe of who we are and what makes us whom we are. some are spicy, some are mild, some are hot, some cool....but each of us has our own menu listing in the book of life.
i marvel thinking about the best food memories i have come from the entire spectrum of life and cultures, to the various street vendors of the world where much of the united states would scoff about the hygiene, to meals created by master chefs with many stars attached to the establishment. truthfully, the most memorable meals were simply when i was really, really hungry. anything tastes good when you are really, really, really hungry.