What's Wrong with Plain Food?

Reply Sun 5 Feb, 2023 04:34 pm
Before I continue, I must explain that most of my family (including myself) are on the autistic spectrum, and even the one who isn't has a high sensitivity to certain ingredients and preservatives. But for the most part, my Dad, brother, and myself have always had a preference for plain food, apart from a sprinkling of salt that we add ourselves.

It might also be important to note that we rarely eat out, and we never go to anyone else's homes, so for the most part this is rarely/almost never even an issue to begin with.

However, I have been noticing more and more in recent years, especially as I've gotten a little more social and a tad more outgoing, that apparently... this tendency is a shock to at least some of the general public.

And I guess I'm just trying to figure out why. I mean, isn't society, especially in this day and age, supposedly one that prides itself on being more tolerant and all-inclusive, flexible to everyone's lifestyle choices and preferences?

Yet I apparently shocked the living daylights out of one friend when she realized that I don't like any form of spices, and I don't even like to put anything but butter on my pasta, not even tomato sauce or anything. I mean, we didn't argue about it, and I was more amused and surprised by her reaction of shock than anything. And we both simply moved on with life and we're letting each other live our lives as we see fit, just as we always have.

I guess it's just... I've noticed this tendency more and more frequently when I go to Burger King maybe once every 1-2 months.

One time, I saw a manager get after an employee a little because the customer had wanted a sandwich plain, so they had to do it again. And to be fair, maybe that case was just due to a lack of attentiveness, but...

It seems like I've had at least three times in recent months where I've had to correct an order, or even give it back once for them to redo, because they didn't seem to understand that a plain burger means A PLAIN BURGER. I even had to explain once or twice that my brother will not eat it if there is ANYTHING on it. Yet they seem to think that if I am ordering a plain burger for myself and my brother, that must mean we at least want either cheese or ketchup on it... when we don't. We want it *PLAIN*. We might want a little salt, but we'll add that ourselves at home.

Anyway I know I am making a far bigger deal out of all of this than it prolly needs, and I am overanalyzing, but... I guess I am just genuinely curious. Despite being in a supposedly open-minded, flexible and tolerant society, (and one that prides itself on being so, supposedly) why do we even have this issue?

And why does it almost... slightly seem like I'm regarded as an oddity just for liking my burger, my pasta, and possibly a few other things I can't think of right now *completely* plain?
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Reply Sun 5 Feb, 2023 04:47 pm
Spices were highly prized and extremely expensive, Manhattan was exchanged for a tiny spice island.

Bearing that in mind it's understandable that people would find your tastes unusual.

We all have our own idiosyncracies, autistic or not, and as long as you're not being bullied or mistreated because of it, then just accept it as part of life.
Reply Sun 5 Feb, 2023 04:53 pm
Yeah, when you look at it like that, I guess it would be maybe a little bit like saying, "I want the gold ring, but skip the diamond!"

I think maybe there are just some areas where I do tend to be a little oversensitive, because I do have certain preferences and for me at least, it has taken me a lifetime to learn how to simply state/be clear about what I want without coming across as overly aggressive if someone doesn't seem to get it, especially when I've already been clear upfront.

But I guess I could look at it the opposite way, too, if someone ever did come over to my house. If I served burgers, they'd prolly be within their rights to wonder where the cheese, ketchup and pickles are.
Reply Sun 5 Feb, 2023 05:09 pm
My youngest son is autistic.

I have issues of my own regarding eating, my parents were children during the war and rationing, and as a result they really hated food waste and I was forced to eat quite often.

As a result I let him eat what he wanted, within reason obviously, sweets weren't a substitute for meals, but when we went on holiday he had sausages every day for a fortnight, and at home he would have macaroni cheese for dinner for weeks on end.

Now he's incredibly advenguroys, and he loves spice food, he likes it really hot, so hot it makes him cry. I'm not kidding.

He was in tears once at a restaurant and I adked if he was OK. He said he was fine, and kept on eating.

Reply Sun 5 Feb, 2023 05:39 pm
Overall I'd say my parents were fairly lenient for the most part when it came to food. If there was really something we didn't like or couldn't handle eating for the most part, they didn't force us just as long as the budget wasn't tight, and as long as we showed we would eat at least something.

I think it scored points in our favor that we've always loved steamed broccoli and potatoes. One thing my parents always marveled at was that my brother and I would actually eat our vegetables like a tasty treat, as long as it was done right, while other parents struggled just to get their kids to TOUCH their veggies, haha.

I guess there really are a lot of things that are kinda a generational thing, too. Mom has told me stories about how her family grew up poor. If she was eating at her grandmother's place, her grandma would just keep serving and serving and expect everyone to eat it all up, and would even be a little hurt if people stopped eating.

As for Mom's mother, that was a household with an extremely tight budget, and Mom's parents really were serious when they said that you either eat what was on the table that night, or you eat nothing. And a big part of that was because they literally could not afford to go out and buy you something else if you didn't like it. They were lucky to get the food that they'd already gotten.

Perhaps it's also for this reason that I grew up in a bit of a mixed atmosphere. Mom grew up in an environment where she and her sisters never, ever had to go without the basic essentials at least, but as a result, she is the most non-picky eater I've ever seen. Even to the point of not caring what gets mixed together, even if it's cauliflower and hot dogs sliced up into spaghetti.

Dad, on the other hand, is a lot pickier and he apparently can't even eat his vegetables if the bowl has a bit too much fluid in it, even if it's just melted butter. (He'll pour it off himself if it's too much.)

I guess in a lot of ways, we're pretty fortunate to be living in the age we're living in if we're picky, cuz for the most part food is plentiful (at least in my experience for the most part) and there's helpful services if you get into a budget crunch.
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Reply Mon 6 Feb, 2023 07:51 am
I think any time one orders something that is a bit different than how it is described on the menu or is not what is considered "regular", you need to be clear especially with fast food places. For example when I order coffee, I say cream only. I always add in the "only" or "just" to emphasize I do not want anything else. I think it is natural for a fast paced restaurant to make things as is the normal or regular; it makes their work faster. They are kind of like on automatic pilot to get things out quickly.

It does not just happen to you, it happens to anyone who wants to order something very specific whether to allergies or simply just preference. I say this so you do not feel bad or unusual or anything else. As long as you are polite and request kindly. Yes, and sometimes being overly clear, like when you say a plain burger, say burger and bun only, you can say if it helps, that you require a simple and plain diet. Sometimes explaining you have a certain diet will emphasize it a bit more, but whatever you are comfortable with saying.
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Reply Mon 6 Feb, 2023 09:52 am
Food Bigotry

Unless one has a severe allergy to an ingredient? Food bigotry (as a thread tag) has got to be one of the most first world problems depicted here at a2k.
Reply Mon 6 Feb, 2023 11:06 am
Perhaps I shouldn't have used that tag/label. It is rather... extreme, and it probably holds little or no basis in this entire discussion.

Though I will simply point out that, especially in this day and age, it seems like it's become very common (in some online spaces, at least) to use words or terms in an over-exaggerated sense of importance or entitlement to get something across.

I'm not saying that anyone has done that here, it just seems to happen sometimes, and it's also kinda easy to get swept up in that trend of word-useage.

(Example: A former friend reblogged something on her tumblr about how fat people have every right to be jealous of others for having a "thin privilage", and a mutual friend told her that was the stupidest thing she'd ever heard cuz there's no such thing, and my former friend blocked her for saying that.)

Sometimes I just feel like... it's easy to get caught up in a trend of self-important, exaggerated word-trends to overemphasize a basic right or acknowledgement. Maybe it isn't right, and maybe it's a bad habit I need to get rid of, but... if people can get mad in a dispute over "thin privilage", I guess I can wave around words like "food bigotry".

Though... you are correct, there is no real place for the words in practice, unless someone is being mistreated due to an allergy. I just feel kinda... self-conscious right now, cuz it just seems like parts of our society have gotten to the point where some of us have forgotten how to use words in a literal and non-exaggerated sense, and I realize I've been swept up in the trend myself. :/
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