No, you choose the restaurant

I have a horrible time picking a place to eat. This has been a point of contention for years. Someone asks me where I want to eat. I say I don’t care. I really, truly don’t care. Is there going to be food there? Great! Lets go!

It boils down to this. Growing up, we weren’t given a choice of what to eat. We rarely ever went out to eat. Mom made dinner. Dinner was placed on the table. We all sat around the table and ate. If we didn’t want what was on the table, then we could go hungry. Simple as that. There were no choices.

We ate everything we put on our plate. If we didn’t, then we learned to scoop less the next time. It wasn’t as bad as some. A friend and my father both tell stories of siblings fighting over food. Out of habit, Dad used to devour his dinner in five minutes flat. We were also often reminded that there are starving kids in Africa. After 18 years, this gets engrained in your head as how things work.

When asked recently how my work was going, I said it was like eating my vegetables. They all stared at me and said that they didn’t get it. To me, this has always been synonymous with doing something I don’t like because I have to do it. Maybe these people liked all vegetables when they were kids. I didn’t. I still don’t. But to me, it is also compounded by the fact that if I didn’t eat my vegetables, I’d be hungry later.

These are the same people who could probably be classified as foodies. I’m not. I still consider food as a survival tool, not something you eat for enjoyment. Trust me, I’ve never really been hungry. My parents always did a good job of keeping me fed. But we were taught to eat everything on our plate whether you like it or not. My sister and I still have a hard time with this. At restaurants, the portions are too big, but we feel like we have to finish the whole thing, even if we don’t like it. Not the best mindset for keeping a girlish figure.

Tonight, Neighbor S and I went out to dinner. I’ve learned strategies that I can use to help narrow down where to eat, but I can’t get to the final decision. I told her that I had Mexican last night, so we could cross that off the list. She asked what I had for lunch today. Well, since I hadn’t left the house, I had to admit that I’d had cereal. No milk because that had soured. I have a hard time feeding myself. I’d rather go to bed hungry than to go grocery shopping and make dinner for one. Maybe because it is so depressing. Or because I feel guilty when the food in my fridge goes bad.

There are starving kids in Africa, you know.

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