I don’t think I heard about Cinco de Mayo for the greater part of my life, and the first time I encountered it, it was in print. I was very confused about a holiday featuring Spanish mayonnaise and thought it was a cooking challenge of some sort. This is not the first time I felt confused about things. If I were featured in a sitcom, I’d have an elaborate party celebrating mayonnaise recipes while my “friends” wondered where the margaritas were, and I’d have an embarrassing moment when my normally staid boss attended my party wearing a serape and demanding fresh tamales. Then we’d all laugh and toast with margaritas and Coronas while eating spinach dip and mayonnaise chocolate cake. I’m really really happy my life is not a sitcom, as I don’t like Mexican food at all.
So, that makes me different from a large segment of the population. Whenever I get together with folks for dining purposes, I always say “Not Mexican, please.” I have come to the realization that I am a lover of ultra simple food and not a whole lot of fire and spice. I mean, I like spices like cardamom and ginger and cinnamon and anise and whatever else goes into a good chai, but I don’t like curry or
srirachi sirachi hot sauce or five alarm chili or Buffalo style chicken wings. I see no reason to burn off perfectly working taste buds. Sometimes I even object to pepper, and food network’s mantra seems to be “plenty of pepper.” (Alas, we don’t get the Cooking Channel which, I understand, is far superior. We don’t have HBO, either, which has only started bothering me this past week because while I could care less about Game of Thrones, I love John Oliver.) I don’t want to become acquainted with jalapenos, chili verde, or “refried beans.” I put “refried beans” in quotations because I am convinced that it’s a secret joke because it is, in fact, NOT BEANS. I don’t want to even speculate on what I think it really is.
I tried eating at an Indian restaurant once. Since I love chai tea, you would have thought I’d be well on my way to enjoying that spice palate but you would be wrong. The only thing I can truly say I enjoyed is the Naan bread, especially when somebody told me it was made with potatoes. (I am aware that “Naan bread” is redundant, and I’m not putting “Naan bread” in quotations for the same reason as the “refried beans” but in case there are other hopeless cuisine-embracers out there like myself, I thought redundancy would be in order. Thank you. This is a PSA.) I was not enjoying the rest of the meal, and I worried about the five-hour drive ahead of me. I drank a lot of tea, hoping that would soothe any troubled moments in my future, and checked this experience off my mental list of what not to do again.
Some would call me non-adventurous, or boring, or a scaredy-cat, or lots of other names that I choose not to
dredge up from my past give credence to, but I’m going to call it self-preservation. I’ve lived with my digestion system for quite a while now, and I think I know the limits we can safely explore together. So I shall happily have turkey meatloaf with rice and salad tonight, and think about inventing a food holiday to which I can safely introduce my spineless taste buds.