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As long as I can remember, I have had a reputation among my family for being one of its pickiest eaters. Whether it was macaroni and cheese (which was for some reason tolerable without the cheese part), butter, or green beans (still a hated item), there was always something on the dinner plate that I just refused to eat as a child. Many a PB&J did I eat back in the day.

Today, the horizons of my world of acceptable foods have somewhat expanded. However, I am still a bit of a purist when it comes to certain types of foods- I'll take cheese pizza over pepperoni every day, and my sandwiches still usually include a maximum of 2 ingredients. And there are still some foods that I just can't force down without activating my gag reflex. A few of the biggest offenders in this area include tofu, mushrooms, cottage cheese, rice pudding, many overcooked vegetables (carrots are the worst), and the notorious green beans.

After examining my list of forbidden foods, I think I have arrived at the reason why I dislike this particular set. The foundation for my dislike, I think, lies in the texture of the food. Take tofu or overcooked veggies for example: both require a little bit of chomping action, but not really enough that you get the satisfaction of a solid "crunch". Like biting into a bar of butter, your teeth slide through, feeling cheated and unfulfilled. It's almost an insult to your adult-chewing capabilities to feed you food that could just as well be mashed with a spoon. Good solid food, like steak, is both pleasing to the taste buds and a workout for the teeth. Soup as a liquid is just fine, because it's basically the same as drinking. (Not too many picky drinkers around, at least that I've heard of.) But the fuzzy in-between area of squishy, gelatinous foods leaves your teeth wanting so much more.

The other, slightly less repulsive texture (in my book) is the cousin of the aforementioned category- squishy foods with more solid bits floating inside. Example: rice pudding. Rice by itself is fine, pudding on its own is delicious. But you mix the two and bad things happen, my friends. Your brain is confused- should it chew up the firm pieces of food, or slurp up the more liquid-like substance? Dazed and confused, the gag reflex kicks in and threatens to stop all consumption of food whatsoever. Obviously not a good ending to this story.

And there, my friends, is my reasoning for my own personal picky eating habits. I admit there are some foods which just taste plain disgusting, regardless of the texture: hello, pickles. (Yeah, I'm a bit of an oddball in that regard.) And there are some types of foods within the above categories that I still find tolerable. However, chances are if you feed me a food that fits the types described, I will not react in a very pleasant manner.

And that, children, is my theory of picky eating.

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