I was having lunch with a couple associates at a popular restaurant. We ordered our food, and one associate asked that her mashed potatoes NOT have gravy on them. The other associated commented, “Oh, dry mashed potatoes?” The no-gravy girl responded with, “My mother never made that kind of gravy, so I don’t eat it.”

My neck may have cracked in several places as I whipped it around to look at her. “Are you kidding me?” “No, I usually don’t have food that my mother didn’t make. I just never developed a taste for other things.”

Wow. That is so difficult for me to understand. I am someone who will try anything once (yes, I recently tried escargot) and have an extremely wide-range of favorite (non-American food) restaurants.

I have a very difficult time understanding someone who limits choices based on another’s (possibly) limited choice.

I could get behind a choice based on caloric intake, allergen concerns, health risks…but because it wasn’t a food served during childhood….wow (again).

I can see how it happens though.

My mother ran a day-care AND grew a vegetable garden. She served lunch to the day-care kids every day. One day, she harvested some summer squash, cooked them to perfection and served them to the kids. One of the kids refused the squash. My mother asked why? He said, “Because I don’t like it.” She responded, “Have you ever had squash made like this?” He returned; “NO, I don’t eat squash because my dad SAID we don’t like squash.”

I could see the amusement on my mother’s face. She put a tiny piece of a squash on his plate and lightheartedly said, “Just try a little bite…besides, look at the other kids, they are already going back for seconds.” (And we were!) The dad-said-we-don’t-like-squash kid gingerly took a bite of that melt-in-your-mouth summer squash. He face brightened, “OH….THIS IS REALLY GOOD!” My mother was chuckling as she served him up a nice service of her amazing summer squash.

The underlying theme is that of what we are nurtured in, we tend to cling to. This is how we were raised, therefore, we hold on to that as if it were the absolute Truth. This works on many things outside of food. Economic beliefs, racial beliefs, spiritual beliefs, educational beliefs, demographic beliefs. Most beliefs. We are raised inside a set of beliefs. Most stay within those beliefs, and then there are those who run from the beliefs and purposefully live contrary…make choices based on a rebellious attitude.

Neither is sound.

Beliefs should be based on the tried and true. Personal investigation of the truth. Some beliefs will hold, others need to be modified and others discarded. It’s all about reasoned self-reflection. “Reason” being the key word. Reasoning out why you do what you do, why you make the choices you make and whether it is a choice ‘given’ to you (nurture) or a choice that you have reasoned with and concluded that it is indeed, applicable to you and your life.

As for me and escargot…I have eaten a snail. It was like eating a sautéed mushroom. I probably will never order it for myself – I would prefer to eat mushrooms (and they cost less!!). However, if in a group situation, someone is excited about ordering sautéed snails, and passes around the plate, I now know that I can accept a snail, eat it and not be grossed out. That is just one example of stepping out of my how-I-was-raised comfort zone, and learn a bit more about myself.

It’s helps me to evolve.

What have you recently done that is outside of your how-you-were-raised comfort zone? Really?

When was the last time you examined your attitude towards something new? Really?

When was the last time you took a belief that you were raised with and reasoned it out…and not reacted to it? Really?

When was the last time you ate summer squash….or a snail? Really?