Friday, February 26, 2010

I Lied; I'm not really allergic to mushrooms

Mushrooms won't send me into anaphylactic shock or even give me the trots.  But when I'm ordering at a restaurant, planning dinner with friends, or discussing pizza toppings, you'd think they did.  When I'm making my special order of "no mushrooms," I think I know what everyone around me is thinking.  "She's not allergic, she just doesn't like mushrooms."  The reason I believe that is because when I hear someone say they're allergic to something controversial, like mushrooms, seafood, or guacamole, that's what I think about them.

In my "family of origin," the latest PC way of talking about the people who raised you, we tried every food under the moon and stars.  And we all had one thing or another that we didn't like.  Dad would pitch a fit whenever anyone had the audacity to put a few nuts in his brownie, and I famously uttered the whine of, "I don't like it..." to my grandparents over a spaghetti dinner, but neither resulted in any real changes to our family menu.  In the end, I was grateful to have been exposed to such a variety of foods, and developed a sense of adventure towards dining.  I ended up with an "eat it or don't" attitude about food preferences.  Fortunately, my kids are fairly good eaters, so my uncompromising attitude hasn't led to power struggles or starvation yet.

But my attitude has led me to feel very embarrassed about my repeated lies about mushrooms.  The truth is that I'm not allergic.  I actually love mushrooms.  But a nice pepperoni and mushroom pizza, as great as it tastes, haunts me with a green cloud of shame the next day that could singe your nose hairs (and causes my husband to plead with me to please tell people I'm allergic).

If I could just be a little more understanding of other people's food preferences (and some people's very real allergies), I could "put my behind in the past;" I wouldn't be embarrassed by my little lie.  But I am, so I must.  So next time you hear me order something "sans funghi," give me a little wink and let me off the hook, if you would.  Meanwhile, I'll try and be more gracious to you when you'd rather not eat pickled jellyfish.

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Luke 6: 38

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