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By Lindsay Gibb

I’ve always had a problem with food. In grade school I used to give away my lunch every day and if I ate anything it was just the crackers that came with a square of peanut butter and a little red stick to spread it. In high school I was called down to the nurses office because my friends thought I was only participating in the 30-hour famine as an excuse to starve myself. To tell the truth, I was never trying to make myself skinny, I just found eating really boring.

It’s no wonder though; my tastes growing up were very vanilla. Finding a restaurant I was willing to eat at was always a chore. When my husband and I were dating we spent our first anniversary roaming the streets of Toronto looking for a place that served a plain chicken burger, because that’s all I was willing to eat. He had more exotic tastes, so he took me to a Mediterranean restaurant and tried to feed me falafel; I just picked at my salad and shrunk away from his outstretched fork. Eating made me nervous.

Other people’s family dinners were the worst. There was usually next to nothing that I could eat, and since I was the new meat all eyes were on me. I always felt like I was Henry trying to carve the little chicken in Eraserhead.

To this day I’m still not overly comfortable eating with people. Not because I feel like everyone is watching, but because I know I try people’s patience. Even though I’m much less picky in my old(er) age and actually enjoy food with flavour, I still eat as slow as molasses. I usually end up letting the people around me finish my meal because I’m tired of eating and don’t want to make them wait while I slowly polish off the rest of my grub.

Living in a city that overflows with small, independent restaurants, my newfound leniency when it comes to what I allow to pass my lips is essential. Now my friends just think I’m picky because I refuse to eat at McDonalds.

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