So I was eating a plate of nasi kandar just now and thought about picky eating, as in how much a non-picky eater I was. Of course, I do have my preferences (more often than not, I would have nasi ayam over koay tiau goreng), but when it comes right down to it, I could eat most things that your average Malaysian would put on a plate, and I'm always up to try new stuff to see if I like it or not. I tried rabbit meat the other day. It tastes like chicken, forealsies.
But having said that, I do have certain foods that I can't consume. I am allergic to crab meat that's right out of the shell, I don't know how to swallow tempe, and try as I might, I just can't seem to be able to keep petai in my mouth long enough for it to go down my throat. But thinking about picky eating always reminds me of the story of why I don't eat mee goreng anymore.
I used to be able to eat mee goreng no problem. That all changed when I was 9 years old. As a little school kid, I didn't bring money to buy food at the school canteen (I only started receiving weekly allowances when I was 15, if I remember correctly). For recess, I brought along with me a lunch box that my mother would pack for my brother and me, and we would eat whatever that was provided for us. I guess this helped us in becoming unpicky eaters, since we had to eat what was given to us or go hungry, so we didn't really have a choice.
Anyway, one day what was packed in the lunchbox was some mee goreng. During recess, when I took my first bite, I immediately noticed that something was off about it. I didn't know exactly what was wrong with it back then, since my knowledge of what goes on in a kitchen was too limited at that point (now I know that the mee had a strong taste of kapur about it). Since I couldn't stomach the mee, I stopped after the second bite and left the rest of the mee in the lunchbox and brought it back home.
Being that young, we weren't told to wash our own lunchboxes yet, so as usual, I left the lunchbox that still had mee in it in the sink for my mother to take care of when she got back from work later in the day. I thought nothing of it, really. At 9, I couldn't really think of anything else I cared about more than playing with toys and other kidly things.
When my mother got home and went to the sink to discover that I had not eaten what seemed like any of the mee goreng that was packed lovingly for me, she got mad (understandably so, since she was exhausted from a whole day's work and everything) and told me to eat the whole lunchbox-full of mee goreng or else I wouldn't be having anything else to eat for the rest of the day.
With tears streaming down my face, I gulped down the kapur-tasting mee goreng mouthful by mouthful until it was all finished. I didn't like the experience at all, as one could imagine, but I needed to do it if I was to continue eating under my parents' roof.
I never touched mee goreng again until I was 17, tu pun I can't down a plateful to this day. I can only consume sesuap demi sesuap, bila nak pau orang lain punya makanan. I would never order it at a restaurant, nor put it on my plate at kenduris. I just can't consume mee goreng anymore without being reminded of the story and the taste of kapur in my mouth.