'You are what you eat." There goes that famous quote.
I am trying to tell you how fussy I was as far as food was concerned when I was a kid. May be Fussy is not the correct word in this case. I did not choose only good, tasty, five-star food. I ate many food items that nobody would give a second look. Things like plain Bengali roti, plain rice with only salted fish roasted on amber or even boiled durian seed! May be 'difficult' is the better word.
Imagine, I would enjoy eating boiled durian seeds while others were enjoying durian flesh!
When I was in primary school, for breakfast I normally took any of these:
Spooncakes (jemput) - either with anchovies and onion (I removed the onion later) or just with plain sugar (sweet)
Pancakes (lempeng) - plain or sometimes with grated young coconut
Roti canai - no curry but just with sugar
Glutinous rice with grilled fish, grated coconut and grilled glutinous rice
Plain rice with deep fried fish (any of these fish species: Indian mackerel (kembong), herring Tamban), sardines (selayang), yellow-striped trevally (selar kuning), snapper (kerisi) and bonito (tongkol), grilled or fried salted fish ( I just loved still-damp salted fish (ikan mamba as we Terengganu folks called them) and very rarely chicken or beef either fried or curry.
The same for dinner.
Usually I did not like gravy or sauce on either my rice or grilled seafood or anything for that matter.
As for items that I did not like I can classify them into:
1. Food that I did not eat till today - durian and banana or their preparation, any type of porridge and all vegetables (now I force myself to take in very little vege but I never enjoy any of them except maybe mushrooms)
2. Food that I dislike but would eat if I was very hungry or just wanted to be polite - all types of cakes, steamed cookies and the extra-sweet cookies and any other soft cookies
As a hint, if you offer something to me and I decline, then it must fall into any of the two categories of food. I will not decline any food that is edible to me (rezeki jangan ditolak)
So you see, during lunch and dinner my hand and mouth were always very dry and sticky because I did not use any gravy!
When I went to boarding school, the first big problem to me was nothing else, but food!
But, slowly I began to change my food habit. I had to survive. I still remember the first category 1 food that I took was the margarine (planta). It was when we were in a hotel in KL on our way to SDAR! I was so excited that I wrote it in my first letter to mom.
The first time I tasted it, it tasted yucky. But the more I chew the thing tasted better and now bread with margarine or butter is my favourite!
Then came the curries. They were not that bad as I had feared before!
The other thing is the papaya. Before coming to SDAR I only ate semi-ripe papaya, you know the stage when it was used for making papaya salad. A senior then forced me to take the ripe papaya and thanks to him I am now a great lover of papaya!
Despite all that I still grew (though a bit skinny) and managed to reach 5 foot 10, the national standard for US men, and was quite intelligent came to think of it.
Now I think I am more of a carnivore...I eat a lot of meat (all the halal meat of course) and fish (except keli and patin) and very little vegetables. I am trying my best to change, but make very little progress.