Monday, November 06, 2006

Perception is just that

I read an interesting story this morning in Ad Age daily. It talks about when McDonalds committed to changing the oil with which they fried their famous french fries. Almost as soon as the company made the announcement, they began to get emails of complaint. The fries were no longer the great french fry they had grown to love and consume. They had lost thier "flavor". They had lost their unique crispness known only to McDonald's.

Interesting to note though, was the fact that they had not yet changed the oil over to the new stuff. In fact, they still haven't changed it four years later. It is still the same old stuff they've always used. I am not sure why it hasn't changed, that isn't what this post is about.

What perceptions do you have regarding food? Are they based in personal experience? Or are they based in rhetoric learned from another source. We can be swayed through commercial efforts, through a family member or even a trusted professional. We won't eat this or that, and will only eat "this". Are those choices reality based? Or are the choices we make due to heresay or recommendations from outside sources.

The reason I ask, is we have a family of superb eaters. Some would say too superb, but that is beside the point. What I mean is that there isn't a lot of pickiness at the table. ONe story that always comes to mind is when my oldest was two we went to her regularly scheduled doctor appointment. He said she looked very healthy and wasso cute and animated. He then asked her what her favorite food was? She relied "trees!". "Trees??? What does she mean?" I replied that she was referring to her favoritestest food of broccoli. They look like little trees. He was appalled. He could not believe that I would feed a child of two something so awful as broccoli. I felt as if I had done something wrong, that somehow I was abusing my poor two year old. He even went so far as to say that no one should be forced to eat such terrible foods. Oh, I get it now. You don't like broccoli. Set the perception aside and see what is really driving this outburst. We continued to eat broccoli. And love it.

Other times I have been afraid to try some foreign food because of my perception of the culture or the look of the food. Sometimes I am right on, but others, when I give myself permission to go for it, I am pleasantly surprised. The is an armenian food I just love. It is ground cooked lamb spread between two tortilla like breads. It is wonderful. If I had not become acquainted with a lover of this item I would have never tried it. Now every time I go to LA I find myself ot the "bakery" that makes them. They're wonderful treats. I wouldn't tell my husband what they were made with until after he had tried them and said he liked them, because he doesn't eat lamb. You know lamb is innocent and is a religious representation of Christ, therefore his parents would never think of eating lamb. Me, I asked for it, for a birthday dinner once because it is my favorite.

One of my least favorite things to eat are mustard greens. The smell of them alone should keep one from trying them. However, everyone else in the family loves cooked greens and we even have gone so far as to get them to go so everyone could enjoy them if they weren't dining with us. So... let the lesson be learned. Don't be swayed by perception. If it is foreign to you, don't pass it up. Give it a try, don't let the hype keep you from trying something new!