September 22, 2018

Food for Thought

I took a walk this evening with my daughter who is now 13. We were sitting on a bench in Sara D. Roosevelt Park, when she asked me what the “nastiest” restaurant I’ve ever been to is. She clarified that she does not mean a dirty restaurant; she means the nastiest food. I had to think for a while because I was drawing a blank. Eventually, I gave up and switched to thinking about why I couldn’t think of any.

If the food was rotten, most of us would not use the word “nasty”; we would simply say, “This is rotten.” If the quality of the food was low, we would say something like, “This is terrible.” “Nasty” is a very specific expression. I think we use it when we eat something we are entirely unfamiliar with. Pictured above are blood sausages from a Bhutanese restaurant that is no longer in business. My friend didn’t like them, so I ate most of them. I think the flavor and the texture were entirely unfamiliar to him. “Nasty” probably would have been an appropriate word for him to use. I could imagine people using it to describe natto (fermented soybeans) and beef lungs too. It would have been a perfect word to use when I first tasted Dr. Pepper.

But now that I tasted most things and nothing I see in New York is entirely foreign to me, I cannot imagine a situation where I would use that word. Furthermore, I now know that, even if the food seemed “nasty” at first, if I kept trying it, I would begin to like it. Knowing this, I wouldn’t use that word anymore.

This is why I couldn’t think of any “nasty” restaurants. So, I explained this whole thing to my daughter. I think she hates me because I never have a straight answer for anything

#nasty #restaurant #bloodsausage #language #foodexperience #taste #nycfoodie #nycfood #daughter