Does the food we eat really define who we are? Jean Anthelme Brillat-Saverin thought so, as the phrase “you are what you eat” comes from his famous conclusion of “tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” If his statement is true, then what I am?
Most of the time, you can pinpoint where a person is from based on what they eat. If a person eats a lot of pasta you can assume he has some Italian in him, but if a person has a traditional curry and naan dinner every night you can assume he’s Indian. It would be hard to place these assumptions on me. In a week I might eat an Indian dish, pizza, stir fry, an open faced sandwich, pita bread and mujaddara, and steak with green beans. Each of these dishes come from a different country and a different culture, so pinpointing a specific area of origin on me would be difficult. In fact, what I eat says the opposite. Instead of picking one country, what I eat might say that I’m willing to eat food from around the world. It might say that I’m interested in travel and learning about different cultures. And that’s true. I enjoy experimenting with new foods and discovering new fusions. On that note, one of my favorite restaurants in Portland is Pok Pok, a Thai and American fusion restaurant where they mix traditional Thai food with dishes like baby back ribs.
But what I eat says more about me than my interest in foreign food. If you listed the food I eat in a day, you’d find that most of it is plain. A peanut butter sandwich. A taco without tomatoes and sour cream. A Caesar salad without cold chicken. Looking at my food, you might come to the conclusion that I’m picky. And I am. I dislike so many foods that most people are usually taken aback when they ask what I like.
But when you put two and two together, what I eat creates a very confusing conclusion. First, it shows that I like eating a variety of food from other countries and cultures but on the other hand it says I’m so picky that everything must be plain. How do these things come together and work in harmony? Honestly, I’m not sure. But I do know that’s what my diet says about me, and it’s definitely the truth.