Ever turn your nose up at food when you were a kid? You know, mom tried something new and it didn’t look so great when placed in front of you, so you crinkled your nose and refused to eat it. Or how about those veggies you despised? I used to “hide” food under my plate thinking I was so sneaky. When we lived in the tribe, we made sure our kids ate all their food on their plates because we were living with a people that literally ate everything from the rainforest they lived in. Hunter-gatherers don’t waste food either. When they kill a pig, they eat everything but the squeal so to speak. In their minds the brains and eyeballs are as tasty as the loins. They would eat big bats and small bats, fish, tadpoles, grubs of various shapes and sizes (like chocolate to them of course), ant larva, and many types of seasonal fruit in the jungle. The people had gardens, but they weren’t prolific gardeners. They would grow many types of bananas, sugar cane, taro, some greens and various types of sweet potato. Often times wild or semi-domestic pigs would destroy their gardens and eat everything they could dig out of the ground. So, in general, hunter-gatherers will eat anything because that is how they survive.
But one time to our utter surprise a tribal lady turned her nose up at food that was offered to her. Our coworkers invited a lady into their house for lunch one day. A fairly normal meal was being prepared of canned meat, beans and elbow macaroni with cheese. The tribal lady agreed to the invitation and cautiously sat at the table with our coworker’s family. Now already the timid visitor had crossed over into our culture by sitting at the table. They don’t have chairs or tables in their homes. They don’t sit up to eat like us. Nonetheless the woman had her brave face on and proceed to her chair. Lunch was served up with utensils (another new thing instead of just using fingers) and they all began to eat. The tribal woman moved the meat and veggies away from the foreign looking whatever it was on her plate – the mac n cheese. She slowly ate the meat and veggies which she found pleasant and tasty. Our coworker noticed all was finished on the guest’s plate except of the macaroni. “Are you going to finish?” our coworker asked as politely as she could. She didn’t want to prematurely take the plate away knowing that it was a great opportunity to try some foreign food. The woman replied staring at the mac n cheese like it was from another planet, “I can’t eat that.” “That’s ok” our coworker replied with understanding in her voice, “we’ll just give it to your dog.” Without a millisecond of thought the woman stated emphatically, “My dog won’t eat that!” With a giggled response our coworker said to herself, “Yeah right, those poor starved and mangy critters eat anything!”
Plates were cleared and the disgusting mound of mac n cheese on the plate was taken to the door at arm’s length so the woman could serve it up to her dog laying out on the porch. Following with curious nudges and giggles, our coworker and her girls wanted to see if the claim would actually play out. There was no way the dog would refuse to eat – it was food! The dog jumped up ready for its master and it immediately started wagging its tail in glee as it saw what looked like food coming its way. The plate was presented, the dog rushed toward it ready to inhale the food but stopped instantly when it came within range. Tail froze. Nose went into gear and front paw razed showing the investigation pose. The smell test engaged and instantly the dog turned and snorted to clear the disgusting smell from its nostrils as it jumped down off the porch!
Our coworkers and kids howled together in laughter! They couldn’t believe what they just witnessed. “See, I told you my dog wouldn’t eat that whatever it was!”
As the story was retold to the rest of us, we tried to figure out why the mac n cheese so repulsive to the lady and her dog. We scratched our heads and came up with a few theories, but in the end, we concluded that it was just so foreign and beyond anything that the woman had ever seen she just couldn’t make herself eat it. And apparently the same was true for her dog!
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