I noticed the weirdest thing, recently.
Taking a look at my stories, the adult characters, even the supposedly professional ones, tend to suck at cooking - their kids, at least whenever it's mentioned in narrative, tend to be fed junk or simplistic food. Mostly because they're very busy, and I don't feel like coming up with 5-star gourmet dinners for my characters.
Now, that actually hasn't gone unnoticed by my readers. One guy pointed out to me that, if Gary is supposed to be looking after a kid, he'd better learn to cook a little beyond the usual bachelor crap. It was actually part of the story progression, anyway - as Gary became more accustomed to feeding more than just himself, and more comfortable with having a kid in his house, he was starting to look beyond quick crap that he used to make for himself when he was living alone and pathetic. Even trying his hand (paw?) at things his mother used to cook for him as a kid.
Sadly, he got as far as cooking a cheap-ass curry using curry powder before everything went to hell. But at least he was cooking.
However, there's a real life component to this too. It's not that I have a simplistic pallet anymore, although I used to, but in the house I still tend to prefer instant garbage food, or light snacks. Cuts down on cleaning, and I don't eat that much anyway. I reserve the better stuff for when I'm out in the evenings.
But even still, nowadays I love to experiment with foods that I like, and I'm willing to put in the effort. Especially when I have the time. So, even at home I'm willing to put in more effort than my fictional characters.
Here's an example of the food my characters apparently live off.
- Chinese curries with no vegetables (to be fair, I hate vegetables in curries... don't ask).
- Baked chicken. Drowned in chicken salt. (Healthy...)
- More pizza.
- Gary freaks about not feeding a foster child. So he tosses a bag of sliced chicken at him. (He's an idiot.)
- Instant macaroni.
- Even at a restaurant, they'll order pretty basic food.
Meanwhile, in real life, I'll throw together cordon bleu with chicken and cognac pate, or the tortilla-style wrap I just threw together yesterday with fried chicken, sweet and sour mayonnaise, peri-peri sauce and cheese. That was just a snack.
Last restaurant I went to, I got grilled salmon with hollandaise sauce, chives, salad and mashed sweet potato. Oh, and kangaroo with chocolate jus sauce and lime chutney (also sweet potato... this restaurant seems to like that), before. Yes, it tasted freakin' awesome.
And the only time I get cheese pizza is when I'm sharing it with someone who doesn't exactly have a developed pallet himself. Even that pizza has herbs through it. ... That's probably why he likes it, actually... Hrm. No idea.
Anyway. I'm hardly rockin' some ultra-refined culinary taste here. I've got a very good sense of taste and smell, and certain foods or textures totally throw me off. I don't like salad on burgers, for instance - I'll absolutely walk into McDonalds and ask for a burger with nothing but meat, cheese, sauce and the goddamn bun. Why? Because that stuff is tasty; the freezing lettuce and overpowering onions just destroys the taste.
Meanwhile, I think onions are pretty much essential in minces and such. Just keep them off my burger, sheesh. If you're scoffing at me? Hey, you probably don't even know what half your food tastes like, because you're drowning the flavor in high-octane shit. So don't judge me, salt-and-onion boy.
How the hell can I enjoy a rabbit burger if the amount of shredded beetroot or onion is equivalent to the amount of actual rabbit?! All I taste is the rectum-like flavor of beetroot.
Seriously though. My own tastes aside, I find it amusing that my adult/parent characters have a tendency to cook token bullshit for their kids. Then again, trust me, that's not uncommon... It really isn't.
I've tried. You can't get a western kid to even look at Japanese without gagging. Aside from the occasional garnish on a somewhat complicated meal, they'll probably prefer the baked chicken drowned in sodium.
On the flip side, I've known tweens to reject junk food because of the salt. It really is a matter of what you're used to, I guess, even if you're just a kid - and even kids can care about "healthy eating" and find junk disgusting. You'd think Mike would be like that, but he seems quite content to eat Chinese takeout and salty chicken. Hmm.
The shit you find yourself musing over as an author. Seriously.
Anyway. I'm off to work. Peace!