It is said the Japanese are attune to ‘umami‘, a sixth sense which apparently makes taste buds keener. There are many studies and articles about umami and I don’t know what is true or false. My parents born and bred in Japan, didn’t teach me of umami. I learned in my adult years. I do know for certain that I pay attention to food because of my fussy mother.
I was raised to appreciate every detail. To be curious, stay aware, continuously hone my knowledge of food, keep an open mind and to always, always pay mind to the little things. Then take the lessons, experiences and mistakes to seek the next thing. To be particular. To know precisely what I want and to hold high expectations. If, for whatever reason I can’t get what I want, either accept it or change myself — but never settle for less. That behavior became a habit and for what it’s worth, I am now the go-to barometer for all food related recommendations.
Recently, I saw ‘Perfect Sense’. A peculiar film about a disease destroying senses, the public coping with losing their senses one by one, combined with a love story between a scientist researching the bacteria killing the senses and a chef. I wouldn’t recommend the movie but it made me think about how human bodies acclimate due to biology but our minds adjust differently.
As more and more of my friends are getting married and starting families, I noticed there are always several who are eternally single. I am one of them. Sometimes, I can’t help but to wonder if my dining habits transgressed to life and relationship habits. That I’ve remained single because I know what I want. I am very particular. Knowledge, experience and mistakes calls for high expectations and if I can’t get what I want, to either accept it or change myself — never settling for less.
Around the time my mother passed, I lost a parent, fell in love, fell out of love and my entire world turned upside down. Everything I thought I was, I didn’t know if I wanted to be — especially my treatment of loved ones. So I changed. Learned to be more understanding. Empathetic. Less demanding, lowered expectations but most of all, I force taught myself patience. Which hindsight, is from fear of not wanting to be like my mother: selfish, spoiled, high maintenance and hurting everyone she loved and ultimately driving them away.
Lately, I’m questioning that choice. Starting to think I am trying too hard to not end up like my mother. Compromising my heart and who I am, isn’t the answer to a lasting love. That it’s ok to take the lessons, experiences, mistakes and set expectations — reasonable expectations. Just like I refuse to settle for anything less with food… and with life. Change, isn’t always for the better.