The Omnivore

Aug. 28 1996 3:30 AM

The Omnivore

Learning to eat everything.

(Continued from Page 2)

The Catholic Church was dead wrong. I would have starved—if my companion had not saved the day by ordering for both of us. I believe I had a composed salad with slivers of foie gras, a perfect sole meunière, and sweetbreads. Everything was delicious.

Step Six: learning humility. Just because you have become a perfect omnivore does not mean that you must flaunt it. Intoxicated with my accomplishment, I began to misbehave, especially at dinner parties. When seated next to an especially finicky eater, I would amuse myself by going straight for the jugular. Sometimes I began slyly by staring at the food left on her plate and then inquiring about her allergies; sometimes I launched a direct assault by asking how long she had had a fear of bread. And then I would sit back and sagely listen to a neurotic jumble of excuses and explanations: the advice from her personal trainer, her intolerance to wheat gluten, a pathetic faith in Dean Ornish, the exquisite--even painful--sensitivity of her taste buds, hints of childhood abuse.

While it is perfectly all right—even charitable—to practice this kind of tough love on those of one's dinner-party neighbors who are less omnivorous than oneself, the perfect omnivore must always keep in mind that it is an absolute necessity to get invited back.

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