The Biblical passage that has John, clothed in camel’s-hair, and eating locusts and wild honey (see Mark 1:4-11) is always good for a look of revulsion on more than a few faces. I’m no religious scholar, but have read several interpretations that have John not eating the beloved grasshopper-like insects–he was supposedly a vegetarian and teetotaler–but actually chomping on a cake of some type, made from a desert plant, similar to the “manna” that the ancient Israelites ate in the desert in the days of Moses. All of this reaction due to a mistranslation into Greek for a related Hebrew word.
But, it makes you think about what will make our noses turn up or our stomach churn if we have to consider eating (or drinking) it. In a culture where we are often urged to eat one form or other of dead flesh, it does seem odd that we squirm at eating some other forms of once-living organisms. I have eaten a few different animals or parts of animals during my few years, things that are not usually on the menu where I live. Each was a local delicacy, however, and those accustomed to them wondered about my or my companions’ hesitation or reluctance: sheep eyes (Azerbaijan), rats (Malawi), cow heel (Jamaica), pig’s ear and snout (Barbados), alligator (Kenya), snake (China), sea urchin (Japan), raw conch (The Bahamas). Some I enjoyed, some I would not want to try again. Some other unfamiliar food (or drink) came from plants: nasturtiums (England), grits (The Bahamas), sea weed (Korea), palm wine (Guinea), cassava bread (Jamaica). Some of them do not seem so weird. Some have now found their way onto plates, into glasses, and tickling palates of a wider audience.
My point is not about food fads, but really about comfort zones.
What we like, we often try to convince others to try. What we dislike, we often try to persuade others to shun. But, we all have different tastes, or likes and dislikes.
We cannot draw the perimeter of anyone’s comfort zone other than for ourselves. Judgements are very personal. So, we should not be about making into pariahs those whose views or tastes differ. By all means, try to convince, but not coerce.