Opinion: Familiar likes


For some of us, trying new restaurants is a must. Each meal must be unlike any that we’ve ever had before. We learn of the newest “fusion” dining spot that proports to have successfully mixed traditional Central African cuisine with that of the varied Innuit tribes of the distant North American territories. Monkey maghaz, or monkey brain, sauteed in aged whale blubber presents the diner with a legitimate claim to be on the cutting edge of foodie culture. For others, we prefer the tried and true. Our instincts take us to the same restaurants, with the same menu, to order the same meal. Much like Steve Jobs wearing his daily uniform of jeans and a black turtleneck, it frees us up to devote ourselves to the many other things that require our focused attention.

Is it really spawned in some deep-rooted and well-thought out origin, or could it be that we simply like what we like? Isn’t variety the spice of life? Well, sure. But also, isn’t it bad to throw out the baby with the bathwater? Sure, it is. We are stuck in some loop like poor old Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.” Is tradition the key, or is it time for something else?

Likely, there is no definitive answer. We rely upon our experience and tastes to help guide us. Throughout our lives, we confirm and reconfirm our choices. New was bad. Let’s not do that again. Or, new was wonderful, we should experiment more often. Either way, we reinforce ourselves until the choice, through repeated wear, becomes a blister, then a callus, and ultimately a bias. Ultimately, we shun some options, secure in our certainty that we know what we like. Or we cuddle into the equally false belief that everything deserves a go, that nothing is reaching too far.