Picky Eaters

I just happened upon this Washington Post Article that was written about otherwise rational and well adjusted adults* who like me entered adulthood as a picky eater. I felt like I had found my people. I used to say that I wanted to open a restaurant that catered to people who don’t get so excited about the idea of putting random unidentifiable substances of questionable texture and flavor into such an intimate and personal place as their mouth. Incidentally I found this webpage while doing a search for restaurants in the DC area that are good bets for picky eaters.

Nasty Looking Food

The article mentioned several categories of picky eaters, at least five of which I fit into to some degree. Reading this article was one of those special moments for me where I got to momentarily feel normal about something that had caused me to feel like an anomaly for most of my life. The quotes from other picky eaters sounded almost like they had recorded some of my conversations I’ve had in my life about the issues I have with food. Some were in the exact same words I have used to describe my issues. It was incredible!

I mentioned on my About Me page that I don’t like rice. I mentioned this because this is the food issue that seems to come up the most frequently because so many people feel like rice is a perfect compliment to so many things. I for one disagree. I don’t like rice and as far as I can remember I never have liked rice. I used to suffer through it as a child with sugar and butter on top of it (I’ve even suffered through it this way as an adult). But there is no fixing it when it is mixed in with a whole bunch of other stuff. It’s no so much the taste of rice (although I don’t like the taste of it either) it’s the texture and the way it makes me think of hundreds of little maggots when I see it. But this isn’t the kind of explaination you want to give in polite company while  sitting down for a meal.

Rice, however is only the tip of the iceberg for me. I also don’t like most condiments except ketchup and barbecue sauce (which is why it took until adulthood to embrace cold sandwich eating (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches excluded). And I still have a hard time with this because I still have to make special requests to make a sandwich taste as plain as I like it to taste.

I don’t like most vegetables (and I’ve been really trying because I desperately want to eat healthier). My favorite veggies are corn, potatoes, and sweet potatoes which I am often reminded are actually starches so they don’t count.

Ham casseroleI don’t like most dishes with a lot of stuff mixed together. Who knows what offensive food might be lurking in there! I don’t like my wet and dry foods to touch. I don’t like most foreign foods that haven’t been “Americanized”**. My list of foods I do not like goes on and on (coconuts, melons, cherries, almonds, grits, olives, broccoli, cabbage……)

Being a picky eater isn’t easy because food is such a central part of the way that people socialize. It makes it tough to choose a restaurant to eat at with friends and makes for a host of different uncomfortable social situations. Accepting a dinner invitation at a new person’s house is like stepping on a minefield for me because I never know what food issue is going to be a problem. People take offense when they prepare food in their home for you and you don’t want to eat. But how offended would they be if I eat the food to not appear rude then throw up on their carpet because my stomach didn’t agree with it. I feel like I’m sparing them from the potential clean-up.

The article mentioned a forum for picky eaters to share their tales of woe and I for one plan to join. Hopefully I can learn something about navigating through life’s tricky food related challenges. And maybe I can find enough interest to look into starting that restaurant after all.

* This of course is a relative term as my own level of well adjustedness varies widely from situation to situation

** I understand that there aren’t very many foods that are truly American in origin. I am just trying to describe foods that have been adopted into the American diet and modified to accomodate typical American eating habits

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6 Responses to “Picky Eaters”

  1. Egad, no type of veggie? How did you survive childhood? You must have had a faithful pet that took up its rightful place under the dinner table 😉
    Jokes aside, you are what you eat.. Veggies will do your body good and help ween you from vitamin supplements.

  2. I do eat some veggies. Collard greens, green beans, celery, and lettuce, and some beans, and of course the starches I already mentioned. And I don’t believe in vitamin supplements either so I guess that leaves me nutritionally screwed. Oh and there were no pets but I spent many nights sitting at the dinner table until I fell asleep in protest of having to eat things that I didn’t like.

  3. Good grief, and you say Im long winded! Yeah as long as I remember you have been a picky eater. Being the mother of a three year old son whose diet consists of chicken nuggets and french fries (and if he decides to be healthy he will eat a yoplait yogurt). My concern with these eating habits are that he will not gain the nutritional contents that he needs to gain. So what am I to do? Ive even bought Fintstone vitamins as a supplement, but they only make him gag, and I do want him to keep the nuggets and fries down so Ive given up on that. People have told me to just not give him anything to eat and when he gets hungry enough I can get him to become more open minded about different foods. Maybe I should talk to your mother and see what advice she has to offer me concerning picky eaters.

  4. Bread ya’ll that’s her thing… my wife and I treated her to Bertucci’s for her Bday once… she downed their bread rolls like nobody’s buidness!!

    I’ma tell your next potential honey-man to bring you rolls from Bertucci’s for the first Valentines day instead of flowers or chocolates! Buckets!!

  5. […] new things, except when it comes to my stomach as I explained in detail in my picky eaters post. So the allure of something like DC’s Restaurant Week diminishes for me quickly when I […]

  6. Fallible Sage Says:

    Interesting. Never thought of the challenges that pickiness might pose.

    I have the exact opposite issue. I’m not very picky at all as an adult, I think because coming up poor we didn’t have options, we just ate what was in front of us (for the most part). Funny enough though, as a kid, rice was one of the foods I didn’t like.

    Today, I eat practically anything that’s placed in front of me still. I genuinely can’t think of many things that I would not eat off of the dome. I’m West Indian too, so I have an affinity for ethnic foods, and have a rule that I’ll try anything twice (because you may have had a bad batch the first time)

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