Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Food Humor: Picky Eaters

A fried egg, sunny side up.
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When I was a kid many decades ago, we rarely went out to eat whether it was a sit down restaurant or takeout. We were poor but when we did go it was an amazing treat to be savored. We looked over the menu; we ordered; we ate. There were no doggy bags. Nobody asked about ingredients or substitutions.

Today, it’s not that easy. I realize people have an inordinate number of allergies and food restrictions.

Thinking of my immediate friends who I dine out with, there’s no raw garlic or onions, no cilantro, no dairy, no eggs, no nuts, no meat, no gluten, no sugar, no alcohol, no raw fish, nothing spicy. I’m not exempt as I  don’t like cream sauces as they are often too rich and I’ve recently developed a gag reflex with tarragon.

This past weekend I went out to a late lunch or early dinner with two women who don’t read my blog but I still won’t name names. One is extremely picky. I feel like slapping her into some kind of food submission ever time we’re in a restaurant together. We went to a Vietnamese restaurant. After studying the menu for 15 minutes, she orders some kind of soup (pho) and she and the other woman decide to share a spring roll. After asking the waiter exhaustive questions, she says, “Oh, I don’t eat cilantro.” The waiter explained that the mix in the broth was a combination of onions and cilantro so he would have to leave out both. She didn’t like that.

I said, “Well, you can’t always have everything you want.” And she said, “Why not?”

The soup arrived and her soup tasted vastly different (not as good) than the other soup because her soup was devoid of the good flavorings. Whine. Whine. Whine. She was disappointed but I reminded her that she had big flavoring limitations.

Once I went to breakfast with a friend whom I met shortly after I moved here. We went to a dive diner of sorts, known for big breakfasts and homemade pies, nothing fancy, think white bread toast. My new friend didn’t really read the demographic or more importantly, the waitress. Some waitresses rule, and honey, you don’t mess with them.

We ordered and my new friend said, “Can I have my coffee half caff and half decaf?”  The waitress bent down and got in my friend’s face and said, “NO! Pick one.”

End of story.

So, do you have any picky eater stories to share?

  1. Karyn, I don’t have a story but I just have to you’re so funny! I loved the post as I’ve often felt the same way about picky eaters. You’re like the Erma Bombeck on Food.

  2. I lived in Asia for over 7 years and have eaten stuff I still don’t like to think about so I consider myself fairly low-maintenance in terms of food, BUT the one thing I don’t like is when (in a sandwich) the mustard is touching the tomato. I believe (emphasis on believe as I have no scientific proof) that they acids/vinegars mix and create a flavor I don’t like. I am perfectly happy with both tomato and mustard in a sandwich as long as they are not in direct contact. When I was in school, the ladies at the sandwich bar thought I was insane albeit mildly amusing. Now I generally ask to omit one or the other rather than request that they not touch thereby slowing the spread of people who think I’m crazy.

  3. Where to begin? I’ve got plenty but I do try for understanding whenever possible.

    My first husband probably takes the cake, though, and I mean that literally. He hated onions, first of all, and that’s tough for a Southern cook to deal with. But one birthday, this is after many years of me teaching cake decorating, starting a baking business on the side and just before enrolling in Culinary school, he asked me if he could have a “real cake–you know, the one from a box?”

  4. Ha Ha. Thanks for the comments.

    I just remembered that I used to date a guy who probably doesn’t read this blog but let’s call him by his nickname Dr. Bee. He was the pickiest eater ever. While we got along in the bedroom just fine, we didn’t get along in the kitchen or when we went out to eat.

    He hated garlic. Not a problem, don’t eat it but the crux was he didn’t want me to eat it either because it was on my breath. How that relationship lasted for 2.5 years I’ll never know.


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    Does the thought of fruits and veggies make you gag?
    Do you eats the same food morning, noon and night?

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  6. My EX-husband wouldn’t try anything “new” – no avocado, raspberries, strawberries, mango. Yes to beef, pork, chicken potatoes, beer and scotch. HIS brother would smother a lovely broiled lobster in KETCHUP. It’s wonderful having a refrigerator and kitchen all to myself now.

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