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View Full Version : What Do You Do with a Picky Eater?



tjwriter
04-30-2008, 06:14 AM
And I don't mean my daughter.

My husband has to be the pickiest man alive, and is very much a meat and potatoes kind of guy. He also doesn't like a lot of stuff that would make dinner easy most nights and that I would find interesting to try. I feel like I am fixing the same meals over and over again.

There's no way I could fix two meals in one evening. It takes long enough for the first meal.

I have a box full of recipes I think I could fix or modify easily enough, but there aren't sorted all. I'm tempted just to grab a handful of them and cook them one week.

So how do you keep fresh in the kitchen when you have someone who is not always easy to please?

ChaosTitan
04-30-2008, 06:41 AM
I'm trying to think of something helpful, but all I can come up with is "cook what you want and he'll either eat it or starve."

Then again, I said the same thing to my sister when she complained that her boyfriend's kids were super-picky eaters. ;)

TerzaRima
04-30-2008, 06:43 AM
Does he know how to cook? If he's that picky, maybe he should be the one to plan and prepare meals.

Jersey Chick
04-30-2008, 07:03 AM
My husband used to be the pickiest eater alive (he would sit and pick #$%@! basil out of dinner) - But then he got sick. Ended up with diverticulitis and spent a month in the hospital, had about 4" of intestine removed, was out of work for three months, couldn't walk upright for about 2 of those months.

That cured him up right quick. :) Now he eats salads and spinach, and all sorts of good things - and I don't think I've seen him pick basil out of anything. :D Tell your husband if he doesn't vary his diet, that's what'll happen (hey a little white lie never hurt, right??) ;)

SPMiller
04-30-2008, 07:50 AM
While I was growing up, my father was literally a meat and potatoes guy. As in, whenever he made dinner, we got meat and potatoes. That's it. Meat. And potatoes. Come to think of it, whenever I eat with my parents these days, it's still the same way. So, I don't have any good advice from that experience.

One of my exes was a vegetarian and I wasn't--and I was usually the cook. That was a nightmare. Not gonna do that again.

Another of my exes was quite picky but not vegetarian. I grew up poor, but her taste in food was poor. I handled that by suffering for a few years.

Damn. I don't have any good advice at all. Good luck!

black ink
04-30-2008, 09:24 AM
Maybe you can try new recipes every other day and make the old standbys the rest of the time. If he doesn't like the new foods, point him toward some leftovers from the night before or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich ;)

Carole
04-30-2008, 07:07 PM
I'm so glad I'm not alone! I thought my husband was the only "Meat and Potatoes" guy out there. He does eat corn too, but that's a small consolation.

I strain or sift everything for him. I strain spaghetti sauce, sloppy joe sauce, SALSA (for Pete's sake) and with any powdered mix, I sift it to get out all the tiny onion pieces. I have watched him put a piece of pizza back in the box and refuse to eat another bite when he got a stray mushroom or onion on a slice. I swear, I'm married to a 5 year old.

I, on the other hand, am the total opposite. I love big chunks of tomatoes, onions and peppers in spaghetti sauce and the chunkier the salsa the better.

My mother in law suggested that I try what that new cookbook for picky eaters suggests: puree vegetables and sneak them into the food. Thing is, that ruins dinner for me. So what do I do? I cook two meals. I'll make spaghetti sauce his way and in another pan I'll have chunky sauce. It stinks to have to cook two separate meals, but he won't eat it otherwise and I want to have a decent dinner.

Apparently he wasn't raised that way, but by the time he learned that he didn't have to eat something if it didn't appeal to him he was making his own money and living on pizza.

Oh - and he likes rice too. With GRAVY!!!!!

mscelina
04-30-2008, 07:12 PM
I do puree vegetables and sneak them into the food. That's how a beef vegetable soup turns into 'beef stew' with only meat and potatoes in it. Neither one of my daughters or my husband will eat anything with onions in it--or most other vegetables for that matter. After years of watching the ceaseless picking out of icky stuff from their food, I learned to adapt.

And I refuse to cook two meals. Cheesecloth is your friend. You can cook all those nasty pesky vegetables in a little cheescloth bag. That way the entire meal gets the flavors of the veggies and herbs, and only you have to dump what's in the bag onto your plate.

czjaba
04-30-2008, 07:23 PM
In my house, I am the meat and potatoes kind of person. Hubby just likes meat. He cooks on the grill alot and cuts it up, puts it on a plate, and we all take a piece. Or we have chicken legs - alot. Me? I at least like some sort of potatoes thrown into the mix.
But this is just for the evening meal, (and I'm not so sure this even qualifies as a meal). For lunch, Hubby will eat a tomato, a stalk of celery, and an apple. For breakfast - oatmeal and fruit.
Now for Sunday dinners, we have all the food on one plate and eat it all at the same time. But during the week, you can put a chocolate candy bar beside a piece of celery or broccoli and my girls will choose the veggie - everytime.
We eat wierd, I know, but it's usually something different and we all like to try different things. And if any of us really don't like something we've cooked, there always PB&J. It's a house rule, "You are not entitled to an opinion by looking at it. You have to try it first."

jennontheisland
04-30-2008, 07:40 PM
Wow, I can't believe the lengths some people will go to! Straining salsa?? I'll bite my own toenails off before I do that kind of crap. In my house you eat what you get or you don't eat. My kid went to bed without supper 2 nights in a row when he was 2. Since then, he eats his dinner, spinach included.

If you're not the hard ass bitch that I am try Deceptively Delicious. It's a cook book designed to hide veggies in food. It's primarily aimed at toddlers, but it includes all kinds of meals. Me, I figure you'll run into issues trying to bring the zucchini out of hiding, but lots of people think it's a great idea.

paprikapink
04-30-2008, 07:49 PM
A friend got into such serious struggles with her son over his picky eating that he was nearly hospitalized. It was one of those "pick-your-battles" things and this kid felt in his soul that he HAD to win. Y'know, he was seven. He didn't realize he was going to kill himself. Special kid...anyway. I think their solution would be good for picky grown-ups too. The nutritionist advised the parents to just shut up about food. Set a good example. Buy, prepare, serve, and eat healthful foods. Eat dinner by putting the pots or bowls of food on the table and allow each person to take the portion they'd prefer. And always have on the table some sausage, bread, saurkraut, cheese, grapes (this was in Denmark)...basically alternatives to dinner that don't require any additional effort on the cook's part. Foods that will keep, will sustain you, maybe they aren't the healthiest fare in the world, but you'll live kinda thing. This way Cook can make what he or she wants and each diner can choose what they want -- the prepared meal or the back-up stand-by meal.

slcboston
04-30-2008, 07:56 PM
As a compromise - take the items he does like and see what you can do with them. There's a fair amount of variety you can create out of the same basic ingredients (with a little extra).

However - and here's where the compromise portion comes into it - you get the chance during the week (maybe one meal, maybe two, whatever) to cook WHATEVER you want - and he's not allowed to complain. :)

TerzaRima
04-30-2008, 08:12 PM
What Jenn said. I consider my husband and my friends' preferences, but if anyone doesn't like what I made, they are free to fix a peanut butter sandwich.

sunna
04-30-2008, 08:28 PM
What Jenn said. I consider my husband and my friends' preferences, but if anyone doesn't like what I made, they are free to fix a peanut butter sandwich.

Same here: when I've got guests I try to cook several things so there ought to be at least one thing everyone will eat, but I'm not going to bend over backwards unless I've got a very good reason, and I know I won't be doing it on a regular basis. My little sister, for example, is a vegan who hates asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes, apples, mushrooms, peppers...well, I'll stop there, but it's a damned long list. I've been cooking vegetarian since I was 12, but there isn't a single meal I can make she wouldn't sit there picking at while making that face.

She comes to visit, I buy a few things of tofu and cede the kitchen to her for 30 minutes. She can make her own damn food. :)

katiemac
04-30-2008, 08:48 PM
My little sister, for example, is a vegan who hates asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes, apples, mushrooms, peppers...well, I'll stop there,

My goodness, what does she eat? Half of that list is my staple foods, and I'm not even a vegetarian.

Yeshanu
04-30-2008, 09:11 PM
I want to speak up from the pov of the meat-and-potatoes person. I am a meat and potatoes eater not only because I like meat and potatoes (and corn), but because I am really not attuned to eating much in the way of vegetables.

The tip from the person who said to make meat and potatoes every other meal and then point to the leftovers is providing the most workable solution, IMO. The other solution, eat what's put before you or make your own, also works, especially if there's bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns readily available. There isn't a reason for you to eat bland food because your husband does.

I do try to taste other foods, but having been brought up on bland, non-spicy food, my taste buds really rebel when the food is too spicy. I simply can't eat it. I'm not even overly fond of pizza, for that reason.

Except for corn, I almost always prefer raw veggies to cooked. They're better for you, anyhow.

Some other points to ponder:

My kids, despite their mother, grew up to be well-balanced eaters. We fed them vegetable baby food first (after cereals) and did not feed fruits or meat until they were well into a wide variety of veggies. I think that helped them.

I've read that it takes an average person twelve or more times of tasting a food before they come to like it, in some cases. I try to keep that in mind when trying out new foods. ;)

There are also "tasters" and "non-tasters." Tasters have a gene that non-tasters don't that makes certain veggies seem more bitter. This is especially true of broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. (I do eat those, as long as they're not overcooked mush, so that's not my problem.)

Disliking a certain food might also be a symptom of a mild allergy to that food.

Don't know how these relate to your situation, but they're interesting points to keep in mind while you're pondering the food choices that you and others make. One diet does certainly not fit all people!

sunna
04-30-2008, 09:52 PM
My goodness, what does she eat? Half of that list is my staple foods, and I'm not even a vegetarian.

Same here: every meal I cook has at least one of them in it! She pretty much just eats tofu and bananas, so far as I can tell. She looks like a starved weed.

Grrr.

SPMiller
05-03-2008, 11:37 PM
There are also "tasters" and "non-tasters." Tasters have a gene that non-tasters don't that makes certain veggies seem more bitter. This is especially true of broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. (I do eat those, as long as they're not overcooked mush, so that's not my problem.)I am one of the so-called supertasters. I'm sensitive to bitter flavors. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts are good examples. Basically, anything that's a dark green veggie is unlikely to sit well with me. I even prefer to avoid veggies such as cucumber and celery whenever possible. Other examples include certain beer styles (IPAs are completely undrinkable), grapefruit juice (especially store-bought juice), many types of salad greens (especially arugula), and black coffee.

There's some sort of chemical you can use as a test--can't remember the name. They sell it on bits of paper you can lay on your tongue. Alternatively you can just look at the tongue itself...

paprikapink
05-04-2008, 07:24 AM
Depends on their age mostly, don't it? The young ones I think you can saute. Older...you're gonna have to stew em.