Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Picky Picky

WashingtonPost.com has an interesting article on adults who are picky eaters.

As a former (really really bad case) picky eater and current (mild case) picky eater, I found this article very interested.

As a wanna-be foodie, I regularly find myself in uncomfortable situations where I have to excuse myself or explain things I don't like.

I grew up with a very mild diet of potatoes, beef, chicken, pork chops, corn and green beans (canned) and spaghetti and variations of each of these. Sure there were some other things here and there, but mostly, that was it.

Since I moved to the Washington area, I have tried to make it a habit of at least trying new things when I have the opportunity. It's hard! There are things I really just don't want to deal with. But I have also been really suprised at times. Just recently (June), we were headed to an Indian restaurant and as we were pulling into the restaurant, I leaned over and said "We might have to stop at McD's on the way home, I have a feeling I'm not going to enjoy dinner." I was 100% suprised and totally enjoyed the food. I was so pleased with myself for trying the food and totally scarfing all the food down to the point of nearly bursting!!!! Yeah Me! We're going there again this weekend!!!

But there are still things I really don't want in front of me. How about you? Are you a picky eater? What are your rules? Will you at least try it?

My list:
Brocolli-Preferred not to have, but can get some down
Olives-I've tried, but it doesn't really work
Lamb-Out of the few times I've had it, only twice has been bearable
Most bivalves-mussels, clams, oysters. SORRY, not for me!
Seafood-There is a lot of seafood I don't like as well, but I've been trying!

Other stuff:
Cold Food...if the food was served hot, it has to be hot. I can't do hot food cold. Pizza...MUST be hot, can't eat cold left over pizza. That sort of thing. This makes for some very interesting "Leftover" situations in our house.


Chilefire said...

I can hardly say I am a picky eater - I won't even go in to the things I have tried.

Things I can 't abide by, there really are only a couple:

Brussel Sprouts - Think small mushy skunk cabbages. I did have a brussel sprout cole slaw that was good once. Note that the brussel sprout was never cooked.

Kale - I will leave this coarse leaf for the critters with multiple stomachs. I don't care how long you boil this stuff it will always have the mouth feel of grass clippings. Ick.

Stef said...

I grew up in a very small town where the only "ethnic" food was pizza or Chinese. But at home, Mom and Dad were very adventurous cooks, though I didn't really take advantage of it. I remember always being mad when I'd get home from school and learn they were making curry, cuz I thought it made the whole house smell bad and I wouldn't eat it. But now I love Indian food!

I didn't really start sampling new things until I lived in Pittsburgh, and then more here. I still haven't tried Ethiopian yet, which I've heard people have strong responses to one way or the other. Anyone wanna go with me?

My absolute no-nos:
- olives. you've witnessed that.
- green, yellow, orange, red peppers in any way that you can taste them. I can handle them cooked down into things, but never on their own.
- roasted red peppers. just yuck.
- coconut
- cottage cheese

Dancer in DC said...

Ethiopian is really good!

I don't know if we got too adventurous in our house as far as cooking, but I was always the polar opposite of my brother. He was notoriously picky, I was willing to try just about anything (once). Still, I have developed a list of things I just don't like. With a few exceptions, they would be beets, mushrooms and blue cheese.

And yet in recent years there are things I really hated that I've grown to like - asparagus, raw tomatoes, butternut squash.

Rebecca said...

I was a hugely picky eater for years, but as I've cooked more and gotten more into food, I've grown out of a lot of it (this seems to be a trend). Raisins and mayonnaise, with exceptions on the latter for proper aoli, are really my only absolute no's. I'm still growing into cooked vegetables, but, barring green beans, I'm game to try most things.

My primary issue is texture. I cannot deal with mushy food, which makes a lot of Indian food a tough sell for me.

Lady Brandenburg said...

Mushrooms are evil. My late great Uncle Jay always said "why would anyone want to eat anything grown in s***?" He was a very wise man.

Olives, liver, pate, and shrimp that are not fresh (mushy or fishy) are also on my list.

Grant said...

I used to be very picky but it's something that I determined to overcome. There is a very interesting essay in Jeffery Steingarten's book "The Man Who Ate Everything," in which he explains what foods he hates and goes on to describe his method of overcoming his aversion. It's worth reading. Looking back at the foods I couldn't stand, I find that most of it was texture related and often it was because the product was inferior or poorly prepared. But to overcome finicky eating I think you really have to WANT to. I used to gag at the thought of asparagus until a friend prepared it for me by cooking it on her bar-b-que grill. My world changed. I highly recommend either grilling or roasting pretty much any vegetable you think you don't like and don't ever, ever, ever use canned vegetables. (Chilefire, brussel sprouts are fantastic roasted. Not at all mushy.)

I was the same way with olives. I found that by spreading some olive tapenade on the sandwich, you get a hint of the olive flavor but don't really have to deal with the texture, plus there are enough other flavors going on soas to sort of tone down the olive's intensity. Also, a good beginner olive are green olives. They are mild. Again, I would avoid canned or jared. Try to find an olive bar.

But as I said, you have to want to change and to be slightly curious.

ScottE. said...

Grant: Thanks for stopping in. I used to hate asparagus as well, but in my older age have been able to enjoy it more often. Recently had it grilled and you're right, AMAZING! The best way I've ever had asparagus.

I'm certainly more interested in trying things I've not had or trying things I previously didn't like and I agree, you have to want to try it.

Jon said...

I don't have much of a list other than broccoli. I will not eat it. Ever. Again. I was just too scarred in early chilhood/adolescence. Other than that, everything is fair game at least twice. I figure if I don't like it the first time, maybe it was just an off night, or an off batch. So i give it a second chance. I have to say I can barely keep down caviar or roe or worse -- unni. Blech. But I'll do it if it's a social setting and everyone else is eating it. Peer pressure is an awesome thing.

Interestingly, that Post article points out people who don't like their food to touch other foods on their plate, or who must eat all of one thing before they start the other. My wife does both of things... (don't tell anybody though).

Stef said...

Ah, poor misunderstood and maligned mushrooms and broccoli. I've been a fan of them my whole life and will always love them! So all you folks who hate them, give me a shout and I'll trade you every olive on the planet for them. :-)

Chilefire said...

It might be worth noting that the common aversion to broccoli has been tied to a genetic root. On the very most basic level Broccoli (which is one of my favorite veggies) simply does not taste the same to everyone (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/115/2/e216). If you have the genetic build for tasting certain bitter components found in broccoli - chances are you aren't going to like it - No matter how many times you try to get used it.

Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

I was a picky eater as a kid, especially veggies but now there's not many veggies I won't eat.

Things on my "NO" list
1. Raw oysters or clams - blech
2. Most organ meat - still can't get past the icky factor.

Nothing else really comes to mind, there isn't too much I won't try these days.

Selena Kang said...

Hmmm...I don't eat metal. That's about it.