Random header image... Refresh for more!

I Am a Picky Eater

I am an incredibly picky eater, and I have been that way since birth.  My pediatrician told my mother that I would outgrow it one day, but I never did.  My pediatrician tried to tell me the same thing about the Wolvog once, but I just smiled at her and said that it was unlikely he would change and it didn’t really matter in the scope of things if he did.  As long as he has a well-balanced diet, I really don’t care what the range of it is.

And that’s sort of the crux of it: I am okay with being a picky eater.  Do I wish I were otherwise?  Sure, in the same way that I wish I loved roller coasters.  It’s a passive wish; not something I am doing anything about nor something I think about more than in passing from time to time — usually when someone admonishes me for being a non-roller-coaster-riding picky eater.  I know some of you are shaking your head at this, thinking how sad it is that I limit myself food-wise.  But I’m certainly not upset about it.  It’s not a point of pride any more than being right-handed is a point of pride: it’s just a fact of who I am.  I am a picky eater.

I am so picky that I don’t even eat my own cooking from time to time.  For instance, I made a bunch of vegetarian options for seder and ended up not wanting to eat any of them.  I know people (cough… like my mother) get annoyed with me when I’ve rejected food, but I REJECT MY OWN FOOD.  It is nothing personal; I am literally that picky that I won’t put something in my mouth if I’m not in the mood for that thing regardless of how hungry I am.

People always say that people will eat anything if they’re hungry enough and that is the way to retrain a picky eater, but I am living proof that it’s not true.  I am absolutely okay skipping meals — skipping multiple meals — skipping multiple meals over multiple days — rather than eating something I don’t want to eat.  It is a long standing joke with my friends that if I was ever in a situation such as the one in the movie Alive, and we crashed with a roasted chicken and potatoes and broccoli, the question wouldn’t be whether or not I’d eat my friends: I would choose death over eating the roasted chicken.  And I wouldn’t eat the potatoes or broccoli if they had been on the same plate as the meat.  Even if they weren’t touching.

Josh calls this my poor survival instincts.

Some days I think my inability to eat the roasted chicken is messed up.  And some days I think that perhaps I’m more evolved — that just as chimpanzees know to avoid the red berries, I instinctively avoid eating things that could clog my arteries or cause food poisoning.  Or something noble like that.


I don’t eat meat: as in, I don’t eat any animal ever.  No steak, no chicken, no fish, no seafood.  I won’t eat foods that are made with parts of animals such as broth or gelatin.  I won’t eat food that was cooked with any of these things.  I will have eggs, though sometimes I go egg-free for a bit (eggs and anything crunchy such as chips come and go from my life.  I haven’t had a chip in many months.  Eggs usually only feel off-limits for short periods of time.  It’s a texture thing).  I will have skim milk, sour cream, yogurt, and ice cream — but only certain brands and not others.  I will have three kinds of cheese, but only if they’re melted and I don’t like to touch them with my hands: mozzarella, parmesan, and monterey jack.  Though I would prefer not to eat cheese at all.  I don’t like things that are fried.  I don’t like things that are goopy.  I prefer my fruits and vegetables uncooked, though there are certain vegetables I’ll eat cooked such as broccoli or green beans.  I prefer darker foods to lighter ones — totally happy with broccoli, not so much with cauliflower, green vegetables over orange ones, red grapes over green grapes.  I do not eat cottage cheese or mayonnaise (nor can I look at someone consuming these things).  And I usually like my food not touching.

People see being a picky eater as something they need to overcome or something to be embarrassed about.  Parents usually look at it as something to correct or circumvent or avoid.  But I don’t see being a picky eater that way at all.  The things I like, I like a lot and get to enjoy more often because my mouth doesn’t feel pulled in a multitude of directions.  When I go to a restaurant, I can order in seconds because there is usually only one or two options on the menu I’ll even consider.  I get to engage in creative problem solving whenever we have to eat out of the house.  And beyond that, I am more empathetic to other picky eaters such as the Wolvog.

Rather than feeling as if we need to fix something, I am totally cool with shrugging my shoulders and admitting without shame: I am a picky eater.

Picky eaters of the world unite?

Don’t you have foods you won’t eat?  Even if your list isn’t as extensive as mine?


1 Supertaster { 04.09.12 at 10:16 pm }

I am a very picky eater too! My friend thinks I’m a supertaster. Have you looked into that? Kind of interesting. All about the numbers of taste buds and how it affects eating habits.

2 jodifur { 04.09.12 at 10:23 pm }

I am not a picky eater at all. But I am a vegetarian. And I HATE peanut butter. And bananas.

3 Another Dreamer { 04.09.12 at 10:55 pm }

I am definitely a picky eater, I drive my husband mad sometimes. I also don’t like my food touching. I don’t eat cooked fruit. I don’t like most meats. I was a vegetarian for 6 years, and while I do eat meat not, I still mostly eat vegetarian meals. I hate mustard. It grosses me out soooo bad. I also can’t stand the smell/taste of chili. Or celery. I really don’t like trying new foods because I know I won’t like them because I’m really picky… and it does bother me sometimes. It would make eating healthier a lot easier if I could eat with more variety. But like you, I would rather skip a meal than eat something I don’t like. As a child, I often did… my mom always thought I’d cave and eat dinner, but I was always fine skipping it. She really believed in “correcting” my behavior. She eventually let me eat something alternative instead of going without any food at all, but I was a teenager by then.

4 Shasta Kearns Moore { 04.09.12 at 11:04 pm }

I thought I was a picky eater until I read this! It took me years to figure out the categories of things I don’t like. They mostly fall into raw food and tropical fruit. I don’t like any raw fruit, but I love juice, except any juice with tropical fruits like orange, mango, banana, etc. BUT I’m getting better! I don’t feel embarrassed as much about it anymore AND I’ve found ways to incorporate previously disgusting (but healthy) foods into my diet.
As a mother, I don’t know if it’s luck or my superior (lol) attitude towards food, but I’m amazed that my typical twin will eat pretty much anything. My twin with neurological problems is much more picky but I have no way of knowing if that’s because he doesn’t like the taste or if he just can’t chew it! He eats almost everything if it’s pureed!

5 Peg { 04.09.12 at 11:27 pm }

I’ve got a serious cheese issue. I’ll eat it on pizza, a little cheddar in a taco, parmesian in pesto, ricotta in lasagna, but that’s about it…the texture, the smell, just totally grosses me out. There is no logic.

Our 10 year old is also a very picky eater. We read a great book called taking the fight out of food and realized he is what he is and there is no “fixing” him. He adds 1-2 items a year (just added cheese pizza) but can go for days eating only dry cheerios and pretzels. (sorry but he looooves chicken and bacon) It doesn’t bother us, but it seems to bother other people in our lives (my dad especially). As long as he gets some protein and the occasional veggie (he likes brocoli) we just let it go. His pediatrician actually doesn’t really make a big deal either since he’s growing and able to activitely participate in school and sports.

6 It Is What It Is { 04.10.12 at 12:07 am }

I like what I like but I am not a picky eater. I’m not all that adventuresome, nor do I like anything too spicy. I ABHOR mayo and am repulsed by any dish containing hot mayo. If I have decided that a dish has mayo and even if I ask the wait staff to confirm with the chef and even if the chef says “No, no mayo, it’s cream cheese”, it doesn’t matter because once my brain has interpreted it as mayo it might as well be mayo”. In an effort not to pass this on to my son I have forced myself to make his sandwiches with mayo when he requests it. I have a physical reaction if mayo gets on me, say my finger while preparing his sandwich. I will gasp or shriek and often jump around until I can get.it.off.

I do eat meat, rarely red meat, and do not like anything gamey like lamb or even duck (not that duck is red meat but I do find it gamey).

Does your disdain for food touching each other constitute a phobia? I have a paralyzing fear of flying and, while I wish I could shrug and go, “oh well”, it plagues me. However, I don’t nearly bump into my fear of flying as much as you must bump into your foods touching each other. Hmmmm.

7 Erika { 04.10.12 at 12:49 am }

I always have been a picky eater. Mostly because I like what I like and don’t feel the need to try new things. My now husband set out to “expand my food horizons” way back when we were dating and throughout the last 10 years. Mist of my pickiness now is due to texture and I’ve catagorized. No eggs, mushrooms, or seafood of any kind. Even all of these things I’ll at least try new things at least once. But even after trying them, I haven’t wavered from this list once. Much to my husbands chagrin, as eggs are his favorite thing. EVER!

8 Mrs. Gamgee { 04.10.12 at 12:53 am }

Wow… I know you have mentioned some of your food dislikes before, but that is a pretty serious list. I thought my sister and her husband were intensely picky, but you leave them in the dust. (I don;t mean that in any sort of judgemental way… I’m fascinated actually)

Can I ask… how do you deal with a food that perhaps is on your no-fly list, but Josh and/or the kids like? Do you make separate meals or do you just avoid them?

I have a thing against meat and fruit together (ham & pineapple pizza… ick) and I will avoid bacon at all costs. I’m particular about how pasta is cooked (can NOT be overcooked). I think that’s about it. I’m sure there are things that I’ve never been exposed to that I wouldn’t like, but I’ll cross that bridge when I have to.

9 BreAnna { 04.10.12 at 1:39 am }

I definitely not a picky eater, but there are certain foods I avoid that people might think are odd. Up until recently I couldn’t eat yogurt. I still can’t eat cottage cheese or vinaigrette dressing. For me these aversions are related to horrible memories of being in the hospital for anorexia nervosa. They mixed this really gross substance called Benecalorie in yogurt and cottage cheese which made me hate both foods for a long time as it changed the flavor and the texture. As for the vinaigrette, I was made to drink any dressing that was left in my salad bowl which is gross. I’m now several years into full recovery from the eating disorder and am happy that I am able to eat most anything I want without a problem. Still, I just can’t get on board with cottage cheese or vinaigrette.

10 Kimberly { 04.10.12 at 1:54 am }

I’m not a picky eater, but I get it. While I tend to be on the adventure side of food with my dad, my brother is an extremely picky eater. The only bit of frustration that we had with my brother was his list of foods that he tolerated was so small that it was hard to make sure that he was getting all the nutrients he needed. Then of course getting him to eat the vitamins as a supplement to his diet was harder than trying to introduce him to new food. But he has since found his stride, he eats a bit more, but not much and will finally take his vitamins.

My husband is also a picky eater and the doctor has flat out told him that the lack of veggies and fruit, and the lack of a complete healthy diet in general is going to cause us problems in trying to get pregnant. So we are looking at vitamins and ways to get the nutrients that he needs to help his diet. Plus he has a severe sweet tooth. So we are trying a bit of everything to find out if there are things he would like that he doesn’t know he would like and incorporate them. Not pushing, just experimenting.

But a particular food aversion of my own? Onions. Onion powder or salt I can handle and if you can cook it to mushy and hide it in my meal I can eat it, but there is something about the taste mixed with the texture (cooked or raw) that I cannot face no matter how much I try. Family refers to it as my quirk, which I also share with my father, and they simply accept it and work around it.

11 St. Elsewhere { 04.10.12 at 2:37 am }

LOL…I am not a picky eater. I am a non-vegetarian as well, so that widens the spectrum of food I am ready to take in and swallow.

I have items I like a little lesser than others, so that is how things would get defined for me. I am likely to finish everything that is served on my plate, but won’t reach out for stuff I like a little less.

I don’t like bitter gourd much. I don’t like tofu much.

And though I have these secret foodie -tasting -all -sort -of -food -items -in -the -world kind of dreams, I am likely to stay away from dishes that involve snakes or bugs.


12 May { 04.10.12 at 4:08 am }

As a child, I was considered to be a ‘good’ eater, in that I could be emotionally blackmailed into finishing everything on my plate even if I didn’t like it, or already felt uncomfortably full, or whatever. It was a liberation to be a grown-up and eat what I want, and leave things unfinished, without it being any other person’s business at all. So now I give full expression to my pickiness. For example, I HATE the texture of boiled potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, swedes, pumpkin, etc. The combination of the sweetish taste and the texture makes me gag. I also HATE chicken skin, fish skin, gristle and fat in meat, but otherwise happily eat meat and sea-food. I also have oral allergy syndrome, I think, because there are a list of fruits and vegetables that make my mouth and tongue sore and give me stomach ache, and I seem to be intolerant to wheat (I’m such a fun dinner guest). If I can disguise my pickiness as part of the allergy thing, my family now tolerate it, as we’re an allergy-prone bunch, but in truth, it didn’t develop until I was in my twenties and I always really really did hate eating certain things and yet I did anyway (through tears and gagging) because I was so desperate for adult approval. I have a sad just thinking about it. Poor baby May. *teeny tiny violins*

As for mayonnaise, I KNOW I’m pregnant when mayonnaise goes from being yummy and delicious to GET THAT STUFF AWAY FROM ME DO NOT EVEN MENTION IT IN MY PRESENCE HIDE THE JAR. Even if I’m barely 4 weeks.

13 Anna { 04.10.12 at 6:31 am }

I sympathise with many of the challenges that you face and am with you in shrugging and accepting and being prepared to work around my likes and dislikes and allergies and those of others.

After becoming vegetarian I was diagnosed with gluten and dairy problems. This pretty much removed most of the usual dietary options available to people. I can’t count the number of pointless conversations I have had/have with people who say ‘But what DO you eat?’ the conversation often initially pursuing the point that ‘If you don’t eat pizza and burgers I don’t see how you can stay alive?’ I eat fine and I ensure that I cover all nutritional requirements. I love the foods I love, it is often a problem to eat outside my house but not one that I would give up my principles for (it would be easier to eat around my allergies if I gave up vegetarianism which I won’t). I also have rejected my cooking on numerous occasions as I like to try new recipes and sometimes they don’t turn out well. I would also rather skip a meal than eat something I don’t like.

If I told you about what I can’t eat the list would be long but much as it often shocks people that I then add to that things I won’t eat/don’t like, I am happy this way and aware of another bit of life. If I cook for a group of people/kids I can cook allergy-free, meat-free in a way that excludes nobody. Some of my friends won’t touch my food because it is ‘health’ food but hopefully my daughter will grow up with at least a little more acceptance than I commonly meet.x

14 HereWeGoAJen { 04.10.12 at 6:59 am }

My husband is a ridiculously picky eater. Like the other commentor mentioned, I think he is a supertaster too. You can’t even hide food in something because he will taste it when no regular person could. I asked on my blog once for snack ideas for him and everyone suggested that if I cut fruits and vegetables up and left them in the fridge, he would eat them. Just like you, he’d rather starve. And with some things, he’d refuse to open the fridge until they were gone.

15 Tiara { 04.10.12 at 8:13 am }

I am a picky eater though admittedly not as picky as I use to be but most of my pickiness comes from texture not taste…I also have irrational food aversions…like raisins…I.Hate.Them! I can’t look at them & gag at the thought of even someone else eating them. I won’t eat anything that has been in the vicinity of raisins…there are even things I won’t eat because I am convinced they have raisins in it, even when proved it doesn’t, I still can’t eat it. I also don’t like dried fruit, prunes, etc because they remind me of raisins…another thing I won’t eat is honey & this one is really irrational…it’s because I am terrified of bees (hornets & wasps as well, I’m talking cricket-fear here) & fear that if I eat honey they will come after me…wow, I can’t believe I just admitted that in public, lol!

Anyway, good for you for embrassing your pickiness!

16 April { 04.10.12 at 8:33 am }

I am a picky eater as well. I have been since I was little. My husband is a much more adventurous eater and it does occasionally cause problems when deciding on what to eat or when visiting others at their house.

I’ll eat most fruits but not many vegetables, spicy things give me heartburn badly, onions are the devil and if I even suspect an onion might be in anything and I might eat it, I won’t eat the food. I do eat meat and I enjoy it, but only certain ones. I eat some cheeses. I have texture issues with applesauce even though I do like it and at times I just can’t eat it. I also can’t eat overly sweet things and only do sweets I can eat in small measures. I love eating lemons like an orange though.

My husband has suggested that I’m a supertaster as well based on my aversion to most sweets, spicy items, and the way I’ll eat lemons. he’s also noticed that trying to sneak items in food doesn’t work on me because I still know that they are in there.

17 Elizabeth { 04.10.12 at 8:53 am }

The only thing less picky than me is a goat. I draw the line at tin cans and woolly underwear. Actually I think I have sub-par taste buds because I can never figure out the range of flavors other people detect when wine-tasting, for example (I secretly think they’re just making it all up…) In the last 10 years I have figured out a short list – Hawaiian pizza, raisins in salad, sweet salad dressings… But even then I can usually choke it down.

18 loribeth { 04.10.12 at 8:57 am }

I was a very picky eater when I was a kid, but I have improved as an adult — although now I have this damned tomato allergy to deal with (and I’m married to an Italian!!). Ironically, I didn’t like pizza when I was a kid (or Chinese food, or the Ukrainian dishes my grandmother would cook, for that matter — many of which I now love) — I would eat the crust but nothing else — and of course, I would love to have some pizza now. SIL makes some for me without sauce, just with olive oil brushed & oregano brushed on it & cheese, & it’s delicious, but still not quite the same.

I do still have certain things I won’t or don’t like to eat. I do eat meat, but I like it lean (and as one poster said above, I won’t anything too “gamey,” including lamb & rabbit, which dh’s family likes). Dh calls me the surgeon, because I meticulously trim the fat & will discreetly spit out any fatty piece I do encounter into a napkin. I do not like mushrooms, for the most part, although I did eat some raw in a salad that a girlfriend made & they weren’t too bad. (She was trying to hard to accommodate my tomato allergy & I didn’t have the heart to tell her I didn’t like mushrooms). I don’t like egg whites in hardboiled or fried eggs. When I was a kid I was tested for allergies & egg white was one of the things that came up, so that was my excuse for years. ; ) Whatever allergy I once had to it seems to have vanished (& as dh points out, I have been eating scrambled eggs & omelets all along with no issues) but I still don’t like cooked egg white. Something about the squishy feeling between my teeth (same with the mushrooms).

I don’t know if this is a guy thing, or an Italian guy thing, or just dh & his guy cousins, but at family potlucks, his girl cousins will make & bring cold pasta salad & cold three-bean salad. The girls all eat it, but the guys all think it’s gross. ; ) Dh also doesn’t like cold meat in sandwiches, which makes it difficult when we are visiting my parents, since that’s about all they have for lunch.

My sister is still stubbornly picky. She is turning 50 this year & still won’t eat her vegetables. ; ) My mother used to find dried up carrot sticks in the pocket of her jeans and stuffed under her mattress. She used to say she was going to be a vegetarian when she grew up, because she thought it meant you DIDN’T eat vegetables. I still tease her about that one. ; )

19 Cheryllookingforward { 04.10.12 at 9:05 am }

I’m a picky eater and I don’t care. I don’t care about the foods I’m “missing out” on. I eat the exact same lunch every day, even when I’m home on the weekends and have a full fridge of options.
I hate most condiments. I have severe texture issues – I love the taste of mango, but I hate the feel of one in my mouth. Like the PP above, I will NOT eat any fat on my meat. I leave so much on my plate when I’m done. My dad and my husband have always taken my meat once I’m finished.
The good thing about being picky is that I don’t have to worry about my weight all that much!!

20 a { 04.10.12 at 9:32 am }

Wouldn’t it be easier to make a list of things you will eat? 🙂

I’m not that picky*. I have the same oral allergy thing that May reported – things like bananas and celery (depending on the time of year, pretty much any fruit or vegetable) make my mouth burn. Guess I will never be a vegetarian! I also have some texture issues – I can’t stand hairy foods. I am getting better with fresh green beans, but I still prefer frozen. And it takes me a year to eat a peach, what with all the peeling. And please do not put corn in things. On its own, I love it. In other stuff, it feels like an interloper which makes me gag. I also have issues with food that smells better than it tastes – like chili. It doesn’t live up to its promise. (Also, it has beans, and while I don’t mind green or wax beans, all the rest are vile and should be avoided.)

I don’t much care if people are picky eaters, but I would hate it if my husband or daughter were. It would make me crazy to have to accommodate them. The occasional dinner guest – no problem. Every day? No way!

*Updated to add after writing out all my aversions: I’m not that picky in comparison to certain other people. I’m the pickiest eater in my household.

21 Justine { 04.10.12 at 9:41 am }

Well, you’ve probably guessed from my blog that I’m not terribly picky. There are a few things I can’t stand: hard boiled eggs, fried eggs, lima beans. I don’t eat a lot of meat, because I just don’t love it (which is interesting because my family is a meat-eating one). My daughter seems to be a picky eater, though, and it’s been an education for us … we simply haven’t had to deal with that before, and we’re trying to figure out if she just IS that way, or she WOULD try new things, but just is too young to do so.

I will say, though, that the foods you like are pretty remarkably healthy. So perhaps we should envy you your particular version of picky! 🙂

22 Trish { 04.10.12 at 9:47 am }

I find this such an interesting topic as being a picky eater is a foreign concept to me. I eat all foods and can’t think of one thing I won’t eat – as a result I guess I never really think about my food type choices too much (except in a healthy and quantity way) I get slightly embarassed when I’m with people who are picky at a dinner party or restaurant. It doesn’t upset or anger me I just get like that kinda cringe factor. One of my fears is that my kids will be picky eaters and as a result I suppose I encourage them quite stongly to try everything because I can’t really comprehend that it could be a horrible taste to them. I definitely need to be more open minded that some people just do not like the taste of certains things and my kids should make up their own minds about what they like to eat – thanks for reminding me Mel, I have a new understanding of picky eaters!

23 Denver Laura { 04.10.12 at 10:26 am }

I HATE onions. As in, even if it’s dried powder added to something, I know it. My husband cuts them up really small and then sautees them so I wouldn’t know it’s in something like spaghetti or chili. I pretend I can’t taste it.

Along the same lines as onion, I don’t like celery or relish. I think it’s a texture thing. My grandfather was the same way so my mom would just alter recipes and drop the onion, or like when making deviled eggs, she would make half without relish, then add it to the rest of the batch.

The part I hate is when I go to a restaurant and order something like Pad Thai or curry chicken and it comes out covered in onions. And I have to pick them out. If somebody mentions something about being picky, I just say that onions mess up my stomach. As I have gotten older, I’ve forced myself to eat salad (again the crunch thing) but I cannot will not eat them in a boat, in a moat with a goat on a house with a mouse…

My 18 month old daughter will eat anything. Especially if it’s spicy. I’m so thankful she doesn’t have my genes, lol.

24 Corey Feldman { 04.10.12 at 10:34 am }

No foul of any sort – based on a bird phobia.

25 loribeth { 04.10.12 at 11:06 am }

@Laura: I don’t like relish either. Or pickles. I was the only little girl at every birthday party I ever went to who shuddered at the sight of a pickle, lol.

I’m not particularly fond of peppers, either — I cannot have those red chili pepper flakes in or on my food. I’m not sure if it’s an allergic thing (peppers are related to tomatos) or they just make me feel red & hot naturally, but I have decided they are verboten, just to be on the safe side.

26 Kelly { 04.10.12 at 11:31 am }

My husband and I are serious foodies, and absolutely try to steer our kid from being or even developing symptoms of being a picky eater. I think this is for 3 reasons:
1) when you think of food as being akin to art, being picky and refusing to enjoy huge sections of the “canon” seems as sad to us as say, someone refusing to enjoy anything but Thomas Kincaid paintings. Or any single artist really, but a lot of the foods you list as being willing to eat sound fairly, um, flavorless or one-note to me (ducks). Although very healthy!
2) I equate being picky as often refusing to try new foods. Your explanation kind of speaks to this, there is a bit of, I could try X, but why would I need to? I would prefer my kid be excited to try new things, whether they like them or not.
3) it is not a direct correlation, and I doubt you have this at all as you seem really easygoing, but in my experience a lot of severely picky eaters seem to be pretty high maintenance in general. The constant spectacle of I can’t eat X, Y, or Z, intense questioning of food before they will eat it, or having to always dictate where the whole group eats seems in many like a ploy for constant attention, a way of constantly turning back to them. I’ve known vegans and people with dangerous food allergies who were not like this at all, btw, so it is certainly not always that specific food needs lead to this.

27 Audrey { 04.10.12 at 11:36 am }

I am not a picky eater. Sure, there were things I’d rather have slit my throat than eat as a kid: lima beans, peas, liiiiiiiivvveeerrrrrr *barf*, and I still don’t like lima beans or liiiiiiiiivvvvveeeeeerrrrrrr *gag*, but I have developed into a ‘try anything once and maybe twice’ person. I love new things. My son is 3 and he was always an eat anything person but has started displaying dislikes, such as mushrooms. Hates them with a passion unless they are raw. And I’m okay with that. I made a vegetarian lasagna sans noodles and the texture of the roasted squash was more than he could handle so I let him eat the tomatoes and cheese and didn’t sweat it. But I won’t make separate meals for him. If we have leftovers he does like he gets them, but otherwise he knows he has to eat what he has or go to bed a little hungry. Typically, though, I keep in mind his texture dislikes and make a variety so there will be at least one thing in our meal he’ll like.

28 Cece { 04.10.12 at 12:18 pm }

Im with @kelly. I think there are so many wonderful tastes and flavored out there – it’s an adventure to try everything and anything. I will try ANYTHING at least once. Seriously, what is the worst? You don’t like it? Drink some water and it’s over. I feel Luke willingness to try different foods has allowed me to travel and do things that I would have limited myself to otherwise. If you go to Indian, and won’t try Indian food – what is the point!?

I don’t like food to touch, but it’s a preference not a reason to freak out (like I want my salad in a seperate plate)

29 Erica { 04.10.12 at 12:39 pm }

I’m the opposite of a picky eater. I think this is partly because I grew up in a farming community where people took that whole “clear your plate” thing *very* seriously. A great aunt once yelled at me because I didn’t eat all of the ketchup on my plate at a family picnic. And it was made very clear to us that we would NOT hurt the feelings of anyone cooking for us by refusing food. At Lutefisk dinners, we had to have three bites of lutefisk before we could eat other things. I think this is why a lot of people are hard on picky eaters – because generations of parents have made NOT being a picky eater a moral imperative.

And it isn’t. The love of my life is a picky eater. He won’t eat bananas, blueberries, tomatoes (except in sauce), mushrooms, shellfish, most fish, tofu, anything pickled, yogurt, sour cream, or cream cheese. And I’m sure I missed several. He’s been tricked into eating them (not by me) and even when he’s enjoyed them, the reveal inevitably leads to queasiness. So we muddle along, and occasionally I get to eat something with mushrooms in it because I love them, and he works hard not to lead Dot one way or another at the table, and I work to introduce the occasional new food, and we all love our broccoli, and we do just fine. I expect our kid will fall somewhere between us on the spectrum of picky eating, and that works for me (though I’m not-so-secretly rooting for her to love mushrooms, too).

30 battynurse { 04.10.12 at 1:18 pm }

I’m totally a picky eater. I was super picky as a child but most of that pickiness was related to the fact that I wouldn’t eat onions. Ever. Cutting them up smaller didn’t keep me from finding them, it only made them harder to pick out. I grew up on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When I was younger some things I could pick the onions out of and be happy. Not so much anymore. Now I can taste the subtle flavor of the onions and it ruins the dish for me. When I got older I discovered that I actually liked most the stuff I wouldn’t eat as a child due to the onions (spaghetti, potato salad, pasta salad, meat loaf etc) if I made it myself and therefore knew there were no onions in it. Other things I’ve learned aren’t too bad. I’m ok with some peppers if they’re raw which I would never eat before, same with mushrooms. Since I’ve gotten older though I’ve developed new things that make me picky. More so since I had gastric bypass. Certain textures I just can’t do. I skip shell fish mostly because of texture although I always used to enjoy shrimp and crab. I’ve discovered that I can’t do fish left overs as rewarming it makes it too rubbery and my stomach is less than impressed. Not a fan of most pork although I can do ham. If there is something I don’t like I simply don’t eat it. Usually not a problem since I live alone and hence eat alone a lot but it is a bit more embarrassing to eat around others. Especially if they aren’t used to my pickiness. Like you though I am frequently picky of my own meals as well. I have many times fixed something and ended up throwing it out as it wasn’t appetizing.

31 Ann Z { 04.10.12 at 1:42 pm }

I am not a picky eater. I don’t like raw onions or peppers all that much, though I’ll eat them. I cannot, cannot stand chewing gum – can’t stand the thought of putting it in my mouth, and don’t even like thinking about it existing. But I don’t consider that food. My husband was a very picky eater growing up. He later realized he’s very sensitive to textures, and once he realized what those textures were (cheese, egg, squash), he figured out how to cook and eat around them. It looks like our older daughter has similar texture issues, she even cooks a lot of things that she’ll refuse to eat. So I’m glad to have my husband here to remind me that it’s a very real reaction she’s having, and not to push her to try to eat everything.

Honestly, I love the creative problem solving that comes of figuring out what someone can eat (whether the limitations are from allergies or philosophical eating choices, or texture issues).

32 Pale { 04.10.12 at 2:36 pm }

I am a terrible meal skipper. Have been my whole life. Now in middle age, that habit has wrecked my metabolism and is making it hard for me to keep up with age-related (?) upward creeping weight. The meal skipping is two things … when I was a kid and my family served something awful (like pot roast … who the hell enjoys meat that has been cooked to death and has all the flavor of leather?), I preferred the suffering of hunger to suffering through food that tasted bad. And that is still true of me today. The other reason is probably ADHD related … I can only deal with the tedium of meal planning, prep, clean-up to a certain point. I take big breaks from it. And I’d rather read blogs over a cup of tea than make myself breakfast … stuff like that.

I’m with you on the uncooked veggies. Especially when I was a kid … I felt the easiest way to wreck a good vegetable was to cook it. Now my repertoire is much wider … but if you cook veggies the wrong way … it does all kinds of bad things to the texture and the flavor. Cooked carrots? VOMIT. Cooked green peppers? I am slowly coming around to this, but only in a very small handful of recipes. NOT a fan of peas … canned peas. BARF.

I think I have an aversion to orange veggies … like I said carrots. Bad. I even once threw up after eating carrot cake. And there was on memorable stand off in childhood over a plate of sweet potatoes (yes, the yucky, sweet thanksgiving kind). I was made (by my father) to sit at the table until I ate them. My mother caught me balling them up and swallowing them like aspirin. She let me go and never served them to me again. I have since learned that baked sweet potatoes are not awful. I positively LOVE sweet potato tempura. And I kind of like sweet potato fries. But I do think there might be some kind of chemical explanation for my orange aversion. I feel nauseous if I eat too many orange veggies ….

In adulthood, I have learned that sometimes you think you don’t like something when you’ve only had it served in an awful way (something my family was guilty of on several counts … I LOVE eggs — and unfortunately bacon — in adulthood in a way I never did as a kid … because I’ve learned they don’t have to be cooked to DEATH … my mother’s anxiety over food bourne illness leads her to over cook many, many things). You can also only be exposed to bad batches of things … seafood, shellfish in the midwest springs to mind. It’s pretty hard to eat a mind-blowingly great oyster in places that are land-locked.

As far as textures go … I am a raw food fanatic. I could eat nothing but raw fish and carpaccio and almost rare meat and be very, very happy. Love shellfish … lightly steamed or raw.

I don’t badger my kids about the foods they reject. I know better. I just plant some food for thought about those two points above … I tell them about the things I hated as a child that were only prepared in an off-putting way … or were low quality. And I leave it at that. I just try to nurture open-mindedness and leave it at that. What I don’t tolerate is being treated like a short-order cook. Which is a nice entree into lessons in independence … if you don’t like the way someone else does it … learn to do it yourself.

33 Amy Elaine { 04.10.12 at 2:55 pm }

My husband won’t eat anything that is green. This started in his childhood, and neither he nor his parents remember the trigger.

34 Cristy { 04.10.12 at 3:20 pm }

This is an interesting post for me, because I’m not a picky eater. And have taken great pride in that fact. Part of it is due to the fact that I was raised in a house where there was a picky eater (though in my sister’s case, I do suspect it was about control).

I think the reason our society admonishes picky eaters is based on the fact that there was a time where food was scarce. Cleaning your plate was considered a must because it was likely that the next meal would not be for a while.

But you raise a very good point: picky eaters are not necessarily unhealthy, as long as they have a balanced diet. With balance comes health and I know of plenty of non-picky eaters who are not balanced. So as long as there is balance, maybe we need to stop focusing on what children will and will not eat.

On that note, there is one thing I will not eat: dates. I don’t know why, but I can’t stomach them.

35 Amber Leona { 04.10.12 at 3:23 pm }

I am an extremely picky eater and have never heard of someone who was as picky as me, until now! For a while I accepted that I was just a picky eater until lately when people have been telling me h0w rude I am for not eating the food served at people’s houses I go to..Which makes me realize I have to change..But I don’t think I can. I’ve gone my whole life living like this and it seems pretty impossible to change. It is really encouraging to know I’m not alone though 🙂

36 jjiraffe { 04.10.12 at 4:54 pm }

I will not eat sandwiches, ever. I hate the mixture of soggy with mushy. For a year when I was three, my mom could only get me to eat three foods: corn, cottage cheese (sorry!) and hot dogs. Now I have the pickiest eater in the world (my son) and my mom’s like, “Karma!” Fair enough…

37 gingerandlime { 04.10.12 at 8:13 pm }

I guess I’m relatively picky. I hate, hate, hate mayonnaise, milk, and gefilte fish (and insist that my husband brush his teeth after eating any of the above). I also strongly dislike most processed foods (fast food, canned vegetables, the kinds of things they sample at Costco). I eat almost all fruits and vegetables, and I do eat meat in small quantities, so really, as long as I can stay away from dairy, mayo, and the dreaded gefilte I’m good. I was much pickier as a kid, and there was a memorable incident where my mom tried the stay-at-the-table-till-you’ve-eaten-your-sausage thing, then caught me crumpling it up in my napkin. Nowadays I will usually put aside my preferences for the sake of social harmony, and I remember once my husband nudged me and told me that the sandwich I was choking down contained mayo (of which I was assuredly aware). I responded, “Mention it again and I will throw up.”

38 Emily @ablanket2keep { 04.10.12 at 9:15 pm }

I used to be a very picky eater. I actually grew out of it and I eat a lot of things I would never even want to look at when I was a kid.

39 Magpie { 04.10.12 at 9:25 pm }

I’m totally grinning over here; you know why.

I don’t like fish or mushrooms, and never buy or cook them, but I will eat both, if presented in a way that makes sense. Hard to explain. But I’ll taste the passed hors d’oeuvres at a fancy party, or be polite at my MIL’s house when she puts mushrooms in the potato pie. But picky? I think I’m rather catholic, all things and this post considered.

40 LC { 04.10.12 at 10:54 pm }

I don’t like tapioca or the idea of it… There’s not enough money in the world to make me drink bubble tea.

I didn’t like eggs because of a bad French toast/stomach flu combo when I was a child, but would try them occasionally. Then I was pregnant, tried a hard-boiled egg and liked it. No idea what changed…

41 Shannon { 04.10.12 at 11:00 pm }

My 5 year old nephew has been obsessed for years about the fact that I hate strawberries. Randomly driving down the road he’ll say to his mom, “I know someone who doesn’t like strawberries, can you believe it?” or he’ll try to “torture” me by giving me imaginary food and then telling me it’s strawberries after I eat it!

“I do not eat cottage cheese or mayonnaise (nor can I look at someone consuming these things). ” I can’t look at anyone eating yogurt or cottage cheese. I’m glad I’m not the only one!

42 Manapan { 04.11.12 at 1:01 am }

I despise mayo, cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, cauliflower, and mushrooms among many other things I don’t want to waste everyone’s time by listing. When I was a child I thought that the thing they all had in common was that they were white. So now if I don’t like a food, I call it “white”. Even if it’s green, it’s “functionally white” and I won’t eat it. It drives my husband absolutely crazy. 🙂

43 Mina { 04.11.12 at 5:06 am }

I am the opposite of a picky eater and will taste pretty much anything I am offered (except insects, I think, I find them repulsive, but have never been offered and chances are I never will).
My husband has this impulse of first saying no when offered new food, but after seeing me eating it, he has a bite and then I am left with nothing, because it all magically disappears. 🙂
If YOU are ok with your eating habits, then I don’t see why anyone else would have a problem with that. I have some friends who are picky and once they tried to find polite ways of telling me they were not comfortable eating some of the stuff I made – until I finally got their message (they were looking really hard to find the proper words) and told them that I was perfectly fine with them not eating and to go to the fridge and find something they liked. Rarely have I seen such an instant and spontaneous wave of gratitude and relief in someone… They must have been through some tough times, poor souls. Ever since I am more tolerant towards picky eaters. I imagine if you could eat it, you would. So there is no point in forcing you.
But considering my husband’s attitude, I do make George have a taste of the food before he refuses it. More often than not he says no because he can (mastering new skills at 20 months and all that), but after he has a bite, he asks for more. But things like avocado, for example, I took them out of his menu, because he simply does not like it. Perhaps I could try it with mustard – this is his latest favourite thing, he eats anything if he can dunk it in mustard… Silly child! 🙂

44 Heather { 04.11.12 at 7:58 am }

Good for you for admitting it. No one that lives in our house is a picky eater and I’ll admit I’m always stumped when we have one of our daughter’s picky-eater friends come over. I’m really totally surprised and out of ideas of what to do. I figure they’ll make it up later and don’t make a big deal about it.

45 Steadfast Warrior { 04.11.12 at 8:15 am }

I will eat pumpkin pie and zucchini, but don’t try to get me to eat squash. Ever. Oh, and I can’t swallow bananas. Gag reflex. And it is psychosomatic, so things like banana cream pie I can’t even consider. But I love banana bread. And though it’s supposed to be fabulous, I just can’t bring myself to try blue cheese or any other cheese that looks like it’s decaying before my eyes. Nope, can’t do it…

46 Gail { 04.11.12 at 8:41 am }

I was a picky eater as a child, but I outgrew it. I love lots of different foods now. I think it is sad when people close themselves off to trying some foods just on principle or because of the way it looks. My mom is a kindergarten teacher (at least for another 60 days until she retires after 35 years) and she requires all of her students and her own children when we were little to have one “no thank-you bite” of everything on our plates. Basically, you have one bite and then you can say no thank-you to the rest, but it gets you to try it. Now, if a kid is allergic to something, then there is no requirement to try it, but otherwise, there are no other exceptions allowed. Every year, I had to try a tomato from the garden when I was growing up. I still hate raw tomatoes, but I love pasta sauce, pizza sauce, ketchup, salsa and other tomato-y foods because I was told that I had to try a bite of them and learned that they were good.

47 gwinne { 04.11.12 at 9:26 am }

Interesting. I don’t think of myself as a picky eater, though there are certainly foods I’ve refused. For instance, a teeny tiny octopus (yes, whole!) served in some paella.

I have vegetarian inclinations–for ethical reasons–but do not completely follow them because I am allergic to soy and have sensitivities to dairy and wheat. Hard to be a healthy vegetarian if one does not eat tofu or other soy products.

I don’t buy cottage cheese, but if I had to eat it, I would. It does sort of gross me out, conceptually, but then again I really don’t eat much cheese because of the dairy factor…

48 missohkay { 04.11.12 at 12:26 pm }

I’m sort of picky. And I don’t like to combine tastes. For instance my DH eats crackers that are BBQ flavored with hummus that is garlic flavored. Color me horrified. I’m mostly okay with my eating habits but I did recently try to train myself to like raw carrots by eating one a day. It lasted four days. I’m going to write a blog post about it soon, so SHHH don’t tell anyone. 🙂

49 Jennifer { 04.11.12 at 5:58 pm }

Tapioca pudding. Yech!

50 Stinky Weaselteats { 04.12.12 at 6:34 pm }

Yep, pretty sure my parents would have described me as finicky eater. An aversion to fish and seafood remains, and I realise a lot of that is sensory, not just taste (I wondered that too when I read your preferences) while I still like fishfingers and chipshop fish/hoki. Can’t abide avocado, its just WEIRD or cold egg, a bit weird about dips and dressings – I prefer food to taste like food, although I will make exceptions for garlic under pretty much any circumstances. Can’t stand stinky cheeses/soft cheeses, or olives. Can’t eat very spicy food – mexican, chillies, indian etc, its just uncomfortable and doesn’t feel good in my guttiwuts whilst digesting.
Have come round on some of the more finicky stuff since I was little – broccoli, garlic, sausage rolls (!), mild curries.

I probably would score about 10 on that fb food challenge – I did go to look at it but usually reject the apps on principle that want to “access my info” or “share with friends list” before I can look at them

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
The contents of this website are protected by applicable copyright laws. All rights are reserved by the author