Picky Palate? Here’s How to Handle It!

By Nicole Irving, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief
Picky Palate

I don’t eat pickles, mustard, clams, avocados, guacamole, veal, relish or salsa. I will not eat raw onions under any circumstances. I do not drink beer or cider. Honey mustard, cottage cheese and sour cream are on my no-can-do list. I cannot stomach cranberry juice. I will gladly pass on champagne (after a sip to toast, of course). My steak and hamburgers have to be well done. I can’t even think about eating raw tuna or seafood. What is eel sauce and why is it served? I don’t like A-1, hot sauce, duck, vinegar, truffle oil or hard-boiled eggs. I will avoid what I call the “Goya bean section” at all costs, and although I have been game to consume meat only chili and hummus, I prefer to stay away. I may have gotten grounded for this one, but I have not consumed a lima bean since I was 6. That’s right. I stood my ground! Blechhh … what was that, chalk? I guess you could say I am a picky eater. All of the above are foods I don’t eat due to preference, not dietary restrictions. However, thanks to having three babies and hormonal changes, I am now lactose intolerant. I cannot even look at ice cream or brie cheese without getting sick. Funny thing is, my food aversions don’t bother me as much as they bother others. My uncle once said I was a cheap date because I wouldn’t order lobster at a fancy New York City restaurant. My dad cringes when the bowl of peas passes through my hands and onward to my brother. I know what he is thinking.

I get a lot of “You don’t know what you are missing,” and “WHAT? You don’t eat mayo?” Some of it is mental — OK, all of it is. I am sorry, but cream should never be sour and my meat should not look like it literally just mooed!

However, here is a huge secret: I am totally happy being picky! I eat what I love and I enjoy it. There, I said it. I know, my dad says I ruin every filet mignon I order. But, come on, do I? How can it be ruined if I just inhaled the whole thing?

In the spirit of living a well-rounded life, I have dabbled in a bit of a taste testing adventure this year. On my “before 40 bucket list,” I added No. 27… try new foods. And, I have. I ate the fresh sea scallops and Florida lobster my husband caught — edible, but not my favorite. I’ve found I can tolerate, and with enough bacon even enjoy, a good Brussels sprout. I did eat a raw tuna “thing” after a cocktail. Interesting. However, at the end of the day, the food I choose to eat should make me happy, and by golly, a good cream puff and well-done filet mignon make me happy!

So, while you enjoy your dish, as adventurous in spirit and tasty as it is, I will enjoy mine, simply my way. Have no fear, I am just as happy as you!

My tips for being a good guest and successfully going out to dinner

1. I go out to dinner to enjoy the company, not necessarily the food. I can ALWAYS find something on the menu. The chef usually can make a very plain chicken breast.

2. I never insult the chef or host at a dinner party! I always eat what is there. No one ever said you had to load up your plate a mile high. I take enough to taste and compliment the chef.

3. If I know I am going with friends, and I was invited to a place I don’t like, I eat before I get there and celebrate with a glass of nice red wine. When asked, “Aren’t you going to eat?” I tell the truth — “ I ate with the kids before I came.”

Know a picky eater? Here are some tips on how to handle them.

1. Don’t insult what he eats or doesn’t eat. Most of the time, he knows it’s odd, but remember, he is your friend/family regardless.

2. Don’t make a big deal about it to others. You never know, she may try something, but won’t if she feels like she is on display.

3. If you don’t care where you are going to dinner, then let him choose where he would like to eat as a picky eater.

4. If you invite her over for dinner, and know she doesn’t eat a certain veggie or meat but need to serve it anyway, maybe have an option for her to eat or at least give her the heads up.

5. Do not trick him, badger him or harass him to try something. It can make a bad scene.

6. Love her for who she is!