I am among the first to admit that I am an extremely picky eater. I like what I like and I eat what I like and I do not often eat what I do not like. Being a picky eater might be why I am willing to cook as much as I do as I know I will be making things that I enjoy eating.
My folks had a semi-reasonable approach to making us eat things we might not like. Such as telling us to eat what was put in front of us as there was not going to be anything special made. This was the standard response for most of my early years when I had to eat liver and onions. The folks, my brother, and sister all liked liver but I didn’t. It wasn’t until my brother married and my sister-in-law also disliked liver that Rita and I would get hamburger when everyone else was having liver. I found out after the folks had died and I found my “baby book” that the first solid food Mom tried to give me was strained liver and it went down and came right back up again. I would have thought Mom would have gotten the message with that but it didn’t change things.
One of the threats my father made over the years was how he would come back and haunt us if he ever heard of us being a guest in someone’s home and “turning up our noses” at any food served us and saying, “Ewww! I don’t like THAT.” If we had a friend stay for dinner who said that, it was a guaranteed explosion after the friend had gone home and that friend was never again invited to stay for dinner. That threat has served me in good stead more than a few times. I do not like to eat cheese at all yet I have eaten things like lasagna or broccoli/cheese casserole when served to me precisely because of my father’s words and threat to haunt me.
The folks realized I did not like cheese after Dad made scrambled eggs one time and put cheese in without telling me. As always, I had to eat what I was served but declared afterwards that while I had eaten the eggs, I didn’t think they were any good. Since the folks knew I loved scrambled eggs, they recognized that the cheese was the difference. And of course, if you do not like cheese, you can often tell when it has been added. When I was in the USAF and having meals in the chow hall, I would often go through the snack line for a burger at lunch. I had to holler from the back of the line to tell the cook not to throw cheese on one of those burgers as they flipped them yet there would still be times they would not pay any attention and reply if you asked where the hamburger no cheese was, “Ah hell, just scrape the cheese off.”
I didn’t realize until we were adults that my sister disliked cooked carrots. She would tell the story about one of her friends whose father declared during dinner one night, “Eat every carrot and pea on your plate.”
I had to nod my head in sympathy and understanding back in the Bush I administration when he declared his dislike of broccoli. I don’t mind broccoli myself but I do understand the desire to avoid foods you dislike.
So are you a picky eater? How did your folks go about introducing new foods to you? Do you have picky eaters in your family?
I am lucky as I don’t recall the folks using that supposed standard of the ’50s, “There are starving kids in [China/Africa] who would love to have a meal like this.” I guess Dad’s threats worked fairly well for me and they didn’t need the extra shaming
Photo from David Goehring licensed under Creative Commons