I am a picky eater. There is no denying it. Although I will say that some people view me as being pickier than I really am.
I find it humorous, at times, when the topic of me being picky comes up. Someone will invariably say, “My parents didn’t let me be picky. I had to eat everything, and I learned to like it.” I usually find that comment highly offensive. It is basically saying that my parents must not have done their job. That is far from the truth. I was not allowed to be picky. I just am.
Growing up, I was forced to try things I didn’t want to try, just because it looked different or sounded odd. But, I had no choice in the matter. It was either try the small amount my parents gave me or go hungry. I very rarely chose to go hungry (which might have also led to the consequence of being grounded). Despite their many efforts to expose me to different foods and force me to try them on multiple occasions, I ended up a picky eater.
One food that I have never loved is lasagna. Most people react with shock when I bring that up. I never liked it growing up. To illustrate how much I didn’t like it, I will tell you the story of my experience with lasagna at my Aunt Carol’s party in the summer of 1979 when I was 7-years-old. Aunt Carol had a lot of people over at her apartment to celebrate graduating from college and served lasagna. My parents taught us to eat what we were served so I got my piece and disappeared for a while to eat it on my aunt’s balcony. My mom was impressed that I finished it, and quickly too. I didn’t eat that piece of lasagna. I threw it off the balcony. I thought I was being clever. Apparently not. Mom discovered what I had done when we left the party. My piece of lasagna landed on the top of a car. Not any car, though, our car. Needless to say, I was in trouble.
There are many foods I don’t like. I once thought about becoming a vegetarian, but something held me back–my lack of love for vegetables. I don’t like many of them. Often times, my issue with the veggie isn’t the flavor but the texture. I do NOT like green beans, cucumbers, cauliflower, red peppers (nor green, yellow or orange), brussel sprouts, zucchini (except in zucchini bread), or yellow squash.
My least favorite veggie, the one I detest the most and would be happy to never run across again, is asparagus. It makes me ill. When I was a kid, my parents made them from the can. I’m sure that didn’t help. Every time I would go to eat it (because as I said earlier, I was forced), I would have an automatic gag reflex to it. Just the smell would do it to me. I’m sure my father thought I was being dramatic, but there were many times that I didn’t think I would be able to keep them down. I feared that being an issue because I knew I would still have to eat them. My dinner plans would include burying them in rice or potatoes so that it wasn’t AS bad. In recent years, I have tried asparagus fresh. While better, I still feel that gag reflex coming back and do not like them one bit.
I’m also picky about the veggies I like and how they are prepared. Carrots are wonderful, but only raw. Don’t cook them for me. Yuck. I love broccoli raw. But if you are going to cook them, forget about steaming them. I only like them quickly sauteed in a frying pan or on a wok. Adding a bit of a hollandaise sauce makes me swoon!
While I am picky, I was taught to be polite. I will eat what I am served, even if I don’t like it. Sometimes I try to avoid the food by loading up on other things, but I will usually get a small amount of the food I don’t like in order to be polite. It does bother me when people try to plan their menu around my likes and dislikes. I will cope.
Over the years, I have become more open about the foods I am willing to eat. Foods that I didn’t like when younger, like mushrooms, pepperoni, and spaghetti, I now eat regularly. Not only do I eat them, I love them. Some foods I have just learned to tolerate. Still some, like chicken salad and potato salad, I avoid like the plague.
Right before my wedding, my Aunt Gail and Uncle Dan threw a small family party at their home, including all my aunts, uncles, and parents. I was excited to spend a meal with my family, but took a deep breath of dread when I realized they were serving………..LASAGNA. Realizing I would need to be polite and not say a word about my distaste for such a food, I got my serving. Instead of dropping it off a balcony, like I did when I was 7, I ate it. Not only did I eat it, I discovered something amazing. I LIKED it!! Heck, I LOVED it! For the first time ever in my life, I ate a lasagna I actually enjoyed. I even went up for seconds. My mom didn’t notice. If she did, she might have fallen over in a faint. It took me some time to figure out the difference with this lasagna. Why did I like this lasagna but no other? Simple. My family only made lasagna with cottage cheese. This lasagna had ricotta and sausage. The ricotta, in particular, made all the difference in the world.
Just recently, I made lasagna at home. A new recipe I got from the TV program, “The Chew”. I loved it! It was amazing! I guess there is hope for this picky eater after all!