A Picky Life

It’s a new year and I want to get something off my chest. It’s a secret I’m selective in telling because it makes me sound like a child. But there are millions of people out there like me. One of the most famous people is Anderson Cooper.

I often will eat the same foods over and over again for weeks.

I, Febe Moss, am an adult picky eater. I was super picky as a child. I wouldn’t eat any Italian food. Parmesan cheese was terrifying and forget any kind of noodles. My parents tried to get me to try different foods to no avail. They even sent me to my room without dinner. But alas, my dear sweet mother couldn’t see me suffer. We had an arrangement. After everyone went to bed, I knew there’d be macaroni and cheese waiting for me. As I’ve grown older, my tastes have broadened. I actually eat fish and buffalo wings. I love many kinds of noodles and Parmesan cheese is a favorite. I still hate all vegetables except for lettuce. I’m a sucker for olive garden salad and their dressing. My husband is like a guru for picky eaters. I don’t know if it’s because he’s cute or it’s his svengali ways, but I am more open to try new foods when I’m with him. People often ask me what do I eat. I have plenty. I eat hamburgers with only mustard, turkey bacon and regular bacon, tacos, enchiladas, beans, rice, spaghetti, ziti pasta, lots of bread, lots of cereal, peanut butter sandwiches, popcorn, all kinds of fast food, chicken, certain kinds of white gravy, mashed potatoes from certain places, hot dogs with mustard, chili, frito pie, waffles just to name a few. Did I mention dieting for a picky eater is incredibly difficult? I’ve tried numerous diets. These days I try and control my portion sizes and choose lower sodium items of my favorite things and find healthier ways to cook these items. I’m making small progress. Did I also mention I have acid reflux and am also lactose intolerant? Thank heaven for lactose supplements. Both conditions have impacted my picky eating. I try not to eat anything too spicy and I have to monitor my dairy intake. One of the scariest things about picky eating is eating out of your comfort zone.

 T

Buffets are incredibly terrifying. When most people come back to the table with the plates overflowing, I’m lucky if I can find two or three things to eat. I call it a win if there’s desert.  The lingering hunger isn’t the worst part, it’s the stares from your table mates. 
“Is that all you got? There’s a ton of food!”
I often say I wasn’t that hungry and smile and dive into what little food I have.  
Buffets aren’t the only battleground. Holidays are even worse. People often invite you to their house and try to stuff you with awful things like cranberry sauce. Or as I call it underworld sauce for it’s the blood that comes from Tartarus. Sitting down to a meal at Christmas can be filled with as much anxiety as there is stuffing. 
T***
Picky eaters often keep their tastes to themselves. We will even go so far as to swallow horrible foods in attempt to fit in. Swallowing pot roast is akin to taking lashes from Davy Jones on his doomed ship.* We perfect the art of the polite smile, the graceful head nod, and the masterful delivery of the words, “It’s delicious!” when really we would rather slink away and eat a PB sandwich. 
Unless we feel we can trust you with our secret, you will never know we hated your sweet and sour chicken. We are food ninjas. You won’t see us spit out the food into our napkin, fold it up hide it under our plate, or slip it to your dog. 
But knowing our secret can be a burden too. My poor husband hasn’t eaten at Red Lobster in years, hasn’t stepped foot inside an Asian restaurant in months, and dreams of Texas Roadhouse. This is his sacrifice for our love. Maybe one day, I’ll be as excited for unlimited shrimp as he is, but it’s not likely. 
I’m not sure how or why I’m a picky eater. I wouldn’t choose it for myself. It’s not as easy as trying foods. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Just try it. You’ll like it if you try it.” No I won’t. The smell alone makes me run for the hills. I have to like the look of the food and the smell of it. If it looks weird I won’t go near it. It’s the same with the smell of the food. 
Now my confession is complete. I hope this post gives other picky eaters the courage to come into the light. You are not alone. Picky eaters, unite!  If you aren’t a picky eater, what questions do you have for me?
To close up, I found this great Nova episode all about picky eating. Enjoy!
 
*Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead’s man’s chest reference.
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14 Comments

  1. Haha! Picky eaters unite! I was so happy when I found out you were a picky eater. You’re the only person I’ve ever known who’s pickier than I am. 😉 I remember when we first went to eat together at Chili’s. I ordered a hamburger plain with nothing but pickles. Totally embarrassing… until you ordered a hamburger plain with nothing but mustard. Clearly, our love was meant to be. =)

  2. I really enjoyed reading this and totally sympathize.  I am an EPE (EXTREMELY picky eater) since I only have about 10 foods I like. What you eat sounds like a dream to me – I eat no meat, no veggies, etc, but mainly potatoes and some breakfast foods.  Thank you for writing this – I am subscribing to your blog now!

  3. I don't have kids yet. But I'm terrified I'll project my picky eating onto my future kids.  As a former child picky eater, maybe ask the child what about the other food he doesn't like. Does it smell weird, look weird? Why is he afraid of those foods? Maybe sit down with him/her one and one and have him try some foods without any pressure. But try and be positive about it. My parents often punished me for not eating vetables. It just made me hate them even more. You have to find creative ways to sneak in vegtables. Maybe make a game out of it?  Jessica Seinfeld has a great book out: http://www.doitdelicious.com/cookbooks/deceptively_delicious She even got Anderson cooper to eat a brownie with vegtables!

  4. Oh wow. Ten foods? Sounds like me back in college.  No meat? I love meat so much. I cling to it. Veggies are the worst. My doctor ended up putting me on vitamins because some of my levels were low. Veggies come with soo many nutritional benefits and I want to like them so much but I can't.  Thanks for the comment!

  5. I found the clips of Anderson Cooper and the NOVA segment really encouraging! Thank you so much for posting these! I've been a picky eater as long I can remember but sometime in my 20's (I'm in my 50's now) that PE's tend to be "supertasters" and sensitive to textures.  I heard that and felt understood. (I shared it with my husband and parents and they "got it" too- relief!)In the last couple of years it's been really bad- it's hard to find food that tastes good and good for me at the same time. I'm well familiar with the looks and comments as I take my small servings, and I will, out of courtesy, try new dishes when I'm a guest at someone's home. But I gently tell my hosts, I prefer small servings so that when I finish, I can get more if I like, rather than leaving food on my plate. It's not only true, but a reasonable response to "here, have more! It's not time for a revolution, just some understanding for those of us who are NOT foodies, a title so admired in our culture.Thank you again!Marie

  6. Hey Febe, good for you! Whenever I read another EPE's experience I am amazed how similar we all are. There has to be something in our make-up that leads to such consistent experiences over such a wide range of cultures.

  7. I watched that Nova episode and I'm curious about a few things. According to the perception class I took last semester, our taste buds change every month or so. Doesn't that mean that some of us picky eaters could become not so picky if our taste buds changed the right way? It's also interesting to hear how we like different foods. I'm a picky eater and always have been. I go through phases of favorite foods just like a child does. My usual favorites are grains (pizza, quesadilla, cheesy garlic bread), cheese, and soda. But other picky eaters like meat, which I can't stand. The other thing is that I think broccoli is okay, making me think that maybe I can't taste the PTC mentioned in the video, but then why am I still a picky eater? It's obviously a complex subject haha

  8. Thanks for the comment! It seems as I get older, I'm open to trying more food. I may not always like it, but I'm open to it.  My husband has been a great help. He never pressures me into eating anything.  That's helped quite a bit.

  9. Yes that intrigued me as well.  Personally I think environment has something to do with it. I'm willing to try new foods on my own terms without any pressure to like it. Yes! I go through phases too. For a couple weeks I'll craaave pizza and cheesy garlic bread. I'll eat that a ton then get sick of it and move onto something else. Then eventually I'll cycle back around. I eat like a child too. Mac n cheese, (lots of pastas). I used to eat quesadilla's a lot but I don't like them as much now.I wish there was one thing to cure my pickyness. I would love not to have restaurant anxiety.

  10. With my medical conditions, (acid reflux, lactose intolerance) its is advised to eat healthy. I love fruits, but vegetables are where I have problems. Dieting it such a pain for a picky eater. One of the diets I tried several years ago wanted me to eat SIX SERVINGS of vegetables a day. I ended up eating 6 cups of lettuce but that got old. I ended up crying in the office because I couldn't figure out what else to eat.

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