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Married a Meat and Potatoes Man....Help!

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First off, I must comment how happy I am to find people who love food and cooking as much as I do! There are some great threads/topics here!

With that said, HELP! Hopefully both male and females will respond, for I am looking for much advice and am open to all suggestions. I'm constantly trying to find creative ways of making meals for DH which suit his palate! He adores meat, pasta and breads...cheese, but not much more. (I have TONS of cookbooks too, but thought you Chowhounds might have some great ideas and save me a lifetime of searching and 'trial and error'!?)

I try to S N E A K veggies in dishes as much as possible, but I've got to be clever. If I dare to MENTION an international dish I'm making-then I'm usually S.O.L.(out of luck)-he won't even try it or touch it! Also, he HATES gravies, MOST sauces, any type of casserole-type creation, and slow cooked meals. I was always told how creative and delicious my foods were...but I gotta admit, he's a challenge when it comes to foods...
(ESPECIALLY healthy foods!)

I mean, I love pizza, steak and burgers too, but I need more outta life's foods!!! (At least he ADORES wine ;-) LOL! Thanks sooooo much! The Merm :-)

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  1. OMG! your husband and my husband must be twins separated at birth! My husband will not eat veggies or fruit. The only fruit he will eat is orange juice. I throw a huge ticker tape parade once a year when he grudgingly deems it "okay" to have a salad. He can't stand the smell of vegetables except potatoes, and can still smell it at midnight if I've cooked something at 6am. And he ADORES beer and wine, bread and butter, all the desserts I make, plus what I call the fake stuff (Hostess cupcakes and such) steaks, burgers, pizza.
    He won't touch casseroles, or much of my cooking. Prior to meeting him, I've hosted multi course dinner parties for friends and have received raves for my cooking, so I know that I can cook, but alas I digress.
    I can't really help you, and I apologize, but I do sympathize, because I'm in the same exact situation that you are in- that I've resolved to accept. I just eat twice as many veggies whenever I can.

    3 Replies
    1. re: OneJayneDoe

      OH YES! I forgot to mention that he's got the biggest sweet tooth! (I'm surprised my DH isn't a moose!) LOL! Thanks for your sympathy my kindred Chowhound sister! :-)

      1. re: Mermazon

        you know if you make desserts, you can throw a surprising amount of oat and whole wheat pastry flours into things like coffeecakes (not to mention some fruit like blueberries) and he won't even know the diff. heck i even got rid of the butter/fat and threw in some applesauce and got smiles. hahaha. so tricksy.

        as long as it looks and tastes familiar, i bet you can get away with a lot, esp in the dessert arena.

      2. re: OneJayneDoe

        Make that triplets. My husband could live on meat (beef and pork; no lamb, no game), white meat chicken and turkey, Mexican food, pizza and traditional American breakfast food. He likes cheese -- except goat cheeses, blue cheeses, Romano (he'll eat Parmsean, however), the rind of brie. Veggies? No squash. No sweet potatoes. No beets. No cauliflower -- and certainly no Brussels sprouts. No beets. No field greens or similar (he calls them "lawn clippings"). He'll eat pasta (preferrably w/ marinara sauce) and rice, but far prefers potatoes or beans (except lima beans or chile beans or red beans).

        I do a lot with chicken breasts, run-of-the-mill veggies and salads with acceptable greens, good tomatoes and home-made vinaigrette. And.....we eat out a fair amount.

      3. I heard a story a few months back on NPR (in an interview with a professor of nutrition at Columbia) that sometimes you have to try something 10-15 times to develop a taste for it:
        http://www.tc.columbia.edu/news/artic...

        Sooo... maybe if you keep making sides of yummy vegetables for yourself, he will taste and become a convert? Wishful thinking?

        Best of luck!

        1. I'm right there with you. My husband is an extreme vegephobic, and it's not something he's happy with. In our 17 years together, I've only managed to introduce a few healthy foods to his repetoire: shrimp (with a butter/kungpao seasoning packet sauce), tangelos (the only fruit he will eat), a puree of yellow split peas and ham that he scoops up with toritlla chips, and salsa (has to be Trader Joe's Authentica). Other than that, I cook chicken breasts a few different ways, hamburger rice with some tomato puree mixed in, and potatoes au gratin. Other than that, it's red meat and junk.
          He has talked a lot about changing his diet, but other than being abducted and brainwashed by a brown rice cult, I doubt it will happen.

          1. In Madhur Jaffrey's "Quick and Easy Indian Cooking" there's a recipe for "Hamburger Kebabs" which I've had some luck in serving to meat & potatoes guests. It's only ground beef/lamb spiced with cumin, coriander and cilantro which is them cooked in a pan. I usually serve it on a pita with some lettuce, tomato and chutney on the side, but it's easy enough to stuff into a hamburger bun, and might be camouflaged as a variation on the good old American hamburger. If you toss a few spaces with the french fries, you might both be able to be happy.

            Good luck!

            1. OY!! I also feel your pain!! My hubby is a meat and potatoes man as well. A "meal" for him consisted of steak. STEAK!! No salad, no starch, no veggie!! Just STEAK!!

              My strategy was to start out slow by putting salad out at dinner time. Every dinner. Every day. I asked him if he was FORCED to eat a salad, what dressing he would choose to endure his "last meal" and he said 1,000 island. So I went and got some GOURMET dressing and put his most favorite things into the salad - lots of tomatoes mostly. He tried it ... and now we not only have salad with EVERY meal, but he is experimenting with different salad dressings too!!

              It has been a SLOW road, but if I pull my chair close to his and whisper in his ear .... he will take a tiny taste of whatever I offer!! ;-)

              He still loves his chicken wings, steaks, burgers and pizza -- but he'll indulge me with a few "off the beaten path" dishes now and then!!

              Give it a go! If it doesn't work -- oh well, you can always make him the "hot dog and grilled cheese alternative dinner" that I often have to give my 5 yr old!!! ;-)

              1. I feel your pain! We live in Alaska and he won't eat ANY seafood. Sometimes I want to yell at him that some people might even pay to eat meals he turns his nose up at. I think grilling has saved our relationship. I can grill fish for myself and chicken, beef or pork for him. I also use foil packets to grill veggies for myself. I trick him by using whole wheat pasta, couscous and brown rice cooked in chicken broth.

                I try to remind myself that I can not sacrifice healthy habits and start eating junk because he does. I know many of us ladies put everyone else before us but they are grown men afterall. If they die of scurvy its not our fault!

                1. I feel your pain, my SO has a very basic palate and I'm quite varied in my tastes and cravings. After trying to "bridge" our dinners for a few years, I finally said screw it and now I cook 2 completely different dinners (and 2 lunches some days) whenever I cook dinner, about 4-5 nights a week. As an example, last night (lazy evening) I made myself some leek-chive dumplings with noodles in soup plus a huge plate of baby bok choy, and SO had roast chicken, penne tossed with olive oil and feta, and a Caesar salad. This way neither of us are compromising what we like to eat.

                  1. Blame these horrible eating habits on their mothers!

                    Treat these men who don't eat fruits and vegetables like children and sneak them in somehow...if he likes burgers, puree some cooked veggies and mix it in with the ground beef. If the guy eats Mexican food, puree vegetables and use it as part of the sauce like in enchilada sauce. If he does pasta with sauce, puree veggies and mix it in with the sauce.

                    Do these men know that diets high in fat and red meats without fruits and vegetables are risk factors for so many medical conditions such as colon and prostate cancer? I think your job as a wife/significant other should be to rewire how they think and cook healthy foods. You are at an advantage if he doesn't cook because he will just starve if he does not eat what you cook...just food for thought

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: BellaDonna

                      Actually, the fact that my SO now even eats salad and actually enjoys green beans is a result of my rewiring. Choctastic mentioned in a post below the "supertaster" angle, and I think that's the issue here as well (spinach tastes "bitter" to him, I'll never understand that). I figure that as long as there's something I can pass off in each nutritional category that makes a meal somewhat balanced, the health aspect is at least addressed. And as long as I have the time to throw 2 meals together, I really don't mind because I love being in the kitchen.

                      1. re: uptown jimmy

                        that sparks an idea. what about stuffed vegetables? i.e., stuff a zucchini/green pepper/mushroom with ground beef and cheese? he might get distracted by the beef and get a piece of vegetable in his mouth. :o)

                        1. re: soypower

                          Soypower, you have good ideas & funny...thanks! He has eaten stuffed peppers before, so I know there is HOPE! Oh, and mushrooms he adores, so I suppose he isn't all that "bad"! ;-)

                          1. re: Mermazon

                            thanks. i wish the best for you and your man. veggies can be scary, but it sounds like you care enough to make sure he will not only eat them someday but enjoy them too! :o)

                      2. Say he won't get any of the "other dessert" unless he eats the salad.

                        1. When you said that he likes meat, does he like just beef steaks? Or does he also like fish "steaks", chicken, pork chop, etc?

                          If his preference is not restricted to just red meat or big beef steaks, then there will be more suggestions coming =)

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: kobetobiko

                            Yes, he likes chicken breasts & turkey products. Also, I've prepared lean pork several different ways-which he has been OK with. However, I am very happy and eager for any suggestions you'd like to share with me :-) Thanks!

                            As for fish, he only likes it breaded! He adores shrimp, but that doesn't always work with our budget. Once I fixed a lovely albacore "steak" (and it was fully cooked) he thought it was too 'raw' tasting! I have tried other white fishes like Halibut, Orange Roughey, etc., but unless it's breaded and fried, I am usually the only one enjoying the fish. Once I did get him to eat some sushi (I was realllly enjoying it so he felt like he may have been missing out ;-) Admittedly, it was the 'cooked' kind, but it's a start! (Sometimes it's great he doesn't like some things...ie: I always get to enjoy the WHOLE avocado! LOL!)

                            1. re: Mermazon

                              if you ever have him try the raw kind of sushi, try hamachi (yellowtail) at a decent joint. for some reason, my SO loves california rolls and hamachi.

                          2. My SO has an uneducated palet as well, my trick is, i just put things on his plate and tell him to try it. I never tell him if its an ethnic food because he wont eat it. For instance, if the dish contains chicken, i just tell him its a chicken recipe im trying and he will eat it. ALso, for some reason he doesnt like it when i put cheese in things, or so he thinks. I put cheese in things all of the time and he never knows the difference. As for fruit and veg, i just put it on the plate with breakfast/lunch and hope he will eat it, most of the time he does. I've found if you dont give them a choice, or dont ask their opinion, they really dont care and are mostly only fussy when given the opportunity to do so. It works for me, I also know that my SO greatly appreciates my cooking for him and hes knows hes spoiled....maybe he just doesnt want to screw up????

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jen2202

                              lucky you! Mine wants cheese in everything and it drives me CRAZY!

                            2. I read your initial statement about five times, feedback from the CHs four times. From what you say, all I can think of:

                              1. He likes pasta. You have to hide a ton of cooked vegetables in hearty, meaty sauces.

                              2. If he eats desserts, you need to put in (hide) a lot of fruit and fiber.

                              3. If the "Omnivores' Dilemna" is correct, you had better buy him grass or range-fed rather than feedlot fed beef.

                              On the other hand, how is his health? Age? Weight? Exercise? Drink? Smoke? Family history? What does he say about your concerns? Is he concerned? Does he have a counter belief that his diet is OK?

                              Good luck. Your frustration and concern can be felt in your message.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                Thanks for your kind words...

                                Gratefully, he's in great shape! He works out and doesn't smoke and drinks modestly. Although his family history is not ideal, everyone in his family seems rather healthy.

                                I TOTALLY agree with you regarding the grass/range fed! How farmers ever thought it was wise to feed cows/sheep BACK to their own kind, I'll never understand. Yuck, UGH and ARGH!

                                I do "hide" healthy things as much as possible, but am always open to advice and different recipes. Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would be in a food dilemna! LOL! It's been very humbling indeed!

                              2. My sister was married to someone like that--they are divorced now. It was also a drag to eat out because it didn't make any sense to him to ever spend or eat other than pizza or Mexican food.

                                I think it is important to focus on yourself here, for your own health in the long run. If he does not care enough about the clear benefits to his health, then you really have no control over it. I think it is a mistake to let limited people place the burden of what to make on others. By participating he will actively choose he may think about his choices a bit more and come up with his own strategies.

                                I suggest that you make what you like and put healthy food on the table. He should take responsibility to add any foods that he would like in addition to what you make. Perhaps once or twice a week you can do a favor and cook something you especially know that he will like.

                                I did recently have good luck serving a meat-n-potatoes uncle some stir fry beef and broccoli and some shrimp with red peppers, bamboo shoot and snow peas. He kinda picked out the meaty parts but got a few veg in and he raved about it which was a nice surprise.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: coconutz

                                  beef and broccoli seems to be the only way broccoli can be served to my SO as well. not sure why.

                                  Also, you might want to make sure that your husband is not a supertaster (basically someone with tons of tastebuds and as a result is very sensitive to bitter and other extreme flavors). I had a hard time trying to get my SO to try different stuff with me but eventually I came across a description of supertasters (on CH no less) and now the fact that he doesn't like a lot of healthy things I was trying to get him to eat like soy milk, most cruciferous veggies (except for the aforementioned beef and broccoli), and green tea etc make perfect sense. When I found out about this supertaster thing I asked him to describe the taste of soy milk to me and he said it tasted like burnt beans while the same soy milk tasted sweet to me.

                                2. Bolognese sauce from scratch---he'll never guess the flavor comes from all those caramelized veggies. Lidia Bastianich or Molto Mario have excellent techniques for making the perfect sauce.

                                  1. Just a couple of ideas... I feel for you... I used to bitch about my ex being allergic to some of my favorite foods, but at least he had the medical excuse of anaphylaxis...

                                    Maybe mashed potatoes made with half cauliflower.

                                    Ravioli stuffed with creative fillers... spinach, mushroom, eggplant

                                    Kebabs... you can each have what you like

                                    Don't know if he's anti-fish but Allrecipes.com has a great baked dijon salmon recipe

                                    A few other ideas... soups (?), lentil/rice salads, omelettes, Parmesan frite cups filled with something veggily and cheesily inclined, eggplant rollatini (if he'll do marinara) stuffed with ricotta and mozzarella-- I would suggest lasagna with veggies and whatnot but no casseroles-- Chicken Carciofi has a light sauce, Cacciatore? Piccata? Bouillabaise or Cioppino too much if they come with a nice toasted piece of bread?

                                    Hope anything of that helps!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Emme

                                      Awesome....thanks!! :-))

                                    2. Does he like meatloaf? It is one of the easiest things to "hide" the dreaded veggies in. And if he likes meat loaf he is right there with the French and their more refined pate. Force meat by any other name - we just make it more down to earth. Tee hee. And remember that our dear old French fry is a Belgian wonder. So he just may like that foreign cuisine and not know it! ;-)

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: SanseiDesigns

                                        Meatloaf is good with oatmeal, too. A good way to work some whole grains in...

                                        ~TDQ

                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          My boyfriend would kill me if I dare switch bread crumbs for oatmeal. He is always watching. I have been trying to convince him of improved texture. We grew up on it with just two different methods.

                                          1. re: HWiley

                                            Here's what I don't understand: forget about "changing" him, the bigger question here is why do you never get to eat meatloaf they way YOU like it in your joint household? Where's the give and take? If you like it one way and he likes it another way, wouldn't a good compromise be to alternate ways, unless one of you finds the other's way absolutely intolerable? It sounds like your boyfriend hasn't even given the meatloaf "your way" a chance., What kind of give and take is that?

                                            ~TDQ

                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              I just don't mess with his meatloaf. I think it is much more sentimental to him growing up than it is for me (his mother doesn't believe in the oatmeal thing either, lol). It is the only ingredient in meatloaf that we don't agree on. However, The give and take is that he now eats fish once a week (before it was once a month, if that, and actually likes it), and he has been eating more fruits and vegetables. I can't even believed he agreed to the smoothie thing (see my post below), and I think he will actually go for it.

                                              edit: I will of course be forwarding this post to him to see if he changes his mind :)

                                              1. re: HWiley

                                                That makes sense.

                                                Forward this to him, too, in case it helps: my meat and potatoes fella likes the oatmeal meatloaf. In fact, he's in charge of the meatloaf. :)

                                                ~TDQ

                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                Actually not his meatloaf, but James Beard's.

                                          2. re: SanseiDesigns

                                            He HATES meatloaf! Go figure!! But thanks for the encouragement!!

                                          3. Definitely, go out of your way to change the man. Treat him like a little kid. Try to trick him by hiding foods he doesn't like in food that he does. Oh yeah, he'll love that, I'm sure.

                                            From what it sounds like, he's not the problem, you are. He's made peace with his way of eating, correct? He's happy as a clam, living on pizza, steak and burgers, right? You're the one that's seeking variety. Don't project your need for complexity on to him.

                                            Make him his burgers and steak and make exciting stuff for yourself. If he sees what you're eating and wants some, great, if not, so be it. Playing mother is, imo, a recipe for bitterness and resentment. Give the man what he wants, not what you think he wants.

                                            If you really want to make him happy, work within his paradigm. Find a butcher who dry ages steaks or try dry aging your own. Grind your own beef (with lots of fat) for the best hamburger. Build a wood burning pizza oven and make a better pizza than your favorite pizzeria (with the right oven, it's not difficult). Or... save up for a Vulcan type bread oven (with steam) for fantastic pizza and unbelievably good artisan professional quality breads (no whole wheat flour, nuts or seeds, though!). Track down the best cheddar for his mac & cheese (nothing too crazy, though). If he likes lasagna, make him the BEST lasagna (cooked crumbled italian sausage is good). You said he has a sweet tooth. Go to pastry school and make him magnificent desserts you both can share. Get a smoker and make your own 'Q.

                                            If you're dead set on attempting to change him... my advice would be to make the foreign foods as unnoticeable and benign as possible. Coming from an extremely picky background, I can tel you that the top peeve on my list is undercooked/recognizable veggies. If, say, you're adding onions to meatloaf, cook the crap out them first, so he doesn't bite into a partially cooked onion and recognize it. If you cook with green peppers, keep them to a minimum- they can be overpowering to the veggiephobe. A hand blender or a food processor might be a good idea. If, say, you're making tomato sauce, puree the onions with a hand blender. Cauliflower makes a phenomenal faux mashed potatoes (with cream cheese) that he might taste/like. He might be open to a light peppercorn sauce/glaze for steak (use shallots/puree).

                                            It sound like he'll eat out at an Italian place, right? How about Chinese? Mexican? These days, Chinese restaurant and Tex-Mex food are hardly what I'd consider to be 'International' cuisine. Make him a simple (very well cooked/pureed veggie) chili. Try adding a few beans. If the beans bother him, puree a few beans. Burritos. Deep fried beef taquitos. Chinese BBQ spare ribs. Breaded pork chops. Pulled pork on a bun. Veal parmesan. Fried fish sticks.

                                            Will he eat shrimp? Lobster?

                                            My other piece of advice, if you want to entice him to eat foods from other cultures, make international meat and potatoes dishes for yourself. Make Chicken Tikka on the BBQ. Make Chicken Tikka Masala (with no recognizable veggies). Fry up some ripe (sweet) plantains. Cuban pork shoulder. Cooked fish sushi. Chicken teriyaki. Swedish meatballs (well cooked onions). Chicken Wat w/ injera bread. Pierogies with sour cream. Beef satay. Chicken Gyro. Chicken Kebab with lavash bread. A dry simple chicken gumbo? Broccoli and cheese soup. These are all long shots, but if he sees you eating them, he might have a taste. Maybe.

                                            My advice, entice. It has to be on his own terms, or it won't happen.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: scott123

                                              Build a wood burning pizza oven? Go to pastry school? So the guy will eat what? Wood burned veggies? Asparagus cake? Come on. She just want's to feed him a healthier diet, not crow. To what degree do you suggest she go to for simple answers to a rather complex problem. I agree w/ the food from other cultures idea. But if the guy abhors veggies, he isn't going to enjoy broccoli and cheese soup; if he dislikes rice, he isn't going to enjoy sushi (cooked or not); and gumbo? have you ever met a veggie hater who likes okra? I sure haven't.

                                              1. re: bryan

                                                I'm saying if he doesn't like veggies, don't feed them to him. If she wants him to be happy, go to great lengths to make the food he likes, not attempt to do his thinking for him. We're talking about a grown man here, not a boy. If she treats him like a boy and either forces him or tricks him into eating veggies, he will get really p'ed off.

                                                Who is to say that veggies are healthier for him? Maybe he's genetically pre-disposed to function well on the foods he's eating. Some people smoke every day and live to be 100. He could be one of those anomalies.

                                                I can see how the original poster is frustrated and wants to help her husband, but the only person in this equation who can instigate a healthier diet is him. It would be like a wife attempting to find a way to make her husband stop smoking. If he doesn't want to stop, it's not going to happen. He may, at some point, say "gosh, I feel like crap, I need to start eating better." At the point, she can then chime in and say, "hey, I've got some great ideas for healthier foods." Until then, give him what he wants.

                                                If the broccoli is completely obliterated, he may be able to handle broccoli and cheese soup. It's a possibility, especially if he likes cheese.

                                                I've read through this thread twice and haven't seen any posts reflecting the husbands distate for rice. If he likes meat and potatoes, I'm guessing rice is on the acceptable list. Starches on the whole are pretty safe bets for meat and potatoes kinds of guys.

                                                Gumbo doesn't have to contain okra. And if it does, if you cook it long enough, the okra breaks down and becomes almost indistinguishible. And, like I've mentioned before, there's always the hand blender.

                                              2. re: scott123

                                                actually, I read the OP post several times and I am not sure she IS trying to change him: she is saying that she misses variety and "needs more out of life's foods"!

                                                So I say, cook what YOU want for YOU, and if he doesn't like it, let him cook for HIMSELF! Or take turns cooking, knowing that on 'his' night you will get burgers and steak, and that if he doesn't like what is made on your night, he can still make himself a burger.

                                                1. re: scott123

                                                  If it were me, I'd suggest instead of her making him his burgers and steak and making what she wants for herself from time to time, she should make him heat up a Salisbury steak dinner or order pizza on his own while she eats what she wants. It's definitely not fair for her to have to cook two separate meals when she's craving something he doesn't like...

                                                2. i find that some of the pickiest meat & potatoers will eat anything if it's been battered and fried. fried zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, mushrooms, onions...all can be great and even retain some nutritional value if you learn how to fry them right (i.e, quickly).

                                                  1. You'd be amazed at how much zucchini you can hide in a chocolate cake.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: heatherkay

                                                      Yuck. If my spouse did that to me it'd be grounds for divorce, or at least several nights in the doghouse. And I'm a girl!

                                                      1. re: heatherkay

                                                        I'd be interested in a recipe for that, if you've got one. I live in one of those places where, in summer, your co-workers will sneak bags of zucchini from their hyper gardens into your car if you make the mistake of leaving it unlocked. Might as well put it to good use!

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          When I get home, I'll pull out the recipe I use. It makes a really moist, cinnamon-y cake, and I use the bittersweetest chocolate I can find. I ends up sort of like a Mexican chocolate, especially because I also put nuts in it. A quick search for chocolate and zucchini on Epicurious or somesuch should turn up a bunch of recipes. It's one of those I-just-got-another-bushel-basket-of-zuc phenomena.

                                                          And revsharkie, unless I told you, you would never know and you would LOVE it ;)

                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            here is a link to the recipe for Zucchini chocolate cake - I posted it on the home cooking board!

                                                            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/359728

                                                        2. My boyfriend has to have mashed potatoes with almost everything, or french fries (I make them homemade and leave on the skins). But he has been better about eating salads, of course topped with crumbled blue cheese. I try to make things with a lot of garlic, like bruschetta, and gazpacho in the summer which he loves. He will eat peas, and I cook them up with 1 strip of bacon to help flavor them. Corn, too. Spinach, sometimes, but cooked with garlic. He likes parsnip soup, because of it's sweetness. As far as the fruit thing, he was eating cubed fruit for awhile. He does realize the importance of eating fruit. I am going to try some nutrient packed smoothies, for him to have every day with his coffee before he goes into work. He agreed to try these because he could get a lot of benefits in without eating too much; and he could sip on it throughout the morning: (scroll down a bit) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16474474/

                                                          I don't dare try to sneak anything in. I serve it on the side. He eats a little more each time.

                                                          1. how about a daily Bloody Mary?

                                                            though, I think pasta is your ticket -- eggplant lasagna, lots of ground up veggies in the sauces.

                                                            and, does covering stuff in cheese help? that's a great way to cover veggies.

                                                            how's his health though? I had a boyfriend like this, he was in construction - steak on a plate was very common meal. He as crazy crazy healthy. Way better than my office sitting, veggie eating lard bum.

                                                            1. My boyfriend is very specific when it comes to "healthy" foods, but there are some he does like:

                                                              Bagged lettuce (the white leaf lettuce)
                                                              carrot sticks
                                                              tomatoe soup
                                                              plain rice
                                                              fruit juices (orange or fruit punch-style)
                                                              apples
                                                              granola bars
                                                              tea (has antioxidants)

                                                              I think its best to work it in slowly and honestly. When it comes to pasta sauces (where veggies exist as a base) we just eat them without announcement of ingredients.
                                                              With him it is a texture issue. So sauces with a tomatoe base are ok, but he would never eat a tomatoe on its own.

                                                              1. Are you just trying to make his meals healthier, or is your main goal to diversify his palate?

                                                                The former is easier, using a lot of tricks previously mentioned...and some of them ARE tricks. Zucchini in cake, broccoli in sauces, whole grain flours in whatevers...Tricks, all. But easy to accomplish.

                                                                The latter is more difficult, but in the long run will be more satisfying.

                                                                1. as someone with a former (yay!) meat&potatoes man, all i can say is don't give up hope. my husband's mom is a terrible cook - and she has such a limited palate that it is astonishing. and her mother is even worse - won't eat poulty, let alone anything more "exotic." and only eats sweets. i grew up in a greek household where nothing was off limits - we had to eat what was on our plates - and everything was homemade. and my mother/grandmother/aunts are all exceptional cooks. needless to say - i was spoiled.

                                                                  some of my techniques:
                                                                  1. introduce more exotic foods with comfortable ones - grated zucchini into pasta sauce that went into a lasagna.
                                                                  2. cut up the fruit, put it on a plate in front of him.
                                                                  3. bolognese sauce with lots of veggies
                                                                  4. mince those onions and garlic so fine they can't be picked out
                                                                  5. roast those veggies. with salt, garlic and lots of evoo.
                                                                  6. always always combine things they love with new things.

                                                                  1. You said he likes potatoes? How about potato salad? you can hide alot in there, like carrots, celery, cucumbers, apples, even zucchini. just make sure the veggies are salted or blanched to the same consistency of the potato pieces. he might like it. :o)

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: soypower

                                                                      Oooh, honey! I made that big mistake on his birthday a few years ago before we were married. I thought the same darn thing..."I'll make my 'famous' potato salad!"...alas, NO! I made the potato salad with sour cream, red pots, celery (small) and purp onions, but 'NO GO'. It remained in his fridge until it grew legs and left! LOL! Great suggestions though...thanks! (Oh, and he can find a cuke no matter HOW SMALL I dice it!!! :-) Ah well, I adore 'em, so MORE for me! Hee hee hee.....

                                                                    2. It sounds like you've got a change-adverse, picky, super-taster of a meat-and-potatoes man.

                                                                      Welcome to the club! I'm a "sub-taster" who loves pungent and spicy food, and my husband (Mr. Tastebud) is definitely a super-taster who never had much menu variety growing up.

                                                                      When I first met him, Mr. Tastebud ate hated onions, tomatoes, strawberries, fish, eggplant, mushrooms, cabbage, nuts, brown rice, blue cheese, wine, and "gourmet" lettuces. (And much more.) But after years of gentle encouragement, he loves all of these foods today. OK, so he's still working on the bitter lettuce thing, but he does eat the occasional piece of escarole or radicchio now - something I thought was impossible 20 years ago.

                                                                      Turns out that he's super-sensitive to strong, pungent, sour, and bitter flavors. And he can detect the smallest amount of rancidity in nuts and grains - once I discovered a super-fresh source for nuts and started roasting my own, he loves them! (I can now scatter walnuts on the salad and have him beg for more.)

                                                                      With us, the key that unlocked his tastebuds was frequent dinners at my gourmet friend's house. She's an amazing cook, and he would try things for her that I could never get him to taste. She usually checked first with me on the menu, but one night she served fish unannounced. Surprisingly, he gobbled it up and decided that he loved fish from that point on! (Not counting the strongest fish like mackerel and sardines; those I keep for myself.) Same with strawberries, and blue cheese, and several other foods - if she cooked it, he decided that it was good. Needless to say, I have many of her recipes in my files.

                                                                      Eating out at great restaurants helped, too - he'd try a bite of my dish, once he saw how much I enjoyed it, and sometimes he decided he liked it! But I'm careful to warn him if it contains any of his Most Hated Foods(TM) - things he'll never ever learn to like - because I don't want to scare his delicate tastebuds and make him think he doesn't like braised kale when it's really the green pepper sauce...

                                                                      Recognize that many foods probably taste stronger to your husband than they do to you. But quality ingredients and careful preparation may hold the key to successfully introducing him to new foods. For example, Mr. Tastebud will eat roasted organic vegetables even when he hates them steamed or raw (like fennel and onions).

                                                                      And acknowledge that he'll always hate some foods, no matter how you try. Mr. Tastebud can't still stand peppers, melon, cucumbers, coffee, rhubarb, and pickles, so I never sneak those things into other dishes - he can taste one milligram of green pepper in a gallon of stew, or one drop of coffee in a batch of brownies...

                                                                      Good luck, and keep trying - gently, gradually, positively, and encouragingly!

                                                                      Anne

                                                                      1. Don't try to change him or "sneak" things into his food. How would you feel if he was sneaking things into your food? Make what you want to eat and make what he wants to eat.

                                                                        My girlfriend suggests, "When you're both eating your separate meals, ask if he would like to try some of yours. That way there's no pressure."

                                                                        I think that cooking smaller meals like that will allow you to experiment more with your cooking.

                                                                        1. Thanks to everyone for their advice!

                                                                          1. After reading this thread, I've just realized that I am a horrible, shallow person! When I was dating, nothing was a bigger turn-off than a guy who was an un-adventurous eater. My husband felt the same, so ours was a match made in heaven. (His favorite creepy-date story is about the time he invited a young woman to a very nice restaurant for dinner and SHE ATE NOTHING. Said she just didn't eat much, wasn't that into food.)

                                                                            1. Mom? Is that you?

                                                                              My dad was terrible about the same thing, and frankly, still is. He'll scrape off sauces, won't eat beef unless it's well done, and is terrible about trying new stuff. He's gotten a little better as he's gotten older and traveled, but still...

                                                                              I agree with most posters here. A lot of it is just gradual non-threatening introduction of things, maybe try a bite of this or a bite of that. It does get better.