HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


A chowhound married to a picky eater . . . divorce? ;-)

I love food and I am willing to try anything once. I may not eat it again but I'm game. Japanese, Greek, Mexican, French, Chinese, Thai, Hungarian, and the list of cuisines I like goes on and on. I was raised in a home with german, hungarian, jewish items mixed in with good old depression type food. And we lived up north.

My spouse was raised to eat only what he wanted to eat (he was a sickly baby) so he likes hot dogs, steak and potatoes, fried chicken, pizza, and bologna sandwiches. There's more he likes but the list of what he won't eat far outweighs any list of what he will eat. The only veggies are corn, celery and potatoes. The only fruits are oranges or grapes. He will eat a bit of iceberg lettuce, but just a couple bites.

I am frustrated! We are in Houston, Tx and there are so many great restaurants, but I have to check the menus before we go to make sure there will be something he eats. Do you know how many places that shuts down? About 75%! And taking him to a chinese buffet is a waste of money. He eats the fries, wings, and the crunchy noodles that you should put on top of soup.

I want to eat fine food - what do I do? I am so bored with this food arrangement we have!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Find friends who you can go with and try the restaurants that you can't try with your husband.

    It's not the same thing, but I have a good friend who claims to love food and be an adventurous eater, however, she is anything but. She picks apart everything on the menu, because she doesn't like a lot of different ingredients and I'd say 9/10 she finds something to complain about in relation to her meal. I try not to go to a restaurant with her that I haven't tried before, and which I am looking forward to, because I know it will kill the experience. I go those restaurants with my friends who I know are either (a) adventurous eaters or (b) will find something to eat without complaining and let me enjoy my meal.

    3 Replies
    1. re: pescatarian

      I had a foodie buddy and we would go try new restaurants for lunch. She knows a lot more restaurants than I do so she takes me to places I would have never thought of. I am not terribly fond of seafood, but she orders it and lets me try hers because she swears that I don't like it because I haven't had it prepared correctly. But now she has a job and our lunches are limited. So I am bummed. I have 2 daughters and one is pretty adventurous, but it is almost impossible to get together with her.

      I would like to go to dinners out, not just lunches, but he gets pretty sulky when I try to arrange that!

      1. re: danhole

        Tell hubby where you are going and then give him the choice: tell him you'd love his company but he might want to eat before you go since his options might be limited, or alternatively you will go without him if he doesn't go. If he sulks, he sulks.

        I see from your post below that you have been together at least 30 years. I am sorry, but after thirty years of marriage your husband should be able to respect your desires enough to either go with you or let you go with a pal.

        1. re: danhole

          you don't have any other foodie friends? sure you can think of someone.

      2. I was a very picky eater when I met my husband: it embarasses me now to think of it. Do you cook? My husband was always cooking stuff and getting me to try it- this introduced a lot of foods that I didn't previously think I liked to my diet. Of course a lot of things I didn't *like* were because I'd had them poorly prepared (e.g. asparagus cooked all to hell, salmon overcooked, etc...); however, he respected my hard-core-hates, like green pepper.
        Also, when we went out to eat, he never tried to influence what I ate, but he always insisted I take a bite of his. Guess whose was always better?
        Eventually, over time he wore me down. *Very* few things I don't eat now , except Green Pepper of course, which I continue to loathe.
        All that being said, I always had a desire to eat with 'the grown-ups', and used to get dreadfully embarassed by being so picky.

        13 Replies
        1. re: nummanumma

          Yes I cook almost every night, but he is so reluctant to try anything. I have gotten very creative with seasonings, just to keep my palate from dying of boredom, and he is open to that. The only real success I have had is getting him to eat ham once in awhile. Oh! And my homemade chili - no beans of course! That's just not Texan.

          A lot of things I cook I put ingredients in them, that he doesn't like, and keep my mouth shut (i.e. sour cream, cream cheese, minced onion) or I use veggies to flavor a dish and then take them out of the pot before serving the dish, like in a pot roast.

          Our first real fight was about 30 years ago and it was over a lima bean! I just wanted him to try one little baby lima, and he freaked. I slapped him ( after throwing a glass of juice in his face), he slapped me right back and threw the beans in the sink.That was it for physical violence in our marriage. I learned not to push too hard after that! LOL!

          1. re: danhole

            As someone who just got recently engaged to another Chowhound, I have to admit I spat my water when I read this. I sent it to fiance and he says "DUDE! Who doesn'e like lima beans!?"

            Too funny! Thank you for sharing.

            1. re: danhole

              LIma beans, omg I HATE lima beans. I think lima beans must be like cilantro, there is a flavor or something in there that most people are fine with, but the rest of us just can't take. I will eat almost any other kind of bean (although whole garbanzos aren't high on my list, make em into hummus & I love them).

              Seems to me that after 30 years you are in a pretty tough spot to start asking for changes, gonna be a lot easier to find others to eat with than convince him.

              1. re: KaimukiMan

                If you go to the bottom of this thread you'll see I have updated this and made some progress, and found others to eat with!

                1. re: danhole

                  I'm quite late to this party, but can't wait to read through to the bottom.

              2. re: danhole

                This thread is great!! I wouldn't say SO is super pickey, but compared to me and what I like to eat it seems so.

                Sometimes it's frustrating, I try to respect all the "rules" but I found a lot of contradictions, like not wanting spicy foods or foods with too many flavours but then taco seasoning from a box is fine. To me it's very flavourful and there are tons of spicies in there like cumin..etc that might have been an issue on their own.

                I think a lot of people are ignorant about foods, like ground curry is automatically "hot" and people don't want to try the flavour while it could be added to roasted chicken or mayo and it isn't even spicy on it's own.

                I do the veggie thing like danhole, when I made spaghetti sauce for meatballs I added the onions and garlic whole and then took them out before finishing it, that was a life saver.

                The stressful part is that I don't eat out a lot, and I'm a pretty good cook and want to try and make recipes I like BUT I feel they're not worth it with the amount of time going into them and then having to cook two things so often I'm too tired and just eat the bland food.

                1. re: BamiaWruz

                  So now where is it written on those stone tablets that you have to cook two different things??? SO can eat what you cook or cook whatever s/he likes or go without.. Choices in life are sooooo good :)

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I'm guilty of cooking two different things at almost every meal. Something meaty and bland for the SO, and something veggie filled and flavorful for me. Although, It has been almost an adventure to see what i can get him to eat. I did a spice rub on a rib-eye for him, and just put some un-asked for sauteed spinach with chili flakes on the side.... and he ate it because i told him i took the time to cook it, he better eat it. Now, I'm happy he ate it, but will it cause resentment?

                    1. re: kubasd

                      "...but will it cause resentment?" I want you to read that over and over and over again. (Wow, I love it when I use my mom-voice :) You cooked it; he ate it. What's he going to resent? Do you ever do things just because it's important to him? If not, then that probably belongs on some other board. Partnerships are called that for a reason. I won't waste my time or yours citing a definition. If he likes/wants you to do to the lion's share of the cooking, then to me he's going to partner with you and eat what you cook. If not, then other solutions need to be sought. And it wouldn't be anywhere on MY list to cook two different things. EVER! All you have to do is read and maybe read regularly danhole's post about Mr. Hole (who BTW we all love even if he is a dodo - or is that a doodoo? --- about food) to see that you don't want to be dealing with this issue 30 years down the road. I'd vote for justifiable homicide not divorce. Good luck, sweetpea :)

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Yeah, that post was a result of a bad day. He was irritated/pissed that i "made" him eat the spinach, lol. But yes, I've read extensively about Mr. Hole (research, you see) Thanks dear :-)

                    2. re: c oliver

                      No, I agree, it's not written anywhere. But he works and I don't at the moment so I prefer to make life a bit easier and at least have lunches and dinners prepared. Plus he loves asian inspired type of recipes and he's not hard to please, It just gets to me how he doesn't get sick of the limited recipes and flavours/dishes.

                  2. re: danhole

                    Wait -- let me get this straight -- you have been putting up with this for 30 years?
                    Holy smokes!

                    Hey, I married a man who hated most veggies (corn, canned peas, canned beets, white baked potato, occasionally a fresh green bean, no salads), and thought turkey was the most special food for the most special occasions. Steaks and burgers were okay. I just cooked it my way, and eventually -- he either ate it or he made himself a sandwich. I kept away from things he couldn't eat, like very spicy food. The shame of it is that I will be eating an artichoke alone -- because our teenage daughter has been spooked by him.

                    Just go and let him pick the one item on the menu. Most restaurants have meat and potato or rice or something bland. Chinese food is a problem, but I'll bet you can get him to a Japanese place, where he can order chicken or steak hibachi style. Just push. I have mostly won, but it did take me a few years -- 28 to be exact.

                    1. re: RGC1982

                      oh but the idea of Japanese (which can mean so SOOO many things) just brings up the idea of sushi (which I love), so things like tempura or teppanyaki or yakitori or Korean bulgogi, all things that would probably pass muster, need to be introduced with caution. believe me I've tried. a simple miso broth raises suspicion. hey it's a probiotic, maybe you can lay off the stool softeners a bit.

                2. You should have had your attorney prepare an ironclad pre-sup agreement.

                  2 Replies
                    1. Is he simply unwilling to accompany you to restaurants you want to try? I have to think that, for instance, most places serve beer and _something_ on which he could nibble. Maybe it won't work out for both of you to eat your fill at the same place...but maybe he would be willing to go along with you on your adventures and then you can hit a drive through afterwards (or beforehand) for him?

                      1. I am in the same situation. My husband doesn't even eat all the things your husband eats. But we haven't had too much problems. We live in Toronto with an amazing variety of restaurants. Most restaurants have some sort of steak dish or chicken. So my husband usually gets that. He understands that I like to try things so he tries to be as accommodating as possible. I also go out with friends and family. Sometimes I go by myself.

                        1. I too am in the same situation..Sucks doesn't it? My late husband ate everything and was a pleasure to cook for..I thought when my present Husband and I married it wouldn't be that big of a deal..Drives me nuts too. However, I like cecilia live in Toronto and to be honest there isn't a restaurant really that doesn't have SOMETHING he will actually eat. I don't like to go out dining without him but I agree he's too set in his ways to try something new. I try to hide my recipes so he doesn't see the ingredients..he's too foodie naieve to know what goes into certain recipes..He still thinks slices of "ginger" are "garlic" lol..Shhhhhhh I won't tell if you won't. ;)

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: flipkeat

                            Like Cecilia and yourself I live in the GTA too and have the same problem, like you said though most restaurants have "something" for those "limited eaters" which is good, but at least your husband eats ginger!! I think that's great. SO won't go near it.
                            Another problem I face is trying to cook some variety, but it seems a lot of people with a limited palate seem to always want the same foods or just don't get sick of them, and even though it might not bother them it sure bothers me like crazy!!

                            1. re: BamiaWruz

                              my SO could eat the same thing every day and never get bored... I just don't get it!!!

                              1. re: kubasd

                                Speaking from experience, here is a hint. If your SO likes Wings, let's say, then get a really big batch, enough for at least 3 or 4 nights, maybe more. Then make yourself something that you like. When supper time comes along, reheat the wings for the SO and have what you want. After about day 2 or or 3 the SO will be so bored with the wings that they will be begging for something different. I did this recently with Mr. Hole, who kept badgering me for a certain dish (wasn't wings!), so I made a double batch of it, but I told him that he had best eat EVERY last bit of it. I did eat about 30% of it (because I am am a darn good cook,) but he had it for lunch and dinner for days! I doubt he will ask for it again anytime soon.

                                As far as resentment goes . . . if he didn't throw up or anything those lines, I think you are safe!

                                1. re: danhole

                                  That's hilarious, SO is obsessed with bean sprouts, just cooked with some soy sauce, thinks it's in the same category as rice and pasta, won't eat any other "beans/legumes" though. It's definitely a staple now.

                                  1. re: danhole

                                    haha that's a great idea!! A little bit of psychological de-conditioning.... lol

                                  2. re: kubasd

                                    I have a friend like that: chicken, rice, vegetable, every single night. It used to drive his SO, who does the cooking, crazy, but he eventually got used to it.

                                    1. re: Jay F

                                      I get into ruts, but they usu. only last a few days or (ok once a few weeks) until I think I make it right.

                              2. Ma'am, you've been married for more than 30 years to that guy! Haven't changed him by now, its not going to happen. But your tale is so well told--print out what you wrote, take it and some bologna sandwiches and your husband with you to a restaurant of your choice; show the manager the print out and the sack of sandwiches and your husband; ask for a table and a menu.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                  we can't de-rail this thread but thanks Sam, I hadn't seen this one before.

                                2. okay - I'm with you 100%, and I'm frustrated! I too am married to a very picky eater who also happens to be a super taster. The veggies he'll eat? some lettuces, onion (must be chopped fine or onion rings), red pepper, potatoes, corn, and tomato, but only on a burger or in pasta sauce. I can't cook veggies for myself while he's home because he can't stand the smell even with the exhaust fan running! I can't make or drink coffee - another smell he hates. As for what we eat, the menu is very limited. He'll eat steak, and red meat, but only if he cooks it, pasta if I make it, pizza, burgers and hot dogs, some chicken and turkey dishes, but only the breast meat. I finally had it and made a pork roast last week. He actually ate some, but ended up slicing it and drowning it with BBQ sauce. I know how you feel. Don't get me started on dining out. I live in the Los Angeles area, and there are so many restaurants we've never tried because he just won't try them. We hardly go out anymore because he so finicky it's usually a waste of money. And I can't stand Outback anymore! I feel your pain.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: OneJayneDoe

                                    he's not a super-taster. he's a non-taster.

                                  2. I used to date a picky eater (chicken, crackers, coke with no ice, plain pizza, bread, butter, french fries, and rice krispy treats... nothing more). I got him to eat butternut squash/sweet potato puree by adding loads of butter, cream, salt, brown sugar, etc... basically introduce him to new foods like a baby. also, i tricked him into eating zucchini bread by telling him it was apple cake (the cinnamon scent helped). also, if you cook for long enough and he sees what effort you put into the meal, he might feel guilty enough to try it.

                                    1. I have a friend in the same situation. Her husband only eats hot dogs, steak, potatoes, some chicken and no veggies. The really sad thing is that he is an M.D.!!! Once a month we and a group of other foodies go out to great restaurants. Our supper club allows her to eat anything she wants, so she can go home and not strangle her husband!

                                      1. Reformed PIcky Eater here: please stick with your husband and help him to see the Chowhoundish light. It took years for my husband and various friends to turn me into the Chowhound I am today and I am a much happier person because of their patience.

                                        1. Your situation is more common than not. Alas, he does not sound like a team player.

                                          Please continue to work on him. I came from a family that had the most onerous food fears. My father would not eat chicken on the bone, cheese (ergo no pizza), or any kind of seafood. In fact, if it wasn't well done beef and potatoes, he pretty much wouldn't eat it.

                                          You need to approach this like water wearing away at the Grand Canyon. You choose the restaurant at least half the time. Just about every place has a noodle dish or rice or something that is safe. If he gets curious enough, he will branch out, slowly but surely.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Steve

                                            i can't agree with the above poster more! i came from a very spoiled background as well, eating whatever i wanted rather than what was put in front of me. the original poster is so right when they say it makes for a boring eater.

                                            i can't thank my girlfriend enough for working me over in the last decade. at the age of 14, i'd still never even had thai food, nor did i want to! she made me try thai, she made me try malaysian, she made me try soul, she made me try vietnamese, sushi, spanish, german, belgian, cuban, indian, korean - you name it. and not just once, but over and over and over again until i finally developed a taste for all those diverse things. i won't ever know how my girlfriend put up with me all those years, but now i am unstoppable. when we travel anywhere, i'm immediately on chowhounds looking up the most obscure cuisine we can find. and i also drag my unadventurous friends out, too! i've turned several of them on to thai food through drunken noodles!

                                            again, keep working on your spouse, and insist on picking the restaurant every other time. i'm sure you enjoy eating at TGIFridays about as much as he does munching on tongan cuisine, but this is a fair deal. narrowmindedness is NEVER a good thing. good luck.

                                            1. re: rabidog

                                              Your post reminds me of a very important lesson: Nothing really worthwhile comes easy. It takes some effort. But the payoff is enormous. After all, 50 million Frenchmen can't be wrong - not to mention a billion Chinese, Indians, Thai......

                                          2. your husband sounds like my boyfriend. I'm half korean so I tend to eat a lot of korean food (usually on a daily basis) and he HATES korean food. I have to cook fish an hour or 2 before he comes home so he doesn't gag. He also hates all things from the sea and the only veggies he eats are corn and potatos and sometimes he'll have a salad with cucumber, carrots, celery, and lettuce on it. BORING.

                                            BUT, he does like to travel with me and we do go out of the way for excellent things like mexican food (which he loves), french fries, burgers, etc so it can be fun. He also tends to try things once just to see what they taste like. His good friend is a local chef here in Boston and served him up some otoro tuna sashimi and he loved it, go figure!

                                            I know I'll never change him and that's fine with me. That leaves all the kimchi, yummy seafood, and delicious vegetables to me.

                                            1. My husband is not exactly what I would call a picky eater, but he does have certain food prejudices....he was raised a vegetarian, and still balks a bit at red meat. And of course, being at least a fallen hindu, he doesn't appreciate a good steak (and thinks that if one IS to eat red meat, it must be well done ....yuck). I don't mind if he eats his own meat charred, but it does bother me when he makes faces if I insist on a little pink.....

                                              One of my favorites is dim sum....which hubby doesn't care for. (He's not a big fan of any chinese food, actually). I have stopped trying to drag him to eat it....there aren't any real dim sum restaurants where we live anyway. Instead, I save that treat for when I am on a business trip (which is often, fortunately or unfortunately....). I save the other things he absolutely won't eat for trips as well (mostly certain squashes and veggies...). And I'm more generous of spirit than he would be....I let him have bananas and eat them in my house!

                                              When I get annoyed at him for his tastes, I try and remember that if it wasn't for him my knowledge of Indian food would be limited to tandoori and naan. So I thank him for all the tastes he has shown me and remember what a wise teacher once told me: "Life is full of little compromises." Oh yes, and if he ever has the audacity to complain about something I've cooked (which he almost never does) I remind him that he is welcome to cook his own dinner anytime....

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: janetofreno

                                                My fiance grew up eating well done meat, but after years of watching me eat it blood red and making fun of him, he's taking his meat medium, practically medium rare now. He eats the outside of a steak and I eat the inside when we share one at home!

                                                Plus, I think it bothered him that I would always get to eat five minutes before he did. Hahahahahaha. And it's super annoying to a well-done lover when the rare meat lovers snatch all the good stuff off the grill first at Korean BBQ.

                                                1. re: Pei

                                                  I was raised on well-done meat only, and never liked steak as a result. In my 20s I was taken to a top-tier restaurant for the first time, ordered ostrich, and out it came, super rare (they didn't ask how I wanted it). So I dug in ... and liked it! I always order medium rare now, sometimes it comes out rare, that's fine. Just goes to show--mom isn't always right.

                                                  I'm also a super taster ... it does make for some dislikes (hate cauliflower and tofu--things some people say have no taste), but from a young age I've loved coffee, mushrooms, asparagus, and the like.

                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                      Supertasters tend to taste things more intensely than others and have more taste buds. I think about 20-25% of the population are supertasters. Because some things that have a bland taste to most people have a strong taste to supertasters, they may be pickier about certain foods.

                                                      1. re: queencru

                                                        That's my SO. He can taste things like sour cream in baking.

                                                        He's picky.

                                              2. My wife is not the most gratifying person to cook for, with a rather pedestrian palate, and no interest in cooking. I'm a foodie and love to cook high-end restaurant quality food. Imagine the possibilites for arguments over what I am to cook. We've been married over 25 years. Go figure. Divorce has never crossed my mind. Murder, on the other hand...

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: rottendog

                                                  lol loooool That is really funny!

                                                2. I feel so fortunate after reading these posts. I am responsible for all the food preparation in my house and forunately my fiancee wil eat absolutely anything. Not only that, but he does it with a smile and compliments to boot. This may not seem miraculous to some, but 18 mos. ago when we moved in together I had no experience cooking and burnt everything! I am much improved now, but even then he never complained. He is also up for trying anything new with the exception of sushi.
                                                  Lucky me. I'll have to give him extra large portions tonight =)

                                                  1. My SO loves food and will try anything, but he doesn't like going OUT to eat. I love to cook, but I love to eat out too. And I have to beg and plead to eat dinner out, unless I leave him at home. Bummer

                                                    1. Thanks for all the suggestions! I especially like the one that said to take him and the bologna sandwiches with a print out of this post to a restaurant and show the manager! LOL!

                                                      Oh and Rottendog - yeah I have thought about murder, too, but with a diet like his I figure he won't last that much longer! (tongue in cheek here!)

                                                      Like OneJayne Doe's hubby, mine is smell sensitive, so not only do I have to consider the food in a restaurant, I also have to think about the smell of it. A lot of really good places serve seafood as well as steak (which he does eat) but if it smells like seafood he gags - and he gags loudly! Not only is that incredibly embarrassing, but it makes me want to . . . well it ruins my dinner! I love crawfish and found a place to get some that also served plain old burgers (meat and bun w/bacon only) but he kept looking at the crawfish, making comments and gagging so that didn't turn out very well.

                                                      There is a restaurant here that serves central/south american food that is excellent (Cafe Red Onion) and they have fajitas, so I thought that would be safe. WELL, I got some beautifull exotic chicken dish with cheese , tomatoes, onions, rice - yummy. His fajitas came out with lettuce and tomatoes, guacamole and some lovely salsa on top of the meat which was on top of the tortilla. He threw such a fit, and at that time this place was in a hole in the wall location so you were elbows to elbows with fellow diners. I could have died. Everyone was looking at him like he was from Mars. This place was so popular that you had to wait to get in and everyone loved it - not him! They took it back and brought him two tortillas with meat on them and nothing else on the plate. Man what a waste!

                                                      When our daughters lived at home I could get away with more, because they would eat it, and he would eat weinies before dinner, but now that it is just the two of us he has gotten unbearable. I need to meet more foodie friends! I SHOULD have gotten a "pre-sup" agreement. The man ain't going to change at this stage!

                                                      16 Replies
                                                      1. re: danhole

                                                        Well, if you need a new career now that the duaghters are gone, and as evidenced by your posts, you could (if you are not already) become a writer. Get an office downtown and lunch out and well every day.

                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                          Thanks for the compliment! I have always wanted to write a book!

                                                          But, I am a graphic artist and work out of my home. Too much time to look at menus online! LOL!

                                                          1. re: danhole

                                                            But don't self-employed people get to do lots of business lunches with "clients"?

                                                            1. re: Aromatherapy

                                                              In this day and age of emails, ftp sites and pdf files you don't ever even have to ever see your clients - not in my biz anyway! My main client lives in Hawaii, I am in Houston, and we do work for magazines all over the place.

                                                              1. re: danhole

                                                                Danhole, I really believe that because it is so important to you, you need to make a point of going out for lunch and dinner and trying new things. Make a point of finding a dinner group that you can try new food with in peace. If your husband doesn't want to come or he can't come without throwing a fit, leave him at home. If he asks why, say it's ridiculous that you can't enjoy your food in peace and since he doesn't let you, you will do this on your own once in awhile. He's not going to change after 30 years, IMHO. Don't try to change his actions. Just change yours. Life's too short.

                                                                Sorry, I just have to add that the fact that you can't make certain things in your own home because the smells bother him, etc. is ridiculous also. You share the house. I'm sure he does things that bother you that you don't complain about. I can see if it were everyday and something extreme, like kippers :), but I think he needs to learn to concede a bit here. You might need to force him to concede - not to him trying different things, but to you making what you want to eat also, whether it bothers him or not.

                                                                1. re: danhole

                                                                  I didn't mean real ones. Take yourself out. ;-)

                                                                  1. re: danhole

                                                                    When we visit our daughter in Austin, drive over and join us. With enough wine you won't mind the couch too much will you?
                                                                    so much food, so little time

                                                                2. re: danhole

                                                                  Graphic artist me too, work from home, have 3 different jobs but tht is one ... sorry to side track.

                                                                  1. re: danhole

                                                                    I am a JOAT and used to have a prototyping firm. I do graphics arts (right now I am doing a tri-fold). I do websites, woodworking, paint, sculpture, all out of the house. I am also an architectural photographer and dabble in other photography. Semi-retired, I am working with architects to design and rebuild our BC cabin. Soon I have to work on the gardens! I designed and built the trellises there.

                                                                3. re: danhole

                                                                  I love crawfish and found a place to get some that also served plain old burgers (meat and bun w/bacon only) but he kept looking at the crawfish, making comments and gagging so that didn't turn out very well.


                                                                  I would be very interested to see if he was blindfolded and had a clothespin on his nose so he couldn't smell the food, and see what his reaction would be to a small taste of whatever he gags on. Is it really the smell, or is it an aversion to seafood from a poorly prepared dinner his parents served him when he was young, and he grew up "hating seafood"?

                                                                  Edited to say I just read your post below where you wrote "He was spoiled rotten by his mother and that is that!" So his mother didn't make him at least try things? And he got in his mind way back then that he doesn't like seafood once and it's there forever?

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    No his mother did NOT make him try things. When he was a toddler he had tonsil and adenoid problems, as well as many ear infections, and he was a cranky baby. So his mom told the Dr. that she was having trouble getting him to eat and the Dr. replied that she should just let him eat what he liked . . . she took it very literally and stopped pushing new things on him at that point. His parents and his brother eat normally, just not him.

                                                                    1. re: danhole

                                                                      Well, if he won't try anything, there's a point where you just have to say "This is what I'm having. If you want something different, there's the kitchen."

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        they've been married 30 years. i think that day passed long ago.

                                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                          I agree - but the OP wants to eat fine food and asked what to do. So it's either cook it herself or go out to restaurants she wants to go to with friends - and leave him to his own devices.

                                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                            It NEVER passes. My mom did that to my dad when she wanted them to diet, my aunt to my uncle when she became a vegetarian and wanted him to at least share her food as sides. It ALWAYS works if you're willing to be stubborn.

                                                                    2. re: danhole

                                                                      I know you love him, but that is just rude. There are perfectly nice ways to ask for your meal a certain way. Your hubby seems to choose a rather obnoxious way to express himself.

                                                                    3. i'm not trying to sound mean, but your doctor may wind up being the one to intervene. a grown man who has lived on hot dogs and baloney sandwiches all his life is going to have problems. i know plenty of people for whom it took a health crisis to change their ways. maybe if you convince him you'd like him to stick around?

                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                        Funny you should mention that. He has had more than one real health scare where the Dr. ranted about his diet. Many years ago we found out that his triglycerides were out of the ballpark, so they sent ME to a dietician to learn how to cook in a healthy, low-fat way. The only fast food that he was allowed was burgers at Burger King because they are cooked over an open grill. So he drinks skim milk and I fry NOTHING in my kitchen. But he is an outside saleman and picks up wings for lunch, which I refuse to eat.

                                                                        Believe me I have tried the from the heart, tearful pleas to get him to eat better, but he thinks that the high-tri med and the high-chol med and the high-BP med he is on will "do the trick." He has even had a Bi femoral arterial bypass where they found an aortic aneurysm (sp?) and didn't even phase him. He was spoiled rotten by his mother and that is that!

                                                                        1. re: danhole

                                                                          umm....he's an outside salesman and you can't get away more without him? C'mon, surely there are opportunities you are not taking full advantage of here....

                                                                            1. re: choctastic

                                                                              Yes that is a good point, but he is only at work 8-5, and normally comes home at lunch to eat his boring sandwiches! I HATE to eat alone, but I just might have to. He one of those men that thinks if he's at home, I should be too, so it's hard to get away for dinner, but now that my foodie buddy is working . . . well I'll just throw a hot dog at him and say see ya later and have dinner dates with her!

                                                                              1. re: danhole

                                                                                Eating alone can be a bit daunting at first, but well worth any initial discomfort. You are free to discover all sorts of restaurants and food choices at half the cost, and without filtering your experience through someone else's. Lunches are particularly good value. Join hubby with his sandwiches and have a cup of tea, and then go out for lunch on your own...

                                                                                1. re: danhole

                                                                                  Double his insurance policy, feed him lots of wings and steaks, move to Austin.

                                                                                  I know, I'm bad

                                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                            I have to agree. It sounds like it is time for at least some fasting labs and a medical work up. Perhaps a letter to the doctor in advance of the visit about the dietary concerns would be in order as well for this gent. I have to admit to being a very picky eater before I was pregnant and that condition seriously changed my attitude towards food.

                                                                          2. I always wondered about this...my boyfriend isn't picky, but just doesn't care about food and restaurants and wine the same way I do- he was raised simply in that regard without the same exposure my wine wholesaler father gave us. While I'm on this site all day, he's the one who said he would take a pill for each meal if he could. I sometimes think this is one of the bigger problems in our relationship, as I always want to go out and eat and try new places, and he doesnt have the same drive. I do have friends that are willing to eat out morem, but I still find myself at "purist" sushi places by myself a lot...not that I mind that all of the time...

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Quesera

                                                                              I TOTALLY relate, my boyfriend is the exact same way!!!! He will eat most things and will always compliment me when i put effort into cooking something nice, but its frustrating because ultimately he thinks, in his words, "eating is just so inefficient. I wish I could just take a pill for all my food for the day. Someday we will all just do that" and then I scream at him NO FOOD IS AMAZING HOW CAN YOU EVEN SAY THAT EATING IS GREAT WE WILL NEVER JUST TAKE A PILL!!! . . . so anyway when I put the effort into making delicious things its nice to get appreciation but really I know I could have given him anything and gotten the same reaction, he just wants to shove it down and be done with it (and I am a very slow eater so this brings its own problems).

                                                                              Luckily his dad is quite into wine and he does enjoy drinking and going to tastings with me so it could certainly be worse . . ..

                                                                            2. Maybe he could try hypnosis. I may have the false assumption that he wants to change. That's an awful lot of control for him to give up.

                                                                              1. Welcome to my world of pain!

                                                                                I'm married to a health nut who believes if one morsel of improper food passes her lips she will fall over, start flopping like a dying mackerel, and meet an ignominious end.

                                                                                Here is our dining out scenario:
                                                                                - We live in Dallas with plenty, and I mean plenty of dining options yet the restos we go to are only a handful. None of them are special anymore! I've tried all of the dishes at least 3X already!

                                                                                - It's almost impossible to try NEW NEW NEW restos because of the high risk of failure. We've walked into some restos, sat down, and then left because my wife says "It didn't feel right."

                                                                                - If Escoffier his ownself came down from heaven and started a (take your choice) German, Middle Eastern, barbecue, non-high end Mexican, etc. resto we would never know how good it would be because we NEVER and I mean NEVER go to any resto that doesn't meet "THE PROFILE".

                                                                                Thank you, I feel better now.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Scagnetti

                                                                                  OMG, are you secretly married to my friend (name withheld to protect me)? We've gone to a few dives where she's looked around suspiciously, sort of sniffed, and said things like "Guys, don't you think it's a little (insert empty/dirty/funny/off/weird/ other inappropriate comment) in here? When asked to explain what she means, she just says it feels "off" or says something about how no one in (insert any country, it's really irrelevant) would eat in a place like this so why should Americans.

                                                                                  We just ignore her and tell the server to bring us whatever's popular. So far, she's enjoyed the food.

                                                                                  1. re: Scagnetti

                                                                                    lol funniest post ever. And poor Escoffier

                                                                                  2. One way to change behavior is to reward behavior you want to see and ignore behavior you don't want to see. Ask your picky husband to eat a tiny piece of something new, then give him a big reward - whatever he loves, beer, tix to a ballgame, a night of love, whatever. Do it again the next day. Before long he will associate new foods with rewards and look forward to them. Don't try to trick him - tell him he gets a reward when he tries new food because you want to at least be open to your interests. He'll figure it out, anyway. Later you can work on rewarding him for going to a restuarant with you and being interested when you talk about the food

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: berkleygary

                                                                                      That trick may work for dogs, but I think humans are smarter.

                                                                                      1. re: joyoon

                                                                                        Not really. It actually works like a charm.

                                                                                    2. Just curious, is he actually gagging, as in he can't help himself? Or is he faking it just to be annoying? If he is actually gagging I really think eating by yourself or with your friends is your only option!

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: ddelicious

                                                                                        He is gagging - not pretending. He has a real problem with that. It is a super sensitive reflex with him. It really is annoying, and disgusting, but I know he's not faking it.

                                                                                        1. re: danhole

                                                                                          In all sincerity, has he tried therapy? This is not just a good issue; it might be an anxiety issue.

                                                                                      2. Here's a little "trick" I've seen done w/ kids and with adults. Lead the horse to water and let it decide if it wants to drink.

                                                                                        In this case, cook your regular meal and cook one extra dish that's healthy or different. Plate everyone's plate the same...but tell your husband he doesn't need to eat, just look at it and get use to it and NEVER mention it again or make a fuss about it. Do this everyday and never mention it. Just leave it there. It might take two weeks but he'll probably start eating it.

                                                                                        Often times, as mentioned, it's not the food but the control and perhaps diginity (I know, weird but it's linked) because every guy has 1 or 2 issues he doesn't want to be told what to do. By not nagging him and just leaving the healthy/new food on his plate, you're not feeding his resistence.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: ML8000

                                                                                          As I've said before, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't get him to enjoy the view.

                                                                                        2. Set aside one night a month to have girls night out with one (or more) of your more adventurous girlfriends, and head out to all sorts of ethnic places. Make it a regular thing every month. That way, you get to try all the foods you want, you aren't out and about more than once a month, and your hubby isn't forced to try things he doesn't want to.

                                                                                          1. Since I have still been complaining, I wanted to update this thread, because some progress has been made.

                                                                                            On his side this is what has been accomplished. May not seem like much to most CH's, but baby steps, ya'll!

                                                                                            1. Tried grilled quail and liked it.
                                                                                            2. Tried chicken Satay from Thai restaurant and liked it, but thought it would be better with a Jack Daniels dipping sauce, LOL
                                                                                            3. Tried Bun Thit Nuong at Vietnamese restaurant, just the meat and noodles, and liked it. Also had some of my Bo Luc Lac meat and thought that was really good.
                                                                                            4. Actually ate a dry salad, more than 2 bites, but just the lettuce and croutons, of course. Tossed the tomatoes on my plate.
                                                                                            5. Had some Italian wedding soup and ate about half eating around the vegetables.
                                                                                            6. Will go to a place with me so I can have crawfish, without making weird faces or gagging . Still not if it is in a seafood house, but other places or if it's on a patio.
                                                                                            7. Has agreed to branch out and try new restaurants instead of us being limited to the same 10 choices that he loves.
                                                                                            8. I made him a dish of Orzo with fresh basil cooked in fresh turkey stock, that he didn't want to try but when he did he loved it. I slipped a bit of parmesan cheese in it, but only a small amount.

                                                                                            Now I know that sounds like a ridiculously small amount of progress but . . .

                                                                                            On my side, I have joined a group of Houston CH's and have gone to some new restaurants in town that he would never go to. I haven't been able to participate a whole lot, but when I have the extra money I do. I also get to go to lunch with a few of them, and we go to place that he wouldn't like. My friend, that I used to go to lunch with all the time, has been meeting me for dinners. Those nights my DH gets an order of wings and is a happy camper. I also go out more with my daughters, and when I take care of my grandkids I take them to ethnic restaurants.

                                                                                            He finally realized that this was a big deal to me and that I was not going to be happy until some things changed, so he is making somewhat of an effort. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn't. As long as I let him choose one of his favorites, and then I get to choose a new place, it seems to be okay. I still am not going to waste my time, or our money, dragging him to a place where I know there is absolutely nothing on the menu that he will eat, but if there is at least a steak entree and a baked potato offered, then here we go! I even got him in a greek place because they had a roasted chicken and some darn good pork chops - he got the pork, which he liked well enough that he is willing to go back.

                                                                                            22 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: danhole

                                                                                              Great update. I think the quail is an amazing leap.

                                                                                              Nobody who is married has a perfect spouse, and all of us deal with things we don't like as a trade off for what we get instead, and it's up to each of us to decide what's acceptable and what isn't. For me, a person as picky as your spouse would just not work for me, but I didn't marry him :) Nor did you marry mine, with all his foibles. Good for you for keeping at it.

                                                                                              1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                MY husband got a perfect spouse! Just ask me :)

                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                  My wife loves her chef and beer drinking buddy.

                                                                                              2. re: danhole

                                                                                                Good work, Mr and Mrs Hole. Congratulations and a hug to you both!

                                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                  Thanks! The quail has opened a lot of doors because I can lure him into places he would normally dismiss by letting him know they have quail on the menu! Now if it's served on a bed of greens, or sauteed in a maple syrup sauce, well not going to work, but there are a lot of grilled quail, or mesquite smoked quail offerings around here, and he really likes it a lot!

                                                                                                2. re: danhole

                                                                                                  Thank you so much for the update. And it's wonderful that he's being more open to new foods and, more importantly, making an effort to ackowledge to your passions. It's also great to hear that you're getting to add more variety to your menus.

                                                                                                  Even after 30 years, it nice to know that a relationship can adapt - you should be proud!

                                                                                                  1. re: danhole

                                                                                                    Wow - that is real progress - I would say that your man is very similar to several fellows including mine. Well done. Now if I could just get mine to eat Indian food - sigh

                                                                                                    1. re: danhole

                                                                                                      Nice of you to update this and it's good two people can change for the positive.
                                                                                                      This is an issue that really yanks my chain and I probably should do better about it bothering me. I connect reluctance to eating a wide variety of foods, or the lack of willingness to eat what is generally considered good mainstream food, to narrow-minded people; unadventurous, rigid people who seldom bend.
                                                                                                      Anyone else feel this way? Dani, is your hubby like this in any way? For me, an attraction of Chowhound is that there are so many wild and creative people here, that also love food! I don't see all that many here that are staid or boring. Opinionated, yes but not closed-minded.

                                                                                                      1. re: Scargod


                                                                                                        In some regards my DH can be somewhat rigid in his beliefs, but we were both drama majors, that's where we met, so he was a very creative side. Adventurous in many ways, just not with food! He has a great sense of humor, is a wonderful tenor, and knows more triiva and history than most people I know. But when it comes to food, well . . . I really think that his early childhood illnesses and surgery for the tonsils affected him an awful lot, adding all the ear infections and a sadistic dr. that poked holes in his ears to "cure" the problem. Miserable kids don't eat very well. I was just very naive to think I could change him! But slowly, very slowly, I am at least making some changes.

                                                                                                        1. re: danhole

                                                                                                          I've been thinking about Mr. Hole (love that!). Ya know, I think i'd rather eat with him at a chain restaurant than *do* fine dining with a food (or wine) snob. Ok, so maybe he gags a little (I WOULD have a problem with that) but at least he's not saying he feels sorry for anyone who eats x* or that it's idiotic to do *y*.

                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                            Ya know C, he doesn't gag much as long as we stay out of places that smell "fishy" so that's not a problems. And you have a good point about eating with a food snob, or a wine snob - they are a real buzz kill in a fine dining setting. Luckily I don't eat with people like that, or should I say that I might once, but never twice ;-) As far as chains go, and I have said this before on the chains board, if you can't find one thing to eat at a chain restaurant then you are just too picky! There are always salads.

                                                                                                            1. re: danhole

                                                                                                              I eat at chains all the time ... clients. But I just eat what they do best or a salad. I eat almost everything and am not picky in almost any way. I don't order steak at a fast food, I order what they do well. Yes, snobby picky doesn't impress at all. My friends are all over the board. Some food savy, some like cheeze wiz, some sports and only sports and those in between, and clients ... that is a whole different story. I also am on the road. No time for gourmet bistros, lucky to get Mickie Dee's if that so ... I guess put something in front of me, I will rarely complain. My mom raised me that way.

                                                                                                      2. re: danhole

                                                                                                        Wow, quail, that is huge! I am the original chowhound in the marriage and I wouldn't even eat quail!

                                                                                                        1. re: valerie

                                                                                                          Why not? Hope you have had quail since. Delicious.

                                                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                            Tiny little birds are just not appealing to me.

                                                                                                            1. re: valerie

                                                                                                              Why? Do you just think they're too hard to eat?

                                                                                                            1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                              I've not had dove, but if it's anything like quail then I'd probably like it! So would Mr. Hole!

                                                                                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                My daddy hunted dove and quail and I can still remember, as a really little girl, putting my hands in his hunting jacket pockets when he got home where he'd always had some birds for me to find. I knew we were going to have a great dinner.

                                                                                                            2. re: danhole

                                                                                                              Now I know that sounds like a ridiculously small amount of progress but . . .
                                                                                                              I disagree - I think this was a HUGE leap! I think your "you chose a restaurant, then I chose a restaurant" (within reason for him) set-up is a good way to go. Your DH has tried a LOT of different things in the last two years, so kudos to both of you - you for sticking to the fact that you want to try new places, and him for trying them (and trying new-to-him items).

                                                                                                              1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                that is good progress for a curmudgeon, very good progress.

                                                                                                              2. I feel sorry for picky eaters, for what they're missing in this whole world of food. My husband is from NOLA and eats everything, but wasn't crazy about chicken and salads when we were first married. Well, I was the cook, and I made what I wanted and invited him to eat it, fix himself something else, or go out for dinner. I would never cook to a picky person's taste! My goodness, it's like limiting yourself to travel within one country only, to listen only to 2-3 kinds of music, to read only 3-4 writers. Hmph. God bless 'em.

                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                  By the way...it took him no time to really enjoy and request chicken dishes and salads - he'd never had a really good salad lightly dressed. His mom and I were great friends and she taught me all his (and to become my) favorite dishes from south Louisiana.
                                                                                                                  Sometimes, when people say they don't like something, I figure they just haven't had it prepared right for them yet.

                                                                                                                  1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                    Bayoucook. I've met many men from Louisiana, and more than one has told me over dinner that "a coonass boy will eat anything". I think it is all about how you were raised, and what kind of a cook your mama was.

                                                                                                                    I've met Danhole's husband, and he is a swell guy. He must have something going for him if she's stayed with him all these years!! But oh this food thing of his! LOL We local 'hounds have been able to get her out for some "real" food, and he's just going to have to learn to find something on any given menu that he is willing to eat, or stay home with his weenies. She's been a saint to try to teach him about new stuff, but there are some people that just don't want to upset their taste buds. There are many of us in the local Chowhound group that have less than adventurous spouses, so we do understand. One fellow is married to a woman who "hates barbecue". Another fellow (who will eat just about anything) is married to a vegetarian. My Spousal Equivalent will visit just about any restaurant with us, but as often as not, he's happy to sit at home with a bowl of Cheez-its and a Miller Lite (no sulking allowed at Chez Lambo). Its our version of an Open Marriage.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Cheflambo

                                                                                                                      My goodness! Thank you for the added information regarding the (to all the rest of us) enigmatic and now almost iconic Mr Dan Hole! Always knew he is a swell guy! Keep us posted!

                                                                                                                      Funny I always see you as Che (as in Guevara, and just a greeting in southern Bolivia and Argentina) Flambo (as in flambe or flambeado).

                                                                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                        You would not be the first to refer to me as Shay-Flambeaux .... a term of endearment, I'm sure.

                                                                                                                          1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                                                            Mr Shallots is out of town, I'm cooking for myself, so it was past time to return to this thread. I am delighted for Danhole and for the Houston contingent..
                                                                                                                            Y'all have made me miss Houston.
                                                                                                                            Tomorrow spinach and mushroom pizza!

                                                                                                                          2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                            It was thanks to Cheflambo and her SO that I got Mr. Hole back into a restaurant that he swore NEVER AGAIN because they put cole slaw into the same basket alongside the chopped brisket sandwich. Some of the juice of the slaw got on the bun, which wasn't your standard white BBQ style bun in the first place, and that ruined the entire meal for him! Anyway, fast forward to a couple weeks after Ike hit, and we wanted to go to brunch so I call Lambo and ask if they want to join us and we go back to this place and had a great time, and since there were other people there Mr. Hole behaved very well! No complaints at all. If need be, Mr. Hole can sit at home with Mr. Lambo and the Cheez-its, while we go out and feast!

                                                                                                                            1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                              This general topic has appeared in other threads, and I have (probably) written there that the lack of an adventurous palate in someone you are dating should be a serious consideration when choosing a lifetime partner. My family still remarks about a fellow I dated that they really liked but we broke up (allegendly) because he only ate his meat well done and didn't like mushrooms (of course there were other issues, not relevant here). Others here have pointed out that someone that rigid and inflexible about their food probably has other serious control issues that will appear in the relationship, and really SHOULD be avoided. When you're young and in love, you can overlook many things, and delude yourself into thinking that after you're married, you can "change" him/her, or will just learn to live with it. As we have seen here (all over the CH boards) that is all too often NOT the case. I fancied myself a serious foodie until I met my husband Mr. Gourmet, who expanded my horizons that much more. He's now gone, but every time I pull out one of his pieces of cookware, I remember the wonderful food he created for me that I had never tasted before,. Ergo ... there is STILL time for ALL of us to learn more about food, if we only open our minds to it.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Cheflambo

                                                                                                                                I often wonder about this, because I see it the same way. If you refuse to try a new food (or any new food) what else in life won't you try? If they are so rigid in what they'll eat, what does that say about them as people? I've posted before about my boyfriend who likes nothing.... and refuses to see if there is anything out there that he'll like. Do I really want to subject myself to a lifetime of that? Am I putting too much weight on this, or am I on to something.... no clue

                                                                                                                                1. re: kubasd

                                                                                                                                  I think that alot of people who are timid in their food choices will be in other areas. When we travel internationally, we don't stay at American hotel chains, we use public transportation, go to "dive bars," eat from street vendors, hang out with the locals even though we speak little or none of their language(s). We don't travel with others usually because we're SO compatible in that arena that anyone else is just going to slow us down and frustrate us. I'm betting that you can find some other "tests" of rigidity or closemindedness. I can't imagine it's just food but maybe.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                    I have to comment on this. While I'm sure there is often a connection betwen food open mindedness and open mindeness in general, I want to say that from personal experience it's not Always a one to one ration.
                                                                                                                                    My ex spoke three languages, travelled frequently through several continents, read world philosophies, religion and went out of his way to constantly engage the new.
                                                                                                                                    However, I have never met anyone in my life with so many food rules. He wouldn't eat soup! Didn't like the way warm liquids felt...

                                                                                                                                    Anyway, maybe he was just the exception that proved the rule.

                                                                                                                    2. Difficult, yes, divorce ... of course ...

                                                                                                                      Just Kidding

                                                                                                                      My ex was similar, not that bad but similar to a degree. Me I try anything, may not like it all but try at least once. I eat most. Other than 2 short periods when I was young ... never picky.

                                                                                                                      Being unmarried and single I don't date much, work and just not very interested, more frustrated than anything I go alone. I don't mind. Try small portions usually 2-3 appetizers or one small meal. Enough for me and not as expensive. Try to do that every other week. Otherwise sometimes I'll pick up a menu and try to recreate one night. I enjoy that more than anything.

                                                                                                                      I also used to go with a good friend for dinner 1x per month. I don't like to eat out much, now I have a good friend who I cook with 1-2 x per month. We try different things.

                                                                                                                      1. It has a lot to do with what you ate and what your parents' attitudes were about food.
                                                                                                                        Mine loved cooking, loved food, raised their own veggies. It never crossed our minds not to like what was put before us. Wouldn't have done any good if we had. But their obvious enjoyment of it was all we needed. To this day, I'll try anything once. I dread to think that I might have never tasted a raw oyster (took a while, that one did), now I CRAVE them.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                          True, I had a garden, summer were on a lake so fished a ton, Lake MI, blue inland, bass pearch, walleye, trout, salmon, browns, coho, shinook, you name it, the garden we grew it all, fresh herbs too, fresh fruit from nearby to pick and mom and dad ate anything. I hunted, shot bambi's Dad, quail, duck, rabbit, we all did up there. It made me appreciate a lot. Sometimes in the summer 1 week of crappy weather so we baked or canned, froze corn, peas, beans, rhubard pie and jam, strawberries were big up there so were cherries. I made cherry everything and strawberries don't get me started. So I guess it does have a lot to do with how you grew up. Other than a couple of weird few months I ate anything and tried anything. I pretty much eat whatever you put in front of me.

                                                                                                                        2. Related to this topic, what if your SO doesn't pay attention to ingredient labels or doesn't care if beef is grass-fed or corn-fed, but the other in the relationship cares deeply about such issues and mostly limits his diet to whole, real, raw, and/or organic foods? I've read many books on food and nutrition (such as "Real Food: What to Eat and Why" by Nina Planck), watched the excellent movie Food, Inc., and as a result of this knowledge have a strong passion for unadulterated foods such as raw milk. Whenever I try to recommend a food I seem to get the "don't control what I eat" response, but at other times she is open to new foods. Perhaps I approach it the wrong way. Of course health is a big issue because I want the best for her, but she tends to take it the wrong way. I know it's not easy to change your eating habits after so long of being used to certain foods and ways of preparing them. Any feedback on this?

                                                                                                                          16 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Nate650

                                                                                                                            Ah, what a great thread to have revived! This is probably redundant as hell cause I haven't reread this thread but stop trying to control her. Please. I can't imagine that your SO would refuse to eat "whole, real, raw and/or organic foods." So you do the shopping, menu planning and cooking. Odds are she'll eat what you fix. If she won't, then you can decide if this is a dealbreaker for you. If you nag, SHE may decide it's a dealbreaker for HER.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Nate650

                                                                                                                              Do the shopping and the cooking as much as possible? I went from eating crap most of my life to eating more healthfully (along the lines you are dicussing above), and my BF was a big part of that. He talked about the issues you cite often, but never in a "you should do this" way, more like "you know what I was reading today?" or "hey, check out this awesome recipe I found!" He also is the cook in our relationship, so I ate whatever he prepared, which was often much healthier and included far more vegetables than I would have ever cooked for myself.

                                                                                                                              Ultimately, I ended up finding that the way he thought about food made a lot of sense, and his meals were way tastier than what I'd been eating. I have been overweight my entire life, so I am very sensitive to people lecturing me about healthy food. His approach worked very well and I am grateful to have been so enriched. I'm way healthier these days. Good luck, Nate!

                                                                                                                              1. re: antennastoheaven

                                                                                                                                Great story, thanks for sharing and thanks for the suggestions.

                                                                                                                              2. re: Nate650

                                                                                                                                It seems to me you are asking her to change her eating habits without being willing to make any changes in your own. Part of being in a relationship is being able to meet people halfway. If you can't respect that she might not want to buy organic all the time or that she sometimes eats corn-fed beef, then it's hard for you to expect that she's going to respect all aspects of your lifestyle. I think the best approach is to introduce her to certain foods by preparing meals and going to restaurants that support your points of view. However if she decides to go to Five Guys or buys a Purdue chicken, you have to be a little bit more open minded about it.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Nate650

                                                                                                                                  Can you give us a typical scenario?

                                                                                                                                  I like raw milk, but I feel that I don't have time to chase it down. If someone wanted to buy it for me, I'd have no problem with that. I feel I make pretty healthy choices, but I do eat at mainstream restaurants (very little fast food, and I eliminate places like Wingstop that are clearly using inferior ingredients that weren't raised humanely--I base that on the high number of broken bones in my order the last time I ate there). I do keep Velveeta in the house at all times--mostly as a vehicle for the dogs' pills. I buy ground bison instead of ground beef. I cook human grade food for my dogs. Anything I know to do that I can do without bending over backwards and making the search for food a full time job, I do it.

                                                                                                                                  There was a time when I ate crappy frozen food, didn't recycle, and didn't care about any of this stuff. Part of it is a learning process ... some people are open to learning, others aren't. To me these food issues are part of the larger question of being responsible citizens of the world, so I think it is pretty important and not something to ignore in the context of a relationship.

                                                                                                                                  It sounds like you may be a perfectionist ... do you think she feels that you're telling her she's wrong? Maybe you can tell us how things usually go down ...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                    Hi there, thanks for the response. Here are a few examples. One time I made some potatoes and eggs, which consisted of a slice or two of chopped bacon, onion, potatoes, and eggs, with parsley on the top. She has this fear of fat and exclaimed "I'm not used to all that fat." She ate it, but it was new to her palate. She thinks it will automatically make her fat (she's a skinny girl but has had weight/eating disorders in the past, which may be a reason for her views). Another time I made chicken soup and she wasn't used to seeing droplets of oil on top. I assumed she has only eaten chicken soup without the skin at that point. I have yet to find a chicken soup recipe that specifies to remove the skin. Finally, she doesn't like whole milk, butter, or olive oil, but will eat a fettucini alfredo at a restaurant, which leaves me confused. She says that whole milk is "too heavy." It seems that this narrows down my choices quite a bit, and these are the healthiest and most flavorful fats for me!

                                                                                                                                    Another scenario is I'll share with her a part of a book that I read which stated butter is a much better choice than margarine, and she'll have to research it first or need to read it in a book to believe me, or she just doesn't make any changes. Does she not trust me or my judgement, or just wants to prove to me that she doesn't have to listen to anyone? I understand people have different tastes, but if someone were to tell me that ingredient x is bad for my health for xyz reasons, I'd avoid it. Some people respond differently to such information, perhaps due to lack of responsibility, as you suggested. It reminds me of a person who watches Food, Inc. and eats McDonald's the following day.

                                                                                                                                    She basically eats what her mom has made her and that's what she's used to. To me, they are very plain, boring, and unnecessarily super low-fat meals. I don't think the situation is helpless, but since I care about her I wouldn't want to watch her eating McDonald's for example. At the same time, I can't force her what to eat, so I think to myself how important this is in a relationship. It's impossible to find someone that makes you happy in all areas, and in other areas I'm very happy.

                                                                                                                                    Yes I'd generally consider myself a perfectionist, nice catch :) I don't consider myself a very good verbal communicator, so perhaps she feels that I'm telling her she's wrong or am personally attacking her.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Nate650

                                                                                                                                      If she isn't used to eating higher fat foods, it may be that her digestive system can't handle it as well as yours. That's kind of an embarrassing subject to address with anyone, so I can empathize with her situation. I know I have similar issues with having to watch how much fat I eat in a given day and people just don't get it.

                                                                                                                                      I think she's being very responsible by wanting to do her own research. So many "studies" have no statistical significance or end up using scientifically unsound methods. If she is more skeptical, it makes sense that she want to read up on what you are saying on her own and make her own decisions based on a more broad examination of the research available.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Nate650

                                                                                                                                        If you gave me whole milk, I'd almost gag. I've gotten it a couple of times in restaurants by accident and it tasted like heavy cream. Just one example.
                                                                                                                                        PS: Get off her back.
                                                                                                                                        PPS: Let her read this, ask her opinion, shut up and listen :)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Nate650

                                                                                                                                          You didn't mention the history of eating disorders before ... that's a game changer in terms of what this is all about. If it were me, I'd learn a lot more about them.

                                                                                                                                          To me, the independent research is quite reasonable. Mom got to her before the age of reason (don't they all), but I see it as healthy that as an adult she is now questioning the input she receives and looking for independent validation. That's all good ...

                                                                                                                                          I was not one to pay too much attention to my mother's constant input. She did not try to instill a fear of fat, but some mothers do, and this seems to be an example of that. (It may well be a multigenerational history of eating disorders.) I liked to eat the fat on pork chops when I was little, and I remember my mother saying, you might as well not get used to that, because you won't be able to eat all that fat later. But she didn't scream and take it away from me, or trim the chops before serving!

                                                                                                                                          The reason she'll eat alfredo is that she either doesn't know or else 'doesn't know' what's in it. She doesn't feel responsible for that (and the fat isn't visible, or blatantly obvious, unless the sauce breaks), but if the ingredients are right in front of her, she does. It's like keeping a kosher kitchen but going out for Chinese on Sundays--it's a freebie, it doesn't count.

                                                                                                                                          I am no longer the toothpick I once was, and mom was right, I no longer indulge in chunks of pork fat. I've read Nina's book & started drinking whole milk again for awhile ... when I gained weight, I went back to 2%. If you've been drinking less than whole, whole does taste quite rich.

                                                                                                                                          If I were you, I'd move toward compromise. There are tools for removing fat from soup, and I imagine you could let the cream rise & remove it from the milk. I would let her know that you want her to be comfortable, you want her to be healthy, and you're taking her preferences into account.

                                                                                                                                          Since she likes to research things on her own, I'd give her the books or DVDs or whatever that you're reading & like ... tell her you liked it, thought it was interesting, or whatever, and you'd like her opinion.

                                                                                                                                          Maybe you can trade off cooking meals, and when it's you're turn, let her know what you've done to accomodate her preferences. Just something--like you used 2 strips of bacon instead of 3 ;)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Nate650

                                                                                                                                            She may have some control issues of her own if she has prior weight/eating disorders. I think the last thing you want to do is try to "control" what she eats. I grew up with a very overbearing father and ex-bf and am very sensitive to people telling me what I should or should not do.

                                                                                                                                            I know you care about her and want what you think it's best for her. But there are different ways to go about it. I believe in teaching by example. I used to work in an office where most of the workers ate fast food and greasy Dominican food on a daily basis. Once in a while I would join them in some chicharrons, but I generally brought my own "healthful" lunch. Never uttered a word about their eating habits. Just quietly ate my stuff and talked about non-food related things. Over the months, I noticed that a lot of the girls started bringing in their own food at times. One of them told me that she got inspired by me bringing my own lunch and wanted to eat better.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Nate650

                                                                                                                                            My husband is very much into organic food which I used to think was an expensive hoax. His ex had crohn's disease and as a result he now is a walking health food encyclopedia. Thankfully he also is a gourmet, even more than I am. He encourages me to try his new "health" foods, which I do because he never nags. Raw cocoa powder, meh. Caveman cookies? Double meh. But organic grapes? I'm now a convert; I can tell the difference. For me, my issue is the price of this stuff more than anything else, but that's probably because he's not a nagger. Actually, even that may not be an issue much longer because we're going to join a collective farm this year.
                                                                                                                                            My suggestion? Don't nag. Just cook tasty food and have her enjoy it without any pressure. There's a chance she won't like everything- just don't force her to overlook taste for health benefits right away as I'm sure there's plenty that she will like.

                                                                                                                                          3. Join a dining group and let him do the research/decide if he wants to come.

                                                                                                                                            PS I see that is what you've done ;)

                                                                                                                                            1. No. That is much too harsh. My wife is more of an "open diner," than am I. OTOH, I will explore more quickly, though might rule out items. Also, I have zero allergies, so I can explore more. Still, I end up with a more limited menu, than she does.

                                                                                                                                              It makes the world go round. She gets my asparagus and I get her scallops. She gets my eggplant, and I get her old Bordeaux! Life is not bad. Now, she HAS had to suffer for almost 40 years, and may have a different perspective, than I do, but that's my story, and I am sticking to it.



                                                                                                                                              1. on of my best girlfriends' boyfriend ended up having to have radiation treatments that reduced/altered his ability to taste.
                                                                                                                                                as a result, he no longer wanted to accompany her to nice restaurants (understandably).
                                                                                                                                                she rolled with the punches and organized a small dining group made up of me and two other girlfriends of hers. once a month we all go out to a 'good' restaurant together. we rotate the restaurant selection duty so that everyone has a chance to select.
                                                                                                                                                at this point in our lives, we're glad the boyfriend is still alive and healthy, and that WE have a formal reason to get together regularly and enjoy great food.

                                                                                                                                                1. Trade spouses for each other for a while? I'm also a good cook! I'm kidding of course, but I know your pain all too much. I love my wife, but I haven't had some of my favorite foods since getting married and it's driving me crazy. I'm working on introducing new foods to her, but she's very difficult with certain foods.

                                                                                                                                                  She will not eat any form of ground meat (no sausage, stuffed peppers, pepperoni, meatloaf, hamburgers, etc.), no onions, peppers, mushrooms, peas, and a whole list of other things, and if somehow she's reminded that she's eating an animal she acts sick and disgusted and ruins any sort of mood the dining may have had. It can be a nightmare to take her out to eat because of that alone, and even worse yet if I'd made the meal. Yet she'll eat sushi and sashimi. She is at least becoming more adventurous so maybe eventually she'll break on some of the things.

                                                                                                                                                  One big success was with tomatoes. I brought home these organic cherry tomatoes and kept bugging her to try it because they were so good. Finally she popped one in her mouth just to shut me up. After a lengthy angry stare she muttered "That is pretty good" She's still picky about what tomatoes she eats, but then again so am I. We like tomatoes with actual flavor... no cardboard flavored ones as a rule.

                                                                                                                                                  She does tell me to make whatever I like and she'll just eat a bowl of cereal or something but half of the joys in cooking and eating are in sharing it! It's as much a social need for me as it is a nutritional need.

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DaemonKrog

                                                                                                                                                    And you married her why?
                                                                                                                                                    Just kidding ;)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DaemonKrog

                                                                                                                                                      my husband has always disliked uncooked tomatoes. He likes tomato sauce as long as it is pureed, but if you give tomatoes to him in a salad, he will pick around them; he doesn't put them in the salad if he makes it; and heaven forbid you should put them on a burger. Indeed, he will even pick pieces of cooked tomato out of stews and soups...

                                                                                                                                                      Nonetheless, a few years ago we moved from the heart of San Francisco to the Central Valley, which has a climate more conducive to growing tomatoes, and the second thing I did after buying a bicycle (no hills! :-)) was to plant tomatoes. Actually (and this may have been key) I asked hubby to be the gardener; my contribution has been pretty much limited to harvesting and eating them.

                                                                                                                                                      Well, we now have two types of cherry tomatoes and Early Girls, and a nice crop at that (indeed, all three varieties are still going strong and we are getting a daily harvest, in mid-October).

                                                                                                                                                      To my surprise, I had begun to notice that when it was hubby's turn to cook dinner, that raw tomatoes were appearing in several dishes, and that he would eat them in salad. The other day I even saw him pick one up and eat it like an apple! I finally asked about the change of heart: he says that he still doesn't like the texture much, but that he has noticed that the flavor has improved enough that he's willing to 'eat through the texture' as he puts it.

                                                                                                                                                      Obviously, the flavor of our home grown tomatoes beat the heck out of grocery store tomatoes, but on top of that, I think they taste even better since he was the one out in the heat planting, weeding, and all of that!

                                                                                                                                                      I believe that the other key to this success is that in year one we started with just the cherry tomatoes (Sweet 100's are particularly easy for a novice gardener to grow, at least around here), and added in the others in year two. I think small cherry tomatoes are a great introduction to the fruit for those who aren't sure they like them: they are small enough that texture won't be an issue, and have a lot of flavor for such a tiny piece of fruit!


                                                                                                                                                    2. Have him enlist in the US Marine Corps. He'll come a new man, will eat everything w/ gusto and the sex will be terrrrific!

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                        Damn! I still like my idea! Beats divorce and look at all the bennies! Hoo Haa!

                                                                                                                                                      2. There are certain things that are rooted in childhood, and can't be torn out. My x father-in-law grew up in Ireland and considered corn to be pig food !! To my surprise one Thanksgiving Day ! He lived in Canada over 40 years but would still not touch corn.

                                                                                                                                                        1. My husband isn't too picky-he'll try things...but he won't eat cheese or dairy, hates alcohol in anything, and can't bite peppers the texture freaks him out. Can't slide the stuff in and fool him either, he tastes it.

                                                                                                                                                          I tend to go out to eat with my pals instead, although he will go to most places I pick he always likes my food better. When I wanted to go to a Robbie Burns night (complete with the dreaded Haggis) I planned to go with a Scottish guy pal of ours, who's wife also had no interest in haggis. We joked about our "date" and said they could go eat something normal together LOL!
                                                                                                                                                          At home he can have oatmeal for breakfast and I'll whip myself up a roasted red pepper and goats cheese quiche, I am not going without the food I like! It also works out well because some of my female friends have picky eater husbands and are always happy with a take out plate of my latest creation. There's always a way :-)