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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!

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  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.