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Apr 25, 2007 11:57 PM

Do you lie about food?? [Moved from Home Cooking]


Apropos of Larkspur's thread, I got to thinking. Do you lie about food?

Mr Goddess thought tofu was "soft cheese" for years (cos he didn't "do" tofu, but loved the "soft cheese" I put in soups.)

Same with garbanzo beans. He will eat garbanzo's but hates "chickpeas".

I lie to my step kids all the time about food.. There are no green vegies in my home made dim sum. The red sauce in pastas don't have tomato in them, and no there are no mushrooms/carrots/leeks/name hated vegetable of the week in my thick (read pureed) soups.

Mr Goddess never ate raw fish, but he loved the "savoury japanese marshmellow" in sushi (I have come clean about that one!)

What little "porkie pies" (pun fully intended!) do you tell to get your loved ones to eat your cooking, or to ensure you get your fix of whatever they don't like??

  1. This may sound harsh and even a rant but this pushes my buttons... I never lie at all. Ever. If they don't want to eat it, then tough luck. They can make what they want. I don't pander to people who won't eat certain foods or try new ones. If someone comes to visit and they don't try new foods or play food games I never invite them over again.

    I think people who have weird diets and are not educated about what they should and should not, will or will not eat, have issues that they should address, but since I retired as a psychologist that isn't my job..

    I always make foods special for people if they have religious observations or allergies. If they are vegetarian they will always have several / many options because I always do, but meat will be served as the main course.

    If I don't like what someone else makes I don't eat it. I never ask for anything specially made or for ingredients to be left out except for items I have allergies to, even then I usually don't say a word and just don't eat that dish.

    I grew up with parents who had no taste in food and couldn't cook / hated to cook, so I made what I wanted, how I wanted, from an early age and took over the family cooking by age 12. I will try any and everything not just once but several times. If I don't like it the first time I will still try it again because I have found that some incredible foods take awhile to get a mental grip on. The only foods I don't eat are because they are boring and flavorless.

    Interestingly my parents have great taste and are well educated in wines and liqueurs.

    If someone lied to me about what was in a dish I would be insulted. If it was an item that I am allergic too and they knew it I would probably belt them if it was a guy doing the lying and leave if it was a woman. wouldn't deal with them again. I have had someone lie about food to me in the past and I had an allergic reaction. I wasn't the only one who visited the hospital that day.

    15 Replies
    1. re: JMF

      I'm curious -- what constitutes a "weird diet?"

      1. re: Miss Needle

        How about: I once knew a guy (early 30s) who would not eat anything that had what he termed "goo" on it. "Goo" included salad dressing, sauce, including pasta sauce, soy sauce, etc., pancake syrup, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, even butter. Would boil pasta noodles, drain and eat. Relished an absolutely naked baked potato. Would not eat Indian, Chinese, Thai, etc. When he was in law school he sometimes ate 3 meals a day at McDonald's, waiting the extra time for his special order with no special sauce, ketchup, etc. He would eat pizza, though only cheese.

          1. re: quizwrangler

            this non-"goo"-eating gentleman reminds me of my college sweetheart (we've since parted), who wouldn't eat "mush food" or "gush food" (nothing with sauces, gravies, dressings. Pasta was plain, maybe with a touch of butter. Plain potatoes. No cakes with icings/frostings). Maybe your acquaintance and my former sweetheart are the same fellow? :-)

        1. re: JMF

          I'm curious what a food game is; could you explain?

          1. re: enbell

            By games I mean psychological power and control issues revolving around food.

            Some extreme examples are some types of bulimia and anorexia. Less extreme examples are people who are vegetarian or partially so, but have no solid medical or moral reasons to back up their food choices. People who say they won't eat certain foods because they are "bad for you" but they have no valid research to back up their claim. In reality it is just a decision they made based on twisted logic that enables them to use that food item as a way to provide control on their lives or the actions of others. It's kind of hard to be specific since it is a slippery slope between mild or heavy games and psychological dysfunction.

            1. re: JMF

              I hear what you are saying though I think there needs to be room in there for people to make their own food choices.

              For instance, highlighting the difference between someone who doesn't want to eat a certain food or type of food for whatever reason and who's polite about it and who seeks to avoid issues/confrontations over it... vs. the kind of person who asks others to jump through hoops to tailor meals to them. I don't think you're implying this but I'd still like to say that it's no more appropriate for a host to be deciding whether someone's food choices are based on "valid research" than it is for a guest to insist that certain foods are "bad for you" (meaning not just him, but all eaters).

              The (horribly annoying) games work both ways but it has far more (I think) to do with the personalities involved than the foods. That is, I'm saying if the host and guest are both reasonable people, it's possible for both to still have a great time at a party, even if the host is making something the guest just will not eat for whatever reason. Maybe guest compliments the drinks or side dishes and volunteers to take some of the main course home for another family member that they know will love it... but assures host they're fine. Both agree the good company is enough.

              But yeah - actual game playing is decidedly not fun. And that would've been awful, to have been lied to about food ingredients you're allergic to. (How do those who have serious allergies preserve a sanguine view of other people in general when they run into a lot of cavalier attitudes about that? It would seem to lead to some valid skepticism.)

              1. re: JMF

                JMF: please, please talk to my mother. She's got the most bizarre reasons in the world for her self-chosen diet, which isn't unhealthy per se, but she excludes items based on reasons in Kashrut. However, it doesn't follow; either you're kosher, or you're not! It's not a matter of pick-and choose!

                1. re: mamachef

                  it's not that black and white. I will never eat non-kosher meat but i go into non kosher restaurants and eat non-meat items (i.e. pizza, pasta, salad)

                  1. re: mamachef

                    many jews do this. it is not improper for a conservative jew,imnsho

                  2. re: JMF

                    just so long as you respect empirical research done on OWN BODY. aka multigrain pasta makes me sick, so don't feed it to me. or Ramen is better for me than semolina pasta.

                  3. re: enbell

                    This is a touchy subject for me for a variety of reasons...

                    First of all, I avoid nuts because of allergies and meat by choice. I can recount restaurant experiences where I left in mild to severe hives even though I informed the server of my allergy, and requested he/she inform the kitchen to omit said ingredients, and avoid necessary oils/sauces. There is no way the mention of an allergy ought to be taken as a food game. My extreme reaction is anaphalaxis, the chef who either blew off my request or forgot (we'll never know) was risking my life (extreme example, but possible result).

                    Second, I am a server, and have been for some time as I pay my way through school. I have come accross the absent minded chefs who forget to omit the onions, tomatoes, ect. so I know there is room for honest human error (especially in a crazy kitchen during the dinner rush). I have also worked with the arrogant chef who only cooks his dish "one way, my way," and leaves it to the customer to make needed changes.

                    So, how do I know if the hives that indicate my stir-fry was cooked with peanut oil (or used a spoon that cooked with peanut oil earlier) are the result of simple mistake, or an ego? The answer is, I never will. My experience leads me to believe that both explanations are entirely possible. Add to this the fact that I am a vegetarian. How then, can I trust that the soup broth isn't chicken stock after all? I always feel that I am the one being "screwed with," not that I have control issues with the back of the house.

                  4. re: JMF

                    Never would have guessed you were a psychologist ;o))).

                    I am annoyed by people who won't try foods they've never experienced before but will usually accommodate them as best I can if it's not a huge amount of work. Real allergies are, of course, a different matter. I won't lie either, but I don't seem to get a lot of questions, so I don't have to.

                    I love to cook too, and will eat just about anything that I'm not already sure will result in an unacceptable aftermath. Unfortunately my weight is proof of both that and the fact that I am not good at portion control. I've only had a handful of experiences where I just couldn't get through the item on my plate and those were pretty much parts of things we just don't eat in our culture, so it's probably as much anticipation and perception as real aversion..

                    1. re: Midlife

                      I was a psychologist for around 15 years, before becoming a food & beverage writer & consultant, winemaker, brewer, and now distiller.

                  5. Personally, I don't lie about what is in food. However, I don't have kids yet. I'm sure there are tons of parents who cannot get their kids to eat vegetables. I, for one, was one of them. I was an extremely picky eater and would only eat pizza, McDonalds, White Castles and noodles in anchovy broth. I would have definitely understood if my mom tried to sneak some veggies in my food from time to time.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      My mom had a sign over the dining room table:

                      "If you don't like it, don't eat it. If you don't eat it, don't tell me about it."

                      That said, we always had to eat a salad with dinner. That was the only rule.

                      Kids I get, but lying to Mr. G about Tofu? I wonder if he didn't really know all along.

                    2. I was a kid that ate everything so my parents never had to convince me to eat by lying. My brother on the other hand was very picky. We traveled alot when we were in elementary school. Before we left the house on a trip my mom would remind him that she wouldn't be cooking and that if he didn't eat that he would starve and die. And if he wanted junk food/snacks in he would have to order it himself. It worked. He learned to order crepes in Paris, frites in Brugge and Amsterdam, and pizza in Italy.

                      My favorite story about lying to a kid to make him eat was one told my my brothers FIL. He once (jokingly) told his middle school age son that pate was peanut butter. It soon became an expensive lie as the son fell in love with this peanut butter.

                      1. I may lie about a lot of other things, but not about food. I am curious, tho, about how you were able to pass off ANYTHING in sushi as a "savoury Japanese marshmallow"!

                        This thread also reminds me of a friend in college who was Punjabi. Her grandfather eventually joined the family in the US from India, and he wanted to continue to observe the traditional dietary restrictions. His family, however, had 'gone native', and ate everything. Hence, when he would ask what kind of meat he was eating, it was always, "lamb"...unless it was chicken, in which case they'd tell him the truth. One time, while eating roast beef, he commented that the lamb in the US had a much wider variation in flavors than back in India.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: ricepad

                          Don't like that. Religious/cultural/moral dietary restrictions should be respected, not forced upon trusting people. :(

                          1. re: carbocat

                            Agreed. I thought it was tremendously disrespectful to her grandfather.

                            1. re: ricepad

                              Oh, my, that is so wrong. Poor granddad.

                          2. re: ricepad

                            I'm late to the party, so to speak, but this reminds me of the pre-school my kids went to and our list of food allergy//preferences we had to keep. Someone asked about a "no pork" requirement for one of the kids, and I told them that it wasn't "life-threatening" it was "after-life threatening."

                            1. re: ooeygooey

                              That's so funny - I'll have to remember that one!

                            2. re: ricepad

                              I saw an Arabic muslim in first class on a flight from London, unknowingly eat ham once.
                              When he asked what it was, the hostess told him "ham", instead of saying pork, which I think he would've recognised. When I told my dad about it later, he said that the Arabic word for meat is very similar sounding to 'ham' so the man made an honest mistake.
                              I'm sure Allah won't hold it against him.
                              In my defense, I was only 14 and alone; I wouldn't have dared to said anything!

                              1. re: weewah

                                I had a classmate in grad school who never asked "what is it?" and always asked "what animal did this come from?" instead. She is well versed in the animal sounds used throughout the world and will gladly act out various creatures until she gets an affirmative reply.

                                1. re: mpjmph

                                  That is my usual route. When in Italy, though (many years before foodie-dom), I just had to learn the names of the cured meats, since they would just tell me "coppa" or "pancetta" as if I was being silly. They didn't tend to like that I didn't want to eat pork there.

                                2. re: weewah

                                  Wonder whether the hostess knew that ham was pork. So many people have no clue what's in their food.

                              2. I never lie when asked a direct question. However I don't tell everyone what is in the food before them. I think this falls under "don't ask don't tell". I think some of our dinner guests have suspicions about what we're offering them, but most just assume we have strange tastes and don't want to know more. That's fine with me.

                                I only ask host cooks what is in a dish if I'm genuinely curious about a flavor or texture, and they know I like to cook so it's not because I don't like the food.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: cheryl_h

                                  I agree. I don't lie but I do "don't ask don't tell". Ground turkey in tacos, spaghetti, and other dishes is common in my house. Fat free cheese, sour cream, cream cheese instead of the full flavor. Sometimes wheat pasta if the sauce is thick enough. I also "hide" vegetables in dishes. Just making dinners healthier for my husband.

                                  1. re: carinole

                                    I do this too. Especially when I entertain - I always cook vegetarian but I don't point it out unless asked. Same thing if I'm making something more low-fat/healthy than it normally is...