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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...

                                2. Our granddaughter 6 eats everything, including stinky cheese, smoked salmon, veggies etc. However the 4 yo will not eat any fruits and vegetables. although we do not lie to her, we serve her "meze" (greek word for appetizers), which is actually fried zucchini that she loves. Desparately worried about her nutrition, I just purchased a book called "The Sneaky Chef" which is a really great book about how to add vegetables to everything from mac and cheese to brownies. I will still call it mac and cheese and brownies but she does not need to know it has cauliflower in it!

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: emilief

                                    My Brother has two little ones ( 3 & 5). They were always pretty good eaters, but about three months ago, my SIL told them they had to try everything that was being served at dinner ( at home, at restaurants or at relatives). She said they did not have to eat it if they did not like it, but had to try it. She was more than pleasantly surprised- they like almost everything, and the older one even told her he wished he had tried some of the items ( canneloni beans, calamari and salmon, for example) earlier. So we do not have to even think of lying ( or omitting) ingredients when they come over. As I am serving, I will ask each of them if they would like a particuler item, and they always say " yes please." They are a joy to eat with, and to cook with.

                                    1. re: macca

                                      this is my preferred approach but it only works if they haven't already formed an irrational hatred for whatever food they've decided to hate for the day.

                                      The OP's husband won't eat chickpeas but likes garbanzos? Hell, I don't even think it's technically lying to serve the guy garbanzos all the time.

                                      1. re: choctastic

                                        You are right. The yougest one had alreadly decided that she hates salad. Her brother will eat it three times a day if allowed. She told me that only boys like salad. Will see if that changes with time.

                                        1. re: choctastic

                                          The unspoken subtext might be something like he hates the taste of dried chickpeas or chickpeas as they're presented with a little more strong flavor in Indian cuisine, etc. But he's OK with the pale, mild-tasting roundish things that sometimes appear on salads. But he hasn't really thought through the difference, so to him anything he doesn't like involving that substance is a chickpea, but stuff he's OK with must be a garbanzo. (That said, I'm not saying this guy wasn't a problem.)

                                    2. I don't think I've ever lied about food. I'm blessed with a daughter who eats everything, which makes a big difference. I'm very picky, so everyone was worried, but when she was younger, I was able to hide my pickiness; obviously at almost 10, she's been onto me for a long time. Another reason we share entrees is so she can eat adult food rather than the stuff from the kid's menu. It was a joy when she was three, and we went into the restaurant at the Sheraton in San Francisco, and she said, "yes, I want the pasta. I love shrimp and scallops." :-)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: boltnut55

                                        Mom? heh...I always ate from my mom's plate(especially if it was at a seafood restaurant!) as a kid and ordered from the grown-ups menu because I could eat more than the kid portions. Adults also thought it was kind of strange because when I was a kid and all the kids wanted happy meals I always wanted a fish sandwich at mcdonalds. Anyway, my mom is pickier than I am(actually picky isn't really the best word...she is more skeptical of a lot of new things, mostly from different cuisines). Dad was a meat and potatoes type and would barely touch even take-out chinese food, so we didn't have a huge variety when I was growing up.

                                      2. I had a friend who was undergoing cancer treatments, and had never in his life eaten vegetables because he didn't like them. His diet was chicken, rice, potatoes and sushi (though couldn't eat sushi while doing treatment), and that's about it. So my mother made him a chicken and potatoes dish with 'gravy' which was actually 7 or 8 different vegetables pureed and strained, mixed with chicken broth. He raved about it every time. We didn't exactly lie, but felt the nutrition factor was more important than the ingredient omission.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: marmite

                                          When my oldest son was little, his grandfather used to have lunch once a week (at least) with us. My dad loved liverworst, and my young son asked what it was. My dad told him "funny baloney". My son loved it. But, after my dad died, I never bought any and it was a forgotten memory until now :) .

                                          I never cared for the stuff, and remember my nic-name for it "worse than liver"!

                                        2. One of my life rules is "When has honesty NOT worked?"

                                          I married into a Southern family who ate their Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners on paper plates (none of the 3 grown daughters wanted to fuss with holiday meals) and knew it was a special occasion when they got to put ketchup on their beans (nice Of Mice and Men reference eh?).

                                          I have fed this family in mass quantities of well prepared and tasty Italian, Greek, and American foods and I love to watch in wonder when I see their "what is he feeding me now" looks. I NEVER lie to them and most of the time, except for the bread dressing at Thanksgiving incident when I was called a Yankee heathen, they love the idea of eating and trying new foods because before I came along, nobody gave a crap about good food! It would be disingenuous of me to lie to them about what they're eating. Hey, if they don't like it, they don't have to eat it, and they won't hurt my feelings because well... I only cook what I LIKE anyway but I don't tell them that...

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Scagnetti

                                            Hilarious. I'm a Southerner who married a Yankee Heathen. I made "stuffing" from bread cubes a time or two....blech. Your inlaws were correct to urge you to make proper dressing from cornbread and biscuits ;-)

                                            And speaking of dressing, the only food lie I'm aware of in my family is my Mom's method for appeasing my Dad who didn't like celery in his dressing. My grandmother made a separate small container of dressing w/out celery. My Mom chopped the celery extremely fine and drove on. I remember the day my grandmother spilled the beans...my Dad was wide-eyed and my Mom was pissed.

                                          2. My mom used to occasionally lie about the ingredients in foods. I'd ask whether something I didn't like was in a dish and she'd say no, but I'd check for myself and find out that the disliked ingredient in question was actually in the dish. As a result, I do not trust my mother when it comes to food and am extremely paranoid when I eat her food. Don't lie about food or you'll produce a suspicious, neurotic person like myself.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: Humbucker

                                              I agree, Humbucker. I'm an admitted (and ashamed) picky eater who was lied to about what my food contained as a kid. (I also had the timer set on me to force me to finish the foods that made me gag, but my parents have apologized for that). I really believe that the lies and omissions made my pickiness worse. To this day, if I ask what is in a dish and someone refuses to tell me or is coy about it, I simply won't eat it. The bad feelings from being fooled are just too strong. My husband is incredibly supportive of my pickiness and is always honest with me about ingredients. As a result, I have tried and enjoyed many more foods since we've been together than I ever did before. Still picky, but progressing!

                                              1. re: Laurella

                                                A lot of the foods that I considered forbidden I actually ended up loving later on. Who knows, I might have warmed up to them earlier, if my mom hadn't made be associate those foods with deception.

                                              2. re: Humbucker

                                                My mother used to boil every green vegetable to death, which got worse when she discovered frozen food. She poured olive oil and garlic powder over it, tossed it, and declared it "fixed" (English was a second language). Whenever I would ask her to set aside some of the ___ (fill it in), so that I could have mine without the garlic, she would lie and tell me that my portion did not have garlic in it, nor olive oil. Believe me, this was the least of the things she lied about, but it was extremely insulting.

                                                1. re: Humbucker

                                                  I agree wholeheartedly! When my 3 year old went into his picky stage my first impulse was to try the Sneaky Chef thing. The more I thought about I decided this was not the way I wanted to go. I wanted my son to be interested in food and to enjoy it not to wonder what mom hid in it today. I think that hiding or lying about food creates more issues that just being a picky eater.

                                                  1. re: tysmom06

                                                    THANK YOU. I've always gotten so incredibly irked at the 'sneaky chef' thing. I think it's a lazy way to get kids to eat healthily. Cook it (getting them involved is biggest positive key here, IMO), put a little on their plate, let them see you enjoying it, and throw it in the garbage if they don't eat it. I did usually insist that they at least try one bite, but if it became an upsetting dining issue I let it go. I remember reading somewhere that it takes more than a few tries to develop a taste for something you don't love at first (Hello Cilantro!)

                                                    These fine children are now late teens, and are all very adventurous eaters. Didn't stunt their growth, either - they tower over me at 6'4, 6'6, and 6'7. My neck hurts!

                                                    1. re: southern_expat

                                                      More than sneaky, I think it is important to be a CLEVER chef. Introduce the kids to foods prepared in different ways. Roasting, sauteing, different cuisines, etc. Play off what they do like and that will get them to be more open to trying things as opposed to not liking "green" stuff. I am the same with cilantro...I LOVE it now! Used to be 'meh' about it on the verge of not liking it.

                                                2. I don't actually lie, but I don''t always say exactly what's in the dish. My husband will ask, and I'll say "Do you really want to now?" He know he doesn't so he lets it go.

                                                  Funny story about my mom. She used to make this chicken salad that I really liked. One time we went to a restaurant and I ordered a chicken salad sandwich, and it tasted very funny. When I said it didn't taste like hers, she told me that she had been feeding me tuna salad all the time - and I thought I hated tuna!

                                                  She also made this Ham salad that I loved. After she died I tried and tried to replicate the recipe. Then I was looking in one of her old cookbooks, like you buy at a church or fundraiser, and I found her recipe with her name on it. It was called Depression Ham Salad and it was made with bologna!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: danhole

                                                    I do the same thing to my husband once in a blue moon. He was a very picky/opinionated eater when we married. By serving him fresh vegetables cooked well his palate expanded. Now there are only a handful of things he doesn't like/won't eat. And since I don't mean to pester him about it I eat those beloved items when he's out of town. Unfortunately his work schedule changes hourly so sometimes I'll have a fridge full of "evil things" that need to be used. So I find new ways to prepare them - well embedded squash, cucumber, and eggplant can be tolerated. I just don''t make a point of telling him they're present, and if he asks my response is "do you really want to know???" The really "icky" stuff (mostly distinct flavors like stilton and feta) I won't attempt to serve him. That's just cruel.

                                                  2. I can definately see lying to kids about food. They can be picky eaters, and it's often for trivial reasons, like "I feel like being a brat today." But you've got to get them to eath those green veggies.
                                                    When I was young my mom tried to get me to eat asparagus by telling me it was green eggs n' ham. It didn't work, but she had to try. Now I'm an adult and I love asparagus, but I had to come to that on my own, as my tastes changed.

                                                    1. One of my husband's ex-girfriends was a southern belle, and so he won't eat grits. I love dinner grits, so we eat a lot of "cheddar polenta with scallions." I just want my shrimp and grits, I don't care what I have to call it to get them!

                                                      1. Mr goddess was extremely white-bread when I met him, with very clear ideas on what he "didn't like" despite never having trued most of those things espoused to hate.

                                                        We were at a dinner party once, and a plate of sushi was being handed around and he reached out and grabbed a bit and started munching on it happily... so there were no terms of reference for it... His face lit up and he said What is this?" and I relied that it was Japanese food.. and he specifically commented on the nice "savoury marshmellow-y filling" (fresh tuna). I came clean on that one after he'd consumed about 10 pieces

                                                        Same with the soft cheese... again, he had no term of reference, never having eaten it before, so when he commented on how nice the "soft cheese" was, I just Hmmmm'd and let it be.

                                                        Needless to say he is now, after years of careful tutelage, a quaffer of Pho, an imbiber of Indian, a muncher of Mayasian... and he's learn't not to ask, and I don't tell.

                                                        As for the step kids, I will not be party to their increasing obesity due to the "food" (and I use that term VERY loosely) they are served at home. If a wee lie once a week means they have ingested something with a small amount of nutritional value, then I feel the ends justifies the means. (cos I am sure as sure that I will never serve what they think of as "food', in my house!)

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: purple goddess

                                                          I think this is hilarious!! I never had encountered anyone that just wouldn't eat something on name alone until I met my boyfriend and I was frustrated and shocked at first by what he "doesn't eat"...

                                                          So I mostly adopted a "don't tell" policy, but I have been known to lie a bit...like if there is coffee (like 1-2 tbs) in a sauce, he doesn't need to know..I just tell him it's a good smoky flavor if he asks. Prosciutto is just "a special kind of ham - you'll love it!"

                                                          Parsnips are "like sweeter white potatoes!" or slow-roasted Mexican pork is "like barbeque beef for tacos!" or orzo salad is "like rice" etc.

                                                          So far it's working fairly well. :)

                                                          1. re: HomeCookKirsten

                                                            I don't think that's lying at all, HomeCookKristen -- making comparisons to simpler foods that they like is just smart! Is Mexican pork NOT like barbequed meat? Are parsnips not very simpler to potatoes? Some people are intimidated by things that seem really exotic, but if you can contextualize them as you have done then new foods can be more approachable. That certainly sounds like the best idea overall on this thread!

                                                            1. re: HomeCookKirsten

                                                              I found out that if I ask my SO if he likes "asparagus" for instance his reply is almost always "no" and I say why and he says "had it once and it tastes strange" then I cook it and he tries it and likes it.
                                                              Most people have a bad experience, or the food wasn't cooked in a delicious way (ie. boiled to death or something) and sometimes the default answer in most picky people is "no, don't like it"
                                                              I just make food and let them taste, as long as there is no allergic reaction involved a person should try something once (or twice) and make up their mind.

                                                            2. re: purple goddess

                                                              sounds to me like mr goddess made some bad assumptions and you didn't rush to correct him. i would say this isn't really lying but being tactful and sensible. after all, weren't you at a dinner party? you wouldn't want to cause a scene at a dinner party.

                                                              1. re: purple goddess

                                                                ah. so I see why you are lying. well you can tell them when they get older, and maybe they will love their stepmother for it. :)

                                                              2. The only individual who I can count on eating anything I put in front of her is my dog, with everyone else all bets are off. I figure it is more fun to be creative and make what people enjoy rather than be deceptive. Also, being a bad liar, I'd worry that the lie would catch up with me. I want my guests to look foward with enjoyment to what I am serving, not with skepticism or concern.

                                                                1. I have done this with my husband... he says he hates Thai food... satay, spicy cumcumber salad and pad thai and some other things, I tell him it's grilled chicken on a stick, salad and pasta and he loves it. After eating it, I said to him "you like it? well you're eating Thai" I think it's the words he's scared of..lol.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: missmojito

                                                                    That is EXACTLY what I do - too funny. :)

                                                                    My guy said on our first date that he "Hates Italian Food and Mexican Food" and I literally almost cut the date short.

                                                                    After more digging, I discovered he is a bit of a health freak (fat-phobic) has texture issues with REALLY gooey foods, so he thought he hated Italian because he doesn't like gooey-saucy American-style lasagna or ooey-gooey enchiladas, etc.

                                                                    Little does he know, we eat "Italian" and "Mexican" inspired food all the time...we just don't call it that. :)

                                                                    I think perhaps that growing up in the Pittsburgh area in a very meat-and-potatoes food culture scared him away from food he probably DOES like, just thinks he doesn't.

                                                                  2. I don't lie even when it would really be helpful to all those involved if I did! I think it's just a bad way to treat people and a bad way to be treated. Trickery and deceit about food is not a small thing and, in my opinion, leads to trickery and deceit in other areas of life.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Bite Me

                                                                      Hmm, I want to say I agree, but I guess I get wrapped up in a "I know better" thing.

                                                                      Like, if I REALLY was intending to harm someone by feeding them something they were allergic to or had a major chance of being harmed, or if I KNEW they TRULY hated something and I was trying to "trick" them, I would agree.

                                                                      But if someone thinks they hate something by name, but really do like it, I feel like a bit of re-packaging is ok...

                                                                      Maybe I am misguided, but I would hate to see someone who does like sushi or Thai food or Italian food miss out because they never gave it a fair chance??

                                                                      1. re: HomeCookKirsten

                                                                        exactly.... Thai peanut sauce.. peanuts, chili, fish, lime. My husband eats all those things separately why not toegther. I don't feel it's deceit and it's not. People sure get worked up over things...lol

                                                                      2. re: Bite Me

                                                                        I do agree completely. Its condescending and deceitful and ought to be avoided.

                                                                        Of course, I also don't take it as a personal mission to make sure that people eat things whether they think they like them or not. I'm rereading that sentence and it sounds like I'm slamming people who do, but I mean it quite literally, I just don't.

                                                                        1. re: Bite Me

                                                                          This is what I agree with. Someone who outright lies about food is someone I know I shouldn't trust about other things. One disrespect leads to the other.

                                                                          In my (humble) opinion, some cooks might feel compelled to lie out of frustration. That could be due either to them having too-big expectations and so putting a burden on the eater (the "I made this you must eat this or it means you don't love me" idea), or due to dealing with a passive-aggressive picky eater who actually *is* manipulating them to feel crappy and jump through hoops in order to control/squish/whatever them. A couple high-road ways to deal with each of these problems could be to, as a cook, cook and give happily but remember eating it does not equal love. Be confident in your abilities and if someone doesn't like your cooking, just cook for someone else who does or for yourself and don't feel obligated to cook for the person who doesn't like what you make. If the problem's a passive-aggressive eater, boundaries! Don't cook for them, don't feel any obligation, don't retaliate, just distance.

                                                                          Of course all that's way easier said than done and there are a bazillion nuances and combinations of each problem and plenty of others too.

                                                                          1. re: Cinnamon

                                                                            "Someone who outright lies about food is someone I know I shouldn't trust about other things. One disrespect leads to the other."


                                                                            A person I know described ham to her Kosher auntie as "pink roast beef" and howled about how she fooled the old girl. This same person went on to prove herself as underserving of trust in later dealings with me. Wish that I'd followed my gut when I first heard about the lie, it would have saved some heartache.

                                                                        2. I must admit that this thread upsets me as well. I hate being lied to about food. As a kid, I told my mother I didn't like veal. One day she served pork roast. I told her it was the worst tasting pork roast I had ever had. That's because it was veal. She didn't believe that I didn't like veal or that I was too stupid to tell the difference. I don't like the taste of veal, don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining.


                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                          1. re: tobycat

                                                                            The point is that my kids have never experienced these things.. they have no point of reference... They don't "hate" them.. they eat them quite happily if they're not told... If I served a mushroom risotto and and they said, :hey PG, I don';t like this" I'd be all good for it. I am alot of things but I am not an evil step mother!!

                                                                            What I object to is not eating.. or should I say at least trying... cos lettuce simply because it "doesn't LOOK like lettuce".. and also, if their "dislikes" stayed the same, I'd be able to honour them.. but one week we like ham, the next week we don't.

                                                                            My step childrens diets are woefully inadequate.. not just in general range.. but in basic nurtrients. If I can puree vegies and get it into them on the few days a week we see them, then I won't waste the opportunity.

                                                                            If they broke out in a rash everytime I served them "red" soup.. it would cease immedietly.. but to see them picking the tomatoes out of a salad, but hoeing into my lamb chops with tomato glaze.... well.. I feel justified!!

                                                                            As for Mr. Goddess.. well.. same thing applies. He quite happily munched on sushi, at the same time saying he "hated" raw fish...

                                                                            No.. you've never experienced raw fish.. and you don't know whether you like it until you try it...

                                                                            Far different from knowing someone has a genuine dislike for a food.. or an allergy and lying to them about it.

                                                                            1. re: purple goddess

                                                                              Couldn't agree more...

                                                                              I would NEVER knowingly feed something to someone and lie about it knowing they genuinely had tried and it and didn't like it at all or were allergic to it. That would be wrong and frankly crazy.

                                                                              But PG has a very good point that if someone has never tried something and could benefit from it (esp a minor who has to rely on parents/guardians to show them life experiences and care for their health) then it's not wrong, in my opinion.

                                                                              1. re: purple goddess

                                                                                I think you are uncovering some of the aforementioned "Food Games," that people play. When kids especially say "no I don't like ham" when you know that last week they loved ham, they are pushing the power boundary with you - not to be brats, but to try to learn how boundaries work. Kids are constantly making demands and "being bad," to learn how far they can go before you get mad, and what they're allowed to do, how much is their choice, and when they can assert themselves vs when you'll put your foot down. That's in part how we learn to interact with society, and it's ok and healthy and we shouldn't lie to kids unless, like you're saying, PG, we're truly worried about their health. But even then, as someone else said, after they've voiced approval of your veggie-sauce, it is appropriate to clue them in, and not let deception become an issue. I have often told people "can you please just take one bite and tell me if you like it before I tell you what's in it?" and most of the time, I can get people to take a bite before disclosure.

                                                                                Back to the games -- when GROWNUPS do these things, you should probably ask JMF to come out of retirement because adults should not be playing the "i don't like this, we have to go somewhere else," game. Maybe most adults don't do that, but I know a few people who get to decide where we eat every single time because they're picky and I'm not and therefore who cares what I want; I'll be happy anywhere. This is a dysfunctional attitude. Eating out should be a social event, not a power struggle. The picky eaters who have remained my friends are those who make an effort to (somehow) find places where we'll both be happy... but I'll never get used to the 45 minutes of trying to find one of those places.

                                                                              2. re: tobycat

                                                                                Very fair responses...

                                                                                I am one of those people that genuinely love to be surprised and can't wait to experience change and LOVE new experiences and foods, so sometimes in my zeal for experience I feel like others should want that too and I should help them!

                                                                                Not fair at all, just hard for me to accept and we as people often project our own wants/needs/experiences on others.

                                                                                1. re: HomeCookKirsten

                                                                                  I can certainly see the need for tactics in getting nutrition-phobic children to eat veg, but as someone who can't eat cow's milk and has trouble with cow's milk products (I was severely allergic as a child, and am still lactose-intolerant - can cope with goat's or ewe's cheeses or yogourt, but not their milk) it angers me when people assume that is a whim or wanting to have a "fashionable condition".

                                                                                  Fortunately I won't die from hidden moo (some truly allergic people can, though) but moo = poo and an upset tummy for a couple of days afterwards, and I'd really rather avoid that.

                                                                                  1. re: lagatta

                                                                                    I am assuming that if the people in our life are allergic to somehting or hates it... we are not going to put it in there anyway just because we think they will eventaully like it.

                                                                              3. There is also (in my own personal experience) a difference between not liking one version of a product and another version. For instance, until very recently I didn't like fresh tomato on things. Sliced tomatoes on sandwiches, chopped or diced tomatoes in salads, etc. I have, though, always liked tomato sauce for pizza or pasta, cooked tomato sauces (a chunky marinara, for example) and the like. So, when I would say as a child "I don't like tomatoes" I wasn't blowing smoke, I didn't like them in their fresh, whole state. The same is likely true of a great many people. Sometimes its a textural thing, not a taste thing. Sometimes its a taste thing (or both taste and texture) but that can be changed (wouldn't eat a banana at gun point, but love banana bread). Seems to me that the "healthier" way to approach it would be to work with people to figure out what their objection to a particular food is and (if they need it for some reason to complete their diet in a nutritious way) work with them to figure out if there are ways they might like it. I tend to think that the more you manipulate people the less you'll ever be able to work with them or help them learn things for themselves and so leave them unable to create a healthy diet on their own once they start eating more and more away from you. Eventually they won't know which way is up nor will they have any real idea about what food is, much less what they actually like.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                  I was trying to introduce more fiber and better glycemic index foods at home. I used spelt pasta. My husband noticed big time. I then tried the Barilla whole grain pasta high in Omega 3. He noticed, but he was fine with it. I didn't tell him ahead of time. He hates fish, except for shellfish and then only scallops, crab, and lobster. Once in a stir-fry I added some lumps of halibut. He loved the stir fry. I told him after that I'd put fish in it. Now he'll eat fish if he doesn't know it's in there! He doesn't want me to tell him.

                                                                                  1. re: melly

                                                                                    Forget the glycemic index. Whole grains give me gas. Soy (other than tofu) is completely indigestible and gives me stomach cramps.

                                                                                    If you're worried about the glycemic index, just eat fewer carbs and a lot more protein and fat. Never mind what they say - too many carbs of any type are not healthy for anybody.

                                                                                  2. Wow, I don't even feel like replying on here because people gets so emotional over this. Through my so called "trickery and deceit" my husband and some friends who were meat, potatoes, salt and peppers are now eating Mexican, Thai, Indian, German food. Now they are the ones suggesting we go to an Ethnic restauarant... imagine that !

                                                                                    1. I've never had to lie about food - my husband is probably more adventuresome than I. But I nearly doubled over laughing when I heard the child of an acquaintance talk about eating "green corn," her mother's term for peas.

                                                                                      1. I don't necessarily lie, but sometimes I do neglect to tell the whole story.
                                                                                        I try to eat healthily so most of the dinners I prepare for my fiancee and myself are low-fat, low-cal, low-sodium etc. My fiancee happily enjoys all of these foods unless I make a point of mentioning it is low-whatever. As soon as he hears those words it is like he feels he is being cheated and is turned off to the food. I figure if not telling him allows him to enjoy the meal and nourishes him at the same time, there is no point in mentioning that the food is actually quite good for him. Both my brother and stepfather also have an aversion to foods labelled healthy. Know anyone like that?

                                                                                        1. My mother used to "sneak" mushrooms into various foods and tell us at the dinner table that there weren't any mushrooms in it. It messed with both my head and my brother's. Luckily, we are both mushroom eaters now, but we are both still a little finicky, and I think the games that were played at the dinner table are part of that.

                                                                                          It's one thing to have fun with your kids and call foods by interesting names, but it's entirely another to lie to or misinform them, especially if they ask what's in it. ETA: Many kids are "supertasters" and their aversions are quite real and unpleasant. It certainly doesn't teach your kids ethical behavior once they know the truth.

                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: amyzan

                                                                                            There are no more supertasting kids than adults - it's about a quarter of the population, give or take, and the things those people generally don't like are:
                                                                                            * alcoholic beverages
                                                                                            * Brussels sprouts
                                                                                            * cabbage
                                                                                            * coffee
                                                                                            * grapefruit juice
                                                                                            * green tea
                                                                                            * kale
                                                                                            * spinach
                                                                                            * soy products
                                                                                            However, the concentration of different types of taste buds does change over our lives - you have different buds for sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami (sometimes, "savouriness"), and kids have a different pattern, which is why babies can better tolerate baby food and older folks can better tolerate liver. So it really is possible that your kids just taste something differently from you, which was the real point of your comment, I think, Amyzan.

                                                                                            1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                              Really? The articles I've read so far all say that children are much more sensitive to bitter and spicy tastes for the same reasons supertaster adults are: they have more tastebuds. Apparently you lose tastebuds as you get older.

                                                                                              1. re: choctastic

                                                                                                From emedicine: "Normal aging produces taste loss due to changes in taste cell membranes involving altered function of ion channels and receptors rather than taste bud loss."

                                                                                                However, on the same page, it named about two dozen things that can happen to you that would make your taste buds less sensitive (smoking, certain viruses, certain vitamin & mineral deficiencies, and so forth) so I would guess that more adults have had some of those experiences and are more likely to have lost some taste ability in addition to the changes of normal aging. But I also feel pretty sure that sweet things taste much sweeter (i.e., cloying) to me now than they did when I was a child.

                                                                                                1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                  same here re sweetness but also, i'll bet that you're able to tolerate bitter and spicy better than when you were a kid for hte reason outlined above.

                                                                                                  I'm surprised you were able to find one source that says that you don't lose tastebuds as you grow older because I've read many articles that say you do.

                                                                                                  1. re: choctastic

                                                                                                    I have no personal direct knowledge about this, but I generally trust emedecine (and I really hope it's right, because I'm a medical student and I use it all the time!)

                                                                                                    If I can find out more, I'll let ya know... if you want to link me to something with more information about this, I'd be interested to read the bud-loss theory.

                                                                                                    1. re: choctastic

                                                                                                      Forget flavor. Finickiness can change regarding texture, too. That was a big deal for me as a kid.

                                                                                            2. that's hilarious, pg. (marshmallows?! ;)

                                                                                              i'm totally with you on this. my SO thinks he hates so many things that he actually likes. for instance, he "hates" eggplant, but loves baighan bartha and hunkar bejendi.

                                                                                              if you're of the omissions = lies school like i am, then yeah, i'm a total liar. i neglect to tell him what something is all the time until after he's tried it and realizes it's tasty. it works! (so does the "close your eyes and open your mouth" thing, on occasion. ;)

                                                                                              1. I've lied like the dog that I am, but only to adults and just as an ego trip regarding what I can get away with: I've served smoked capybara as "Virginia cured ham" by steaming and serving with a maracuya compote; red tilapia as a steamed chinese red snapper with fermented black beans; chicken heart in place of a good cut of beef in a "beef" stroganoff; and very thinly sliced smoked lung in place of bresiola in a pear and arugula salad.

                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                  Well, I don't know if this would be considered fibbing or not:
                                                                                                  When a visiting cousin said he would not eat beef tongue, the night we had it for dinner my Mom told him it was a very special cut of beef. He loved it, ate seconds, and was surprised when told after dinner he had enjoyed a dinner of beef tongue.

                                                                                                  In culinary school I served rocky mountain oysters to classmates and presented them as medallions of beef (thinly sliced, panko crusted and deep fried) with a variety of dipping sauces. Everyone loved the dish, but some were furious when they found out what they had eaten. These were not vegetarians, just picky eaters. It was a lesson in perception and receptivity of food for them. Many had very limited exposure to various offal and ethnic foods. It wasn't a lie, simply a matter of terminology.

                                                                                                  1. re: SanseiDesigns

                                                                                                    SD, glad someone understands. The people I cook for have absolutely no issues about capybara, tilapia, chicken heart, or smoked lung. They're all CHers who welcome such ingredients. I just fool with them (and they with me) by seeing if I/we can make such substitutions, add sufficient technique, and fool 'em.

                                                                                                    1. re: SanseiDesigns

                                                                                                      It doesn't sound like simply a lesson if they were furious.

                                                                                                    2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                      Where can you buy capybara meat????

                                                                                                      1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                        Pucallpa, Peru -and other parts of the Amazon basin.

                                                                                                    3. I never lie about what's in food. I hate it when people do it to me, so I don't do it to others.

                                                                                                      But I've been asked too. My mother in law, who hates *everything* not McDonalds or sara Lee has on several times asked me to not tell her what is in a dish I've made, or to "just tell me it's beef."

                                                                                                      She says "I like it, and I know I'll like it - but I don't what to know what's in it, because I know it will be something I don't like."

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: AnnaEA

                                                                                                        I understand the sentiment, but we lie about things all the time in culturally accepted ways (Santa Claus, the stork that brings babies, etc...).

                                                                                                        Lies are bad when they break down trust between/among people or cause other harms. If the end result is that someone discovers a food that they otherwise would not have, I think everyone's better off (no harm). I don't think lies about what one is eating makes one habitually lie on other matters. And it depends on the relationship of the parties whether the other person trusts you less overall. Luckily in my case, my omission-lies haven't had that effect.

                                                                                                      2. My husband grew up believing he was allergic to onions. Now I think he knows it's just a strong dislike, but he's still surprisingly childish about their presence in or on his food.
                                                                                                        Of course one must cook with onions from time to time. I can use them when he's not home for the smell and I know they will either be removed from or blended into the food. He would be suspicious if he saw onions in the house, but I'm able to store shallots in the pantry because I tell him it's "elephant garlic." As long as I never chop or fry them when he's in the room, I should be free to cook with them. He recently enjoyed two Indonesian dishes from Saveur that were heavy on shallots; I just made them disappear texturally.

                                                                                                        1. My young son (3 or 4) did not like to eat meat - he didn't want to eat animals. I know, I know, some will think I'm horrible. So on Christmas Eve I served roast beef and when he asked if he was seeing blood I told him that it was juice. He then asked what it was called and I told him it was roast beef. He asked where it came from. I told him a roast beef tree. He asked why he had never seen a roast beef tree and I told him that they were only grown out in the country. He said, "you're lying." I sighed and said that I was indeed not telling the truth - that the roast beef came from a plant. Case closed - he ate his dinner.

                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: sunsuze

                                                                                                            Uh oh. I think I do object to this so maybe I need to narrow my premises!

                                                                                                            I guess I'm ok with tricking people who aren't making what I think are principled distinctions--like they refuse to eat X because they think they hate it. But for people who don't want to eat something because they object to it on a moral level (even a 3-4 year old is capable of moral reasoning!!)... it seems to me very wrong to lie to them.

                                                                                                            That's a little too uncomfortably like the McDonald's french fry scandal.

                                                                                                            1. re: cimui

                                                                                                              You shouldn't have to carry the burden of lying. Your kids should eat what you tell them to eat. Kids eat crap and they have to be aculturated to good food. You don't want your kid to be ethnic food phobic who will sneer at dim sum while savoring boxed mac'n'cheese with cuts of hotdog.

                                                                                                              1. re: david t.

                                                                                                                As I was saying (and as others were saying), above, there's a difference between not eating something because one doesn't like the taste of it, and not eating something because one objects to it morally. Sunsuze's son -- wow, say that five times, fast -- liked the taste of roast beef, but he didn't want to eat animals because he thought it was wrong. Lying to get someone to eat her veggies is really different from, say, lying to someone who's faith or other moral convictions tell her that eating meat is wrong, and tricking her into eating meat (in McDonald's case, meat powder on fries).

                                                                                                                I don't mean to pick on Sunsuze at all because I understand why she did what she did. But in the same shoes, my own moral leanings would tell me to respect the child's decision.

                                                                                                                1. re: cimui

                                                                                                                  do we want our children lying to us? no? than i think we need to have the conviction to be truthful with them.

                                                                                                                  1. re: betsydiver

                                                                                                                    Absolutely. If you lie to your kids about what you're feeding them, you deserve everything you get in return.

                                                                                                            2. re: sunsuze

                                                                                                              OK, I totally object to this one. I WAS that kid who didn't want to eat the animals, and I would have serious trust issues with my parents now if they had lied to me about it then.

                                                                                                              I understand that as a parent, you should manage your child's diet. But you can do that and straightforward about it. As long as your kid eats heathily and doesn't expect you to be a short-order cook, I think you should respect his moral beliefs.

                                                                                                              1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                I wouldn't even argue that is a "moral belief" yet with a 4 year old, although that's a pretty interesting question on its own. But you main point is the one I think, too; be straightforward.

                                                                                                                1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                  I'll admit it's probably not a fully fledged conviction yet, and it's very possible the kid will forget all about the dead animals the second he sees a burger.

                                                                                                                  But some kids can think in abstract terms very early. He may have made the meat = animals connection and feel strongly about it. Either way, parents should allow and encourage kids to explore their beliefs, not try to trick them out of them.

                                                                                                            3. I did once resort to Batali's trick of calling it "white proscuitto" to get my man to eat lardo. After a while, he said "Erm..this proscuitto is a bit fatty..."

                                                                                                              1. I'm taking a middle-ground approach. I think it's fine to introduce people to new foods without announcing it beforehand - like using whole-grain pasta instead of regular - but you shouldn't lie about it if they ask or get offended if they don't like it.

                                                                                                                But you shouldn't sneak in foods people told you they don't like, have an intolerance to, or avoid on moral principles. That's just insulting.

                                                                                                                I still think the best approach is the "just try one bite" approach. My parents always told us to try something before deciding we didn't like it, even if they'd served it before. A lot of times, we ended up loving it. And when we didn't, it was okay not to eat it.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                  Good anwer, Piccola.

                                                                                                                  Rick, morality is not the exclusive undertaking of adults (or even something that most of us adults are very good at). I'm of the school that says all humans are born with the capacity for moral reason. A four year old is certainly capable of it.

                                                                                                                2. wow, all this lying - both justified and unjustified - is blowing my mind. eat and let eat, i say.

                                                                                                                  1. I lie to my husband about onions. He wonders why I keep buying them when I don't ever cook with them. Little does he know that most times I just dice up the onions into miniscule pieces so he doesn't see them. He will not eat anything he can see an onion in.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: irishnyc

                                                                                                                      Wondering if the "dicing" here falls under the category of food game (see JMF much earlier), or the husband's desire not to eat them belongs here.

                                                                                                                    2. I see my friends use benign tricks to get their 3 yr old, a mostly-good eater, to eat adult food (especially out at restaurants) and I totally support that. The incident I remember best is that, much like the OP, they call soft tofu "cheese" so as to get more lean protein into their kid's diet. She loves the taste, and was only willing to try it the first time around because she knew she liked cheese, but wasn't so sure about this odd thing called tofu. In cases like these, I think parents should get a lot of leeway. The kid isn't being forced to eat something under duress, and when they're a little older, the real names for foods can be revealed.

                                                                                                                      As for sneaking loathed items into foods for adults, well, that just seems a bit mean-spirited. Like an old boyfriend (he didn't last long) who couldn't respect my then-vegetarianism, and loaded up an ostensibly veggie chili recipe with beef blood. Sigh.

                                                                                                                      Of course this whole thread puts me in mind of that moment from the Simpsons, when a group of ladies buys a Fleet-A-Pita franchise, but balks at the foreign ("specialty!") names for the foods. Falafel became "crunch patties!" Pita became "pocket bread!" Tahini became "flavor sauce!" And the dish with tabbouleh and rezmi-kabob is called a "Ben Franklin."

                                                                                                                      It sounds like a lot of that is going on here ;)

                                                                                                                      1. I would never lie to anyone about what's in their food... it's disrespectful of their choices. There are various foods that I don't like and I'd feel horribly violated if somebody tried to trick me into eating them, so why would it be okay for me to do it to someone else? (before you ask, no I don't have any kids...)
                                                                                                                        My father is quite a picky eater, and I used to adopt a 'don't tell' attitude but it wasn't lying - I'd just put the food in front of him and he'd eat it... but if he'd asked what it was I would have told him the truth.

                                                                                                                        1. I've been thinking about this a lot lately.
                                                                                                                          I think whether it's ok depends on why it is that the person doesn't eat a particular food item and on the kind of relationship you have with that person.

                                                                                                                          It's never right if
                                                                                                                          - the person is not a close relative or good friend
                                                                                                                          - their reason involves religious or similar cultural proscriptions, or allergies or other medical issues (so you have to know why it is that they won't eat the specific food item)

                                                                                                                          It may be ok if
                                                                                                                          - it's someone with whom you share unconditional mutual affection (spouse, child, best friend, etc), someone who knows you would never do anything intentionally to hurt them
                                                                                                                          - they don't eat x or don't want to try x simply because 'it sounds like they wouldn't like it' or 'they never do it that way' or 'they don't like lamb [duck, etc] because it smells too gamey' etc

                                                                                                                          The other question is: if you are going to lie/misrepresent/lie-by-omission[don't ask/don't tell] before they eat it, but plan to tell them afterword (after they say that it was good), when do you tell them? Immediately after they have finished? Or a day or so later -- not so long that they have forgotten how much they liked it, but long enough that they can't claim that the meal has upset their stomach?

                                                                                                                          I think it might be best for people you frequently share meals with who are picky eaters to let them eat it a few times and agree that they actually like it before spilling the beans. If you tell them after just one meal, they might decide after the fact that they didn't really like it and refuse to eat it again.

                                                                                                                          1. I've failed to admit to my parents that I made a soup or chili with soy crumbles. I also passed off soy "chicken" salad as the real thing to them. I am not a vegetarian, I was just cooking for them and trying to make the food a bit healthier b/c they have horrible eating habits. They were never the wiser. I sometimes will use meat subs b/c I like them and they have lower levels of cholesterol, etc...

                                                                                                                            1. The only "lie" i tell is when my 3 year old asks: Mommy, do i like this? I always answer yes.

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: hala

                                                                                                                                When my kids were young and I was serving fish, they asked "what kind of fish is this?". I amswered "the kind you like"! Now grown, both of my sons have expanded palates.
                                                                                                                                It's a kid thing, being a picky eater, lol!

                                                                                                                                1. re: hala

                                                                                                                                  I always did that with my daughter too, until she got old enough to stop asking me what she liked. I think we avoid a ton of childhood pickiness that way.

                                                                                                                                2. Reply prompted by the parent stories (loosely translated):

                                                                                                                                  Me: "What is this?"
                                                                                                                                  Parent(s): "Better than hunger."

                                                                                                                                  That it was.

                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: link_930

                                                                                                                                      That is brilliant! Similar to what I told my kids when they were growing up but so much more succinct! I love it.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: link_930

                                                                                                                                        That's me. I'll eat practically any food that is available, but not to excess.

                                                                                                                                        The only issue for me is quantity. I am well over 50 and of small stature. I have also had some digestive problems. I cannot eat much at one sitting. When my belly is full, that's that, and I won't take another bite, no matter what wonderful delicacies someone brings out. There's simply no more room in my stomach to put it, without causing an awful lot of pain!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: 1389AD

                                                                                                                                          1389: I've posted this before somewhere, after a really bad case of food poisoning, many years ago, I usu. can only eat a little at a time, so I claim I had a gastric bypass, shuts people up about seconds.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                            With me, it was a Nissen fundoplication to replace a completely nonfunctioning stomach valve. It worked, but it makes my stomach very sensitive to food quantity. Plus, I have had food poisoning numerous times myself.

                                                                                                                                      2. I will stretch the truth with my 5 year old son, but I will never lie to anyone that I've cooked for about the food I've prepared. My son always had wide and varied tastes, but since he started kindy he somehow decided he doesn't like vegetables. With a bit of creative renaming I have had no problems getting him eating all the foods he has always enjoyed. Last night was a tough call when he heard his uncle say "I don't like mushrooms", so today he decided he didn't want his mushroom risotto, because he doesn't like mushrooms (mushrooms have been a favourite of his for a over a year). So I told him that his stepdad really likes mushrooms (stretched the truth a bit there), and hey presto! dinner was consumed with gusto.

                                                                                                                                        1. I think it's interesting that replies that tend to support this tactic are coming from people who have raised poor eaters.

                                                                                                                                          Take it from the parent with children eating a vast and varied diet; lying about food is silly an will backfire - and it can only cross your mind if you believe that kids are innately unable to enjoy vegetables etc...

                                                                                                                                          Nothing troubles me more than the 'sneak pureed vegetables into a brownie' trend in childrearing. There are far better ways to get vegetables into reluctant kids.

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Kater

                                                                                                                                            I second this notion.

                                                                                                                                            My mother fed me broccoli, asparagus, chickpeas, spinach, anything prepared well. Don't stigmatize vegetables and children will be drawn to the natural sugars and textures, just a pinch of salt will make most kids gobble up ANYthing. Food fears are nonsense, the Truth will set you free.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: FullPalate

                                                                                                                                              My mother tried to feed me those as well and I hated them. As an adult, I eat everything, except the\os same bitter vegetables, brocoli, brussel sprouts and the like. I will eat them, because I know they are good for me, if they are mixed into something else and I can't taste them. Food"fears" are one thing, genuine food "aversions" another. And the truth that I don't like them, and never will, has set me free to enjoy them blended into double dark chocolate brownies.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: dvsndvs

                                                                                                                                                A "mother's" rendition of those vegetables tends to be boiled, steamed, maybe sauteed. Have you had the chance to eat these items grilled? braised? deep-fried? made into a bisque or a crepe? Personally, I keep learning things about my likes and dislikes. I suppose you're lucky to have figured out all your tastes at such an early age, and all from the preparations of a single cook.

                                                                                                                                          2. I thought about this question. Do I or did I ever lie about the food I made? I don't think so. I was pretty up front about my meals when I cooked for kids. DH likes most everything, and is entitled to dislike certain things. I cook for both of us. I don't enumerate ingredients, but I give us healthy well-cooked meals. My kids were relatively easy to feed, probably because DH was easy to feed. I always told my family that "I always make good food." And they took that statement on faith.

                                                                                                                                            1. My SO can't stand mayonaise. He just has a mental block on it. Anything that you try to serve him with mayonaise in or on it, he will politely decline. He does, however, love garlic. And he loves the garlic "sauce" that comes as a side at his favorite chicken place. One day, when I just couldn't hold it back anymore, I asked him, he did know that that "sauce" was garlic aioli, and that aioli is mayonaise, right?
                                                                                                                                              He took a deep breath and said, please please just lie to me?
                                                                                                                                              Ever since, anytime we come across a white sauce, he'll look at me and say, "is it mayonaise?" and I'll stick a fork in, take a lick and then assure him "oh no, it's a garlic sauce, just that, you're fine," or "I think it's just a horseradish dip."
                                                                                                                                              I do love that guy.

                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                  Maybe he's like me and finds plain mayo to be disgusting when not disguised with other ingredients. Funny, I love aioli- it may be made in a similar manner to mayo with similar ingredients, but it tastes heavenly. My point being that there is a difference between the two.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                                                                                    I also like the taste of aioli but not of mayo. But in theory I think they're both kindof icky.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                                                                                      I like mayo I've made myself, but that stuff in a jar I've always found gross and disgusting, particularly if it is warm. I have a friend who eats it on eggs and hamburgers. I have to turn my head.

                                                                                                                                                      I trace this back to a picnic in our yard hundreds of years ago, at which someone left a spoon in a bowl of mayo, and the mayo formed this translucent turquoise goo around the spoon.

                                                                                                                                                      When I make mayo, it's usually to turn into something like aioli, or tonnato sauce. I would never put it on a sandwich, other than tuna. I even use vinaigrette-like dressings on potato and chicken salads.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                        Mayonnaise always tastes slightly sweet to me. I don't have a sweet tooth and, with few exceptions, I don't like anything sweet on my meat or vegetables.

                                                                                                                                                        Mayonnaise is also oily and greasy. I crave protein more than fats, and I don't want to make foods oilier than they need to be.

                                                                                                                                                        Mayonnaise is runny and sloppy. When it gets on clothing, it makes a real mess that is hard to remove.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                          I'll eat things with mayonnaise; I just prefer food to be made with other condiments. For instance, I like vinegar slaw much better than conventional mayonnaise-based cole slaw. I prefer mustard on hamburgers and on sandwiches with cold cuts, rather than mayonnaise.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: 1389AD

                                                                                                                                                            + 1 on all of the above, with a few addenda. When I get a "good" burger (something Ina would like, I guess), I put Dijon mustard on it. At somewhere like 5 Guys, I get mustard (French's), ketchup, mushrooms, and cheese. I grew up in NJ, where we put mustard on practically all sandwiches. I even put mustard on the bread when I made tuna sandwiches, which were the only real reason to even own mayo, AFAIC, though my mother used it and mustard in her egg salad (which I never ate, because it is made of H. B. eggs).

                                                                                                                                                            I didn't know anyone put mayo on regular sandwiches or -- eeek! -- hamburgers until I went to college in Pittsburgh, and then DC.

                                                                                                                                                    2. While I generally agree with other posters that "honesty is the best policy", I also like to make what my friends consider "weird things" they refuse to try on principle. There, when asked what the olive oil and rosemary pound cake is, I will just say "cake" and let them try it. If they ask after they've taken a bite, I will tell them what's in it.

                                                                                                                                                      My three-year-old is extremely picky and borderline underweight, so while I don't lie to him, I DO use a few tricks to encourage him to eat things. Hamburgers or veggie burgers would be refused, but he'd wolf down TWO "Krabby Patties". ;) If he likes chicken nuggets, I'll make turkey meatballs with veggies, flatten them slightly, bake them, and call them "chicken nuggets" to get him to try them. Pan-fried cubed fish is "chicken". Once he has taken the first bite or two, however, I will tell him "Do you know what you're eating? It's Tilapia. Til-a-pi-a. Isn't it GOOD??" It works for us because it allows me to introduce new foods as something familiar and liked, and once he's tried it, we can explain that this is different, but still really good.

                                                                                                                                                      The only time I outright lied was when I was married to my husband, who didn't keep kosher (I do) and demanded dairy mashed potatoes or other items with his meat dishes. I spent a lot of time coming up with non-dairy recipes that tasted like the real thing, and when he asked, I would lie and tell him they were dairy. He didn't believe me, but couldn't really call me on it either, because those mashed potatoes DID taste creamy...

                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KosherHound

                                                                                                                                                        funny story. my father was an extremely picky eater. as long as she told him it was "spice cake," he loved my mother's pumpkin bread. when he found out the truth, he absolutely refused to eat another bite. of course, most people would have said, "oh, i guess i really do like pumpkin bread," but not my dad.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: wonderwoman

                                                                                                                                                          Sounds like your dad would have fit right in with my family.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: KosherHound

                                                                                                                                                          Kosher is a whole other issue. Does he realize that you are kosher? Has he been willing to compromise?

                                                                                                                                                        3. We learned the hard way. Small kids loved calamari, not squid. Now they're grown up, and the story is kinda, sorta funny, but I think they resented being tricked.

                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ideefixed

                                                                                                                                                            Almost the exact same thing happened to me. I was 12 or 13 and we were eating in a very slowly paced restaurant. By the time the first apps arrived I was starving and just started shoveling down the nearest plate. I was half-way finished with it before my mom said, "I didn't know you liked calamari." I paused for a few seconds before I continued shoveling and said "I guess I do now."

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ajs228

                                                                                                                                                              Slowly paced restaurants drive me nuts. I think they are trying to get people to order expensive adult beverages before they eat. I want no part of that. Wine goes with food!

                                                                                                                                                              I also have a back problem and being in a chair for any length of time, particularly a straight-backed, non-adjustable dining chair, causes pain. I am used to walking around on my feet at work, while doing chores and errands, or any time when I am not lying down. I am simply not designed for long periods of sitting in one place in an uncomfortable chair!

                                                                                                                                                          2. When my son was maybe 2 or 3 he would only eat chicken or fish. Beef and pork were no goes. I tried the lying bit but mostly he would catch it, wrong color or shape for a chicken. It wasn't until he was 3-4 that he finally articulated "yes, but what is a beef?" that I figured out what the issue was. After that he ate all meat as long as I could tell him what it was. Unfortunately this led to some less then stellar table conversations at grandma's. "So what part of the cow is this from?" and no he would not eat unless I could tell him (where was Alton Brown or the Internet when I needed them?)

                                                                                                                                                            Now that he is 16, I would have thought the fibs would no longer be necessary, especially given he has turned out to be a rather adventurous eater. Unfortunately there was some incident in elementary school where mayonnaise was mistaken as vanilla pudding :-< That one I get around by adding flavoring and calling it aioli :-> That's not really a lie is it?

                                                                                                                                                            1. I never lie about food. Sometimes people don't like certain foods because it upsets their systems. I'd rather not cause some unsuspecting person to vomit or have diarrhea if I can avoid it.

                                                                                                                                                              As far as children who are picky eaters, they get over it eventually. My stepdaughter went through a "grilled cheese only" phase. I made no objection, and sure enough, she got over it on her own and eats a balanced diet.

                                                                                                                                                              My cat is another matter; he is getting older and, although in good general health, has little interest in food. sometimes I have to sit with him to get him to eat his food.

                                                                                                                                                              1. Once my mother told me we were having a regular lasagna but then told me it had actually been made with horse meat

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                                                                                  I lie. Maybe because I learned to love many things as a child only when I thought they were something else.

                                                                                                                                                                2. I once worked with a fellow who tried raising emus for profit. All around the office, he was quite vocal about how he was going to become a mogul with the business of raising them for meat.

                                                                                                                                                                  Next office potluck, he brought meatballs in barbecue sauce. Everyone knew he'd brought it, because he stood by the dish, asking how everyone liked his meatballs. After the meal was over, and his chafing dish was empty (to rave reviews) he said, I'm glad you enjoyed the emu meatballs. SO many folks were upset!

                                                                                                                                                                  Lying? Maybe. I ate them, and they were delicious - everyone elst thought so, too. I'm not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but after all his talk, I figured out that they weren't made of COW!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. I've never considered lying about food. I'm not that interested in making people eat it, and my family are well rounded eaters who aren't afraid of new things

                                                                                                                                                                    My sister has a long-standing lie at her house, though, that came about accidentally.
                                                                                                                                                                    Her husband will not touch deer-meat (city people call it venison, we're hillbillies) and he's been happily eating deer-meat chili for 23 years. He has no clue there's deer in it, but he knows that it has a far better flavor than other people's chili! She didn't try to fool him, I don't think she knew he 'hated' deer-meat till after she'd already fed him chili.

                                                                                                                                                                    Something special happens when you mix deer w/ tomato sauce. Umami.
                                                                                                                                                                    -It makes awesome meatballs too, those I have canned, and send over to my exes house for the kids to eat when they're there, as nothing else is as good.
                                                                                                                                                                    There is just no substitute. When you don't have someone to get you some deer-meat (I hate to hunt), you are screwed!

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. I'd never lie to a stranger, customer (when I waited tables) or probably even friend, especially about something that could have moral, religious or physical consequences for them.

                                                                                                                                                                      Having said that, my mom and I lied to my dad about food ALL the time. We still do, in fact, but he's gotten weirder and fussier, and I've long since moved out, so it doesn't come up that often. See, he "thinks" he doesn't like spices (most spices, but particularly noxious in his mind is garlic). He doesn't really know garlic, though, or recognize it. We even had a system to run interference with the waitress so that when he'd order, for example, spaghetti marinara without garlic, she'd just smile and say okay. Dad comes home and finds the kitchen reeking of garlic because I used three bulbs (yes, bulbs, not cloves) for the sauce that lamb shank is braising in? I don't miss a beat: Sorry, dad, I accidentally dropped a bunch of garlic down the disposal. Don't worry, there's only a tiny smidge in the pot. His business associate asks for my recipe for some North African stew, and he looks at the card? Again, not a beat: Don't worry, Dad, we didn't put all those spices in your portion.

                                                                                                                                                                      My favorite (though not about food) was the antique writing desk my mom bought for the foyer that she knew he'd go on about. When he noticed it a few days after purchase, she didn't miss a beat: Tom, I bought that months ago, and we've already had this conversation!

                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Mestralle

                                                                                                                                                                        My two favorite food-lying stories involved my folks. Mom was a terrific cook, but there were two things she could never make to my Dad's satisfaction, beef stew and tea. (Dad's parents were both English.) Mom read up on the proper way to make tea and tried several imported and expensive teas that were never "right." She finally asked my grandmother what her secret was. Nana: "Oh, sweetie, I just rip open some Tetley bags and throw them in the pot."

                                                                                                                                                                        After 20 years of trying various stew recipes, one night she was in a hurry and cooked up some Stouffer's and added wine and dill. Dad told her it was the best beef stew she'd ever made. After that she just made the Stouffer's and hid the packages.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pasuga

                                                                                                                                                                          The closest I got to this sort of thing was the time I made pizza dough (dang I miss my never fail recipe!) using part "regular" all purpose flour and part whole wheat flour but didn't tell my son that in advance. He ate it, pronounced it good, after which I told him there was some whole wheat flour in the crust.

                                                                                                                                                                          So I didn't lie, but I didn't warn him in advance, either.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. This reminds me of college. I went to a cheap chinese/japanese buffet with my then boyfriend who was kosher. He had never eaten real shrimp, crab or pork in his life, at least not willingly. (It turns out he used to eat wonton soup not knowing what was in it:} ) When he saw california rolls, he asked me if it was real or fake crabmeat. Based on numerous past experiences with similar buffets, I told him it had to be fake. After he ate it (and loved it) he asked the waiter, who told him it had been real crab. My bf wouldn't speak to me for an hour! :} (I tasted the roll and I still maintain it was fake crab meat).

                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                                                                                                            He should have been angry with himself rather than with you. If he was going to ask the waiter, he should have asked BEFORE eating it. Once he had already finished it, there was nothing to be gained by asking.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. I am okay with being a sneaky chef when it comes to getting nutrients into kids (and in some cases, spouse). I know the tastes/flavors my family likes, and know that they don't (so far) have any food allergies, so if I want to puree a bunch of extra vegetables into the spaghetti sauce, sneak spinach in between layers of iceberg lettuce on a sandwich, sub some whole wheat flour, flax, multigrain cereal, etc. into the cookies, then I'll use my Queen of My Home prerogative to do that. I think OP is fully within her rights in the way she feeds Mr. Goddess and step kids. As a Mom, ya do what ya gotta do sometimes.

                                                                                                                                                                            With guests or extended family, honesty is the best policy. You never want to make someone gag, barf, have an allergic reaction or refuse to eat your cooking thereafter because of an omission or "creative description" of something you've made.

                                                                                                                                                                            With my FIL, it's been a different story. He is a self-proclaimed picky eater. He used to avoid my cooking because he was afraid I was using lots of ingredients (e.g., onions, peppers) he didn't like. I was always honest with him when he asked what went into the soup, etc. But if he didn't ask, I didn't offer. Eventually, he must have gotten hungry enough, because he tried a chili that I'm sure he supsected had a few of his "don't like it" ingredients in it (he says that sauces, soups and stews are "classic foods to 'hide stuff' in"), but he didn't ask, took a bowlful, and came back for seconds. Now we have an understanding... if he wants to eat something I've made that smells/looks good to him, he either doesn't ask what's in it, or asks but usually eats it anyway (with some exceptions) and picks out the onions or whatever. I am never offended if he politely refuses something I've made, because I've seen him be "brave" and enjoy the results, too. Hubster and I made paella a few months ago and were floored to see Dad eat the better part of the pan. Funny, but he knew it contained all sorts of "crazy" ingredients, and he ate it because he lived in Spain for a short time and remembered how much he liked it back then (also not knowing what all went into it, just knowing the end result was tasty.)

                                                                                                                                                                            So I guess what I'm saying here is "know your audience," and adjust your disclosures accordingly.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. I lie to my grandfather when I'm visiting. Bless his heart, he's 90 years old and took me in at times when my parents were struggling, but that dude is one picky eater!!! Crab meat is "special, expensive fish". Rice with soy sauce is brown because, oh jeez, I burned it a little bit. A duck breast was chicken that had been marinated. And a big plate of Thai food that he hoovered was "just chinese". I can't even begin to imagine explaining fish sauce. But these are white lies, and so it goes...

                                                                                                                                                                              1. I wouldn't call myself a picky eater - I just don't like certain things. I don't eat fish - and my mom tells me that even as a baby i would spit it out. i am lactose intolerant so someone lying about putting dairy in their food will cause me harm.

                                                                                                                                                                                I don't like mushrooms, so I just pick them out if I see them in my food. I am however dating an adventurous eater and he just can not deal with the fact that i won't eat certain things. I'm in my 30's and the thought of eating fish gets me ill. i honestly don't think i could change that - should i really seek therapy?? if I ever found out someone sneaked fish into a dish a lied to me that would be the end of the relationship/

                                                                                                                                                                                1. I am appalled at so much of what I've read here. Appalled. I've never lied to anyone, ever, about anything I've cooked. I may not announce ingredient lists, but if you ask, I'll certainly tell you everything that went into a dish. Everything.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Onions are something I have always had issues with. I hate them raw, the smell, the crunch, the toxic flavor, everything is wrong with raw onions. But if you cook them, they're fine. There's no more essential cooking smell, if you're me, than onions cooking in olive oil to begin so many things I love. But they have to be cooked _enough_, i.e., not one iota of crunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                  When I was little, I didn't quite get the distinctions. My father, who was the better cook in our family, figured it out. Whenever it was I announced I didn't like onions, he started making a meat sauce with tomatoes, etc., but with the onion whole (with a clove in it, too, IIRC). Marcella's onion/butter/tomato sauce always reminds me of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Anyway, once we figured out it was the crunch of cooked onions that grossed me out, my father tried making it his original way, only he cooked the onions all the way. He either sweated the onions or accomplished this by leaving the lid on the pot, which he'd apparently not done before. (I was told this years after the fact. I don't remember it completely.)

                                                                                                                                                                                  But he didn't LIE to me about anything. He just adjusted his cooking methods.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I have what I wouldn't call a phobia, but maybe an aversion, to tofu, and everything else tofu lovers love, including a lot of Asian food. The first time I ate tofu, I spit it out. What was this snot-textured white stuff in my food? And that would have been that, but I am vocal about things I don't like, and I'm sure I've said "eeewwww" out loud a good thousand times or more whenever the word "tofu" came up over the years.

                                                                                                                                                                                  And half of those times, some "friend" has said, "Oh, well, I'm just going to feed you tofu sometime, and you're not even going to know you ate it." Two "friends" have tried. Two "friends" have failed. Two friendships have died.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I have a newer friend who keeps threatening to do this to me sometime. His great love is for Indian food. The only meats he'll eat are chicken (one of the most disgustingly processed foods known to man, IMO) or turkey. So he eats lots of tofu.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Now, I have made Bolognese with ground turkey many times for him. I've never made it with beef and pork and lied to him. Why would he make me something with tofu and lie to me about it? He's been placed on warning, and we now live in different cities, but I still think about this at times.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I think it's a horrible breach of trust to lie to someone about the food you have made and are feeding them. Except for the tofu-wielding sadists described above, I had never heard of Food Lying before CH (not this thread; one several months ago). I had an especially fussy brother. My mother simply made him the things he would eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I think everyone is deserving of respect in making their own food choices. No one should have to eat things they don't like.

                                                                                                                                                                                  A couple of people in this thread, well, if my God is right, they're going to spend at least a decade in purgatory. One woman will probably burn in hell for the rest of time after she dies. I hope her son gets to feed her for a year or two prior to her death, and that all he'll give her to drink is juice from the roast beef plant.

                                                                                                                                                                                  15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                    i know people with extreme allergies. it is SO NOT a good idea to lie about things. If you've got a texture fetish, that's one thing. but recognize that the substance (tofu in this case) may be prepared to a different texture. and you might like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                                                      I can't bring myself to lie about food: to me it seems so useless. When my kids were little I did not always bend over backwards with detail, I mean how much do little ones need or know, how much detail do they even understand? But lie? I felt guilty about Santa and the Easter Bunny! As far as friends or acquaintances or colleages who are going to dine with the McG's, I honor peoples' religious or moral diet restrictions and if someone is just picky I can usually find some common ground that everyone can enjoy. If it's a close friend or family member I may even make them something else or suggest they bring their own food. After all, I'm more interested in the person than what they won't eat or we wouldn't be dining together in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                                                        There is not a world in which I will eat tofu. You just got put on the list.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                          actually, i hate tofu too. and I'd never lie about what I was serving you... but i also hate the texture of eggplant. However, I love baba ghanoush. Capiche?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                                                            I like baba ghanoush, too. And eggplant caviar (similar).

                                                                                                                                                                                            I think most people don't know how to cook eggplant right. Salting and draining it is so important, and I think most people skip that step.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                              Meh, I love eggplant and have never done the salting/draining step. But I agree that cooking it right -- especially cooking it enought -- is key.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                                                Undercooked eggplant is just plain nasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                                                          My husband is not allergic to eggs, but they tend to upset his digestion, especially if not thoroughly cooked. So I rarely prepare anything at home containing eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                          We clearly have a very different views on this matter.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Breaking up a friendship over an attempt to sneak tofu into a meal?
                                                                                                                                                                                          Predicting someone will burn in hell over this kind of thing?
                                                                                                                                                                                          I mean, c'mon!

                                                                                                                                                                                          With the exceptions of cases involving religious or similar cultural prohibitions, or medical dietary restrictions (allergies, celiac disease, etc), food misrepresentations among friends/family are just white lies. Not murder or treason!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: racer x

                                                                                                                                                                                            uh-uh. you "forget" to tell me there's liver in something... my hubby with the metal allergies is going to find the food inedible. It's not the meat he's allergic to.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I take severe exception to white lies, as they're a way of saying "I don't think you're grown up enough to handle this"

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                                                              Food allergies are an entirely different situation.
                                                                                                                                                                                              The diners must be vigilant about everything they put in their mouths. They have an obligation to inform the cooks/servers about their allergies, and the cooks have an absolute obligation to respect their medical needs. No disagreement.

                                                                                                                                                                                              IMHO how you handle a picky diner, whom you know very well, who just 'doesn't like the idea of' certain ingredients is something else.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I think we need to remember that there are some people for whom knowing all the ingredients is extremely important while there are others who don't care all that much. Withholding info from the former category is not the same as withholding it from the latter.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Most people I know will be fine with ordering "beef stew" on a restaurant menu, but some friends will grill the server to find out precisely what is in the stew before they will consider ordering it.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yep. In many of the above cases people have actually said "I am not grown up enough to handle this," (the mayo/"garlic sauce" guy comes to mind) so, there you have it.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: racer x

                                                                                                                                                                                                >>>>Predicting someone will burn in hell over this kind of thing?<<<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                I was referring to something someone here wrote, not the tofu sneakers I have known.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: racer x

                                                                                                                                                                                                  >>>>food misrepresentations among friends/family are just white lies. Not murder or treason!<<<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                  They're not murder. I didn't say they were. But they are a form of treason. I would NEVER sneak something into a friend's food I knew he didn't like. If you think that's just a little white lie, you and I probably wouldn't agree on much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                  LOL!!! I have to agree with you. Lying about food, especially to an adult is acting like a child at best and at worst, like an a***ole.

                                                                                                                                                                                                3. I'm totally shocked by so many of these responses. I, personally, cannot deal with a SO who is a picky eater. (My boyfriend doesn't really like raw onions or lots of cilantro, fine. But in college I dated a guy who decided in early elementary school that he didn't like fruit. Fruit! Dude, that's a whole botanical classification. Had he ever eaten fruit? One bite of watermelon. I told him that he couldn't tell me he didn't like apples unless he had eaten an apple. He looked at the apple that I was eating... and cried. Yes, I dumped him.) I mean no disrespect to you picky eaters or lovers of picky eaters, as being a picky eater is not a moral failing... But I would never lie. If you're not hungry enough to eat it, then don't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also don't have children, so I know better than to criticize mothers (and mothers of toddlers get a little extra leeway in my book)... I do know that growing up, we had to have two bites of everything. I was always an adventurous eater, but my little sister was pickier and/or more stubborn... she would dramatically gag and cry and moan about the two bites... then reach for more with an evil smile when she thought nobody was looking. Brat!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. My mother put veggies through the food processor before adding them to dishes to hide them from my brother. We all were glad when he outgrew that. Of course, she also did the normal tactics of telling him to try those dishes and serving things he liked with veggies; that was her last-ditch effort when all else failed and he hadn't eaten anything from the food group for a week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Kids, I'd lie to for their health (yes, even if they claim it's moral. My kid is not going to waste away claiming they are a "fruitarian." However, vegetarian and vegan can be done healthily, at least for veganism until the kid gets tired of cooking their own food and proving it is nutritionally balanced each night). You know if your child is actually allergic to something, and sneaking onions and other veggies into their food is better than them not eating anything like that, or forcing them to eat when they don't want to (many a food complex is borne of that!). I wouldn't lie to them otherwise, though I might not tell them what exactly a dish was. And if they didn't like it, after one bite I would let them pass on it and make a nutritious alternative on their own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    But I don't lie to my fiance, I just inform him I want to cook something and he says he's "suspicious" and I reply that he must try it and I won't make him eat it again if he hates it. He does the same to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    And I always clarify any dish I might make for a friend beforehand. No surprises. I have a lot of vegetarian/religious/allergic/gluten-free friends and I'm not about to keep all that straight. Even avoiding major allergens, my fiance is allergic to CHICKPEAS of all things (and white potatos and cherries and all stonefruit and all other manner of weird things that come up in a lot of dishes that you might think were safe to make). I trust nothing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Basiorana

                                                                                                                                                                                                      For the vast majority of people - and especially children - a vegan diet is just plain unhealthy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Kids sometimes pick up these food taboos from friends who are either trying to be "hip" or have eating disorders.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Human beings are designed to be omnivores. Many types of animals are designed to be carnivores. Cats must have plenty of animal protein in their diet or they will die. Eating meat is not wrong - it is simply the way that the world works.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: 1389AD

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Let's agree to disagree on the vegan thing. Studies have shown that if done right, it's perfectly healthy, the same way that an omnivore diet can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on what the inidividual person chooses to eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Now cats, however, have a completely different digestive system that processes meat much better than produce. So yes, they actually need meat to survive. But they also need some plant foods for fibre and whatnot, so long as meat is the main part of their diet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Would you please reference one peer-reviewed study that has shown that if done right, a vegan diet can be healthy?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here are a few (though of course no single study will ever measure something as broad as "healthiness"):

                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://bit.ly/fsaoSy (this one is a little skewed because it's for "very low fat" vegan diets, which are more restrictive than necessary

                                                                                                                                                                                                              There are a bunch that link vegan diets with improvements in diabetes, heart disease, and other assorted conditions, but I didn't want to get into that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also, I should note that I'm not vegan and have no intention of becoming so. I just think the boards are quick to say the omnivore diet is best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. One pleasantly salted Path to the Dao
                                                                                                                                                                                                        is a mixture of cheese, eggs, and tofu

                                                                                                                                                                                                        With it's mix of the melt and also the mash
                                                                                                                                                                                                        there is comfort in the way it encurdles you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Folks, this is an old thread that's has been woke up, and not in a very friendly way in some cases. We've removed the worst of the new posts, but we're going to put the thread back to bed now, and lock it.