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Married To A Non-Foodie, How To Cope?

c
ctflowers Oct 5, 2007 10:54 AM

From reading many of the postings on the Chowhound boards, it appears that many of you are either married to or have sig. others who are also Chowhounds and "foodies". That's great, because you can discuss and obsess over wonderful food.

However, my (wonderful) husband is not into food at all. He's a very picky eater and will not eat: raw tomatoes, cooked tomatoes unless pureed, onions, any color bell pepper, anything spicy, brocolli, shrimp, scallops. Let's just say that the only veggies he'll eat are lettuce (not too dark green either!), peas, green beans, and sometimes carrotts.

I cook most meals at home...
how in the world can I remain a Chowhound and cook something that my husband will eat?

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Thanks,
R

  1. k
    Karen_Schaffer Oct 21, 2007 09:01 PM

    A few people have mentioned frozen dinners in a somewhat derogatory manner, but truthfully, you could explore freezing portions of good, homemade dinners for him, so you could reheat one of those when you feel like being creative for yourself. Many hearty dishes (beef stew, chili, spaghetti sauce) freeze beautifully.

    And vice versa for yourself. My DH loves sandwiches for lunch which I get bored with, so I make/reheat soups a lot instead. Also, rice and grains freeze and microwave well, so you could easily make a batch of them and freeze them in small portions for yourself and little one.

    I'm glad he has some sense of humor about this and that you're so respectful of his tastes. It may not be rational, but there's nothing to be gained by bludgeoning him about it. Keep that communication going.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Karen_Schaffer
      w
      willownt Oct 22, 2007 05:56 AM

      I love my freezer! Those books about cooking one day and eating for 30 are actually helpful, even if only in a conceptual sense. I, for one, didn't mean to sound derogatory when I suggested this; I find it incredibly helpful to have extras on reserve in the freezer for hectic days. :) Also some things are so easy to make large portions of, so you save tons of time this way.

      1. re: willownt
        k
        Karen_Schaffer Oct 22, 2007 08:49 AM

        Oh, by derogatory, I meant the folks who were (only semi-seriously, perhaps) suggesting that she feed him commercial frozen dinners, Hungry Man, etc. Real food that's been frozen, that's different!

        1. re: Karen_Schaffer
          w
          willownt Oct 23, 2007 06:12 AM

          As Niloufer Ichaporia King notes in "My Bombay Kitchen," people are always asking if a particular food can be frozen -- all foods can be frozen, the issue is how they taste when thawed! ;)

    2. w
      willownt Oct 21, 2007 12:33 PM

      I had another idea. Cook stuff from Rachel Ray's cookbooks or TV shows. She tends to be pretty sympathetic to the red meat & potatoes type of food, but she has a desire for more flavor than is traditional, and I've seen her do shows on exposing people to more food.

      1. f
        foodwich Oct 21, 2007 05:47 AM

        so many suggestions good and otherwise. wanted to add my story too. my DH is not a foodie and when we got married, didnt realize the amount of food which exists. mom is a very uninspired cook. over the course of our marriage, he will eat some things, wont eat somethings, i did try to accommodate but as the years went by it became much harder so now i cook what i want, if he doesnt like it, oh well ! will try it at least. my kids are foodies too which has helped tip the balance a bit so he does tend to get left out when he persists in his dislikes. the point of this is that you cant win them all, so dont put so much effort into trying and it will work out in the end. after 30 years my food choices rule !

        1. yamalam Oct 17, 2007 09:04 PM

          I feel your pain, so much so that I posted my own thread about it(didn't see this one). On top of everything already mentioned, my mans totally doesn't get me spending so much time on CH, "being a computer food nerd with my food nerd friends."

          1 Reply
          1. re: yamalam
            j
            Jeters Oct 21, 2007 01:02 AM

            My DF HATES me reading chowhound. He doesn't see the point of my food nerdiness =(
            I say pick your battles. my DF is quite picky about some things- especially going out to places that seems too 'frou frou' which is anything high end other than a steakhouse, lol. But we love ethnic food- pho, indian, dim sum, ramen (although he won't eat sushi), so have a good time eating that kind of thing. I'm also finding together what veggies we both like.

          2. w
            willownt Oct 15, 2007 02:53 PM

            Wow. That is a challenge. I should say that my diet is about 5% similar to my mother's diet, which is in turn about 10% similar to her mother's diet.

            First of all, I think hiding broccoli or anything else in food is deceptive and rather strange. It's as if you think he needs to eat it and you're going to get it in. I also never liked people who lie to you about what you're eating, in order to, after you finish it, say "ha ha, it wasn't chicken that you just ate, it was really putrified eel skin!" or whatever. There are some things I genuinely don't like the taste/texture of, for example skins of tomatoes or eggplant that come off during cooking, and I find myself picking at them in an unsightly manner. I wouldn't really appreciate someone telling me to just eat them anyway -- they taste like paper to me. And I very rarely eat raw tomatoes myself. We all have our foibles.

            And you should be sympathetic to people who haven't eaten a lot of spicy food; it can be physically painful to eat something that's spicier than you can handle, so you can't really fault someone there. I think the best thing to do in this case is try flavorful food that's not hot-spicy. Add spicy elements on your portion.

            If he doesn't care if he eats the same thing all the time, let him eat it all the time. I think in modern American "foodie" culture, people want to try crazy new stuff constantly, but traditionally, most people cook and eat the same 3 dishes all the time and don't necessarily mind.

            Besides the plain boiled dinners every night, try cooking up a big portion of something and freezing individual servings (a la 30 days of dreamy frozen food or whatever those books are called), and then he can pull out something for himself when he feels the need.

            I think some things are not liked because of a lack of exposure. When I was a kid, I was scared (yes, scared) of onions, garlic, and black pepper, for reasons I still don't understand. I think I thought I would spontaneously combust if I ate them or something. I finally tried them and liked them. It is possible that your husband will come around and become curious if something smells or looks appealing. Start with what he does like, and work outwards. Talk to him about what he wants to eat, and why he doesn't like certain things (for example, if he hates broccoli because it was always served to him boiled, massively overcooked, gray in color, and totally devoid of flavor, you have to be sympathetic!). Maybe try to work through a meal plan with him.

            1. hotteacher1976 Oct 15, 2007 10:51 AM

              My husband is a strict meat and potatoes guy. He will not eat anything he can't recognize. That being said, we do compromise. He takes me out to restaurants that he's a little uneasy to go into. So he does try.

              1. l
                lovinfoodinSeattle Oct 9, 2007 11:59 AM

                Well I can tell you what worked for me....stop caring what, or if, they eat.
                I spent so much time. money and frustration trying to make meals he'd eat that would broaden his palate, that I would also enjoy. But really, it was a lot of time and ultimately wasn't what either of us loved.

                So about 8 months ago, I stopped cooking for him. At all.
                I make what I want and he can have some or fend for himself. I keep crappy frozen food around and there are fast food joints nearby.

                Amazingly, despite hating tomatoes, he partakes of my bruschetta (one of my most common eats) often and more and more is interested in healthier food. He even got into a stinky cheese recently, which previously had been like pulling teeth.

                1 Reply
                1. re: lovinfoodinSeattle
                  amy_rc Oct 9, 2007 05:40 PM

                  Amen, sister! I'm not suggesting hostility, but I don't love anyone enough to cook two separate meals after I've put in 10 hours at work and an hour commuting. I'm making one meal and you can eat it or leave it. Thank God I married a man who will eat anything (believe me, I've tested him with some totally inedible concoctions). I feel for you guys and gals who make a couple of meals to please your spouse, SO, kids or picky roommates.

                2. m
                  meimei Oct 9, 2007 11:21 AM

                  My honey has been eating PBJ for the last 2 nights because he doesn't like the herb de Provence I put in the roast chicken. My best friend (who is Chinese) is married to a wonderful guy who goes through this ritual evertime we go to a ethnic place: stare at it, poke it, shake the plate, smell it. Only if the item pass all of above test will he then try a bite to determine if its ateable. Sounds funny, and it is funny, but a pain in the a** when it comes to going out....
                  Have you heard about that new book by Jessica Seinfeld? It's meant for kids and getting them to get the nutrtion in the vegetable while learning them. Even thought the "kids" we are dealing with are much much older, but I think the nutritional facts are just as important to them, if not more, since how we age will depend on it. That is, if you don't mind spending the time and energy on it. I just got her brownie recipe which includes carrots and spinach in them. We'll see how it goes. Good luck to us all. :P

                  1. a
                    AMFM Oct 9, 2007 09:57 AM

                    ctflowers - i am SO there with you. my husband hates just about everything i love. picking restaurants and making meals is a chore. he eats meat and carbs. sometimes corn, potatoes and for some weird reason artichokes (i have no idea). truly that's it. but he doesn't like every version of the above. he literally picks herbs out of things if he can see the green. frankly it's embarrassing. he's the most fabulous man in all other ways - and having had his mother's cooking i can see how he turned out the way he did -- that plus some military time... :)

                    we've learned to compromise. many nights are staples. meat, carb, veggies - he doesn't eat the latter. pasta with two sauces (because god forbid there be any chunks in his - NOTHING is okay for him but ragu flavored with meat and needless to say that repulses me). sometimes i just have to cook for me and he can make a frozen pizza (since frankly he could eat that or steakums sandwiches every night and not care) but i hate to do that since i'm trying to teach 2 children under the age of 5 to eat healthy and well.

                    we've learned to do date nights places where we can both get what we like - hard to find but doable. but sometimes a bust because he's just a "live to eat" guy and i am definitely an "eat to live"...
                    we've learned we overlap on good wine and cheese! so we do that from time to time. and he puts up with me and how food and party planning and as he puts it "a bad meal an ruin my day" as much as i put up with him.

                    good luck!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: AMFM
                      c
                      ctflowers Oct 9, 2007 10:11 AM

                      AMFM, thanks for the tips. Your husband must be my husband's twin, lol. Mine also, will not eat "chunks" or pieces of tomato in his tomato sauce. Instead of buying jarred Ragu, I've learned to make a really easy homemade pasta sauce...just use a large can of tomato puree, a small can of tomato paste, 1/2 beef boullion cube, garlic powder, pepper, balsamic vinegar, a little bit brown sugar, and whatever else you want to add. I rarely even measure the ingredients, just make to taste. This recipe has no "tomato blobs" as my husband calls them, and he likes it.

                      -R

                      1. re: ctflowers
                        goodhealthgourmet Oct 9, 2007 12:54 PM

                        if his issue is only with texture and not flavor, there's a pretty easy solution. make the recipe or buy the brand you like, and pass his portion through a food mill before serving. you get the sauce you wanted, he gets one that's chunk-free.

                        1. re: ctflowers
                          MMRuth Oct 9, 2007 01:30 PM

                          I just happened upon this - but you could try making a sauce with nice whole tomatoes (I find they taste better) and running it through a food mill or in a food processor to get rid of the chunks.

                      2. whs Oct 7, 2007 05:22 PM

                        Meals are a communal activity that are supposed to bring people together. Setting up conflict at mealtime guarantees an unhappy situation. I see your choices as: cooking what makes him happy and seeking food thrills elsewhere (ie--girls night out or solo lunch at that Thai place downtown) or divorce.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: whs
                          c
                          ctflowers Oct 8, 2007 05:38 AM

                          Whs, "seeking food thrills elsewhere", love the saying!
                          You're so right, the mealtime conflict was making me miserable, so I spoke up, but in my husband's mind, it seemed like after 10 years of marriage I was demanding that he change his food likes and dislikes.

                          We had a long conversation about it all last night. I told him that I'd found some new recipes I thought we'd both like, and that I could tweak the ingredients to substitute the recommended veggie for another that he would like. If I want something more "foodie", I'll either just add ingredients to my serving or serve it on the side. He seemed to like that idea.

                          He also said that if a recipe has a "small" amount of an ingredient he doesn't like (such as one chopped zuchinni in a large pot of soup), that sometimes it's better that I don't tell him what's in it. Apparently, he thinks that's different than if I try to "hide" a veggie in a recipe, lol. Or, if I make something & he likes it, that I shouldn't tell him the ingredients. An example of that was when I made what he thought was a tuna salad sandwich, but it was really a salmon salad sandwich...he liked it before I told him it was really salmon.

                          I think I need a "book of rules" for this, lolol.

                          -R

                          1. re: ctflowers
                            d
                            dalaimama Oct 8, 2007 04:52 PM

                            He sounds like a sweet guy with a sense of humor about the whole thing and it sounds like he's doing his best to meet you halfway. That, in and of itself, is priceless.

                            1. re: ctflowers
                              SweetPea914 Oct 8, 2007 07:16 PM

                              I have to laugh, my mother unknowingly was eating a salmon spread at a party one night. My mother hates salmon, she thought it was tuna.

                              1. re: SweetPea914
                                n
                                notgreg Oct 8, 2007 08:09 PM

                                I feel that the tone of some of these posts gets right to the heart of why so many foodies are seen as "snobs". Judging by what the original poster mentioned, there are still thousands of food products/combinations that her husband would be more than happy eating.

                                Furthermore, many of the replies make it seem as though "non-foodies" are not only to be openly pitied, but deceived into ingesting things they have expressed a dislike for. I may be wrong, but it doesn't seem like a grown man is likely to become "enlightened" and repent of his stubborn ways after learning he has spentthe last month eating liquified broccoli and peppers.

                                While I'm at it, why is an aversion to certain foods any different than a dislike for, say, jogging? If I don't like jogging, I don't like jogging. Does it mattr why? It sure doesn't because I am an adult who has a right to their own opinion. I don't want anyone to get me a new pair of Asics "just because" or make me feel inadequate because I didn't knowck out my 3 miles this morning.

                                Food is not as important to everyone as it is to us "foodies", and you know what? That's fine. The fact that someone doesn't care for sun-dried tomatoes or mushrooms doesn't mean they should have to eat Hungry Man's every night. It is this borderline elitist vibe that some of us put off that further seperates us from "non foodies" rather than helping them gain an appreciation for other foods. Try cooking what he loves and making him feel like that is OK, and then maybe he will appreciate the effort and try something new in return. If not, at least you haven't made him feel inferior because of his tastes.

                                1. re: notgreg
                                  SweetPea914 Oct 8, 2007 08:28 PM

                                  notgreg,
                                  I hope you weren't intentionally replying specifically to me. In the example I provided above, no one deceived my Mother, she simply didn't realize what she was eating. She has the habit of saying she hates certan foods, but then when she tries them she actually likes them.
                                  I feel like your post is just a bit hostile.

                                  1. re: SweetPea914
                                    n
                                    notgreg Oct 9, 2007 09:35 AM

                                    No, no I wasn't, and I know it might have come off a bit hostile, which was not my full intention. I have just been noticing that quite a few posts and board topics lately have been slowly working their way towards snobbishness (is that a word?). I meant to hurt no feelings and apologize for the harsh tone.

                                    1. re: notgreg
                                      SweetPea914 Oct 9, 2007 10:47 AM

                                      Thank you, I didn't think I had said anythig all that terrible. While I agree that some posts in general have a snobbish attitude toward food and picky people, well, it is Chowhound! Have you ever visited a Chain thread? Eeasshh!
                                      I appreciate your comparison to not liking jogging, but let me make a similar comparison. I once dated a guy who loved skiing, he went skiing every weekend. I don't do anything when the weather dips below 50 degrees. I am surprised I have managed to survive in the North East for as long as I have. Needless to say this relationship didn't last very long, though we are still friends 15 years later.
                                      Some hobbies are meant to be shared (I don't think of jogging as being a group sport though some I know would tell me I'm wrong)

                                      People that love food, usually like to share that with others. One of the beautiful things about good food is that it begs to be shared with friends and family! So if some people are over exuberent about geting hubby in on the game, please cut them a little slack. I think most people have had some positive advice for ctflowers and were only trying to help!

                                      1. re: notgreg
                                        Josh Oct 9, 2007 12:32 PM

                                        If someone says they "don't like salmon", then eats it and likes it (unaware that's what it is), only to then change their opinion upon finding out what it is, then you are out of the realm of rationality and in the realm of phobia. I've dated more than one person who said they "didn't like" fill-in-the-blank, only to then try a different preparation and find that they can actually enjoy it.

                                        1. re: Josh
                                          SweetPea914 Oct 9, 2007 01:26 PM

                                          I completely agree! That's what I find so humurous with some people who say they "hate" a food they've never even tried.
                                          another example: I had Chilean Sea bass at a wedding a couple weeks ago, Mom told me she ordered the Filet Mignon since "she hates Sea Bass" because "it's too fishy". Well, she had never even had sea bass, we were at seperate tables, but the next day she kept telling me how delicious my Aunt's fish was and she wished she had ordered it.
                                          Sometimes self proclaimed "picky eaters" deserve to have a little fun poked at them when they do these types of things.

                                          1. re: SweetPea914
                                            jillp Oct 9, 2007 05:45 PM

                                            But you know, there are situations where what normally makes a person gag can be turned into something that person can find edible.

                                            For example, earlier in this thread I mentioned that I nearly spat out some goat cheese I had tried at a Slow Food get-together. Fresh goat cheese literally smells and tastes like vomit to me, as does most lamb and goat. And this was some really good goat cheese, according to the people who like goat cheese.

                                            However, if you cook goat cheese into a delightful souffle, the taste is completely different for me and I love it.

                                            What you want to think about with a picky food person is how you can turn something they don't like into something they are able to eat. Once you do that, you've made a wonderful improvement in the picky person's life.

                                    2. re: notgreg
                                      c
                                      ctflowers Oct 9, 2007 10:16 AM

                                      I never really looked at the situation quite in the light that you mention, but you have some good points.

                                      Makes me remember that my ex-husband and I loved most of the same foods and he was also a foodie, but the marriage failed for other reasons. My current husband (the wonderful guy, but picky eater) and I do not share the same food tastes, however he's a wonderful husband, and we're going on our tenth anniversary.

                                      -R

                              2. jillp Oct 7, 2007 04:36 PM

                                Hmmm. Prior to your post, ctflowers, I had thought myself a true food phobic in my youth. I see now that I was simply a Foodie In Waiting.

                                Anyway, ctflowers, I counsel patience, and in large quantities. I was unable to eat many things when I was younger but jackp just hung in there and things have turned completely around.

                                Very subtly, introduce different textures of foods that you know he enjoys. Then, bit by bit, new flavors. Also, bear in mind that after you've been doing the food prep for a year or so, he will begin to forget whatever habits he's developed.

                                There will always be things he dislikes (I nearly spat out some goat cheese this evening) but if you can wait a bit, you can enjoy bringing him over to the foodish side of eating.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: jillp
                                  pikawicca Oct 7, 2007 04:47 PM

                                  Man, Jill there was some mighty good stinky goat cheese there this evening. Keep trying.

                                  1. re: jillp
                                    DarthEater Oct 7, 2007 07:10 PM

                                    I'm not feeling ctflowers husband is a foodie in waiting.

                                  2. w
                                    wayne keyser Oct 6, 2007 08:47 PM

                                    I'm in your same situation, and I've resorted to cooking two separate meals when I crave something "foodie." Your husband's tastes (like my wife's) don't sound that hard to "throw together something" for. I don't always do it, but at least that way I can not only have what I want, but I can have it exactly the way I want it without any concessions to anyone else's taste.

                                    And, of course, I can always take lunch alone at a place that serves something intriguing - I know that's daunting to some people, but I'm not one of those people (and the staff at my favorite places have gotten to know me and the fact that I tip quite well for a good welcome and good service).

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: wayne keyser
                                      c
                                      ctflowers Oct 7, 2007 07:46 AM

                                      After the fiasco last night, I felt bad...so, this morning, I've been looking for new recipes to try that both my husband & I might like. I figure I can always substitute green beans for asparagus or brocolli (since hubby won't eat asparagus), etc. Since I do all the cooking, if there's something "foodie" that I crave, I'll just make it to go along with whatever else we're having. I was trying to avoid cooking two seperate meals.

                                      However, I don't think I agree with the posters who said that I should just let my husband fend for himself and let him cook his own meals if he doesn't like what I'm cooking. I've done almost all of the cooking (except after I had surgery a few years ago) our entire marriage...even though I wish he'd cook, he's told me honestly that he just doesn't like to cook at all. Well, I hate to clean the house and mow the lawn and do laundry, so he's usually the one who does those chores. We both make compromises.

                                      Also, I had brunch with a friend yesterday...and she mentioned that she loves all kinds of ethnic and spicy foods, so that I should call her if I want to go out for lunch. I also don't mind eating alone for lunch at a restaurant, so that's another option...thanks for the ideas, wayne!

                                      -R

                                      1. re: ctflowers
                                        d
                                        dalaimama Oct 7, 2007 08:44 AM

                                        I sympathize and have some suggestions. I have a five-year-old who prefers everything "plain". So, she's fine with a hamburger patty, fresh tomatoes, and plain pasta with butter on it. But, serve her a bowl of spaghetti with meat sauce or tomato sauce and she hates it. Yes, she tries it, but she really hates it and I just can't serve someone food they really, honestly loathe. (She eats a huge range of foods, but they are all plain.) However, I hate to cook two meals.

                                        So, dinner might be pork tenderloin with couscous or rice and green beans. I add some chopped apricots and almonds to our couscous and a bit of sauce on our pork, but essentially we are all eating the same thing. If I want a stir fry, I'll cook her chicken, give her plain rice and raw veggies. Then I put the rest of the chicken and veggies in a wok and cook them for us. It's a matter of being creative and figuring out meals where the individual components can be jazzed up for those that want it and plain for those that don't.

                                        Pan sauces do a world of good in giving a little complexity to a meal and give you something that he doesn't have to have without tons of work for you.

                                        Roasted veggies are easy and it's simple to just put the potatoes on one side pf the pan and then anything extra you like on the other side.

                                        Give him his plain salad and then add the goat cheese and nuts to yours. Very easy to do and no extra work on your part.

                                        Foodie doesn't necessarily mean complex. It can also mean appreciating the goodness of simpler foods prepared really well.

                                        1. re: dalaimama
                                          geekyfoodie Oct 18, 2007 05:19 PM

                                          "Foodie doesn't necessarily mean complex. It can also mean appreciating the goodness of simpler foods prepared really well."

                                          Exactly. That's why my "mixed-relationship" (we're interracial, so I guess we're mixed in more ways than one) works out so well. Just because he doesn't voraciously pursue new ingredients/dishes like I do doesn't mean he has no understanding of good food. The man knows his meat and potatoes and he accepts nothing less than perfection when it comes to his favorites.

                                          One of his amazing dinners included filet mignon, caramelized onions, lightly cooked sugar snap peas (one of the 3 green veggies he enjoys), grilled corn and potato. It stuck to his favorites: beef, onions, and the handful of vegetables he actually likes. Those are arguably simple ingredients (maybe except for the filet mignon), but he put a lot of delightful twists to them. I love grilled corn and when he caramelized the onions, he added a splash of red wine to them. Just for fun. He's definitely a tinkerer with ingredients that he likes.

                                          However, I did luck out with a non-'Hound that does enjoy cooking his favorites, so I can't complain at all when it comes to preparing meals.

                                          For the OP, I agree with those who have suggested patience and small steps. We've come a very long way in terms of expanding his horizons, but we have an understanding: He should try new things while I shouldn't push too hard. He enjoys things like pho and the occasional dim sum run, but will he ever eat ikura (salmon roe and one of my favorite things in sushi)? No. I'll just have to live with that.

                                        2. re: ctflowers
                                          DarthEater Oct 7, 2007 07:06 PM

                                          I agree, I don't think a man should fend for himself during meal time. Food is love, love is food. When you love someone you feed them. Which Is why i suggested either something quick and simple that takes only minutes to cook or a small variation that wont take 10 pots to makes. Sometimes I would pick up his favorite takeout and cook my own food to satisfy him and me, just make sure hes not the type to get offended. But if he only wants a home cooked meal then you would have to make choices.

                                          1. re: ctflowers
                                            danhole Oct 18, 2007 08:08 AM

                                            I started a thread about this myself, only big difference is that we have been married for 31 years. It has been frustrating. In the beginning I was a teen bride and didn't have many recipes that I knew, that he would eat. So we suffered through things his mother suggested. Her idea of seasoning was a touch of salt & pepper. Anything more than that was too much. Spaghetti from a box kit - no extra seasonings, steak with steak sauce cooked medium well (UGH!), eckrich sausage & plain noodles with corn on the side (UGH again).

                                            Eventually I started experimenting with herbs and spices, cooking things in lots of garlic, onions and vegetables, but discarding them before he saw them, making gravies/pan sauces, and tempting him to try new things by adding bacon. He liked the flavors, a lot, but texture is a tough one to conquer, so most vegetables are still on the no list. I have gotten him to eat ham, chili, rice a roni, iceberg lettuce, celery, medium rare steak with marinades, couscous (but only a little) and wheat bread. That sounds pretty sparse, but it's something. When I make his plain noodles, I serve his and them put a sauce on mine. And now the sausage is a gourmet type, or a pork & venison. No more eckrich.

                                            So what I learned is: Do not hide stuff in his food, it only makes the mad, as you know. Spend time with friends that that appreciate food so that you don't go insane.
                                            Choose restaurants that have a big variety of food, so you can get something you want, while he eats his plain old food.
                                            And never fight over a lima bean - it gets pretty ugly!

                                            1. re: ctflowers
                                              m
                                              manga Oct 21, 2007 05:30 PM

                                              Maybe you can cook a large quantity of food that your husband will like one day a week. Perhaps a sauce or soup...then cook things you will particularly enjoy as the week progresses..that way your needs to have more variety are met and his needs to have safe foods are met. Perhaps he could even pitch in and do his own cooking every other week...

                                          2. DarthEater Oct 6, 2007 07:49 PM

                                            Try seeing it this way, hes just very simple. He doesnt require fancy techniques and creativity. The less ingredients the better. Think of this as a blessing. I suggest you go ahead and make the food you like, and grill him a steak with variations on rubs or fish. Pasta with simple tomatoes. The less tinkering the better for him. If he doesnt like rice then offer him pasta. Its very simple.

                                            Whatever you do, do not try to convert him. It will do the opposite effect. Dont even offer your food to him! He might take this as food pushing. If he is interested to try,then thats his choice. The worst thing that a couple can do to one another is disrespect their choices or not listening to them. Take me for example. My ex loves blue cheese. I hated it. I always told him to eat it away from me as far as possible. But to see him enjoy it pique my interest and my constant "taste" (from spitting it out-to making faces) bloomed into love. Roqueforte and Real Parmigian is my favorite and I'm constantly in search of the next new cheese.

                                            I only wonder how'd you make it this far. All of my failed dates were with non foodie men.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: DarthEater
                                              c
                                              ctflowers Oct 6, 2007 08:25 PM

                                              DarthEater, I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head by saying that I shouldn't try to convert my husband to becoming more adventurous with food. I told him that I'd posted on this board for suggestions to our food dilemma, thinking he'd find it interesting or funny & read a few of the comments to him. Yikes, it had the opposite effect...his comment was "are you just trying to push me away?" I think he may have felt threatened. We've been married for ten years, and now I want him to eat food he doesn't like? He really is a great guy, and we have a good marriage. This wasn't the reaction I expected :(

                                              -R

                                              1. re: ctflowers
                                                DarthEater Oct 7, 2007 06:54 PM

                                                Yes, sometimes it goes deep beyond the actual food and it taps into their insecurities. But most of all, they just want to be listened. As long as he doesnt interfere with what you can/cannot put into your mouth, then just leave his little food habits alone. Just enjoy yours as he would enjoy his. We all want to keep happy and one of the things that makes us happy is good food cooked the way we like it. Good luck, think positive. Hes just a simple eater...right? And were the ones with the rich complex palettes.

                                            2. Bellyacher Oct 6, 2007 02:28 PM

                                              Prepare Coq Au Vin for you and nuke a "Hungry Man - Rotisserie Chicken w/ Mashies, green beans & Brownie" for him. Hey, at least Rotisserie is a French word.

                                              Sorry, ctflowers, I shouldn't be flip about this serious matter. When my wife and I dine with friends, we sometimes leave talking about how lucky we are that we have like palates. However, one difficulty that results from enjoying the very same foods is that we often want the exact same thing on the menu, but we don't want to duplicate the other's order.

                                              So maybe variety really is the spice of life, and diversity (or is it adversity?) the spring of knowledge. You might engage your creativity and write a cookbook for couples with this very problem. It could be called, "Haute Sloppy Joe: Gourmet Foods for the Focused Palate", or something along these lines. It could become a bestseller and your and your spouses retirement.

                                              Please don't infer any satire here. I'm starting to think it's a good idea... wait maybe not. You would have to know the focus of the palate you are writing for in order to write the book.

                                              Well, how about tuna crudo? Does he like fish?

                                              1. Sam Fujisaka Oct 6, 2007 09:48 AM

                                                Suggestions so far seem to require you to do more work:

                                                1. To hide veggies in wonderful husband's food,
                                                2. Make two versions of meat and potatoes, one a bit more CH for you,
                                                3. Slowly trying to "convert" WH.

                                                What about making all of WH's meals with LESS work by:

                                                4. Throwing meat and potatoes into a pot of boiling water for a few hours everyday.

                                                WH may want to try something else after a couple of years.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                  pikawicca Oct 6, 2007 11:47 AM

                                                  Tough love, for sure! I like this approach.

                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                    c
                                                    ctflowers Oct 6, 2007 12:58 PM

                                                    Sam, LOL....I think that's a little bit too extreme!

                                                    -R

                                                    1. re: ctflowers
                                                      Sam Fujisaka Oct 6, 2007 06:54 PM

                                                      ctflowers, I would guess that you're sharing these posts with WH. It would really be nice to hear from you in the future as to what happens. And he must be at least amused or mildly chagrined.

                                                  2. pikawicca Oct 5, 2007 01:41 PM

                                                    Back when I was single, one of my prime requisites in a date (or husband) was that he love food. That was right up there with must be kind to children and animals. The enjoyment of food and cooking is such a big part of my life, that I knew I had to find a mate of the same stamp. My DH and I started dating 32 years ago, and have had many excellent food adventures together. You have my sincere sympathy.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: pikawicca
                                                      l
                                                      lagatta Oct 7, 2007 06:04 PM

                                                      Yes, how on earth did you ever become attracted to such a person? I "went out" with such a guy for about a month and a half once. It did not last.

                                                    2. m
                                                      missfunkysoul Oct 5, 2007 01:35 PM

                                                      how about making dishes more palatable to you via interesting sauces/salsas/chutneys/etc? for example, you can make grilled chicken and serve it to him plain, but top yours with a yummy something-or-other. you can make mashed potatoes plain for him, and then just mix a little pesto into yours.

                                                      if it were me, i'd try to think in terms of base items that appeal to him that i could add to in an easy way to make them chow-ish for me.

                                                      good luck!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: missfunkysoul
                                                        a
                                                        Alice Letseat Oct 5, 2007 01:44 PM

                                                        In sauces, treat him as one might treat children - puree the h--- out of the onions/garlic(not too much garlic!) and whatever else you want in the darn sauce (use your blender on "liquefy," not the food processor!) - most of the time, peoplel will simply think you've done a really stellar job on that sauce. And roasted vegetables are a splendid idea - was the way a couple of my sisters-in-law discovered they wouldn't die eating parsnips, turnips, and other vegetables. (Hint - grilled also works well).

                                                      2. AnneInMpls Oct 5, 2007 11:56 AM

                                                        My sympathies - this type of mixed marriage is a challenge!

                                                        A lot depends on your husband's attitude towards food. If he's willing to try, or at least doesn't sneer at your food preferences, there's hope. Gentle, slow experimentation with food may eventually turn your husband into a foodie. Try simple preparations, roasted or caramelized vegetables (that's how I got my husband to eat onions, eggplant, and asparagus), and top-quality, farm-fresh ingredients.

                                                        But if he's completely hostile to all but a few foods, you have a real challenge. I'd be tempted to cook what I wanted and tell my husband to fend for himself. At least once a week....

                                                        Try this thread for some more ideas:

                                                        Married a Meat and Potatoes Man....Help!
                                                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/359439

                                                        Good luck,
                                                        Anne

                                                        1. SweetPea914 Oct 5, 2007 11:32 AM

                                                          Luckily my husband is as "chowish" as I am. The rest of my family isn't though, so having my mom over for dinner is always tough. I like to make some things we can all agree on, then change a few things up a bit or put items on the side. For example, I have a recipe for skirt steak with a cilantro sauce that everyone loves, so when cooking for mom, the sauce goes on the side. When everyone else gets sea bass or swordfish, mom gets skewers of shrimp. I try to keep the cooking methods the same so I'm not truly making 2 dishes. So for the seafood example, all would be grilled. In your case dh could have chicken instead of a fish, but still it would be cooked the same way the fish is.
                                                          also, I tend to try to fill up on veggies and my hsuband doesn't eat nearly enough of them, so I give him extra rice, pasta, meat etc and I make whatever veggies I want, he ends up eating some, but they are almost always for me!

                                                          1. d
                                                            Diane in Bexley Oct 5, 2007 11:10 AM

                                                            Well, flowers, you have my sympathy. Mr. Diane is a Meat & Potatoes kind of guy and after 25 years of marriage, he isn't going to change. He only eats chicken or beef, we don't eat pork and he has an iodine allergy (no fish or seafood). MANY eveings I find myself preparing separate meals. When all the kids were home, this was a true PITA. He won't eat cooked vegetables beyond the starchy ones (corn, potatoes), is allergic to sweet potatoes, bell peppers, hates any kind of nut except peanut, is real h**l to cook for. Through the years I have developed a stiff back bone and a lot of nights cook to please myself. The good news is that it's relatively easy to grill a steak or piece of chicken and he could eat the same thing 7 nights in a row and it wouldn't bother him.

                                                            You can remain a Chowhound, have a wide palette and indulge in exotic food by not caring that he isn't going to join you. Very hard to change other people. Find some family, kids, or good friends who will enjoy the things you make. The people in my office consider themselves very lucky as I often like to experiment and bring my leftovers in for others to critique and sample.

                                                            7 Replies
                                                            1. re: Diane in Bexley
                                                              b
                                                              bakerboyz Oct 5, 2007 11:16 AM

                                                              Maybe I should intoduce you to my wife who could care less what she eats, has to eat all of her beef very well done, her chicken dried out, she rarely will eat "ethnic" food and she won't eat lamb, veal, salmon, swordfish, just to name a few.

                                                              1. re: Diane in Bexley
                                                                c
                                                                ctflowers Oct 5, 2007 12:17 PM

                                                                Thanks for all the ideas. I really would like to avoid having to cook two different meals at dinnertime. Seems I'm always cooking chicken with different veggies for me and seperate veggies for my husband. And...oh, I forgot...my husband hates rice, go figure!

                                                                I've tried "hiding" veggies in pasta sauce....for instance, brocolli or zuchinni. He'll find the pieces, pick them out and say "I told you I don't like brocolli", why do you keep trying to hide it in my food?". It only makes him mad.

                                                                -R

                                                                1. re: ctflowers
                                                                  c
                                                                  camp1980 Oct 5, 2007 12:28 PM

                                                                  My parents used to hide onions in my food and then get mad when I picked them out. I recommend that you don't do that anymore. Chances are he doesn't want the veggies in his pasta cause he doesn't like them. I would get mad at you too.

                                                                  My other recommendation is to let him cook for himself if he doesn't like what you are cooking. When I would come home and ask my parents what was for dinner they would get mad at me when I screwed up my face cause it was something I didn't like. Then my father would tell me to make my down damn dinner then. I was quite happy with this option. That way I got to eat something that I like. =)

                                                                  I do the cooking now!!!!

                                                                  1. re: ctflowers
                                                                    amy_rc Oct 6, 2007 10:07 AM

                                                                    My sister is married to a VERY similar man. They have worked it out so that she cooks whatever she likes and he can decide to eat what she's made or fend for himself. You would be surprised what he's learned to eat when he's too lazy to cook for himself.
                                                                    BTW IMHO this all goes back to his parents...you can thank them for his expansive palate.

                                                                    1. re: amy_rc
                                                                      goodhealthgourmet Oct 6, 2007 12:08 PM

                                                                      i'm in agreement with camp and amy on this one.

                                                                      i understand your desire to take care of your husband, but if he's really that difficult and particular, it's unreasonable and unfair for him to expect you to accommodate all his 'issues' and prepare EVERY meal according to his wishes...particularly when that means sacrificing your own preferences and pleasure. after all, you're the one doing the work!

                                                                      considering that your palates are so different, i assume it's neither food in general nor your cooking in particular that brought the two of you together in the first place...so i'm guessing it's safe to say he didn't marry you solely for your culinary skills. in which case i honestly don't think he's going to divorce you if you don't bend over backwards to please him at every meal.

                                                                      i don't mean to sound insensitive here...in fact, i used to be the particular one. i was a vegetarian for 21 years, and grew up in a family of raging carnivores. i had to accept the fact that i had no right to expect the rest of the family [or - once i was older and had left home - my friends] to modify their habits to accommodate my choices.

                                                                      so they didn't. if i couldn't [or wouldn't] eat what mom had prepared, or the restaurant they chose didn't offer many options for me, i had to fend for myself or be creative in my ordering.

                                                                      the payoff? i became one hell of a cook.

                                                                      i recently started eating meat again, so i no longer have the same restrictions when we all eat together. the irony is, now i'll eat ANYTHING. i've become so much more adventurous than any of them ever were. my entire family is now a bunch of picky, boring eaters. so i'm still often the odd man out, but it's for an entirely different reason!

                                                                      look, relationships are about compromise. sure, prepare some of your meals according to his limitations, but balance them out with others that YOU want to eat. if he refuses, he's on his own. he's an adult...i'm pretty sure he can figure out how to cope and find some other way to feed himself. and if he's that resistant to doing it on his own, he'll just have to eat what you've prepared. hey, you never know...maybe he'll surprise both of you by learning to like something new.

                                                                    2. re: ctflowers
                                                                      Kajikit Oct 6, 2007 08:15 PM

                                                                      So don't hide it. Leave it in big pieces and tell him to just fish them out! Or cook the broccoli for yourself in the microwave and add it to your plate while he has plain al fredo...

                                                                      DH is a very picky eater (but not as fussy as your husband) and he's ALWAYS telling me he 'won't like this' or he 'doesn't like' that... Sometimes I let him pick what we're eating even though I know he'll pick something that I loathe or don't like, sometimes I choose to make something that I know he likes, sometimes I ask him if it's okay if I make something that I particularly wanted (even though he thinks he doesn't like it) and sometimes I say the hell with it and make exactly what I want even though I know he hates it, and then we eat different meals.
                                                                      There are also times when I make his favourite meal (hamburgers/steak) even though I loathe them - living together is about compromise and nobody can be happy ALL the time, including me.

                                                                    3. re: Diane in Bexley
                                                                      m
                                                                      mercyteapot Oct 7, 2007 08:11 AM

                                                                      ITA with this post. I've been married for 18 years to a man with very similar dislikes to this poster's husband. I cope be using most of the same strategies, too. Luckily for me, my 15 year old son is a foodie, but that's something that has evolved, so it has only been over the past few years that I've had someone with whom to regularly share my foodie-ness.

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