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Food Obsession and Significant Other

Without question, I live to eat, but my wife eats to live. For me, it gets a little annoying when I watch my wife eat bland and uninspired food, just because she's used to it. I pretty much do all the cooking, but It seems like every time it's her turn to make a meal, she makes the same thing: grilled cheese on white bread with american. Sometimes, she'll make her "homemade" chili, which consists of canned tomato soup, kidney beans, hamburger, S & P, and an undetectable amount of chili powder. She's annoyed and disturbed by change, and has a long list of things she completely refuses to try, which makes it difficult for me to get my kids to try new things. In fact, we had a discussion last night about how I have to go alone to an interesting sushi restaurant while on our upcoming vacation. She doesn't even want to go into the restaurant. I have to give her credit, though. She has no problem with watching me eating anything, she just often has to have something else. I can't really talk to her about new techniques or interesting recipes and ingredients, because she couldn't care less (probably the reason I joined this forum). So speak up! I want to hear from those of us whose SO's have very little interest in food.

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  1. MG
    Don't feel alone in the boat. I can't get anyone in my house to even try something new. We live on baked chicken prepared with a minimum amount of spice. Steak grilled with garlic powder. I have managed to keep my stash of spices hidden away so that I can at least jazz up my own meals. I long to eat a great Mexican meal, but I just can't get into Margarita's and quacamole alone. Good luck to you my friend.

    1. I have no idea of how I developed my palate since my parents are exactly like your SO.
      Chicken is often a roasted chicken breast with salt and pepper on it. Which my dad will begrudgingly eat a bit of.

      Mrs. Sippi is like me. She loves to eat. She loves new things too. Since she's moved north her appetite for ethnic foods has kicked into overdrive.
      I'm not sure I could ever be with someone who wasn't like that. First date out, if she orders a grilled cheese, I'm gone!!! LOL

      And speaking of grilled cheese, white bread with American cheese is still my favourite. I made it a few weeks back to go with some soup and Mrs. Sippi loved it. So did I.


      1. Not to depress you, but I've been in 2 relationships like that, neither of which worked. The evening hours during which they ate frozen burritos (in 1 case) or chicken on a Foreman grill (in the other) and drank beer while I tried to do something interesting for myself with some wine for drinking by myself just seemed so...gray.
        That wasn't all that broke us up; it was just one manifestation of how little we had in common. If 2 people share everything else, it could seem minor. But for me (and undoubtedly for them too) it loomed.

        Now I'm with the right man, who A) loves food but B) somehow *doesn't* tend to overeat, so I get to learn from him (as I'm definitely a grubber) at the same time I teach him about things he's never tried but that I know he'll like.

        1. gosh, it's not all bad, madgreek, i promise. change is possible. i dated a guy for 7 years, through college and grad school, whose two food groups, starting out, were macaroni (no other pasta was ok) and homefries. i'm not exaggerating by much. the one vegetable he ate was tomato. so we started from there. the first thing we did when we started living together was to make pasta sauce from fresh tomatoes. he liked that! then i started sneaking in onions, green and red peppers.... chorizo and kielbasa instead of ground beef. he liked that, too (and i wouldn't point out the addition / change until after the meal). then we started experimenting with different shapes of pastas and making homemade ravioli and then on to chinese potstickers and pierogis.... etc....

          he is still a good friend of mine and last time we met for dinner, he ordered and ate ancho chilli braised short ribs over polenta, with a side of haricots verts. i think we made progress!

          just do things slowly. try not to judge. (i know it's really, really hard.) if you don't find the chilli to your taste, say something like "honey, this is great. i wonder how it'd taste with a little bit of X added. mind if i try?" dump it into the pot, lavish praise about how great the meal is, and see if ingredient X recurs in the next batch. repeat until all ingredients you wish to see are in. :)

          i do hear you re: the sushi restaurant. my ex wouldn't, despite all my efforts, try sushi beyond california rolls. so i had a group of sushi buddies i'd go with, instead.

          4 Replies
          1. re: cimui

            I'm not sure how old the Madgreek's SO is but at least you had a young palate to help mould. Once people are set in their ways.......


            1. re: Davwud

              nah, i frankly think that's an excuse. life is full of change and even "old" (it's all relative) folks can and do roll with the punches, esp. when the need is great (and esp. if there's good, positive reinforcement). in similar shoes, if i loved my SO, i'd keep trying. i'm very, very stubborn. :)

              1. re: cimui

                We must agree to disagree then.
                Things I loved as a kid are way too......whatever the word I'm looking for.

                Things I hated as a kid as I grew older my palate grew into.
                Exposure at this time is important.

                Your palate will change as you go through puberty, etc. It will eventually settle in.


                1. re: Davwud

                  ah, who knows -- maybe i'll agree with you in a few years. :)

          2. Get the kids and RUN!

            Totally kidding =)

            I had an ex with eating habits and food preferences similar to what you described. As hard as I tried, I just couldn't get him to care. His reaction was exactly the same whether he was eating a perfectly prepared prime steak or a saltine, apathetic. Every time he'd try something different, I guess I'm lucky he tried, when asked how he liked it, what he thought of it etc., all you could ever get was, "Tastes weird." Infuriating to me, though I wonder if he was ever posting on a golf forum and complaining about his partner's inexplicable fascination with all things food related =)

            I would suggest, if you can convince your kiddos and have the time, trying to take them out to eat with just you. Make it a special one on one Daddy and Kiddo night and encourage them to try something different. Often kids can overcome learned pickiness if there is no one around to give them the idea that a certain food is somehow yucky.

            1. Well, that's why you have us! You can talk to us about all the new techniques and recipes and ingredients.

              Luckily, DH is into food but I was dating this guy who just didn't care that much about food. He hated all vegetables (would pick them all out) and thought Little Italy in NYC was the best thing in the world. It was sad that I couldn't share this part of my life with him but it was OK because he had other qualities that made up for it. For example, I wasn't into bodybuilding and motorcycle racing like he was, but I hope he didn't hold that against me.

              Unless you want to continue eating canned tomato soup with kidney beans, it sounds that you may want to do all of the cooking. And if she doesn't want to eat your "exotic" foods, canned soup, beans, and hamburger sounds pretty easy to pull together. A few of my aunts (Korean) married non-Koreans who only ate Korean BBQ. They wouldn't eat any of the other Korean food out there. So they didn't eat the same foods at the dinner table, but they've all been married for many, many years.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Miss Needle

                Miss N

                I hardly think a hobby or outside interest is quite the same as something you have to do to exist. They don't need to be interested in trying everything but you will have to eat thousands of meals with your SO. You don't ever have to go to a dirt bike race or the gym. You can do your own stuff at that time.

                I do think you've got it right. The Madgreek should do all the cooking. At least, as much as possible.


                1. re: Davwud

                  Just how food is considered to be an obsession with a lot of people on this board, people can certainly take hobbies and outside interests to an extreme -- spending countless hours on motorbike forums, tinkering with your numerous motorcycles for hours a day, going around shopping for motorcycle parts, obsessing about how much protein you're ingesting, reading up on the latest fitness news -- you get the idea. I know somebody married to a video game fanatic -- he works full-time and spends about six hours a day playing video games, not leaving very much time for his wife. While playing video games may sound like a hobby to some, there is a huge spectrum.

                  I once had a date with the motorcycle guy at 9P. Didn't show up until 1A because he got caught up fixing his motorbike. He could have easily taken the subway to pick me up.

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    Well obsessions are bad all the way around. Especially when they're cutting into family/SO time.


                    1. re: Davwud

                      I had to cut down on my CHism because it was cutting into my family/SO time. Now I just have to quit the website, LOL!

              2. Eat out with foodie friends for the food and the company.

                Eat with the SO for the company.

                1. First piece of advise, do all the cooking, that way there are no more grilled cheese, or " homemade chili" dinners. Maybe your cooking can open her eyes. Second piece of advise, you typically can't change a person.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: swsidejim

                    as an aside... i have to comment that i LOVE grilled cheese. sharp, white cheddar + slices of crusty pullman loaf + good sweet butter, all toasted in a pan... mmmm... there's no reason why this can't be a foodie creation.

                    1. re: cimui

                      too pedestrian for me, especially the above montioned grilled cheese, on white with american cheese. Your version sounds better, but still wouldn't do it for me for dinner after a hard days work.

                      1. re: swsidejim

                        How about with a nice chutney.compote or other dipper? I like rhubarb with grilled sharp cheddar. I can think of worse dinners when tired and rushed!

                        1. re: julesrules

                          maybe if there was some ham or turkey sandwiched between that melted cheese I could go for it. Gotta get some meat in there for me to be happy.

                          Either way, I would end up preparing it , I do all the cooking & menu planning in my house.

                          1. re: julesrules

                            mmm... a tomato or roasted red pepper chutney, or even tzatziki... :) perfect.

                            i've never thought to try rhubarb, but it makes sense!

                            swsidejim, btw, the point was about incremental change and improvement. grilled cheese sandwiches may not have a place anywhere on your particular dinner menu, but getting someone to switch from making wonderbread / american cheese grilled sandwiches to making something with good ingredients can be eye-opening. it's still a 'safe' food for her, but the latter, perhaps madgreek could live with!

                            1. re: cimui

                              Yes! And, most bland boring foods can be enlivened with some kind of condiment. Stuck with bland chicken soup? Try dumping in some salsa verde or pureed chipotle. Boring rice/meat dinner? Cilantro or other chutney. Caramelized onions are another good thing to keep on hand.

                              1. re: cimui

                                I tried that with baby swiss on whole wheat sourdough and a nice creamy tomato soup recipe from epicurious. She hated it.

                      2. First of all madgreek, my heart aches for you..
                        I have been blessed in my life with dating some of the greatest guys who love food and wine and I don't think I could be with someone who wasn't as passionate about food/wine/travel like me..
                        That said, you stated she is 'annoyed and disturbed by change'...is it just with food?
                        I must say you have an uphill battle on your hands but all is not lost..
                        Have you tried to get her with helping you cook in the kitchen..turn up the music, get the wine out and make it fun while cooking..maybe get the kids involved too..or maybe not. ; )
                        Is there something that your wife is passionate about that you just don't get?
                        I have found that people that are bland about their food are pretty much bland in their life...just an observation..and I mean this with no disrespect and I wish you all the best!

                        1. I think it's an area of compatability and like other areas of compatability only you (general) and decide how important that criteria (whatever the issue) is. The food thing would be HUGE for me. I get so much daily joy from food and wine and dining out and the process of shopping for food, searching recipes and restaurants, etc. that I don't think I could be with someone who didn't share that joy.

                          Just like an outdoorsy person who like the beach, hiking, camping, etc. would find me incompatable as I am an indoor/city person if it meant that much to them.

                          1. I am from the school of "how a man eats and drinks" is how he is as a lover..it reflects his sensuality. I can only assume it's the same in reverse. I don't think I'd get that far into a relationship with someone so.. uhm.. bland in tastes (don't even ask me what I think of a mr. my-peas-can-never-touch-my-mashed-potatoes kind of guy), so I'm not much use in the advice department other than to say this: this life is no dress rehearsal -- don't put off your own BEING ALIVE because someone else wants to eat only a grilled cheese.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: karmalaw

                              er... not to get too personal... but that definitely was not the case for me. or my current SO who's also a bit meat & pototoes (but is reforming under my good influence ;)

                              1. re: cimui

                                Ha ha. Without revealing too much, I don't think that generalization always holds true.

                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                  Of course it isn't true! Everyone knows all generalizations are false, don't they?

                              2. re: karmalaw

                                "how a man eats and drinks" is how he is as a lover..


                                1. re: karmalaw

                                  " "how a man eats and drinks" is how he is as a lover..it reflects his sensuality. " "

                                  BINGO! I'm with you on that.

                                  1. re: BeaN

                                    I am thrilled my SO is into food too, but really can't imagine being with someone who wasn't.

                                2. less of an issue what a SO eats....as it is the "refusal to try". I've been out with a couple of unimaginative and uneducated eaters with limited varieties in their eating, but what made it all ok, was their willigness to at least try something i'd cooked or a resto we went to...even if it was a little scary. And most of them surprised in the process. I like the "willingness to try new things" in all areas of life, not just food.....and likewise wouldn't expect someone to be too impressed if I say, only wanted to partake of cooking at home, or shoe shopping...and refused to ever enter the woods or hop onto a harley. Give and take. And i have found myself enriched by some of these experiences.

                                  At least though, your SO does not EWWWWW and GROOOOSSSS her way through your meals...( I know people married to such individuals, and it aint pretty )..which is a good thing, and is respectful. I don't understand though, why she wouldn't accompany you to something you love...it'd be no different than you, for example, accompanying her to a much loved ballet (or what not), because she loves it. Does she compromise any in other areas? Do you?

                                  I guess what is the bigger concern here, is that it seems to be influencing the kids in their choices. And white bread and cheese is not exactly the healthiest thing out there.

                                  On a side note, your message gave me a childhood memory flashback....the way your wife makes chili is the way I grew up on it, with tomato soup .

                                  1. You should check out this thread I started last year. I am in the same situation, sort of, and it is a battle that you probably won't win. Sorry to say that, but read the posts and see for yourself. One thing I would suggest is that you have date nights with the kids, and take them to places she won't eat at, without her, and try to introduce them to different things. I don't know how old they are but as my daughters grew up and spent more time at their friends homes, the options widened for me, because they were in a position where they HAD to try something new (to them) or go hungry. They also realized how picky dad was and didn't want to be like him.


                                    14 Replies
                                    1. re: danhole

                                      Danhole knows of which she speaks! Only after you've lived with an uninspired palate can you appreciate their other fine qualities.

                                      Admittedly, it IS a challenge to cook for someone who doesnt want anything new or different. I was once married to a man who thought he was a better cook than I (and on some levels he was) and he thought -I- was the picky eater! He persuaded me to try oysters (something I tnought I would never touch) and now I love them. Every time I have "The Big Os" (as we referred to them!) I think of him, but his personal recipe for oyster stew can never be replicated. I have a relative (who is nearly 60) who won't eat any food that is touching other food on his plate. He even brags about this! He's been married over 25 years to his second wife, who just smiles and shakes he head when he talks about this.

                                      Lucky for me, the current man of this house is not that choosy. He'll eat almost anything I prepare, as long as it doesnt contain too much lemon. But when I was dating, the picky food thing was definitely a deal-breaker. If you're not interested in food, Im not interested in you. Case closed. And yes, I think this should be covered in a prenup!

                                      1. re: Cheflambo

                                        It's funny you should mention the food touching. I have a friend who has scoured the internet and kitchen stores for plates/trays that have divider sections. The kind you get for children, you know? She is obsessed with her food not touching! We have to use separate bowls for vegetables (can't have any corn "juice" messing up those potatoes!) Once we had a guest who had a bowl for his salad, and one for his green beans, and a plate. He set the extra bowls off to the side, and dumped everything on his plate, salad w/dressing, meat, beans, mashed potatoes, gravy and bread. I thought my DH was going to gag! Still makes me laugh!

                                        1. re: danhole

                                          i had never heard of ppl who have a problem with food touching on the plate before chowhound. really fascinating!

                                          maybe these anti-food-touching folks can go buy thali sets, available in indian houseware stores? (like so: http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/medi...)

                                          1. re: cimui

                                            Oh, she would love to have some of those dishes! LOL!

                                            1. re: cimui

                                              While I am not manic about food touching on my plate, I think I can understand the mania. Eating hot lunches in grade school, The idea uf using slotted spoons to serve up the vegetables was a completely alien idea. Thus, the spinach, the beets, the peas, etc all came with a fair amount of liquid, making the trays with the compartments a blessing if you didnt like beet juice mixing with the mashed potatoes (The mental image of which makes me gag as I am typing this).

                                              My daughter jokes about the food on her plate touching; I was able to find her divided trays (good heavy porcelain ones, not plastic) at both World Market and at Big Lots. She laughed hysterically when she opened them!

                                              1. re: cimui

                                                My wife has a food touching aversion also. There are rules to it though. Some things can touch, but most can't. LOL!

                                              2. re: danhole

                                                How does she keep the food from touching once it's in her stomach??


                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                  or even all that cross contamination in her mouth! maybe she gargles between bites.... ;)

                                                  1. re: cimui

                                                    What does she do when she's cooking?? Ingredients are touching each other.

                                                    Does saucing count as touching.


                                            2. re: danhole

                                              Mrs Hole, did you have that birthday dinner yet? If so, did you find a place that made everyone, first YOU!, but including Mr Hole happy?

                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                Birthday dinner is tomorrow night, and we are going to the same vietnamese restaurant we all went to back in Oct. for my youngest daughters dinner. Even Mr Hole found something he liked. I want to try a new vietnamese place but the daughter is being the picky one and is afraid that the kids (and her dad) won't like it as much, so I will have to try that place out at a different time. But the place we are going is one of Houston's favorites, and it is very good! This is not my first choice, but a good compromise.

                                                1. re: danhole

                                                  I'm glad you found a compromise that won't make you miserable! Maybe next birthday you can find something you like better that will make everyone else happy. Anyway, I hope it went well! And Happy Birthday.

                                                  1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                    It was a fine compromise and he even took his leftovers home and had them the next day! I will have to start looking now to find next years spot! lol! Thanks for the bday wish, too!

                                                    1. re: danhole

                                                      Glad things turned out OK. Happy Birthday.

                                            3. greek, you don't want to hear from me. Each and every one of my many ex-wives and SOs liked all kinds of food, could cook, were willing eaters of all things new, and were good in ... [check up-thread if you wonder what I'm referring to].

                                              1. This thread is so interesting to me... and I have to say, Sam, the tidbits of your life are endlessly fascinating to me. Absolutely intriguing!

                                                For many years I dated a dear man who was very "meat and potatoes" when we first starting going out and was very, very much like your wife. And, I could put up with the steaks and starch for a long time (he was an excellent griller! steaks were his only forté, though), but then I started sneaking in little things he was comfortable with. For instance, he did like beef and broccoli from the Chinese take-out, so then I accidentally “got the order mixed up” one day with something (I can’t remember now what it was) that had more than two ingredients.

                                                Then…. I decided to tackle Asian dishes at home. Started relatively non-complex (eg, making spring rolls or Mongolian beef) and working way up from there. Green beans? How about edamame instead? (he loved it and had fun eating it in the shell – thought that was cool! [not that he ate the shell, mind you, but with the good salt sucked the beans out, etc.)

                                                He thought pesto was the most wonderful condiment ever! He had never eaten pasta before aside from spaghetti, so you can imagine the fun we had there. The list goes on and on.

                                                In the end, after a long time, he really accepted whatever I prepared and absolutely loved it. I’ll never forget his pleasure with my risotto cakes with the brie hidden in the middle. Like, though, someone else suggested, he never developed an affinity for sushi, much to my sadness. BUT, if I think of where we started.

                                                It really starts with a little bit of plotting and scheming, a splash of ‘dishonesty’ on your part, and some finesse, I am telling you IT CAN BE DONE. And, it doesn’t matter the age. If you S.O. loves you – and she does – just beg her to humor you if she puts up a fight. Start small and start with something she knows…. A wolf in sheep’s clothing, donchaknow.

                                                1. Welcome to my world of pain.

                                                  Her: STRICTLY organic, skinless, tasteless chicken breasts, lettuce, lettuce, lettuce, no imagination when it comes to cooking, and eats scads of natural food supplements. There are only a HANDFUL of restos she "trusts" so now dining out is no longer special because we've been to each of these places at least 20-30 times.

                                                  Me: Cooking fool, Italian, love to eat and try different restos. Unfortunately, also attracted to difficult, complex women.

                                                  Result: Married 3 years, I filed for divorce last month. Seriously. Other issues obviously but her food regimen drove me insane.

                                                  1. I'm not trying to be catty here, so please don't take it that way...

                                                    How did those of you who are married deal with this stuff before you got married? Is this something that seems to come up afterwards, or something that develops over time, or something that just doesn't seem terribly important so you decide you'll just deal with it/manage? Did you really get into food after getting married, so this is a new thing for you to work through?

                                                    I'm honestly curious!

                                                    11 Replies
                                                    1. re: sfumato

                                                      The Spousal Unit and I were talking about this issue over a meal at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant just yesterday. This issue would have been a relationship deal breaker for either of us.

                                                      When I was single, many if not most of the first-dates I had were over food. I paricularly remember one guy - tall, blonde, clean cut and good looking. He was in the Air Force and had lived in lots of exotic locales. When I asked him what kinds of restaurants he enjoyed, he said "steakhouses." I asked what else, he replied "steakhouses." He might have had much to commend him, but I wasn't going to find out because I knew then and there that there wouldn't be a second date.

                                                      My husband and I met online and we emailed for a good six weeks before we started talking on the phone, and we met in person a couple of weeks after that. This wasn't text messaging, it was in-depth letter writing. Much of our email traffic revolved around food - what we like to grow, how we like to cook fish that we caught, favorite cuisines, things we want to try but haven't. By the time that we met in person, we had some base knowledge of each other, and we had this whole food thing in common. I really think it's the single greatest thing that drew us together and a major component of the glue that keeps us together. We've been married for ten years.

                                                      I just told him about this thread. His response was "why do Chowhounds marry these (non-chow) people?"

                                                      Did they structure all of their dating around non-food activities? Did the CH not discover his/her houndness until after the nuptuals? Did the non-hound partner pretend to be open to new food before the wedding? Did they come from Smalltownville USA where the potential mate pool is severely restricted? I'm not sure how they end up together, but it has to be frustrating for both of them.

                                                      I think I'll go give my flawed, frustrating, but culinarily adventurous husband a smooch and thank him for being him.

                                                      1. re: BeaN

                                                        Interesting story you've got!

                                                        "I just told him about this thread. His response was "why do Chowhounds marry these (non-chow) people?"

                                                        Did they structure all of their dating around non-food activities? Did the CH not discover his/her houndness until after the nuptuals? Did the non-hound partner pretend to be open to new food before the wedding? Did they come from Smalltownville USA where the potential mate pool is severely restricted? I'm not sure how they end up together, but it has to be frustrating for both of them."

                                                        This is exactly what I've been wondering, too. For how many people is this (or is this not) a dealbreaker in the end?

                                                        1. re: sfumato

                                                          hubby took me to a restaurant that is still a favorite for our first date, and I sealed the deal by making him (my killer) cioppino on date three, so I can't say that good food wasn't part of the deal...but...um....we did find we had other interests in common besides food! (and I am pretty sure I would have married him regardless of where he took me on the first date!)

                                                          though come to think of it, I did tell him that if he was really serious about our relationship he should learn to (scuba) dive, since that was (is) a big passion...(and yes, he learned and loves it, even though when I met him he barely knew how to swim)...

                                                      2. re: sfumato

                                                        Interesting question. I think the "Honeymoon phase" applies to food as well....People will eat things and agree to restaurants when they are early in the relationship to keep their partner happy...later on they may become more set in their ways. Its not that they change in their likes and/or dislikes, but rather are willing to "give" less as time goes on..

                                                        But there is hope. My DH was always a bit of a chowhound, and willing to try different things. But he always turned his nose up at dim sum. He's not a big meat eater NOR does he like fried foods much, and in his mind dim sum was full of those two items. It got to the point where I would indulge in dim sum on one of my many business trips and not even suggest it to him...and nicely suggest to my San Francisco relatives that if we were to eat out while there it should be another type of place. It was never really an option at home anyway, as the first 20 some years of our marriage were spent living in an area where there really wasn't dim sum available anyway. But now we live in a city where there are such options, and DH has come to realize how much I love dim sum...and has been willing to accompany me!! Today I told him I was meeting a friend for dim sum, and asked if he wanted to come..expecting him to say no. But he wanted to see the friend, and he came...and he ate. And ate a fair amount, and enjoyed it! This made me very happy.....

                                                        1. re: janetofreno

                                                          That is really nice to hear that your husband is willing to compromise to make you happy. And it sounds like he's coming around as well.

                                                          I totally agree there's hope. My SIL (who's into food and eats meat) is happily married to a kind of picky vegetarian non-foodie. And I'm sure they're past the honeymoon phase as they've been together for over a decade. There's compromise and she's got her dining club that she goes to to try out some restaurants that her husband wouldn't be into. My parents were also together for a very long time with very different food preferences and food ideologies. I definitely think that sharing food obsessions or whatever you'd like to call it helps. But I don't think it's a prerequisite for a successful relationship.

                                                        2. re: sfumato

                                                          Before we were married, I was able to cook enough meals that she approved of and I enjoyed. She was also more open to try new restos.

                                                          What happened was she absolutely got bogged down in a very tight food loop of the same meals and the same restos. She refused to budge off of dead center when it came to her eating habits. I'll also add that she has lived in a self induced state of gloom for a long time, convinced she is a casualty of a bad environment and a tainted food supply chain.

                                                          1. re: sfumato

                                                            I was young and dumb.
                                                            I thought we ate where we ate because he was broke.
                                                            I was blindly in love.
                                                            We married after 8 weeks of dating.
                                                            I didn't really know the extent of his pickiness.
                                                            And, yes, I foolishly thought I could change him!

                                                            Almost 31 years later, I have made some changes, but not enough, so now I eat with other people, and he gets take-out wings! He's better than he used to be, but not by a whole lot. But I love him more than food, so . . .

                                                            1. re: danhole

                                                              "But I love him more than food, so . . "

                                                              Danhole, that sounds just as it should be. 31 years! And you can still say you love him more than food! We should all be so lucky to have a relationship like that for so long.

                                                              Compromise is a part of relationships. As long as both parties feel they are free to be themselves, and accepts the foibles of the other, all can work out just fine.

                                                              1. re: moh

                                                                Great attitude. I was noticing here how many of the people were concentrating on only changing the non Chow person rather than on true compromise.

                                                            2. re: sfumato

                                                              Well, the short story is this: We were young when we met, and though I was always very interested in food, I became a die hard foodie after we had been together for a while. Somehow, it never caused any problems while we were dating, and since everything else was great, I didn't see why this should have been a reason not to get married. I thought she just needed time to try new things. (we were young, after all) It has become more annoying in the last few years, mostly because I see her attitude affecting the kids.

                                                              1. re: madgreek

                                                                Work on it. Be happy that you're all still together! Please!

                                                            3. In our relationship, I am the one who was initially uninspired where food was concerned. All food had to be was good tasting and recognizable. Finding the woman who was meant for me, I thought, was all the luck this guy would ever need. Instead, I came to find out just how lucky I am to not only to have found her, but to have her introduce me to worlds I'd have never discovered on my own. And it was such a natural progression, I never really even realized how much things had changed. Dishes I had always eaten, she would change, slightly at first, with different ingredients, or sometimes just with better ones...like putting in fresh roma tomatoes instead of the cheapest canned ones...or mache lettuce instead of iceberg...or using free run farm fresh eggs instead of the cheapest eggs at the supermarket. Over time, I came to crave the new ways of things instead of the old tried and true standards I grew up with. All this time later, we now actively explore together...new restaurants, diverse cultures and cuisines, every little market or store we ever see anywhere, never missing a farmer's market that's anywhere nearby, and cooking up a storm with all sorts of ingredients, some of which we know nothing about when we find and buy them. All this must have rubbed off, because our kids grew up loving all food, the only criteria is that it taste great, nothing else matters. And to that end, our youngest decided to become a chef and keep right on exploring and creating. They say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. I'd have to say my wife reversed that and found her way to my stomach through my heart!

                                                              1. My husband does enjoy trying new things, likes good food, and doesn't mind going out of our way for a good restaurant, but he's not nearly as food obsessed as I am (he usually doesn't even eat lunch, can you believe? What else is a day for but an opportunity for at least three good meals or else lots of tasty snacks? :-)). He certainly wouldn't plan a vacation around food like I do. But he does humour me when I say, "let's do a road trip this weekend so we can try out all these great new places to eat." And he loves to cook, but definitely enjoys cooking more than eating. And he's my sushi buddy; we both love fresh sushi.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: FoodieKat

                                                                  No one in our house was allowed to be picky.Guess that came from parents who grew up in the Great Depression.However,the one thing they didn't make a fuss about was liver and onions.I think they made my brother and sister a hamburger patty,no bun,since they were younger than I was.Though I know they tried it when older,they still don't like the stuff,but i do.
                                                                  My friend Nancy from work,won't eat raw tomatoes or cucumbers.She doesn't like lemon anything,cookies,pies,or even a slice of lemon in your water ,which is the opposite of myself.
                                                                  If she gets nachos at Sausalito or some other mexican place,she doesn't want beans on them,just meat and cheese.
                                                                  She abhors fish,which i enjoy.
                                                                  She doesn't like asian food.Her son Brian,one day bought some,and i think he got chicken with veggies,which she tried a little sample and liked.But to go eat at a chinese restaurant,no.
                                                                  We grew up on the stuff.We ate it as kids Stateside,and overseas,my dad being in the AirForce.Our favourite place to eat in Anchorage was Nikko Gardens,a japanese place. I want to try the new vietnamese place in Schertz and Bangkok Cuisne on Pat Booker Rd. in Live Oak.We hardly ever ate Thai or Vietnamese cooking as growing up there were hardly any around here.Do love
                                                                  Chinese and Japanese though.Best and freshest sushi i ever ate outside Japan and Okinawa was at the San Remo in Vegas,Yum.
                                                                  Thank the Lord my parents were adventerous when it came to food.
                                                                  I enjoy fancy steaks and stuff they show in Gourmet magazine,but i also love just plain home cooking and bbq.

                                                                2. Well, I'd suggest not being a martyr for one-if my fiancee was in charge of dinner we'd just eat peanut butter and cheetos-so he doesn't cook. I do. As long as there's hot sauce on the table-he's usually OK. For the people that say to sneak stuff in, be careful with that. It can really break trust. He still talks about when his dad gave him liver and said it was steak. He doesn't eat shellfish or pork, and I snuck some Italian sausage into some meatballs I made. I didn't tell him, but later I felt guilty and I did. For weeks after he was always worried I was going to sneak foods he didn't like into what I was cooking and not tell him.
                                                                  He will usually try new places with me. but he isn't my favorite dining partner, unless it's a place that's tried and true for both of us. My thought is that if you try a new place, you have to be prepared to have some not so great experiences sometimes. It's all about the hunt, you know. He doesn't know why you need to keep hunting if you already have a place you like. He did take me out for a nice dinner for my birthday, and he experieced his first taste of Chilean sea bass-he was talking about it for a week, so there is hope.
                                                                  Taking him to Trader Joe's has helped him give up the peanut butter a little bit, and I'm in a MEETUP group that tries new restaurants-which helps me not feel like I'm "dragging" him to places I want to try. My mom isn't into food, and always wants to go to Applebee's which is always a bone of contention among us.

                                                                  1. The first time I had dinner with my husband, he made a steak for himself, grilled salmon for me (pescatarian) and a lovely salad with homemade dressing. It was so simply prepared and delicious. Little did I know it was the only thing he could cook other than easy mac. These and sandwiches were pretty much the only things he ate. And ketchup. Blech!

                                                                    He really had a child's palate, which is surprising because he comes from a foodie family. His sister and BIL both graduated from CIA. His parents travel all over the world and eat in amazing places all the time. Get-togethers with them revolve around eating and cooking in a way I wish I could have grown up with. On the other hand, salt and pepper are really the only spices my parents ever use. I joke that we each got married for the food!

                                                                    I think he had just never given that much thought to food. He seemed to think that richer foods were required for a nice meal. We would go to restaurants and he would order something really heavy and rich even though he tends to like lighter, fresher foods. He would have two bites of his fettuccine alfredo and be miserable. I figured out what kinds of ingredients he did and did not like, and I would make gentle menu suggestions. I also tailored a lot of my cooking to things I thought he would like.

                                                                    Eventually, he really branched out, and is now a fledgling foodie. It's really great to be able to have dinner with someone else who loves going out as much as I do. There are still things he won't eat (sushi makes him ill and he is a "soap taster" where cilantro is concerned), but I can work with that.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: 0peramanda

                                                                      What a tale. I'm working on the music and songs for an opera.

                                                                    2. I'm lucky.

                                                                      Saturday we went for lunch. Carribean food. Sunday we went for lunch. Vietnamese.

                                                                      Can't beat that.


                                                                      1. All is not lost, fellow chowhounds! Somehow, I got her to try dim sum this past week while on vacation! So what if it was just mushroom chicken and noodles! She was actually using chopsticks too! There is hope! Now, if only i can get her to eat some damned fish...

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: madgreek

                                                                          Relax. If she loves you, keep that. Cherish.

                                                                        2. Madgreek,

                                                                          I thought it might be worth offering the other side of the story--from someone who was once in your wife's shoes, that is.

                                                                          I grew up on just the kinds of meals your wife makes (my stepmom's standard was egg sandwiches on cheap white bread, which she'd make every time she cooked). We were pretty poor, so we ate to live--in some cases literally, if government cheese counts toward that end. Growing up, I ate what I was fed, and my culture of food (or lack thereof) grew up around that.

                                                                          Childhood habits die hard, and you don't really think about things that are ingrained or self-evident until someone, or something, confronts them. Where food and drink are concerned, it was in graduate school that that first happened to me. First, I met a good friend who opened me up to finer liquors. Later, I met, and became involved with, a food writer, who opened me up to finer foods--even, simply, to the idea of "real" food, as opposed to food that's been processed all to hell.

                                                                          Obviously, the food writer lived to eat, and more power to her for that. On some level, I confess, it was her attitude toward food that was a problem for me: she was downright *obsessed* with it at times, to the point that it could ruin our--or my, at least--ability to sit down and enjoy a meal that wasn't to her standards. Example: we were once in Rome--she's a self-proclaimed Italophile--and, refusing to eat at any of the restaurants on our path or in our travel guide, she spent hours in the blistering heat to find that ideal (in her mind, at least) restaurant off the beaten path--the one that would give us "real" Italian fare. While I applaud her efforts and what she was trying to do, at some point those same efforts started to ruin the trip because, in this case, she couldn't simply sit down and enjoy a meal anywhere else. As it turned out, and after some persistence on my part, we finally tried one of *my* suggestions, a reasonably priced wine bar in our guide. We had dinner there virtually every night for the remainder of our stay.

                                                                          On a larger level, though, it was more the attitude that *went with* her attitude toward food that was the real problem for me: it reeked of arrogance and condescension, traits so often associated with food writers in general (think Anton *Ego*, caricatured though he may be). Strangely, she was all but addicted to diet soda--about as "not food" as "not food" can be. The hypocrisy was palpable.

                                                                          To her credit, she never *really* criticized my diet or professed how unhappy she was with our dining experiences--at least until now. In fact, she once bought me a set of cool plates *for us to eat Hamburger Helper on*, and she would even say that *I* had the palate to do what she did! In the end, as she herself will confess, I'm sure, this was the least of our problems: Having agreed to sit down and talk, finally, about the problems we'd been having (which were, incidentally, exacerbated by our living some 1,000 miles apart at the time), she ended it, out of the blue, a week before we were to spend Christmas with my family. In my gut, I knew there was another factor in her decision--namely, someone else--yet she swore up and down that that was not the case. Come to find out: Eight months later, she'd abandoned her food-writing gig and moved in with a guy on the other side of the country--this after the possibility of leaving said gig for me was such an issue.

                                                                          Long story made longer: It seems a little much that your wife will not even enter a restaurant with you, and, for that, counseling is always an option if she's up for it. But it's worth considering that there may be a touch of arrogance in your approach that is making her resist more than she otherwise might. Whatever the reasons, you'll only get through it by talking about it with the intent of coming out together on the other side. If nothing else, you'll understand each other better, and that ain't not bad. Hell, she might even become a quasi-foodie, if my own path is any guide.

                                                                          1. I'm in somewhat of a similar position dating a non-foodie. He grew up eating meat and potatoes with corn and I grew up eating the spectrum of all ethnic food. When I first started dating him, he had very set preferences as to what he would or would not eat. But as other posters have said, there is hope. Through positive reinforcement and encouraging him to eat various things, he's become more adventurous. I compliment him on being open to new food experiences and I introduce him to food in stages, ordering food that I know won't be too much of a shock to his palate. He hated Indian food under I ordered him some Tandoori chicken, naan and a mango lassi. He still wont touch a lamb curry (yet), but one step at a time. In fact, before he met me, he had never had mango, eaten a jackfruit, had lychees or dragon eyes or waterchestnuts.

                                                                            Sure he still won't touch tofu or eggplant, doesn't like edamame and sushi, but my attitude is to take small steps with him. He's come a long way since those early days and I applaud his entry into new culinary territories. I tell him of how proud I am that he's come this far. He now eats rice practically every night and has no problems walking into a Chinese bakery to ask for sachima. Imagine what more exposure could do and imagine the restaurants we could go to in due time.

                                                                            1. my husband and I differ in our relationship to food, in often surprising ways. he doesn't like eating sashimi - his sushi maki must be drowned in soy sauce/ when i met him his fridge was filled with only chicken lunch meat and surinami and artificial creamer.
                                                                              but the first time we went for indian we both wanted achar to go with the meal, and were disappointed with the version they gave us.
                                                                              He can't cook at all, which for now is ok, he does the dishes. But even after telling me a meal is lovely he will sometimes offer suggestions I would never use - the control freak in me thinks his suggestions would ruin the dish, i take pride in what i make. I'm also 1/2 Italian and have a very good feel (in my mind) for what an italian-inspired dish should taste like.

                                                                              For example, i made a pesto with two cheeses, 3 types of nuts, garlic, with ziti, peas, and potatoes. i served sauteed asparagus with balsamic vinegar on the side, and fresh carrots. he loved it, but said sun-dried tomatoes and chicken would enhance the dish for him. that offended me alittle, but only because i try very hard to balance a meal and those suggestions sound like something the olive garden would make.

                                                                              1. My booboo loves most foods-and he's willing to nibble something "foreign" to him that I've ordered or prepared and admit that he likes it even if he previously swore he'd never go near it. (He still shudders around tofu- he just does not like it, even fried he won't eat it. And I'm totally ok with that! More for me!!) We have food-lust in common.

                                                                                I was previously with a guy for a few murderous years who was sooooooooooo irritatingly NON-foodish. I can still name exactly what he WOULD eat: steak, potatoes and 7-up. NEVER anything green. Never any fruit. Breakfast was always runny eggs, toast, ham, potatoes, decaf-coffee. And he read the paper at the table. If not steak, dinner was fried chicken and cornbread. That sums it up. I couldn't take it. I never cooked for him-why bother? I can't cook beige...

                                                                                1. To be totally honest, I wouldn't date someone who just wasn't interested in food. It's too important to me. My partner always enjoyed food; I fine-tuned his palate, although sometimes I think I've created a monster! When I make a meal and it's just not great, I'll say so, and he'll agree with me (no comfort there!).

                                                                                  But food isn't as all-encompassing an obsession for him as it is for me, and I've made my peace with it. I think it's more about respecting passion, whatever form it takes. He likes my enthusiasm, even if he genuinely doesn't want to learn how to make mozzarella cheese with me. Similarly, I really don't care about cars, but I listen respectfully when he talks about them (he's a design engineer in the automotive field), and read the car section in order to discuss the latest developments with him (my knowledge impresses male friends no end!).

                                                                                  So for the OP, madgreek, I'd suggest sitting down with your wife and acknowledging that you have vastly different approaches to food, but that you would like to try and encourage your kids to experiment and try diverse foods. Since food isn't that important to her, she might genuinely be unaware the impact her attitude has on the little greeks.

                                                                                  I also liked the suggestion of another poster, that you sometimes take the kids out without her to eat in ethnic or interesting restaurants. If they are old enough to appreciate meals out as a treat, it's a great way for you to bond with them, and pass on your passion. For example, I know lots of kids who love the sweet flavours of certain Thai and Chinese dishes - and their liberal use of the deepfrier! It's a good stepping stone, and who knows, you might have a future green curry obsessive in training.

                                                                                  I have such fond memories of my dad taking me to a fancy french place on the last day of the semester in high school; it became a ritual and something to look forward to, even if I never ended up liking sweetbreads like he did!

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Gooseberry

                                                                                    You know, I have talked to her about it recently, and honestly, it has gotten much better. I got her to try some Dim Sum while on vacation. Also, I do the cooking, and haven't been making something special for her, so she's learning that she likes a lot more than she thought. She still won't eat certain foods, but I guess I need to take baby steps.

                                                                                    BTW, I take my oldest daughter out as much as I can, and will start bringing the little one once she's old enough.

                                                                                    1. re: madgreek

                                                                                      Good for you madgreek! You are very lucky. Just keep at it, and baby steps is a perfect way to do it. My picky eater threw a fit the other day because there was a pickle on the plate with his french dip. He wouldn't even touch it! Then he was freaked that some of the juice may have gotten on his bread! Oh well. He ate the sandwich anyway, and I got an extra pickle.

                                                                                      1. re: madgreek

                                                                                        I'm so glad to hear it's getting better, greek. I think the most difficult thing to overcome is a closed mindset; as long as she's willing to try things and be open to liking them, then her food tastes will change and grow.

                                                                                        And there are very few people who like everything; look at the very popular CH discussion on what hounds eat when their spouses aren't around. I've got a food-loving partner, but he'll scream blue murder if he's served asparagus, brussel sprouts, oysters and other bivalves, sweet potatoes and Eastern European Jewish food (my heritage). I just count my blessings and save the asparagus binges for when he's out of town.

                                                                                        And I promise you, you're making food memories with your eldest daughter, that she will remember for ever.

                                                                                    2. I am SO lucky that my husband is into all things food and culinary like me. Although he did not go to culinary school as I did he is absolutely passionate about food. It is one of our very favourite topics to discuss. We cook together, are very adventurous in restaurants and trying new foods/ingredients, we travel on food trips to Europe together, etc. It would be truly difficult for me to be married to someone with whom I could not share this with! Not that you have to be alike but it sure does help when all your time and effort and love for food is utterly appreciated. We actually rate nearly every meal we have - pretty anal, I know. :)