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"What is wrong with you... have you no tastebuds?"

Have you ever wanted to say that to a dining companion? You take them to an incredible restaurant, and they get upset because there are no "burgers or chicken tenders"

I took a good friend out to an incredible indian food restaurant... and she whined and complained the entire meal about everything... she was upset there was no "real food"
and made my entire lunch feel like a bad episode of reality TV.

Do you know of someone like this? Who no matter what, unless it is a burger, chicken fingers, or a cheap taco... they refuse to eat it.

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  1. My little brother. Granted, he's nine. But still. His visit with my dad was stressful, he didn't want eat anything but plain cheese pizza or chicken nuggets.

    That quality in an adult is just horrible.

    1 Reply
    1. re: manraysky

      Don't despair. My son was that bad and worse. He wouldn't even eat pizza because different foods touched each other. He once threw up because I insisted that he eat one green bean.

      He grew up and became a chef and a chowhound. Go figure.

    2. A friend of mine, who, after I place somethng wonderful I have cooked in front of him, asks for Tabasco, I have told him that he will never taste the best stuff I make.

      1 Reply
      1. re: souschef

        While I understand the frustration as I put a LOT of effort into the food I make, my fiance sometimes will slather on hummus and mustard onto almost everything! You have to remind yourself- is this person in your life to appreciate your food the way YOU like it or for some other reason? Then I suck it up and let him slather on the hummus.

      2. This is perfect proof of 'what and where you eat is more important than with whom you eat'.

        Why bother eating out with someone like this?

        8 Replies
        1. re: dolores

          Funny, I read it the other way. This just sounds like a lousy friend to me. You suffer for your friends sometimes because you care for them. In the case of someone for whom food is important, a good friend will be good company, not complain about the food, and have a good time with you.

          An example: a friend of mine does not like Western food. But we enjoy one another's company, and when we used to live in the same city together, he'd sometimes ask me if I there was some new Italian something I wanted to try; because he knows how much I like Italian food, and there always was something. When we'd eat together, it was usually Indian, sometimes Korean. But when we'd go for Italian, we'd both enjoy the company, the wine, and I enjoyed the food. Obviously the best of both worlds is those friends who share your passion for the food (and whose response to trying risotto isn't, "oh! it's like a flavorless white people biryani") but I'll gladly take a friend who will suffer for me over, say, a pretentious food snob.

          And the suffering is reciprocated. I have cinephile friends with whom I've seen some pretty miserable films. I didn't like X Y Z in that film, but you enjoyed it, so what was it that you found interesting?

          To gryphonskeeper, you might want to let your friend know that this is something you enjoy, and you'd like to share it with her, even if it's not her thing. She may not have realized. Or if she did, that sounds amazingly selfish, and I'd reconsider how good a friend she is.

          1. re: dolores

            Couldn't disagree more with that quote. Your next meal is only hours away, at most. Your friends aren't so replaceable. Not everyone is a Chowhound. Sure, you might wish your friend would be more adventurous, but your annoyance or frustration over another person's food preferences says more about you than about the other person.

            I would agree, though, that eating out may not be the best activity for you to share with this friend.

            1. re: Kagey

              Exactly. As I said, why bother eating out with someone like this.

              1. re: Kagey

                Hear hear. If this is a good friend in all respects except communal food preferences, I'd just make it a point to plan activities with him/her that don't involve meals. Seems like tossing the baby out with the bathwater to ditch a friend just because they have less sophisticated taste buds than yours.

              2. re: dolores

                She is a very good friend, and we eat out together once a week to keep in touch, and just just talk about whatever... sometimes we vent our frustrations on each other that we can't vent to anyone else, knowing the other person will listen and not judge. But when it is her turn to pick, it is always either a buffet chinese, or burger joint. I don't like that kind of restaurant, and I am desperate to get her to at least try other foods (try it you may find you like it kind of thing) This Indian place was a compromise of sorts, it had a lunch buffet so I really assumed she would find one thing at least... but she didn't really and had like 4 cups of coconut soup and the salad bar.

                1. re: gryphonskeeper

                  Well at least she went. Good friends are more important than one meal a week you don't really enjoy IMHO.

                  1. re: Firegoat

                    Totally agree with this. For a friend that just listens and doesn't judge I'd agree to eat almost anything.

                  2. re: gryphonskeeper

                    That's something that's going to continue to cause low grade stress every time you meet. Would it be possible to change your meals to some sort of relaxed coffee/frou-frou beverages and sweets get together instead?

                2. I used to travel to football matches in England and Europe with two friends, one of whom was soooooo fussy he would stand outside every restaurant pre or post game and read through the menus, we would meekly follow until he made up his mind about which restaurant to choose. He liked the blandest simplest foods, would have a hissy fit if there was garnish on the plate and invariably hated whatever was put in front of him.
                  I went to his house for dinner one night and his wife had to make him a separate dinner of plain roast chicken and frozen peas while the rest of us had a super meal. She obviously had to put up with it. We finally told him to shut up and put up with where we chose.

                  1. I think the best way to deal with these people is to stop inviting them. It really can make a point if you typically go out to eat together on a regular basis and then suddenly you stop entirely. If they value you as a friend, they should at least attempt to go where you want some of the time.

                    1. Everyone has personal preferences for food. I don't think anyone has the right to get angry at anyone over what they consider :good food". On the other hand, someone ought to know what they are getting into when they goto specific restaurants, no whining!

                      1. I agree with the others - do NOT go out to eat with this person, it will just get more and more annoying and you will start to not even like them as a friend. Just go for coffee or maybe dessert.

                        1. She was a good friend and you don't already know this about her? I think your expectation was out of wack.

                          1. I disagree with others who say you should never eat with this friend. I think you should just go to a place that serves the kind of food your friend enjoys but makes it perfectly. A pub that serves the best hamburger in your neighborhood for instance.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: KTinNYC

                              gryphonskeeper, it appears that the only time you can eat out with this person is when you are ready for whatever food she will eat. If you value your friendship that much with her.

                              Otherwise, don't eat out with her.

                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                Exactly. If your friend likes burgers, find a great pub that serves excellent burgers. If she likes chicken tenders, find a place that serves a superb fried chicken.

                                If she's a good friend and you want to get together, you figure out a place that somehow works for both. Dismissing having dinner with a good friend just because your food tastes don't jive is doing you both a disservice of not enjoying each other's company.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Yep. The answer is a great gastro pub. They're all over the place now, and nearly anyone can find something they can enjoy at places like this. It seems like a great compromise (hopefully-lol).

                                2. re: KTinNYC

                                  I think that's a good idea.

                                  I also think that Indian food is probably one of the worst choices for picky people. Every picky person (eg. hamburgers, chicken fingers, pizza type of person) I know has detested Indian food.

                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                    ...except maybe tandoori dishes, where they can see exactly what it is they're eating... :)

                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                      Indian food - especially on a buffet - can be a bit daunting for even semi-adventurous eaters. That's one cuisine that benefits from an introduction by a knowledgeable friend.

                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                        Unless they're a picky Indian ;)
                                        (see my reply above)

                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                          You are probably right about Indian food being rough for a picky eater, and a gastro pub would be a good answer to keep the friend happy, but there seems to be passive-aggressive control issues with the picky friend here as well. As in,"if you don't choose what I like when its your turn to choose, I will make you miserable by whining about it."

                                          Trying to open her horizons with something interesting could have been a noble gesture, or simply your choice, but because I am me I would have chose Indian to retaliate.

                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                            I'm not at all a picky eater; in fact I'm one of the most adventurous eaters I know. I'll try anything ... and yet most Indian food leaves me cold and worse with indigestion.

                                            Maybe there's something to the notion that our ethnic and genetic heritage predisposes us to certain kinds of foods and not others.

                                        2. Yes! I do, too! "There's more to eating than porking down over-processed package food from McQuizappleking and capping off your non experiential ritual with an IcedDietTripleVenteSplendaDecaf!"

                                          I have two very dear friends that will not eat anything if it isn't process by a borg cube. Their mantra is, "If it's not a chain, it can't be possibly be good" (because there won't be anything remotely edible available.)

                                          For example: We recently hit a local Mexican restaurant (to me) for lunch. The group was a very dynamically ethnic group (Indian, Vietnamese, Portuguese, German, French, Australian, and the obligatory Heinz57-Mericans). All of us have traveled extensively domestically _and_ internationally. Most love hitting the street vendors and like when time allows or it's readily available. Both friends admitted (proudly aloud) to packing granola bars to tide themselves over during their international trips... The silence that followed was compounded when both groused endlessly about the lack of anything edible due to being too spicy. They then sat at the table and refused anything offered. I _just_ don't have the capacity to understand people like that.

                                          1. Why not compromise and alternate? You choose one week and she chooses next week, but point out that because we are alternating let's try not to make a fuss over it. That is part of friendship. I do not think scrapping your friend all together, when it comes to dining, is the answer. Besides, there is nothing better than sharing a great meal with great wine with a great friend.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: jacquelines

                                              Good idea, jacquelines. And neither party is allowed to spend the entire meal complaining about the other's choice of food. As if.

                                              1. re: dolores

                                                The weird thing about this is... She acts excited to try it, but never seems to like it.

                                                1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                  Some people are like that. It's not that they are unreasonably picky (well, no more than any of us here on the board), they just do not enjoy a wide variety of different foods.

                                                  'Never seems to like it' is a whole lot different than 'whined and complained the entire meal' however. It seems like that would be the real problem in my book.

                                                  1. re: lgphil

                                                    This is how it goes down
                                                    me: how about we try indian this week..
                                                    friend: oh that sounds different, sure!
                                                    ......then comes lunch.

                                                    me: wow this looks great..
                                                    friend: Oh.. what is this.. (takes a taste)... Ugh.. this is aweful..

                                                    goes on and on for everything, except the soup, naan, and salad...

                                                    1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                      I couldn't drag my DH into an Indian restaurant to save his life, so it was nice that she tried it, but bad about whining. When I am planning a trip to a restaurant I scour the internet for menus, hoping to find a place that has enough variety so he can have his plain old steak and I can get something more exotic. I did actually find a vietnamese dish that he likes, which is Bun with BBQ pork. I just tell them to leave off everything but the meat and noodles. Maybe a place like that would work for you two.

                                            2. I know a lot of people who only like Steaks, Chicken Breasts, Salmon Fillets etc.,... and cannot appreciate the better stuff for grownups... its just part of the culture. More pork neck bones for me.. I guess.

                                              1. My friend's wife will only eat three types of vegetables: potatoes, corn, and iceburg lettuce. No tomatoes period even in red sauce. She would only eat at steak houses. But I valued their friendship and happily ate only at steakhouses with them.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: septocaine_queen

                                                  There you go, queen. It is clear that your companion won't compromise. So, if his/her friendship is more important, YOU compromise. Because... Ahem .. you CAN. The other party is the inflexible one. Not you. No, you don't LOVE the place they picked, but you ... because you understand where you are and what they offer .. can find something you can eat. At an Indian place, the reverse cannot always be guaranteed. And if you, knowing what is edible and what is not, cannot find anything on the menu to accommodate you, then maybe, just maybe, YOU'RE the one with the problem. I eat all the time at weird chain places with people. I can always find something that will make me happy. But at the same time, I know if I dragged these same people to MY favorite, diverse locations, they would be miserable. Not my job to expand their horizons. I think my approach is more realistic. Let the picky person pick the place (pick.. seems repetitive. wonder why), and YOU will be able to find something to suit. Sure, they lose out on your expansive horizons and insightful opinions and tastes in food, but you both get to have a great get-together and talk about "whatever" very happily. Pick your priorities.

                                                  1. re: k_d

                                                    k_d... we take turms picking... and I always go with what she asks on her "turn" even though I loathe it... and just order what I can tolerate, She on the other hand, with go with what I choose... and complain and whine...

                                                    I love her company, and conversation... but she acts like a 2 yr old demanding chicken nuggets and mac and cheese.

                                                    1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                      gryphonskeeper, have you ever told her that it bothers you that she complains so much about the places you choose to eat at? The fact that she says "that sounds different, sure!" and then complains are two different ends of the spectrum. Perhaps an Indian place was WAY out of her comfort zone, but if she agrees to go to the restaurant, then she shouldn't bellyache so much about it. And if you tell her it hurts your feelings that she does do that, perhaps she'll do one of two things - stop complaining so vocally, or tell you "No, I don't think I'd like that place."

                                                      But again, suggesting a place where she should be able to get a burger but you can get something "different" shouldn't be that hard, if you're in or near a major city. Ahhh - I see you're in Manchester, NH. A bit tougher, perhaps, to find that "happy medium" restaurant. It might just be that you have to stick with chain restaurants or pubs with burgers, etc. if you continue to get together for lunch.

                                                  2. re: septocaine_queen

                                                    If I value a friendship and it's clear we have wildly divergent tastes in terms of eating out, I simply find some other activity we can both enjoy together. Surely going to restaurants is not the only way to socialize. For me, it just seems silly to spend money on food I won't really enjoy when I could just as easily meet for coffee or cocktails, host a game or movie night at my house, or do some other activity that does not revolve around picking a restaurant.

                                                    1. re: queencru

                                                      with us, it is always lunch, because that is the only free time she has... while a "liquid lunch" may be out of the question, I am thinking now that maybe going to a midday movie might just be an option, or maybe we should switch to a gym lunch...

                                                      :) no offense to my friend intended, but there may be a reason she prefers a buffet... and a few laps on the indoor track with me powerwalking just may be the antidote for our lunch blahs lately.

                                                      1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                        If the gym doesn't work out, is there a possibility you can both pack/buy your own lunches beforehand and have some sort of picnic? It just seems like it's counterproductive when both of you are miserable with the other's selections.

                                                  3. "She is a very good friend, and we eat out together once a week to keep in touch, and just just talk about whatever... sometimes we vent our frustrations on each other that we can't vent to anyone else, knowing the other person will listen and not judge."

                                                    This is what it's all about. If she was my friend I think I'd start looking for restaurants more to her liking. That way you can focus on fun and friendship and not have to worry about her whining about the food.

                                                    Yes, I have several family members who won't eat it if it isn't chicken or beef. I know when we go out we're going to so-so restaurants and they'd never ever eat in an ethnic restaurant. It's just the way they are and I know that I'm not going to change them. I don't know how people become so set in their ways and how they can say they don't like something they won't even taste. I figure it's their loss.

                                                    1. Yes, I have friend like that. They never want to experiment or try new things. Burgers, buffalo wings or nachos are their thing. On the flip side I have friends that LOVE new food. When restaurant week comes to our area, I hang out with my foodie friends and leave the bar food friends alone for that week,

                                                      1. I just entertained a girl like that. She came along with a friend for a weekend visit. She only likes chicken, or well done steak. Her normal dinners are drive thru fare. I'm not a food snob, but man, it just really grossed me out. She doesn't like vegetables, rarely eats fruit. Of course, she's overweight and has bad skin. I just thought about what a turnoff it would be to date someone like that. I couldn't do it, no matter how great they were. My friend, on the other hand is very adventurous, so I had to find places with a good mix of things. It was fine for a weekend, but not as a regular event.
                                                        My boyfriend is slightly picky. He's not a fish person at all, but he'll happily accompany me to sushi. He'll get a simply shrimp roll or some teriyaki and tempura. And he never complains. It's the complaining and sour faces that ruin a meal.

                                                        1. Sounds like a good drinking buddy!

                                                          1. Absolutely, my best friend and his wife. I'll never forget after a weekend in NYC, on the way home we stopped to eat at a local crappy chain. She very happily exclaimed that they had great pizza there! They did not, especially after pizza in NYC. They chose to eat at McDonalds in Chinatown rather a restaurant in Chinatown.

                                                            1. My mother and I were visiting my sister and her family in Italy, where her husband was stationed, and found they'd booked all of us on a military-and-dependents trip to Rome. When we got there, I learned to my great delight that the group had reservations that night at a very famous restaurant - it was in a convent, the nuns were fabulous cooks, and with just two seatings per night those reservations were hard to come by. Around the middle of the afternoon, as my mother, sister and I were happily looking forward to dinner, her husband (who, as it occurred, hated any Italian food that wasn't pizza) came in with a big smile on his face and announced that someone had discovered a Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood, and the group had cancelled the reservations with the nuns! He was utterly nonplussed by our dismayed reaction - he'd been so sure that we'd be as glad to find good old chop suey as he was.

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                                Omg.. I know that place! You cannot even begin to know what you have missed. :'( Are you speaking of L'Eau Vive ?

                                                                1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                  I don't know. I had read of this place a year or two before, and this occurred in 1979. And PLEASE don't make me feel any worse than I do for having been robbed of it! The ultra-Philistine bro-in-law has become a somewhat kinder, more tolerant person in his retirement, shocking us all by accepting a glass of wine at a family gathering some years later. He still however does not want to know about linguini alla vongole or vitello tonnato...

                                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                                    Well, if it is any consolation if you read in my profile, the best meal in my life was in Rome, and it was a tiny small place near the Oprah House.. and next to it was a Chinese place, and let me tell you... it came in a very close second! I had never had such wonderful service either, best part? It was dirt cheap.. like $7 euro. (this was last year)

                                                                    1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                      "Oprah house"? really? not that I'd have any trouble believing that she had a house in Rome...she and McCain are in the same boat, most likely!

                                                                      and having lived in Germany as a teenager on an American military base, my experience was that the "I don't eat local food...get me to McDonalds or the PX" types are pretty common.

                                                                      1. re: coney with everything

                                                                        Sorry, that would be Opera house. My faux pas.

                                                              2. I think any friend who complains like this during a meal with you probably has deeper issues with your friendship and is using the meal situation to air them. Maybe she feels you don't pay attention to her likes and dislikes. Maybe she believes you always choose what is best for you instead of what is best for her when you go out. Rather than ask a forum full of foodies what they think of her knowing 99% of them will respond exactly as you have, you might want to have a talk with your friend and see if something else is going on. I could be wrong, but it's another perspective.

                                                                Personally, I've never known anyone like this, though I actually did do this ONCE and it had everything to do with my relationship with the people who went out with us and nothing to do with the food.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Orchid64

                                                                  I did not explain in the original post, but we take turns picking a restaurant to meet for lunch, and she always without fail, picks buffets or Applebee's type of places. I do not really like these places, and usually only go when I have young kids, or my MIL with me (she loves Applebees...) I like small mom and pop places, with great food, and great service. But we have since started our "back to school moms" lives and now just meet for coffee after we drop off the kids on Fridays.

                                                                2. yes, one friend of mine comes to mind, and whenever i go out to eat with her i usually will suggest a chinese restaurant(because other than that, we will end up at some crappy chain), and if she comes over and i cook, when i think about it, i think i always end up making roasted chicken and potatoes because she will definitely like that(i think one time i made salad to go along with :gasp: asian style dressing and she thought it was "weird" tasting), it doesn't bother me too much, it's her loss...actually though one time i tried squid ink pasta and she was there when i made it and liked it, so she might not be a complete lost cause!

                                                                  1. My friend Erick is a dear sweet man. I've known him for years. We have only had one fight so far but he got so mad I had to back off. He was going to Georgia for a seminar, and the company was paying for meals. As a barbecue starved Yank who spent some time in North Carolina and Gainesville FL I advised him to eat locally and feast on barbecue, grits with red eye gravy, okra and hush puppies etc. He informed me that he was sticking to Perkins Pancake House and McDonald's all the way. I tried to tell him of all the wonderful cuisine he would be missing and then pointed out that it was his big chance to try something new on someone else's dime. He got real upset and said that if he ordered food and didn't like it he would have to spend his own money then and he sure didn't want to do that. I had to drop it at that point to preserve our friendship.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                      Glad your friendship survived this challenge :)

                                                                      Many many years ago in the US I met a guy who had just come back from a work trip to Paris. He was pleased with himself that he had only eaten at Mc Donald's all the time he was there 8-O ! I gaped at him and asked him why he did that, and he was quite baffled that I should ask. "That way, the food would be familiar, I know what I would be getting" (this BTW from a chap born and raised in a different, non Mc-D country). I didn't meet him again.....

                                                                    2. One of my long-time friends used to eat sweet and sour pork, regardless of which Chinese restaurant we ate at or what else was offered. This was not confined to Chinese. He was not adventurous, ate well-cooked food and would "kill" whatever he ate with catsup or soy sauce if it was handy.
                                                                      He loved to cook fried food. He would try to feed me all fried meals.
                                                                      What was funny was, he would eat (almost all of), what I cooked, which was often adventurous.
                                                                      I think it is sad how many kids grow up with bad eating habits. Recently, I watched a 14 YO girl ditch the lettuce and tomato on her cheeseburger and eat it with fries only.

                                                                      1. Gryphonskeeper, you never told us how you act when it's her turn to pick. Do you find nice things to say about Applebee's?

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: stephanieh

                                                                          I just order the fish and chips, eat it happily, and enjoy her company. To me it is not a big deal at all... while I don't "love" the food, I do love he company.