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Could your/ IS your significant other a picky eater?

Can a food lover and picky eater really get along? I so enjoy eating out or entertaining and cooking and I often have trouble sharing that with picky eaters.

So if you're single, do you have a problem with your date's finickiness?

If you're married--did you care or have you survived with a picky eater?

Weigh in

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  1. <Can a food lover and picky eater really get along? I so enjoy eating out or entertaining and cooking and I often have trouble sharing that with picky eaters.>

    Yes. My spousal equivalent has a long list of foods that he can't (not won't, can't) eat. As relationship obstacles go, this one is pretty minor. I cook my food; he cooks his food. When we choose a restaurant, I make sure there's something on the menu for him. It's not that big a deal, unless you make it that big a deal.

    He understands that food is very important to me, and he's always interested in my cooking fetishes (razor clams! mung bean jelly noodles! hummus!). He just doesn't eat the results of my various experiments - which is sometimes just as well. And he will tell anyone who asks (and even those who don't) that I make the best macaroni and cheese on earth. Which may be true.

    1. Everyone has a few foods they don't like; that isn't a problem. However, if someone has so many dislikes that they become a picky eater in my estimation, that is a definite deal breaker for me. An example of something I have zero patience or tolerance for... I once knew a guy who proclaimed he disliked - and he refused to touch - all fruits. ALL FRUITS. No exceptions. Pa-leeze.

      5 Replies
      1. re: woodleyparkhound

        Yes, that is certainly ridiculous. My brother-in-law is like that: the only vegetable he considers edible is a potato, if you can even call that a vegetable. He also requires plain steak or chicken and a roll for a majority of his meals. When someone is *that* picky, I view them as spoiled and expect to get their way. And that is what I'm not cool with.

        1. re: bblonde

          I hear you loud and clear, woodley and bblonde, too often it's a control issue rather than a preference, because after all, people like that would have Darwined their line out of existence long ago, or maybe they should have.

          1. re: bblonde

            Maybe I have just been lucky. Most women I have dated would eat anything that no longer moves, and some things that still do.

            1. re: bblonde

              That sounds just like my neighbor. He refuses to eat fruits or vegetables. It's just basic meat + starch. He has two toddlers who want to eat what he eats, and his wife is terrified they'll pick up his awful habits. I don't eat everything, so it's not a big deal to me if others don't eat everything. However a diet that restrictive just seems hard to tolerate. You can't go to any fun restaurants are try interesting new recipes.

              1. re: queencru

                If the wife is so terrified she should make it her business to introduce the toddlers to all kinds of foods.

                My husband is a relatively picky eater. I should say he was a picky eater. When I met him, he ate spaghetti and Kraft parmesan cheese from a can every night. After 10 years together (and 2 kids), he eats about a thousand more things than he did when we first met. However, there are still many things he won't eat. He barely eats any fruits and vegetables. Would I like him to eat more (any) fruits and vegetables? Of course. Do I make an issue out of it? No. He is who he is. Is it annoying at times? Yes. But he is a great father and husband, is very successful in his career and never makes a big deal about his food issues when we go places. He does not act spolied, or entitled nor does he expect to get his way as was mentioned above. And oddly enough, he is generally willing to try most new recipes that I serve to him, as long as they do not involve too many vegetables!

                But, I never, ever let my husband's food issues get in the way of what I feed my kids. They eat fruits, vegetables and a wide variety of foods in general. And my husband never imposes his issues on the kids.

          2. My husband is something of a picky eater. He prefers French, Italian and American. He also doesn't frequent casual dinners when we go out.

            Lunch is my saving grace....I go for Indian, Mexican, Thai, etc. Also on the weekends we tend to do our own thing for breakfast and lunch.

            1. Picky eater? Great! More for me.

              1. Mrs CHM is pretty picky.
                Steaks must be extra well done. If there's a hint of pink, it ain't cooked yet.
                Chicken (boneless skinless breasts only) and pork (loin chops only, remove the bone first) must be super extra well done. The closer to sawdust the better. There's always ketchup.

                No seafood.
                No lamb
                No "parts" (offal or anything that isn't a chicken breast, pork loin chop, or a recognized extra well done steak)

                She will eat most veggies.

                We've been married 25 years, she's a great mom and wife.

                If I want my "weird food" I'll go out by myself or cook my own dinner while burning up a steak for her.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chileheadmike

                  This makes me so sad. Ketchup is likely to go bad at our house we use it so infrequently. When I met my SO, he was eating his meats med well. Now he is going for med rare. I'm not trying to change him.

                  I hope you get as much "weird food" as you want!

                2. Extreme pickiness would be a deal breaker for me. Cooking and eating are too important to have to be left out of the relationship equation and that's what would happen if I were married to a picky eater. My husband loves a wide variety of foods and has put up with my weird food jags (medieval cookery for a month, for example), so I plan to keep him.

                  1. My experience has been that a picky eater is deal-able. A non-interested eater is much harder to handle.
                    I've had exes who wouldn't eat any number of foods (no seafood, no mushrooms, nothing in a hot liquid (!) ). These I could handle. When at home, I could either accomodate us both or let him know he was on his own as I was having cream of mushroom soup with shrimp, or something like that. When we went out, there was usually something that the other could find. For me, one of the important enjoyable elements of dining is the discussion that follows. I love the moment of saying, did you like it? What did you like about it? How does it compare to other similar dishes you've had elsewhere? I can do this with picky eaters.

                    The people I can't do this with are the ones who really don't seem to care what they're eating. I hate the idea of having dealbreakers, but I've found that that one is a hard obstacle to overcome. And maybe it's simply that their lack of passion and interest in food hints at their lack of interest in other pleasures...

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: hyacinthgirl

                      I completely agree! I love to discuss the meal afterwards. Lack of interest baffles me sometimes. I always hear from people who say they just eat to live and don't really care what they make for dinner. Funnily enough, these people are die hard when it comes to sports.

                      1. re: hyacinthgirl

                        I agree with this too. My husband loves to eat, his repertoire was just extremely limited when we met. He has greatly expanded his horizons over the years and now he will go anywhere and always find something on the menu. They may not always be the dishes that I would choose, but that's okay. He loves to try new places and when we travel, he knows (and loves) that I go armed with a list of chowish places for us to try.

                        If he didn't have a passion for food or willingness to try things, I could see that as a problem. The fact that he eats very few vegetables....well, I would like to change it, but you can't win them all.

                        1. re: hyacinthgirl

                          I really relate to you hyacinthgirl...my boyfriend used to mostly eat only traditional Greek fare, and ate his beef/lamb well done. But I was OK with that for a while because at least he got incredibly happy and excited with even the simplest dish!
                          So in the process of expanding his tastes, it is just a joy to see his face light up when we sit down to dinner....

                          1. re: hyacinthgirl

                            hyacinthgirl, My inclination is to think the same thing re food and other pleasures.

                          2. Oh dear God, where to start...

                            My lovely wife won't eat dairy, but has a weakness for ice cream. MSG and its "analogs" (the broadest possible class of things that might have glutamate based on decades-old information that was incorrect when it was published) are out. Red wine? Not a chance. No eggs, except in baked goods. Speaking of baked goods, bread made with dough conditioners is off the list, too.

                            It's a trial to take her to a restaurant. Fortunately I love to cook and our good friends tolerate her foibles.

                            But the fact of the matter is that I'm an asshole, and she tolerates me. Sometimes. What more could a guy ask?

                            1. <Can a food lover and picky eater really get along?> In my case - NO! I come from a family of very adventureous eaters - not always the fanciest - but definitely "up for anything". I was eating Thai, Indian, Japanese, Greek, and pretty much any other ethnic food out there by the time I was five, so I love pretty much everything. My mom always had a garden and we lived near several fruit orchards so fresh produce was always abundant. My ex-BF however, was the complete opposite. His family ate TV dinners and fast food, and thought fruits and veggies were for hippies. When I tried to introduce him to something different, it was always met with a "NO". The only time he would venture out of his comfort zone of hamburgers, hot dogs, mac-n-cheese, pizza, and Shake-n-Bake porkchops was to go to the Olive Garden for beef raviolis in marinara...and he thought THAT was adventureous (I think they probably reminded him of Chef Boyardee in a can).
                              He could never understand how I could spend hours prepping and cooking a meal, when he could barely wait for the microwave to finish his pizza rolls. And I used too many bowls, and pots and cutting boards and ....whatever...you get the picture. He just thought it was a waste of time.
                              But the worst was when my family would invite us to go out to dinner, which was almost once a week. His first question would be "where?" and most of the time it would be something he didn't like (although they compromised several times), so he wouldn't go and would pout that if they really wanted him there, they would go someplace he liked, like Denny's.
                              Looking back, I think alot of it had to do with control issues and I thank my lucky stars he's my ex.

                              1 Reply
                              1. I lived with 4 other girls when I studied abroad in Rome. One of my roommates would not eat anything but pizza and chicken (her words). I would walk up the street every couple of days for fresh produce and meats to cook for everyone in the house (I cooked, they bought the wine) but she never touched any of it. If she didn't want the saltimbocca I sure wasn't going to force it upon her, but I refused to bend my cooking and eating principles to her narrow diet.
                                On another note, I was really surprised by how many people in that program ate three meals a day at McDonald's when they were immersed in one of the greatest food cultures in the world... poor bastards...

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: funklight

                                  We have neighbors who were gone on cruises for a month at a time the last two winters. Caribbean, Central and Northern South America. They ate not a single meal off the ship. And have said that they'd like to travel with us. Uh, I don't think so.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    To be fair, I think a lot of people are like that because they've already paid for the food on the cruise. They feel like they should get the most out of it, Over the course of a month, paying for extra food can really add up.

                                    1. re: queencru

                                      Yes, I've heard that also when we've been on cruises. But, no, she said flat-out that they're afraid they'll get sick.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        Yikes. stay at home with a turkey sandwich and the travel channel, where it's safe.

                                        1. re: funklight

                                          Yup. Esp. with us who are just as apt to eat chicken wings from a street vendor in Guatemala.

                                    2. re: c oliver

                                      The other problem is traveling with people who like to eat well but have a lower acceptable price point than you do. Sticky one.

                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        Well, we have dear friends who we could never travel with cause their price point is too high :)

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          Ours isn't 3-star Michelin, but if you're where good restaurants are, we want to take advantage.

                                  2. Not really. DH said he would eat anything - and then won't!! The list of what he won't eat is huge: Aussie, raised on a sheep station, won't eat lamb, offal, pork chops (but will eat pork loin) musells, paella, pretty good on veggies, and fruit though. Doesn't always like my experiments/cooking adventures..

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: The 1st and only KSyrahSyrah

                                      I appologize for what may seem like a dumb question but I just joined Chowhound and I am trying to familiarize myself with the site/ disscussions. I was reading your post and came across the acronym DH what exactly does that mean? And are there any other acronyms you know about that you or other posters use on the discussion boards?

                                        1. re: tayander00

                                          Do a quick google search of popular Internet acronyms and it should give you lots. Most are not CH specific. However there are a few that only pop up on these boards: EMP = Eleven Madison Park, CI= Cooks Illustrated

                                      1. NO he is not, thank God, or I wouldn't have married him, period.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                          Hear hear, same with us, and it goes both ways!

                                        2. I am a picky eater myself. I would not consider us spoiled. Everyone has things that they don't like, and some have more then others. Picky eaters don't take anything away from those who love every single thing put on their plate. If anything you end up having more food and options when you with a picky eater. If we can't eat everything on our plate....hey that means more for you! I wish I wasn't a picky eater...I love food, and wish that I loved everything that I ate but that is just not the case and I deal with it. Anyone I am with with have to deal with it too, and if they can't then they are not laid back enough for me anyways! Love your very own Picky Eater! :-)

                                          1. I was the picky eater.... my parents weren't adventurous so neither was I. But I wanted to try stuff so my boyfriend at the time took me for sushi, mexican, italian, seafood, chinese... everything!
                                            Now I'm the adventurous one---the boyfriend is now my husband and we've been together over 15 years.

                                            1. My bf is the opposite of a picky eater, he will eat ANYTHING regardless of quality or taste. This makes our relationship fairly easy because I can prepare anything or suggest any restaurant and he will be all over it.

                                              However, by default this makes ME the picky eater simply because I want to enjoy whatever I eat. So, whenever I cook something that comes out awful, he doesn't understand why I won't eat it. And he can't fathom why I'm not interested in certain things at the grocery store or at a friend's house.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: bluemoon4515

                                                Yes, same with me and him. He sometimes thinks I'm the most terrible snob but really I don't want to waste my money and time and appetite on something mediocre when I know there's something better just round the corner!

                                                1. re: gembellina

                                                  I agree. As I get older, I am even less inclined to waste money and calories on mediocre or questionable-in-quality food

                                              2. My SO of 30+years slowly but surely is coming around to my more "exotic" meals, but to this day he will not eat anything that has been frozen, except for icecream. Frequent trips to the market & in-season produce only, but we are still together!

                                                1. Neither my spouse nor I are picky eaters - I'm probably a little more adventurous when it comes to trying things, he is more so when it comes to the question "Is this still good?" It's particularly notable because we come from vastly different cultures, food wise (Japan and Canada), but I like natto and he likes blue cheese, so we get along with each other's home cuisine's very well.

                                                  I would actually find it very difficult to be married to someone who was picky. I love food - I love cooking it, eating it, preserving it, reading about it. I love finding new things, and experimenting with new cuisines. Having someone who didn't like to eat, or only had a limited palate, would be akin to an irreconcilable religious difference.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                    +1 and +2 and +3. You said it perfectly.

                                                  2. Unless your reason is allergies (like my friend who can't eat shellfish and I die a little bit each time I enjoy an oyster knowing she never can).
                                                    I think being a picky eater is being closed off to anything new and unimaginitive. Saying I have tried X and didn't like it is cool saying no Im closed of to trying that based on some preconceived notion is closed minded..IMO.

                                                    I make the following statement at my own risk..and it is only my opinion...I think people who are picky eaters are kinds attention whores. You try to buy sandwiches for 20 workers and theres one who's can't have onions, mayo, mustard , bread....:)

                                                    19 Replies
                                                    1. re: chris2269

                                                      chris, I pretty much agree with you. People CHOOSE to be picky eaters or anything else. It's not just about food. I've stayed in plenty of Motel 6s but know people who wouldn't. (Hey, they don't travel with dogs.) The list is long for pickiness.

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        I respectfully disagree that picky eating is a choice. I grew up in a family of very adventurous eaters and it certainly would have been easier to eat everything that evryone else did/does. Some things literally taste awful to me and there are other things where the texture is a turnoff.

                                                        I have gotten much better but will never be someone who likes everything and anything. What I do like needs to be good quality and well prepared. I never make a scene at a restaurant and almost always can find something that will make me happy. Luckily my husband is like me so it works for us.

                                                        I just think that life is too short to eat things you don't like just to make a statement to other people. I also think it is rude for others to be so concerned about what someone will or will not eat especially if the picky eater is not drawing attention to the issue.

                                                        1. re: baseballfan

                                                          Are these things you don't like through trying or think you would not like? Because I think they are two different things. If you have tried Sushi and do not like raw fish...no problem...If you have never had Sushi or raw fish but are 100% sure it will suck ..thats where I differ.

                                                          I hate Lima beans and have had them growing up...still if someone said dude try these if u hate them again, I'd be down. I do not understand why anyone else would not under the same cercuimstances...then again you could never convince me to not hate spiders..just its all about the human mind :)

                                                          1. re: chris2269

                                                            I have tried pretty much everything that I know I absolutely don't like. Lima beans are a perfect example. I have had these many times and each time is worse than the last in both taste and texture. Sushi is another good example. My husband actually loves it so we go out for sushi. Each time I am sure I will have a light bulb moment and realize I love it. Unfortunately it hasn't happened. That, however, has not made spoil my husband's fun. I simply order something cooked.

                                                            The problem that I have with people who pick up on my plain preferences is that I can never make them understand that I have tried these various things (often several times) and still don't like them. At that point, I believe they have a rudeness problem that is worse than any picky eater.

                                                            1. re: baseballfan

                                                              No I respect that if you have tried and dislike ...how can anyone disrespect that. I just do not hold much respect for those who do not try out of a preconceived notion...but that's just me and some times i admit i"m an ass...:)

                                                              1. re: chris2269

                                                                chris2269, you just called people who don't like mayo or onions on sandwiches "attention whores." Maybe you *are* an ass (your word, not mine).

                                                                And C Oliver, with whom I agree on so many things, picky eaters do not "choose to be picky eaters." What hogwash.

                                                                I'm not particularly picky, at least compared to my brother, who ate around ten foods, but there are things I don't like. I know I don't like them because I have either tasted or smelled them. With the exception of two, hard boiled eggs and raw onions, all are on the "supertaster" list.

                                                              2. re: baseballfan

                                                                After trying something and not liking it, I don't think the "picky eater" label fits you at all. If you took what I wrote as implying that I sincerely apologize.

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  No offense taken! I would love to be someone who loves most things. I do believe in trying new things. I just don't always want them again. sometimes I keep trying (sushi!) and it just is not for me.

                                                                  My family can be a pain because in spite of seeing me try things they continue to tease me as being a picky eater. It's fine..I own it but sometimes I want to say shut up! :)

                                                                  One thing I don't like and will never do is disrupt a dinner out with friends because the restaurant is not one that I would choose. I have gone to all types of places that I would never choose on my own and have enjoyed the company I am with. I can always find something and there is always wine! I have found new things that way which is nice. it drves me nuts when someone goes all prima donna over a meal. Like my dad used to say "probably not your last meal".

                                                                  1. re: baseballfan

                                                                    My goal for 2010 was to learn to like calves liver. I've tasted it many times over about 40 maybe 50 years and never liked it. My late MIL was in assisted living and they had liver one night. I had a bite and thought "hey, not too bad." We subsequently bought the best stuff at WF and my husband cooked it. First bite was "oooookay." The second bite was not politely spit into my napkin. I don't consider that being picky. I don't consider YOU a picky eater. You try. Your mind is open.

                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                      You are funny! My dad was a big liver fan and I have tried a few times as well. Oddly enough, it smelled pretty good when he was preparing it but a totally different story every time I would eat it. I think it might be a texture thing.

                                                                      Since I can tell from your posts that you are from the Tahoe area, they have a calves liver omelet on the menu at the Squeeze Inn in Truckee. Back when we had our home at Tahoe Donner and shortly before my dad passed, he ordered it much to the the delight and disgust of my children. Probably the only person to have ordered it in recent memory. It looked gross but he loved it and I am sure would have been fine with it being his last meal!

                                                                      1. re: baseballfan

                                                                        Do NOT talk about liver for breakfast!!! What's odd is that I love all sorts of liver pate's even a little chicken liver (thank, AB.) I love other offal. And I'm like the least picky eater in the world. Go figure.
                                                                        PS: Amazingly we've never been to Squeeze Inn. We live between Tahoe City and Kings Beach so just don't get to Truckee all that often.

                                                              3. re: chris2269

                                                                Most of my friends who are somewhat picky have tried the foods they dislike multiple times. There are people who are simply unadventurous and won't try things, and there are others who do not like foods after giving them a try more than once. I don't like onions and no amount of trying them again is going to make me like them. I've tried them enough times to realize they aren't for me. I am okay with them in a sauce or some sort of base, but in a sandwich or prominent ingredient elsewhere I will almost always pick them off.

                                                          2. re: chris2269

                                                            I respectfully disagree, Chris. There's a difference between "preconceived notion" and "informed decision." I have never eaten lardo, but I know it is pure fat, so "no thank you."

                                                            I don't consider myself a picky eater by any means. Mom taught us to "try it before you say you don't like it." But there are certain foods that, just the thought of, gross me out. For example, I can't stand the thought of eating blood. I don't care if it is in a sausage, a soup, or whatever, I will never knowingly eat blood.

                                                            I am not what you would call an "activist," (far from it) but there are other foods I will not eat are due to, for lack of a better word, "politics." I choose not to eat veal because of the way the majority of veal cattle are raised. The same goes for foie gras. I just don't think it is necessary to abuse animals just so we can stuff our faces with a "gourmet" item.

                                                            If these things makes me "closed minded" so be it. I've been called a lot worse in my life.

                                                            1. re: al b. darned

                                                              Just so you know, more and more and more veal is being raised in the US in a humane manner. You may want to rethink that at some point. Just saying.

                                                              1. re: al b. darned

                                                                For the love of all things human, try the lardo before you swear it off!
                                                                Pure fat you say? So are olive oil and butter. Moderation, my friend.
                                                                I read somewhere years ago that lardo is actually better for you than butter, something about the cholesterol I'm sure.
                                                                This was on a trip to Italy, where I fell in love with the stuff.
                                                                Whenever I see it on a reputable restaurant menu or being made by someone I trust, my heart skips a beat. Yes, it can be that good.
                                                                Close minded? Try obstinate Mr. Darned!
                                                                I do jest, but please try it anyway.

                                                                  1. re: rabaja

                                                                    Try obstinate Mr. Darned!

                                                                    That fits, too. : > )

                                                                    Pure fat you say? So are olive oil and butter.

                                                                    Point taken. I doubt I will seek it out, but if it were available I might try it. If that happens, I'll report back.

                                                                    1. re: al b. darned

                                                                      Good to hear. I will sleep better tonight. ;)

                                                                1. re: chris2269

                                                                  I hate cheese and I dislike mayo. I'm not an attention whore. I just won't be eating your sub sandwich at work.

                                                                2. Yes...I love my husband...we are newlyweds...but he likes plain bland food....

                                                                  Tonights dinner...he is cooking...chicken breasts, long grain wild rice and golden cream of mushroom soup....I have never had it but it seems SO boring....

                                                                  What to do but to love him as he is....at least he wants to cook... :)

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: christy1122

                                                                    Plain food, yeah that's the word I was looking for.
                                                                    My SO will not eat things like garlic, onion (they're the base of most recipes!! ) ...
                                                                    Potatoes (other than fries) are a no no, mustard and ketchup he won't touch, no mayo, no salad dressings except one specific one by kraft, it gets boring.

                                                                    He says he's not picky, and he likes asian type foods, is allergic to seafood (all of it)
                                                                    I made a roasted red pepper soup and though he likes red pepper he found it too spicy. It was flavourful, not spicy.
                                                                    He says he will eat anything I make but realistically he doesn't, He won't eat dry beans so that rules out soups, stews, hummus dip.
                                                                    He's not big on tomato based pasta sauces. Italian isn't his favourite though he likes pizza.

                                                                    Lots of ethnic foods are out like indian, thai, middle eastern, mexican, latin.. the list goes on.

                                                                    1. re: BamiaWruz

                                                                      Sorry I am new, Just joined chowhound a couple hours ago to be exact. Anyways what does SO mean?

                                                                      1. re: tayander00

                                                                        DH - dear husband

                                                                        SO - significant other

                                                                        YMMV - your mileage may vary

                                                                        IMHO - in my humble opinion

                                                                        To look up these or any other terms/expressions you come across that you don't understand, check out www.urbandictionary.com.. I don't know what I'd do without it!

                                                                  2. My problem isn't that my wife is a picky eater, she just could care less about what she eats. She's just as happy eating my linguine w/clam sauce as she would be going to Rest. Nicholas. The only exception is Le Bernardin.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: jnk

                                                                      Husband is home now...will report on his Chicken Rice dish...

                                                                    2. Sorry if this has been posted before... from the BBC website, about picky eating possibly being a 'medical' condition. It seems to suggest that texture is way more important than flavour in determining what 'picky' people will/can eat.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Peg

                                                                        Wow, and i thought it was just a weird american thing -- when i first met my boyfriend, he did not even want to try certain things based on how i would describe the texture. He has become quite food obsessed as well but is still reluctant to try things that have texture/taste discordance (aspic=meat jello) or are just too textured (cartiledge, chewy fatty bits, etc)

                                                                      2. Got to thinking about this, and I have to conclude that, yes, DW is a "picky" eater. Tho she likes sushi, she won't eat most other Asian cuisine except for "American Chinese" food. Her fruit intake is limited and only includes apples, most berries, and bananas. Horseradish is o.k., but no other spicy foods. My home made chili is now "family style" (aka "bland") and I have to add my own spice later. Offal? Just awful in her opinion. But in all fairness, with the exception of chicken/turkey hearts and gizzards, I agree with her. Garlic is fine cooked in a dish, but my pickled garlic? "No, thank you." The canned sardines are all mine, too. So how come she likes scrapple and liverwurst? (Both of which I can't stand.)

                                                                        In the ten years we've been married her food horizons have broadened some, and now includes some Polish/Russian fare I make, as well as some food combinations I make, but she never had before. She also eats more veg now because I don't turn them to mush like her mother does. But when we eat out she rarely strays from her comfort zone.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: al b. darned

                                                                          Rarely straying from comfort zone out would be a good description foru SO. He started eating Indian food when we met. It took a while to break out of just plain chicken tikka. Then he stuck only to the tandoori meats. Now he has broadened to Rogan Josh.

                                                                          Most places he gets a steak.

                                                                          Pretty much only orders pad see euw at Thai ( another cuisine he didn't eat before me.
                                                                          He is adventurous with types of meat or fish though.

                                                                        2. Thankfully my S/O is about as picky as I am, which means not at all.

                                                                          I don't think I could ever spend my time with someone who didn't eat fruits or veggies or refused to try new things on a regular basis. Our old roommate would not eat any vegetable at all, unless it was pureed in a soup and even than he would only touch potatoes, broccoli and carrots!

                                                                          It drove me nuts.

                                                                          1. A picky eater and I would never be able mesh. People who aren't open-miinded foodwise irritate me (sorry, but it's true). And as far as a romantic partner goes...if he was hesitant to try foods outside of the White-Bread-And-Velveeta-World, I'd have to wonder about how interesting his...ummm..."romantic" predilections would be. I mean...what ELSE is he afraid to taste??? :p

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. Have y'all seen the "Are You a Foodie?" quiz that was circulated on Facebook a while back? I suppose there are several but I couldn't find it just now when I looked. It was the one that listed many of kinds of food and asked if you had ever eaten it. My score was "Advanced Foodie." My SO was amazed because she won't even try a fraction of the number of foods I've enjoyed. Her loss. More for me.

                                                                              1. Food lover and picky eater are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: rasputina

                                                                                  Agreed! My mom tells me as a kid I'd refuse a spread if it wasn't perfectly even on the bread. =P I outgrew that, but I am still "picky." I have an unfortunate gag reflex for anything slimy, like pockets of fat in pork or beef, tripe, aspic. What can I do? I almost threw up at dinner once trying to be courteous. It's just the consistency that gets me.

                                                                                  I do love food though. One nice thing about cooking for myself is that I can tailor everything to my tastes.

                                                                                2. I am happily married to the pickiest eater I've ever known. My husband literally eats chicken tenders, spaghetti and meat sauce, mac and cheese, hot dogs, some cookies and sweets. That's really about it. I am not an overly adventurous eater, but I do enjoy several kinds of ethnic food, and most of all a good, high end steakhouse (with no chicken tenders in sight!).

                                                                                  There are times that it's frustrating, but we've found ways to work around it. Most of the time I go out with my friends once or twice a month, and we go to someplace where my husband can't eat. My husband is also happy to take me to any restaurant and just not order anything, which is a little awkward, but better than going to Pizza Hut for all of my birthday dinners! The hardest thing for me is cooking at home -- I love cooking, but even more love having someone to share it with. I've taken up lots of baking and just take it in to work with me. Cooking for just myself on weeknights is downright depressing sometimes, so I usually save the real cooking for the weekends.

                                                                                  83 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: ForFoodsSake

                                                                                    It's my feeling that having a picky eater as your husband is less difficult than having one as your wife for precisely the reason you provided above; that you can "go out with [your] friends once or twice a month [to restaurant your husband can't]". Guys don't have as many options as women do in this area since women are much more likely to be keen on going out together to eat than men. Therefore if my wife were not also a wonderful eater my opportunities to eat well would be more limited.

                                                                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                      If your male friends avoid going out in groups, you could always have dinner with your female friends.

                                                                                      1. re: small h

                                                                                        Don't think that's going to go over very well with any female SO.
                                                                                        I'm so glad I'm past the dating stage in my life. The worst is when you take a date to one of your favorite places or a new place you've heard great things about and they are so picky that they'll look over the whole menu and conclude that they'll just be having dessert. That sucks.
                                                                                        Took a GF to Paris a while ago. After she attempted to get me to eat at KFC for a third time while there I kinda accepted that she probably wasn't the one for this foodie guy.

                                                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                          O Chinon, all my sympathy.
                                                                                          Back in my dating days, I avoided picky eater guys like the plague. Why would one want for a partner someone who rejects such a major sensual experience?
                                                                                          And I noticed a dismaying trend: More and more picky eaters SAY they are vegetarians instead. I respect my vegetarians. I despise people who say they are vegetarians except for chicken and beef and want fellow hounds to find them the right resaurant. Whatsupwiththat.

                                                                                          1. re: Parigi

                                                                                            Parigi, why is this a dismaying trend? I'm someone who doesn't care for a lot of meat and fish for various reasons but I do love all vegetables. I find it much easier to say to someone "I'm a vegetarian" than to say, "well... I don't eat pork or rabbit or duck and I'll sometimes eat chicken or beef, but only about twice a year so it has to be exceptionally good and I'm allergic to shellfish and I don't like..." I would HATE for someone to try to navigate this litany. But if I simply say "I eat vegetarian," I'm given or recommended food that I know I will enjoy and the individual I'm talking to didn't have to do too many mental gymnastics to figure it out.

                                                                                          2. re: Chinon00

                                                                                            <Don't think that's going to go over very well with any female SO.>

                                                                                            Perhaps I'm not a typical female SO, but it would be fine by me. I have friends - both male and female - who don't share my partner's dining preferences. So sometimes I go out with them. And sometimes he goes out with his friends - both male and female - whose interests don't jibe with mine. This system might not work for every couple, but it works very well for us.

                                                                                            1. re: small h

                                                                                              In my experience making reservations to high end restaurants with other male friends (which would be difficult for me) or with a female or multiple females and not my wife or GF would cause issues. Even if she didn't enjoy fine dining or adventurous dining I couldn't imagine my wife or SO not expecting me to ask her out first versus friends.

                                                                                              1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                This will mean epicurean omnivores must adjust to picky eaters and eat in their dumps, and it will not be picky eaters who comprise and go long with their bons vivants partners to gastronomic temples with inventive cuisine. Quite depressing thought du jour.

                                                                                                1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                  I mean "compromise", not "comprise", duh.

                                                                                                2. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                  So ask her first. "Hey, Wife, I'm dying to try Restaurant X. Want to go with me? No? Ok, I'll ask Friend instead."

                                                                                                  1. re: small h

                                                                                                    Yeah, I don't get the issue here either.

                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                      Two guys going out for dinner together (without there being clear signs that business/work is being conducted) is often thought to mean the two are a homosexual pair. Many heterosexual males have a problem with that. Just a thought.

                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                        Making a habit of dining out with a woman who is not your wife is asking for trouble. Your wife might say it doesn't bother her but it does. It's the intimacy of it. And good point on the implied homosexuality.

                                                                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                          @Chinon00: A gay guy dining out with a woman is usually much less a problem - esp. for the husband of the woman, if the guy is KNOWN to be gay. A hetero guy dining out with a lesbian woman is probably (or should be) equivalent, but there I'm not as sure...

                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                            FWIW, my husband wouldn't bat an eye if I were to grab dinner with >gasp< a (hetero, if that's important) male friend. Might be a class thing? Education? Who knows...

                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                            I wish it weren't so and wish it really was silly to think so. I don't, but society at large still does have that kind of perception from certain quarters; or, the perception that one could be perceived by others to be "that kind" of folks...

                                                                                                            p.s. We're not talking about a guys' night out at the pub, the sports bar, the baseball/football game, "guy bonding" macho-type venues...we're talking fine dining places, epicurean food, well-dressed male pair, dining together in an intimate setting (jackets and ties not required here too for the perception to flicker across some folks minds), that sort of thing.

                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                              It seems to be less about the perception from the public, though, than one's own sexual insecurity.

                                                                                                              As with so many things, I am doubtful that two gals would have the same issue.

                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                Correct. Two gals would NOT have the same problem, *and* the general public would not have similar perceptions either. Which is, itself, a reflection on the general phenomenon of two gals "getting it on" being more acceptable whereas two guys "getting it on" is not. Not yet to the extent it should be, anyway.

                                                                                                                Here's an old NYT article on the "man-date" I remembered and just fished out (quite easily): http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/10/fas...

                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                  Boy, am I ever so glad to be a woman -- and to have many male friends for whom this is a total non-issue.

                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                    How old are they and what milieu did they come from?

                                                                                                                    Are there other male friends who fit what the NYT article describes? :-)

                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                      Yeah being a woman and going out as a couple with another woman (as the article explains) implies nothing. For men it isn't the same. Ultimately though like you say it up to the individual to disregard how they might be perceived.

                                                                                                                      Also I think that its reasonable to state that for a variety of reasons its easier to get a couple of women or a group of women (foodie and non-foodie alike) to go out to a high end restaurant than it is to get guys to go out. One of my handful of foodie guys friends might be available (and not care about perception) but my non-foodie guys friends aren't gonna be keen on going out to high end restaurants for the perceived price/value ratio and the aforementioned gay perception issues. As a matter of fact a buddy of mine's fiance couldn't make a reservation I'd made at a nice place for three couples. I asked him could I invite a male friend who'd wanted to check the place out. He said he'd be more "comfortable" if I didn't;]

                                                                                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                        Have you seen the "Jake...from State Farm" TV ad? ;-)

                                                                                                                        But yes - the "two guys" (or more) in a fine-dining place continues to be an issue in the US at least. It might be an idea for guys to make an effort to go out together...the more it happens, the less remarkable it becomes...and perceptions gradually get changed... Don't let your SO's/DW's lack of interest in food stop you from dining out with a guy friend. Of course, the issue largely goes away if the diners are both gay.

                                                                                                                        @ Parigi and linguafood:
                                                                                                                        It would be interesting if you commented on how menfolk in general, not *just* your immediate friends, in France and Germany (respectively) handled the issue.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                          Your friend wouldn't hang out with you because various strangers might infer incorrect information about you? Sorry to hear that. I can't say I've given other diners that much thought. And if I did, how would they know and why should they care? I'm very confused by this...

                                                                                                                          1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                            Maybe I should start worrying that when I have dinner with my dad, people will think I'm in a May/December romance with someone who looks an awful lot like me.

                                                                                                                            1. re: small h

                                                                                                                              My brother and I went to Thailand and the tour guide introduced everyone on the first night. We were "Mr. and Mrs. Hobbert"... It never occurred to us that everyone else assumed we were married. I thought it was hysterical, but reading this thread makes me think I should have been offended!

                                                                                                                              1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                @small h: I can’t tell if you’re being facetious or not – but on the chance you are, perhaps it might be an idea then to be careful what you ordered. :-) :-D http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/04/din...

                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                  I remember that article, and yes, I was being facetious. And serious, at the same time, because if we take this subthread to its logical (and I use that word loosely) conclusion, every meal out is a minefield. What if other restaurant patrons size me up and decide I look like someone who listens to Rush Limbaugh? How should I dress, and what should I order, and whom should I dine with to ensure that this doesn't happen? Guidance, I need guidance!

                                                                                                                                  Or I could just not care.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                    There is far more social stigma associated with being gay in Ameria than being a conservative.
                                                                                                                                    A gay friend invited me to a gay club once years ago. I was very hesistant but chose to be open minded about it and went. Is it unreasonable to assume a significant number of folks in my situation would have chosen not to go?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                      <There is far more social stigma associated with being gay in Ameria than being a conservative. >

                                                                                                                                      Not in my neighborhood.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                        If only the world were your neighborhood . . . We wouldn't need laws on the books protecting gay people.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                          But we might need laws protecting conservatives! Voting booths for the Republican primary were set up in my building lobby last week. I came home to find some of my curious neighbors standing around, waiting to see if anyone would vote (nope). True diversity must be very hard to find.

                                                                                                                              2. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                The point that I and others have been apparently unsuccessful at making is the particular circumstance of dining at HIGH END restaurants with another man or men; versus eating with one or more guys at the neighborhood pizzaria or brewpub. If a person feels uncomfortable I understand where they are coming from. Do I think its silly? No but personally I wouldn't care and have shared meals with other men at high end places.
                                                                                                                                It's like how some straight people wouldn't feel comfortable going to a gay club. Doesn't mean that you're gay necessarily, maybe you really like the music. But what it implies might be too much for some.

                                                                                                                          2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                            They certainly would in my neighborhood!

                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                              How about THIS NYT article?


                                                                                                                              I wouldn't worry about who thinks what...

                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                Excellent article.

                                                                                                                                Hmm, are you trying to say I am homophobic? (I'm not) Or that guys who balk at man-dates are homophobic? (not inconceivable) Or that guy society is homophobic? (that will stir the pot and raise issues regarding why society behaves the way it does in any particular milieu or region :-) )

                                                                                                                                p.s. I think everyone here has said that guys going out for a fine meal together is fine, or should be fine. (to keep this on topic)

                                                                                                                          3. re: huiray

                                                                                                                            "but society at large"

                                                                                                                            Depends on which society and which large. The world is big and chowhound is theoretically an international site.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                                              You are correct, I should be more specific and regret I did not do so previously. I have in mind largely the USAmerican "society at large", although similar attitudes may well be found in other areas as well.

                                                                                                                              ETA: It would be interesting to hear from males in countries other than the US regarding how they handle getting together with another male friend for a fine-dining non-sports-non-bar-related outing?

                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                My husband dines with male friends once in a while, when I'm out of town or when I don't want to go out. Nobody here devotes much thought about it one way or another here.
                                                                                                                                "here" is Paris.
                                                                                                                                But am I the one who is hallucinating or oblivious? I seem to see men dining together in a non-gay dating setting in many countries. Of course I did not ask them if they were gay or straight. In fact I can't say I pay much attention because there really is nothing odd about the sight.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Parigi


                                                                                                                                  Well, I wonder if Western Continental (Western Europe) mores show more laissez-faire attitudes and sang-froid towards sexual matters than the Anglo-Saxon/English-speaking worlds...just as (e.g.) Mitterand's mistress(es) (and the daughter from that relationship) did not stir up much to-do in France & Europe, whereas such a scenario in the US (or even the UK) would have had the place in an utter tizzy. Just wondering out loud. Yes, yes, I know this is dangerous ground.

                                                                                                                                  Here's a "companion" piece to that NYT article I linked to above, but from "across the Pond" in the UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver...

                                                                                                                                  p.s. I can't help feeling that it is just a tad (just a wee bit) disingenuous of the female posters here to claim to be ignorant of or to be bewildered by this phenomenon we're discussing in this subthread... :-)

                                                                                                                                  p.p.s. **A general comment** - Of course, one can always dine solo in that nice restaurant and savor all those delectable viands by oneself. I suppose some can do this without requiring companionship and some cannot.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                    Not ignorant, but count me in on the bewildered side.

                                                                                                                                    You do make a good point about Western Europe (which is where I grew up), and a generally more relaxed attitude about many things sexual, as compared to countries settled by puritans.

                                                                                                                                    Clearly, there are also differences in what constitutes 'masculinity' on both sides of the pond. A little less chest-beating and knuckle-dragging where I come from, particularly in the younger generation -- not a phenom I see stateside.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                      Definitely bewildered. I just can't wrap my head around changing your behavior (in the case of Chinon00's friend) based on what strangers may or may not think of you.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                        Junior High School kids do it all day, every day. Many of them never grow out of it. You are fortunate to have healthy self-esteem - many don't.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                          I understand what you're saying but there's a difference between being a child dealing with the same group of people for several years at a time and being an adult and feeling so self conscious about what people who you'll never see or deal with again might think of you. Maybe I'm just oblivious, but I don't think other diners are sitting around judging me.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                            The fine point here is that there are people out there who really care about what strangers may be thinking about them. These poor folks don't know that, 1: No one is actually taking notice of them, and 2: Who cares what strangers may think, anyway.....

                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                              I think the issue involves more than that - it may include one's "state of mind" as well, and it is interesting that some folks here can't seem to understand that. If one reads that NYT article I linked to above, it describes situations where one guy cooking AT HOME for another (or more) guys - away from the gaze of strangers in a restaurant - is "weird" and uncomfortable for everyone, unless it was BBQ (a suitable "masculine" activity) or some such. (Gay guys would not have this problem)

                                                                                                                                              I made some additional comments here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7214...

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                          @Hobbert (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7214...):
                                                                                                                                          Suppose such a male-male pair at a chi-chi restaurant was observed by work colleagues or the boss of one of them, who happened to be there, who happened to be less enlightened than the two diners in question? A diner who, on going to work the next day, found himself the subject of "discussion" as a queer? This is NOT a fanciful scenario, it does happen.

                                                                                                                                          What happens with two diners who are gay and "generally" couldn't care less - BUT one or both may not be "out" at work - how will that play out?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                            Personally, if my boss or colleagues felt it was appropriate to discuss my sexual orientation at work, I'd inform them it was not. If that didn't stop any remarks, I'd contact HR. Pretty simple. I work in a highly male dominated field. People assume I'm gay sometimes. I just don't care. It's entertaining for my husband though :)

                                                                                                                            2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                              Really...? This is the first I've heard of this assumption. I have a lot of male friends and family. They frequently go out to dinner either in groups or pairs. I don't think any of them gives a thought that others will perceive them as homosexual.

                                                                                                                              1. re: BlueMagic

                                                                                                                                And so what if one were mistaken for an homosexual? Is it a bigger deal than being mistaken for, say, another nationality? I have been mistaken as Japanese, Thai, and, yes, lesbian. No biggie. :-)

                                                                                                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                        She was a trip. Actually became upset at me for choosing all the restaurants beforehand; like a foodie I'd done weeks of research planning almost every meal. So I relented and suggested that she choose all the lunches and that I choose the dinners for the remainder of our vacation. She chose a restaurant for lunch right off the Metro. It was nothing special sort of like a Friday's. I took back responsibility of choosing all the meals. It was ridiculous.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                          The whole idea for me to even remember whether some diners look gay or straight to me is like asking me to notice whether people who part their hair in the middle are stupider or uglier or tend to be gay or straight. I think I notice a lot of things in life but not these things. :-(

                                                                                                                          1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                                            This whole subthread is fascinating.

                                                                                                                            I am a 30 year old, single, heterosexual male. My best friend is a 30 year old, single, heterosexual male. Since we both enjoy fine food and beverage, I would say that we get together about once a month or so, go out to a fine dining establishment and enjoy a meal together, just the two of us. This has been going on for years now, regardless of whether or not either of us has been in a relationship. I never once gave a single thought as to whether any of the patrons or staff thought we were gay, nor would I have cared if they did. None of the girlfriends I've had have cared if me and my buddy went to dinner and did not invite them.

                                                                                                                            I often see just two men dining out at fine dining establishments and have never thought it implied anything about their sexuality. The same applies for two females dining together.

                                                                                                                            I have, however, had girlfriends that would get jealous if I went to dinner (or even just lunch during the workweek) with a just a female friend, no one else. I've never stayed with anyone that harbors such jealousy for very long.

                                                                                                                            1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                              My kind of guy !
                                                                                                                              (Sorriest, DH has to kill you now. Just kidding. He's laughing.)

                                                                                                                                1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                                  If you go waaaaay upthread you will see that this subthread gernimated from the idea of women on average having more opportunities to eat at high end restaurants w/o their SO than men. This is due to I think the desire of women to group up and to go to high end places WHETHER THEY BE FOODIES OR NOT FOODIES far more so than men. Participation by males generally in grouping up to go to high end restaurants is not as common to my observation. I think though that it is common among foodie guys and I participate often myself.
                                                                                                                                  "Girls Night Out" brings to the mind going to high end restaurants much more often than "Boys Night Out" will. This does not mean that all of us foodie guys who are wonderfully tolerant and sophisticated or sexual matters do not exist; I count myself in the number. But as a group males generally don't see it our way as often for reasons of practicality and perception.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                    I also have some doubts about whether all the posters here who express bewilderment or surprise at the notion being discussed in this subthread even bothered to read the NYT and UK Observer articles I linked to upthread. Or perhaps they missed them. These discuss and illustrate the situation in question and explain the scenario involved - the phenomenon exists (as you appreciate), even if one does not experience or share it personally or agree with it. (I too don’t share the apprehensions described and wish it did not exist)

                                                                                                                                    Hopefully in the near future this issue will disappear and it would be good if folks could do what they could to speed the matter along and gently change attitudes as opportunity arises, rather than just denying that it exists or just saying it bewilders them.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                      I don't think anyone is denying the existence of male insecurities when it comes to choosing their dining partner, whether for a home-cooked meal or at a restaurant.

                                                                                                                                      Call it bemused, if you will. FWIW, I did read the NYT article. And I choose to find this whole "problem" ridiculous, knowing any number of grown men in my circle of friends who have no such qualms.

                                                                                                                                      But hey - insecure people will be insecure, whether they're men or not.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                        Words which you've used such as "bemused" and "bewildered" do suggest that you don't understand why these insecurities exist when you apparently do. Having the personal opinion that its silly or ridiculous however is perfectly fine.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                          Well, perhaps cut me some slack for possibly not having used the "appropriate" terms to convey my feelings with regards to this topic.

                                                                                                                                          I thought that, for a non-native speaker, I did a pretty good job. Not many here seemed to have had a problem to understand what I was trying to say.

                                                                                                                                          Besides -- nothing wrong with keeping a sense of wonder alive, even when one encounters the same ridiculous behavior over and over '-P

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                      Chinon00, I'll agree with you that, at least amongst the people I associate with, it is more likely for Girls Night to include a trip to a high-end restaurant than Guys Night. Based on conversations with my female friends and, of course, participating with great frequency in Guys Night, myself, I have a good idea why this is the case, and I don't think it has much to do with perception. Has a lot to do with sex, though...

                                                                                                                                      Girls Night includes high-end restaurants because they they like dressing "to the nines," and showing off for each other (and the other female patrons) as much as for the men. Moreover, many of them like to ogle/pursue the most attractive, well dressed, presumably well-heeled and available men. I honestly don't think a single one of them has ever mentioned food to me as a reason for going to any of these places.

                                                                                                                                      My guy friends go to sports bars and the like because we want to drink good beer/liquor on the cheap, wear casual clothes, have a big tv that can distract us, and can potentially find some easy action that comes without significant expectation. Similarly to Girls Night, food is rarely an issue on Guys Night.

                                                                                                                                      Of course, for both groups, the real priority is simply to spend a fun night with friends. Food aspects of such evenings are rarely pertinent, food being such a low priority, on average, amongst the members of either group.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                                        "Of course, for both groups, the real priority is simply to spend a fun night with friends. Food aspects of such evenings are rarely pertinent, food being such a low priority, on average, amongst the members of either group."

                                                                                                                                        The food aspect is very pertinent if you are a foodie.
                                                                                                                                        Women consider high end restaurants as options for "fun" much more often than men. So the opportunities to access high end food favors women.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                          I agree. Food is very pertinent. And btw, good food is not an exclusivity of high end, right?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                                                            Of course not. The point was places where the average guy would feel more comfortable partaking in a meal without a date or his wife. Great food can be had from a street vendor.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                                                              Good food is absolutely not exclusive to the high end. You're right, Parigi. However, Chinon00 was speaking about women going to fine dining restaurants more often than men. That is my experience, as well.

                                                                                                                                              For what it's worth, I really enjoy that cheap fried fish sandwich that me and my male friends adore every bit as much I do the expensive sushi place my female friends often frequent on their nights out. Both are good food, just totally different styles and price points.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                              I agree with what you say, Chinon00. The food aspect is pertinent if you're a foodie. Just, most of my friends aren't foodies.

                                                                                                                                              And, anectdotally, amongst my friends, women consider high-end restaurants options for "fun" much more often than my male friends. But that has nothing to do with the food.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                                          @MonMauler: Perhaps you might consider what I posted above: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7214...

                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                            huiray, I read the NYT and Observer articles you posted above, and that just isn't my experience in associating with my friends and acquaintances. The perceptions of others simply is not a factor. We do what we want to do, others be damned.

                                                                                                                                            The anxieties discussed in those articles seem to be the worries of vain and vacuous midtowners.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                                              MonMauler, good for you. However, dismissing the experiences of others as "...the worries of vain and vacuous midtowners" seems unwarranted (if not incorrect; the article says it was reporting about the reactions of guys from all over) and perhaps just a tad flippant. But of course you are free to do what you want including turning your back on folks who do not have the same experiences as you. :::Shrug::: Be well.

                                                                                                                                              As for Girls' Night and Guys' Night and what you and your guy friends like to do together on a Guys' Night, I think it has been explained repeatedly that the subject here regarding guys is fine dining one-on-one (mostly) in an intimate situation in a high end restaurant, candles, white linens, an army of attendants and servers, no TVs or sports commentary anywhere within sight or earshot, where good food *is* a significant part of the picture, etc etc. (Yes, you described what you did in your initial post, thank you)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                                                I don't live in the same city/country as, it seems, most of you, and don't know what/who are these midtowners who are so vacuous. :-)
                                                                                                                                                But to imagine that others in a social situation all pay attention to one and devote a lot of thought to one does sound rather self-absorbed.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                                                                  You make a strong point, Parigi!

                                                                                                                                                  My "vain and vacuous midtowners" comment, was a reference to the article cited by huiray, which was written by a resident of midtown Manhattan and published in the New York Times newspaper, in their Fashion & Style section. The newspaper itself is headquartered in midtown Manhattan, and the Fashion & Style section deals almost exclusively with the fashion and style of Manhattanites. For the article, she said she interviewed 30-40 straight men between 20-50 years old from all over.

                                                                                                                                                  Similarly, I expressed the views of my 20 or so straight male friends, as I perceive them over years of conversation and interaction. The sample sizes are similar and insignificant.

                                                                                                                                                  I expressed my viewpoint, which is no less valid than the viewpoint of the author. If you give me a topic and 30-40 people to interview, I could probably get the article to say whatever it is I want it to say.

                                                                                                                                                  Thus, I view the articles cited as nothing more than the viewpoint of a denizen of midtown Manhattan, a culture I perceive as being quite vain and vacuous ... even if they do have some fantastic food and places to hang out.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                                                      I believe you are based in Pittsburg, PA. Yet you seem to have no problem asking these "vain and vacuous" Manhattanites for advice when you visit: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/785182 . Heh. :-)

                                                                                                                                                      You have said that you have a foodie friend with whom you dine one-one-one over the years in high end places. I wonder - have you asked any of your other guy friends - with whom you have these Guys' Nights Out - to a one-on-one fine dining date? If not, why not? If they don't "do" that kind of stuff - why not? Is such an activity not "masculine" enough for them?

                                                                                                                                                      Just wondering. :-)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                        Don't you think it's a little over the top for you to go searching through MonMauler's threads? You seem to want to just keep the conversation going. It seems everyone has read your article and expressed an opinion.
                                                                                                                                                        Personally..I feel it's a little intrusive the way you are interrogating Monmauler. Best to let it go. Not everyone has to share the same opinion or experience. Geesh

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BlueMagic

                                                                                                                                                          Not when he disparages the entirety of Mid-Manhattanites. "Keeping the conversation going" is true only if you think one should let falsehoods go without answering them. It seemed so odd, that he would do it - so I went to have a look at why he would do so, and it was not at all any effort to do so. But yes, this thing has certainly run its course.

                                                                                                                                                          "My article" - not at all: it's an article in the public domain, for those who wish to read it and reflect upon it without dismissing it out of hand.

                                                                                                                                                          In any case I agree it is doubtful much else can be said about this, especially as a lot of it appears to be folks talking past each other.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                            I'm sorry if you feel I disparaged you or mid-Manhattanites. That was not my intention. I was reacting to the article, not anything you had said or done. Sorry. That was just my takeaway.

                                                                                                                                                            I do not begrudge you your opinion. You are entitled to it, just as I am mine. It seems our experiences may have been different.

                                                                                                                                                            It's all good. We're all friends here. We all love food. It is what brings these boards together, and I am grateful for it.

                                                                                                                                                            I spend a lot of time at work perusing these boards because all of this interests me ... the recommendations in my hometown, the recipes and suggestions, and the various tangential things I see on this "Not About Food" board.

                                                                                                                                                            This subthread interested me because I go to dinner at fancy dinners with my one friend, occasionally others, and I know of many female friends that do the same. Some of the earlier comments have not been my experience, and I wished to inquire further. I responded initially just to say that the consideration regarding the perception of others fascinated me and wanted to share my experiences.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                          huiray, yes I am based in Pittsburgh, PA. I love Manhattan and visit the city and the surrounding areas often. When I am in NYC on business, which is once every few months or so, I exclusively stay in midtown Manhattan. Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything wrong with Manhattan or its' denizens, but I have my perception of them, just as they, I'm sure they have their perception of me. I love Manhattan and even looked at getting a place there, but 1.) if I stay there for long enough a continuous amount of time I would end up killing myself ... not by suicide, but by lack of sleep and way too much food, drink and other entertainments, and 2.) the cost probably doesn't justify the benefit. My opinion of a general population (and often I generalize too much) does not reflect upon my opinion of any individual. I have met, know and associate with many Manhattanites I like, respect, call friends and do not consider vain or vacuous.

                                                                                                                                                          As for your second question, yes, I have gone to fine dining dinners with other close, straight, male friends. Just not often. With my one friend, it is a regular occurence. Being 30, a lot of these friends are in relationships, recently married, and/or have kids. They are not averse to going to high-end restaurants with just me. They just have to budget a little more carefully than I do. They spend their "splurge" dinners on their girlfriends or SO's.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                                                            And to be clear you are saying that your males friends who will regularly attend high restaurants with you are not guys who "chase food", they are not foodies, or are they?
                                                                                                                                                            I'm in my early 40s and I think I know where you are coming from. I had a wonderful time discovering food in college primarily with three good male friends. We'd eat lots of "ethnic" food: Indian, Thai, Korean, Burmese, and we'd even get to some higher end places. We discovered wonderful wine and craft beer too; and record labels like 4AD, ECM, Rough Trade. We maintained this interest of our's as a group through much of our twenties but over time its ended due to circumstances that you mentioned above. I don't see them much anymore.
                                                                                                                                                            Right now I have one guy friend whom I consider a foodie and we have lunch once a week and occassionally have dinner together in nice places; sometimes with our wives. All my other good guy friends today unfortunately just don't share my curiosity for food. And they would not understand going to a restaurant and dropping 100+ dollars while staring across the table at ME. They wouldn't get it.

                                                                                                                                                            The world isn't college. If only it could be;]

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                              Oh, Chinon00, I absolutely sympathize with your last statement. The world isn't college. I wish it were. Or highschool, or elementary school. Every step up the ladder, in my experience, has been more difficult. At the same point in time, every step up the ladder has introduced me to new and wonderful foods. You gotta take the good with the bad, I guess.

                                                                                                                                                              My genesis as a "foodie" really began in college, I guess. A girlfriend from Colombia loved Indian food, which I did not have any experience with. Her and I regularly went to an Indian restaurant near campus. It wasn't anything special, but it introduced me to a cuisine that I now frequently enjoy. The same could be said for my one male friend (he was straight, for those listening, btw). Somehow, he found this hole-in-the-wall middle eastern place, and we would regularly go there. Again, this was not a cuisine I was exposed to previously. I still remember fondly the meat pies and schwarma he introduced me to. Hell, I can't even remember this guy's name, but I remember the food he introduced to me. Korean was another one. Some of my friends were Korean, and most of them lived together or close by. We didn't have any good Korean restaurants near my campus, so they cooked good, authentic Korean food one a regular basis. I spent a lot of time in their apartment eating, hanging out and playing video games.

                                                                                                                                                              As for your "chase food" comment, I'm not totally sure I know what you're referring to. I don't recall using it or seeing it in the previous posts. Nevertheless, I kind of have an inkling as to what you mean. I only have one male friend that regularly attends high-end restaurants with me. There are a couple others that will go out with me to such places once or twice a year. The one that does regularly go with me is absolutely a "foodie." We discuss where we'll go and peruse menus weeks in advance of our outing. Then, we will pass on our recommendations and experiences to our other friends, who aren't necessarily "foodies," in that they don't "chase food," but appreciate good food and have adventurous palates, nonetheless. These other friends will then take their wives or SO's to the places we rave about. Like you say, they just don't share my curiosity, and they are loathe to drop $100 on a meal just to "stare at me" for 3 hours. They may even be "forbidden" or otherwise catch scorn from their SO's for engaging in such extravagent behavior without them. They'll go to such dinners with me, just not that often, and only if the destination has been previously vetted by me and others. A $30 - $50 bar/gambling/entertainment bill every other week or so is much more palatable/understandable for them and their families.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                                                                College provided much greater access to like-minded people whose tastes weren't mainstream. Once you get into "the world" those opportunities plummet (or they have for me).
                                                                                                                                                                By "chase food" I mean making it a priority to eat at this taco truck, or that Jewish deli, or the new restaurant downtown with an esteemed young chef.

                                                                                                                                    3. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                      I absolutely agree that it's probably easier this way around. I am very fortunate to have a few close friends who really enjoy good food, so I'm able to satisfy my inner food lover pretty easily. I do wish my husband enjoyed nicer restaurants and home-cooked meals, but there are many other things that we enjoy together, so I'll live!

                                                                                                                                  2. Nope, I don't think I can live with someone who is very picky about food. That will annoy me as heck. Luckly, my husband is more adventurous than I am so we are a perfect couple.

                                                                                                                                    I have a brother in law in LA who is pickier than anyone I've met or known. He doesn't eat red meat or pork..he doesn't eat chicken or turkey if it looks like chicken or turkey. THey have to look like 'food' like in cold cut form. So he wouldn't eat roasted chicken or no thankgiving turkey for him. He is very particular about the shape and condition of food..and he is very suspicious of other people's food. I once made him some chocolate chip cookies and he was looking for the perfect shape and he made sure nobody touched his side of plate. He would obviously never eat anything even if son had touched. What a big big turnoff...I don't know how my sis in law deals with that...yet this guy is 6' 7''....very very strange...

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                      If I was related to this guy I think I would instigate an intervention to send him to counseling!

                                                                                                                                    2. Having a picky eater would not be a deal breaker for me. I have a really amazing husband and if that were his only "flaw" it still wouldn't matter because his positive traits more than make up for something so minor. As it is, he is the most adventurous eater I've ever encountered and likes quite literally everything... including my cooking, which makes him almost perfect. :-)

                                                                                                                                      1. I cook regularly for large groups of my friends. My 'inner circle' has a celiac, a lactose-intolerant, a vegetarian that only actually likes limited vegetables, a vegan, a guy that struggles to digest onions (not made up, I've seen the side effects) and on top of that, their various dislikes (fennel, mushrooms, warm fruit, oily fish, chicken with bones in it, chicken without bones, rare meat, overcooked meat...the list goes on) and I do my best at all times to create something delicious that they will all firstly be able to eat and also enjoy. Sometimes it's a fun challenge, sometimes it's a pain in the butt - especially if you think of a menu for one combination of the group, then all of a sudden you get one of the others added in.

                                                                                                                                        Recently, a friend of mine was coming over for dinner and asked if he could bring his new girlfriend to meet me. I said sure, just ask what her dietary restrictions are. He came back with "she said she eats anything she doesn't have to cook for herself". I told him that he better treat her right or I'd date her myself.

                                                                                                                                        1. I would find it a huge turn-off.

                                                                                                                                          1. It would be pretty difficult to deal with a very picky partner. My boyfriend is not as adventurous as I am, but isn't particularly picky. I can deal with only having onions on my half of the pizza, but I'd have a harder time with some of the stranger picky food behaviors like only eating boneless meat.

                                                                                                                                            But, when I think about it, chowhounds are also pretty picky, just in a different way. My friends don't understand why I eat at home before meeting up with them at fast-casual places like Chilis (why waste money on the crispy sizzle extravaganza platter when the only thing you really want there is a margarita and the company of your friends?). During every family vacation I've ever been on, I've gotten into an argument about not wanting to eat at McDonalds (Yes mom, I know I can get a salad there, but when I said I wanted to eat at a place with vegetables on the menu that wasn't what I had in mind). Budget minded friends balk when I mention the organic vegetable box I get weekly ("Don't you know you can save money by getting it frozen at Aldi?").

                                                                                                                                            When food is a priority, many of us will be picky, it's just that we might pick mussels with frites and truffle aioli and a nice craft beer over microwaved pizza rolls and a Miller. We might not want to try the casserole made with a bunch of canned soups. Other people who don't have the same priorities might think this makes us pretty darn picky! I'd be happy to settle down with a picky partner that was picky in the same exact way as me.

                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: caseyjo

                                                                                                                                              casey jo: "I can deal with only having onions on my half of the pizza"

                                                                                                                                              See, now I would consider someone who has to eat (presumably raw) onions on pizza picky.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                Nah, they're caramelized :-)

                                                                                                                                                Of course, I don't have to have them, but sometimes we get one of the specials that's supposed to have onions. Onions as a feature item are pretty much the only thing he doesn't eat, so the best example I can come up with is onion pizza (or onion tart, or baked onions).

                                                                                                                                                Now I'm curious about raw onions on pizza. Onions are pretty common on Chicago style pizza, but they're always cooked!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: caseyjo

                                                                                                                                                  My favorite pizza toppings are fresh shrooms, green peppers & red onions. Neither of these toppings are cooked before they go in the pizza oven.


                                                                                                                                            2. #1. I am the picky eater. No cheese, no fish, no eggs. I eat one (1) vegetable of each color. If cows and pigs became extint, I would starve in two weeks.
                                                                                                                                              #2 Wife would eat anything. I mean anything. Like travel channel stuff...........

                                                                                                                                              I travel extensively, so she cooks anything she wants while I am gone and works with me when I am home. When we go out, my theory is that I can find something on the menu at any place we go to, so its not a big issue. Occasionally, I will go out with friends to eat things that she wont (mostly BBQ).

                                                                                                                                              We've been married 30 years in May

                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: tanker64

                                                                                                                                                " I eat one (1) vegetable of each color."


                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                  Green= Green Beans

                                                                                                                                                  Green= Summer Squash (grilled)

                                                                                                                                                  Yellow=Squash (usually grilled)

                                                                                                                                                  Yellow= Corn (yeah, I know its not a veg..)

                                                                                                                                                  Red= Beets (pickled or roasted)

                                                                                                                                                  Orange= Carrots


                                                                                                                                                2. re: tanker64

                                                                                                                                                  What do you have against cheese, fish and eggs??? I don't think I could live on without enjoying fine French cheeses, pan sautéed brook trout, or Huevos Rancheros.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MaxSeven

                                                                                                                                                    Totally agree. Absolute deal breaker. I'd rather change my sex orientation than to be stuck with a partner who eats this way.

                                                                                                                                                3. I love adventurous food. When DH and I met, he thrived soley on fast food hamburgers, pizza, Taco Bell and the like. However, in his defense, I don't think he ever experienced the world of food until we got together. Now he is more adventurous than me! Love Fois, duck, sushi, etc and I guarentee he wouldn't have even looked at it 10 years ago..

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. My wife is not picky at all and neither am I. I like everything and will eat most anything; Same for my wife. I absolutely would not be able to get along with a picky eater. That would bother me to no end and I would be constantly interrogating the afflicted as to why they don't like a particular food. I have a few acquaintances that suffer from self-imposed food aversion disorder (that's what I call a picky eater), and when asked why they don't like something, their answers are always completely nebulous. Usually something along the lines of 'I just don't like it.' or 'it's gross' or 'I don't like the texture'. All incidentals, no legitimate reasons. I don't want to seem insensitive, but if you are a picky eater, you must do everything in your power to change that. There is simply no reason to avoid good food. If you become nauseous, gag, vomit -- so what, this is not going to hurt you. Keep trying the food until that goes away - and it will eventually.

                                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MaxSeven

                                                                                                                                                      I like everything and will eat most anything

                                                                                                                                                      So what won't you eat and why?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                                        Like I said, I'll eat (or try) anything as long as it isn't poisonous or life-threatening. If you are getting at foods like live tree grubs, insects, rats, and other things that one would normally only eat in a survival situation or if you are a member of some ancient tribe in the Amazon jungle, then yes, I probably would not eat these kinds of foods if I didn't have to. The reason being, I consider these to possibly be toxic and unsafe, risking disease, parasitic infection, and a whole bunch of other nasties. Any food that are spoiled, rotten, decomposing, or contaminated obviously make the list too.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: MaxSeven

                                                                                                                                                        Maybe you're being facetious about repeatedly eating items you don't care for until you vomit... but if not, what would be the point? There are so many things to eat in this world that it's a waste of time and money to consume things that make me nauseated. I also don't feel the need to explain/defend my food choices to friends. We're together to enjoy each other's company, not run through an exhaustive list of why I don't like yellow mustard.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                          When you say you don't like yellow mustard, you are are really saying that you don't like ground mustard seeds, water, salt, lemon juice, mayonnaise. All I say is that it is difficult to enjoy each other's company if there are food barriers, causing tension, and possibly resentment. For example, if one's spouse spent hours making a beautiful Beef Bourguignon, and after being presented at the dining table, the picky eater starts analyzing the solid matter in the sauce (i.e. picking through every little chunk and making sure it isn't an onion or carrot or something), or perhaps the picky eater simply decides that they won't even try it and eats a plain hotdog instead. One can see how this can escalate into conflict and emotional pain. Also if one has company over, and the picky-eater cannot eat what everyone else is eating, and instead they eat something from their 'special' menu.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MaxSeven

                                                                                                                                                            No, when I say I don't like yellow mustard, all that it means is that I don't like yellow mustard. Most foods are a combination of others- I don't care for that particular combination and I'm not going to eat it repeatedly to satisfy someone else's idea of what is tasty. As for the rest of your statement, I agree. Someone who calls that much attention to their personal tastes diverts the entire point of getting together with friends and family. Just as I'm not interested in hearing about other's demands, I'm not going to field a discussion on items I don't care to eat.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                            I don't think that MaxSeven meant you but people with severe pickiness. I have a friend who can only eat chicken, turkey and vegetables. I made a Caesar salad once which she refused to eat because I stupidly told her that yes the dressing has chopped anchovies in it. Those kinda people need to suck it up and stop being pains in the asses.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                              These are people who let the IDEA of things overtake reality.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                I don't see myself even enduring a first date with such a person, let alone a relationship or, gulp, marriage !

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: MaxSeven

                                                                                                                                                              As I do not like to take food for granted, I can understand where you are coming from. However, I simply do not see the point of forcing myself to eat something I despise (such as cheese) until I vomit. As long as someone tries to genuinely be as open minded as they can, they should be allowed some quirks... Afterall, that's what makes us all different and interesting.

                                                                                                                                                            3. My wife was somewhat picky when we got married. Now, 20 years later she eats just about everything.

                                                                                                                                                              1. It is possible to live with someone who is a picky eater, but it's not easy. My husband and I have been married for more than 30 years, but his long list of food limitations has been a perpetual pebble in my shoe for the entire time.

                                                                                                                                                                He won't eat lamb or any meat or poultry with bones. He insists that I cook his meat "well-done" and then complains that it is tough and tasteless. He won't eat dark meat poultry. He also won't eat shrimp, crabs, mussels, lobster or any other shellfish. He'll tolerate large meaty fish like halibut or swordfish, but all other fish, including salmon, is off the menu.

                                                                                                                                                                He's more receptive to vegetables, though there can be no mushrooms, beets or herbs on his plate.

                                                                                                                                                                It's a continuing struggle to come up with menus that we will both like. I've pretty much given up. If I am going to cook steak for myself, for instance, I'll grill a burger until it is charred beyond recognition for him. He then drowns it in ketchup and declares it to be great.

                                                                                                                                                                Beyond the issue of having to cook partially separate menus, what has been more difficult to cope with, for me, anyhow, is that we can never share the experience of enjoying something spectacular. For instance, we went to a restaurant on the coast north of San Francisco when dungeness crabs were in season, and it was a painfully lonely experience to enjoy a sweet fresh crab while he bolted down a hot dog.

                                                                                                                                                                We usually don't get do-overs in life, but if I got to do it all over again, I would give much more consideration to what his six-year-old tastes might mean for me.

                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bitchincook

                                                                                                                                                                  Lord please tell me that he can drink at least

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bitchincook

                                                                                                                                                                    I don't know how you put up with that. The limitations of his palette are grounds for divorce. I would not cook anything for him if I was you. Good luck.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. When hubby and I first were dating...still in that wobbly, star-gazing haze...I suggested sushi, he said (with a 'yucky' face), "that's raw fish!" I blurted, "I could never date someone who didn't eat sushi!" He volunteered to try it, and it has become one of his favorites.

                                                                                                                                                                      He's still pretty picky, especially about textures...if I'd known three weeks into the relationship that we'd be together for 21 years (and counting), I might have laid down the law for a few other foods early on. But, hey, I'm a pescatarian with a kosher kitchen, and he's cool with that. So, if the person is worth it, the compromise is worth it.

                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lrhr

                                                                                                                                                                        I suppose if you love someone you are accommodating and tolerant - but, the person in the marriage or relationship with the food issues should at least be willing to try, and try again, and again. I never understood the texture aversion problem with some people - it just doesn't make any sense at all.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MaxSeven

                                                                                                                                                                          I don't get the texture thing, either. I would think it has more of a psychological basis than a tastebud one.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                            Yes agreed. I think perhaps those that suffer from this are associating the texture with some other 'imagined' substance that is disgusting to them. For example, associating the actual and visually perceived texture of Mayonnaise with puss. Or perhaps associating the look and texture of fruit yogurt with vomit. The illusion is so strong to them, that it causes nausea and disgust.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MaxSeven

                                                                                                                                                                              To a certain extent I have to disagree - I don't like the texture of Cream of Wheat (nor the taste) or grits or polenta, but neither remind me of anything. Just don't like the taste nor texture. I've tried both several times & simply don't care for them....

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: MaxSeven

                                                                                                                                                                            It is odd - the thing regarding texture for some folks... Yet with broader categories like "traditional Chinese" cuisine it seems, from what one reads, that the most common revulsion of *many* folks (in the US, at least) is the texture of various ingredients...

                                                                                                                                                                        2. My DH is picky-ish. Except seafood, he has the palate of your average American 8 year old. He will eat anything fried and most anything I cook, but it is clear what he would prefer I make and don't:

                                                                                                                                                                          Beef- Filet Mignon, ground beef in a multitude of incarnations, very occasionally roast beef(but not prime rib)- all cooked rare or mid-rare. No other cuts are desired. He is fat- phobic (on meat, mine is ok with him!), so makes ridiculously exaggerated cuts to avoid eating any, and has a pronounced dislike for any kind of braised meat.

                                                                                                                                                                          chicken- wings,fried nuggets or tenders, unless it's on a salad, when grilled breast is ok.

                                                                                                                                                                          pork- bacon, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, lather, rinse, repeat, the occasional chop or tenderloin- for someone so averse to fat, he sure does love bacon

                                                                                                                                                                          lamb- no thanks- will eat roasted leg or broiled chops it if I make them, but not thrilled about it

                                                                                                                                                                          seafood- there is a God! he will eat just about any kind of seafood, prepared in almost any way, including raw

                                                                                                                                                                          Starches- fries are an acceptable side dish with any meal in his world with a dinner substitution of some type of pseudo-pasta side dish or his beloved rice-a-roni acceptable. Yes, he will eat the mashed or roasted potatoes, risottos and pilafs I make, but the effort is almost wasted on him most of the time,

                                                                                                                                                                          Veg- salad, asparagus, broccoli, spinach( It is VERY annoying to order Chinese food with him, as he will not eat any of the veg)

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm working on him, and making progress. I have gotten him to eat and enjoy broccolini, cauliflower and brussels sprouts in the past year- the sprouts were helped in no small way by the addition of pancetta, but still. I have pretty much given up on getting him to like green beans, peas, carrots and Chinese food vegetables. Some things he just thinks he doesn't like because he didn't have them prepared well before, like veal and pork chops, which he still doesn't think to ask for, but raves when I make them.

                                                                                                                                                                          We have been together more than 20 years, so we're figuring it out

                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JenJeninCT

                                                                                                                                                                            What you describe sounds like a texture problem, no?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MaxSeven

                                                                                                                                                                              Well, he does have some texture issues as well- hates custards, cream pies, etc, but loves soft scrambled eggs/omelets.

                                                                                                                                                                              Rice-a- roni or fried rice is ok, but rice pilaf or risotto or even plain white rice isn't?

                                                                                                                                                                              And he will eat pretty much any raw seafood- oysters, sushi, ceviche, so if those textures aren't a problem, I can't imagine that it is ALL a texture thing

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JenJeninCT

                                                                                                                                                                                Yes maybe it is what Parigi describes further down in this thread about not being in one's mental taste/texture database. If it hasn't been recorded, then it is a new frontier, which could cause apprehension and anxiety. Although, I do notice some texture similarities in the disliked foods: fat trimmings, cuts of meat for braising, cooked vegetables, risotto, pilaf, custard, cream pies - anything that could impart the texture sensation of what is similar to puss, slime, greasy paste, mucus etc. probably invokes unpleasant mental images.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MaxSeven

                                                                                                                                                                                  "not being in one's mental taste/texture database. If it hasn't been recorded, then it is a new frontier, which could cause apprehension and anxiety."

                                                                                                                                                                                  Or the opposite.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Some people are energized, seduced, by the unknown. The Cantonese in me invariably equates weird with delicious. But I do admit that sometimes, not most of the time, weird can be … just weird.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. My GF is moderately picky. She likes that I am adventurous because she knows she should stretch her tastes. Because she's in culinary school.

                                                                                                                                                                            So this is funny. She got a gift basket full of Italian gourmet treats. She said I would probably enjoy the items in the basket much more than she would. She doesn't like nuts, so all of the cookies and cakes are right out. So she gave me the contents of the basket, including Balsamic Vinegar from Modena, pesto sauce, and artichoke dip.

                                                                                                                                                                            I'm thinking of making her a gift basket in return, something including oreos, hershey's minis, and cherrywine.

                                                                                                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                                              Which cuisines or food items does this culinary student enjoy?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                                More importantly, what kind of, uh, highly focused culinary creations does she make? Energy bars? :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                                                                                                  She's a baker. Incredible pound cakes, chocolate chip cookies, and non-elaborate layered cakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                  She enjoys churrasqueira, Venezuelan, Cuban, Brazilian, and soul food. She enjoys simple foods. I took her to Trader Joe's and while I picked up the Rosemary Raisin crisps, she picked up the whoopie pies.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                                                      "She enjoys simple foods."

                                                                                                                                                                                      Italian food is as simple as it gets. Grilled fishes and meats, pasta in pesto sauce..

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                                        "She enjoys simple foods."

                                                                                                                                                                                        A lot of people who allege that don't really.
                                                                                                                                                                                        I suspect some people are scared about tasting a taste they have not had before, and others don't.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Once a French friend asked me to "help" him like Chinese food. He had the prescience to realize that it was the surprise factor - of expectubg a certain taste when he looked at a dish, and actually getting a different tatse in reality when he proverbially took the bite - that stumped him.
                                                                                                                                                                                        So before he bit into a dish, I told him what was in it and how it was seasoned and what he was going to get. And he loved the meal !
                                                                                                                                                                                        He later said that the aigre-doux note in particular was what freaked him out in the past.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Texture is just part of the surprise factor. No texture issue on earth explains the case upthread where a poser's spouse liked rice-aroni and not pilaf or risotto. Pilaf has texture. Risotto has texture. Rice-aroni - just typing the word humiliates me - doesn't.
                                                                                                                                                                                        So it may be more about what's already in one's taste database and what isn't after all.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree about the database concept - good insight. The texture problem with the Rice-a-Roni (the San Francisco Treat!) vs Risotto, is that Risotto, being made with Arborio rice, which is very starchy and creamy - could give rise to the aversion of mucus-like textures. RIce Pilaf is sometimes used as a substitute for Risotto and can have a similar texture in the bindings. Rice-a-Roni is precooked (instant), which makes it firm, fluffy and dry.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MaxSeven

                                                                                                                                                                                            It may be as simple as the fact that Rice-a-Roni comes pre-salted.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't think that's it. I think he's just weird! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The city government of San Francisco should sue Rice-aroni's ass off for zillions of dollars for defamation.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Last week my SIL showed up unexpected at lunch time. I found out then, totally by accident, that a lot of my DH's food phobias are familial. Their Mother must have really botched some meals in their childhood. Let's just say that both have problems with textures as well as with things green.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Some of the picky eaters here, though, have given me pause. I am probably older than a lot of folks here, and my digestive tract has changed through time. As has DH's. Some of the hyper-restrictive diets are probably going to be disasters when the picky ones hit sixty or thereabouts. For the loved ones of the picky ones, you're going to have to work at getting fiber into their diets whether they know it or not and whether they appreciate it or not. It's a gradual change, but it can be done. (I know, I've done it to DH and he only partly realizes the gradual changes that have been made.)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. My fiancé's diet consists of baked potatoes, onions, white and boxed "Mexican" rice, egg whites from a carton, canned peas, canned corn, canned tuna, coffee, and processed cheese slices.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Everything must be fat free. The diet is made worse by the fact that he will choose two or three of these things and eat only those for almost a month. He also will not eat anything he hasn't prepared himself, which means no restaurants.
                                                                                                                                                                                    His eating habits are an example of extreme pickiness and are causing health problems.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I love him to death and we often joke about the things I eat. I love chicken livers, scrapple, kale and red cabbage soaked in vinegar, anything spicy, lemons, squid, paprykarz szczeciński, and a very large variety of fruits and vegetables. I think the only food I can't stand is sauerkraut!
                                                                                                                                                                                    Thankfully he will occasionally taste small amounts of the more "normal" foods that I cook, such as pizza.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Ha, funny thing is, he graduated culinary school. Unfortunately, it is hard to succeed as a chef when you refuse to taste anything you prepare.

                                                                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GreenMind

                                                                                                                                                                                      So, considering he graduated from culinary school, what is the reasoning behind his picky eating behavior? Can he express his limitations?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                          I mostly wonder about the fiancé part…

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: MaxSeven

                                                                                                                                                                                          I know that he has an aversion to some tastes/smells/textures and it seems to affect him more often than other people. Much of it might also be mental(he has many family members with diabetes and is afraid of eating certain foods because of it).

                                                                                                                                                                                          He is only in his early 20s and is slowly opening up to more foods. And although he doesn't eat at restaurants he is more than happy to join me if I want to go out.

                                                                                                                                                                                          He also voluntarily cooks most of my meals for me. We both enjoy standing at the stove together while I adjust the seasoning to my taste and he teaches me various cooking techniques. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: GreenMind

                                                                                                                                                                                            I find it remarkable that one can graduate from culinary school with the picky eating issues you describe?

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                              I find it remarkable such a person would *go* to culinary school in the first place. What was the motivation there? Surely not a well-paying, cushy job...

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                                                                does anyone go to culinary school for a well-paying, cushy job?
                                                                                                                                                                                                Joke would be on them...

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I wouldn't call DH picky per-say, but he is stubborn. He states he doesn't like certain things, but then eats them anyway. I have no idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. It would be a deal-breaker for me. Sure, I have my personal preferences and dislikes in food but I rarely would refuse to eat stuff that I would not normally choose for myself if i were served it or presented with it at a dinner etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I guess picky eater is a subjective term.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I do the cooking in my house for my husband and myself.
                                                                                                                                                                                            There are many foods he won't eat. Largely for what he feels are health reasons.
                                                                                                                                                                                            He chooses what I feel is a rather restrictive diet.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Just once in the last 12 years was I able to cook ground beef for him and he ate it.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Once every 3 or 4 years he will have a piece of birthday cake if it's MY birthday.
                                                                                                                                                                                            How sweet is that?!
                                                                                                                                                                                            So yes, definitely he's a keeper and his food choices and prejudices are just not a deal breaker.

                                                                                                                                                                                            And there are many foods which I will not eat as well.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Just because I do not like them. So why would I?

                                                                                                                                                                                            Sure I would like to be with someone who shares my love of food.
                                                                                                                                                                                            I would like to cook the same meal for both of us more than once a week.
                                                                                                                                                                                            But whether I ever have that or not the fact remains that I have a wonderful man to share my life with. And that is worth more than all the comfort food in the world.

                                                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sparklebright

                                                                                                                                                                                              Is dining out an activity that you enjoy frequently?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                                                Not really.
                                                                                                                                                                                                We haven't eaten out more than a dozen times since the smoking ban.
                                                                                                                                                                                                We do take out pretty much every Saturday though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sparklebright

                                                                                                                                                                                                  sparklebright, are you saying that your husband won't eat a lot of foods due to heath reasons, yet he smokes?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sparklebright

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah I've found that this issue becomes more profound if going out to eat is an activity that you enjoy. I mean you can always make something at home on the side for yourself or SO to have if he or she is picky. But when going out the question arises from the picky spouse: "will they have anything there that I can eat?" And if the answer tends to be "no" then one or both can become frustrated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                                                      We used to go out once a week and I don't recall that it was a problem.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Restaurants, at least those we went to, we're very good at offering multiple choices.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Even more so now, sometimes offering even gluten free in addition to vegan and vegetarian.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      And the standardized low cholesterol diet seems to be just as present as the deep fried comfort foods on the same menus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      We each like what we like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sparklebright

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry, I failed to read your quote: "there are many foods which I will not eat as well." So essentially you and your SO are both picky eaters.