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Those you know who actually only "eat to live"? [from General Topics]

So I think most people know at least one person like this... the kind of person who just eats to live, vs. lives to eat. I'm not saying people here live to eat but I mean you are interested in food, eating, cooking, etc. I don't think I have ever just not thought about it, yet I do see people who just seem to think nothing of food and their weight and eating habits never change, etc.
Are any of you like this? Do you know someone like this who you know well (like bast friend, family, etc).? What are their eating habits like? A lot of people I know and a lot of people in the world DO talk about food, not too much, but just things like "I reeeally want a steak" or "I'm so full but that was so good" or "No I don't want dessert because I'm trying to be good" So just when I see people eat a lot of forget to eat and just never mention it, I wonder, "Do they really never think about it or do they just not say anything?" Plus their weight stays the same even if I see them eat out all the time and eat candy bars or lots of pizza which are very calorie dense!

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  1. i have a relative who has only eaten cold cereal for 16+ years, she doesn't want to cook for herself. my brother lived with a nasa engineer who subsisted mainly on eggs-in-a-carton. the act of eating is a troubling necessity for many folks in various stages of recovery from eating disorders, as well. i think i'm responding to the title of your post, and maybe not to what you're actually asking about-- now that i'm re-reading. . .

    1. I have one friend like this. If food came in daily capsule form with all necessary nutrients he would be first in line to try it. He is an exercise fanatic so food to him is just calories in vs calories out, am I getting enough protein, etc. I can't help but think there is something fundamentally fucked up about that mentality but in his defense he is in inhumanly good shape.

      I must say, I have only ever met people like this in the USA. In Asia, Africa, and Europe everyone I meet has at least little bit of interest in food, or some national pride in their home cuisine. I never meet people from outside the USA for whom eating is a chore and who have no food interest whatsoever.

      8 Replies
      1. re: RealMenJulienne

        I'm pretty sure people like this exist everywhere. I personally know a couple Koreans who are like this, anyway.

        1. re: RealMenJulienne

          I know it sounds bad, but I would love it if there were a pill that made you feel full and nourished. I love to eat good food, but since I'm not a cook at all (I bake though) and don't particularly like cooking or putting food together, it *is* a chore for me to think of the ways to make myself feel full and nourished at home. Especially since most of what I would eat at home aren't very good, so I feel like they're waste of calories. It probably doesn't make a lot of sense!

          1. re: uwsister

            maybe instead of a magic pill, you could take cooking classes so the food that you prepare tastes better? i personally feel like cooking is only satisfying when the results are good!

            1. re: uwsister

              There is nothing like having to cook to force you to learn to cook. If you are not in a position where others depend on you to cook, then I like the suggestion from jamieeats. I believe that cooking is a life skill that will serve you well throughout your life.

              One of the sorrows of seeing my mother become addled with dementia was seeing how she lost her skill in the kitchen. She was never a happy and insightful cook, really. If she had enjoyed her time and had kept her skills up, she might have held onto them longer.

              And the time to learn is now. It is always now, the present. Take some lessons, or learn how to do a certain sort of cooking. If you can bake, you can cook other stuff. And being competent in the kitchen will never be a disability, ever.

              1. re: sueatmo

                Maybe someday - but since I don't *like* to cook, I don't really see that happening soon, unfortunately. My husband likes to cook occasionally though, so thanks for that and my "staples" (fruits, string cheese, boiled eggs, etc.) to keep me alive and going between eating out.

            2. re: RealMenJulienne

              Maybe I'm wrong, but I think that in the US as we became a "melting pot" we lost the pull that most other cultures have around the dining table.

              1. re: Barbara76137

                Perhaps, but my friends and I use the melting pot-ness of our cultures to bring us together more often at the table. This was a good weekend of eating - Nepalese Goat curry dinner on Friday, followed by Korean tabletop BBQ on Saturday, and today we're having Ham for Easter Sunday!

              2. re: RealMenJulienne

                There's quite a few Germans, Brits, Scandinavians and other North Europeans as well as Australians who have similar attitudes toward food.

              3. My best friend from college always thought eating was a chore. He wasn't a picky eater, just hated that he had to eat regularly. If there was a way for him to never eat again, he would jump on it.

                2 Replies
                1. re: dynastar

                  I have a friend like that. Needs to be reminded to eat. Likes to eat when reminded to, and is appreciative. I don't mind feeding him.

                  I have a friend whose husband will only eat fish sticks, baked potatoes, plain chicken breast. Blames it on his mother. Says she use to put medicine in his food. Apparently she didn't dose dessert because there isn't a dessert he won't eat. I told him to get over it. Nobody's trying to slip him a mickey. Except maybe his wife.

                  My daughter-in-law's food groups are brown, gray, white, and fried. Won't eat foods that have "too many colors". She knows how to get to Hardees from our house.

                  1. re: dynastar

                    My dad is somewhat like this. If he could eat only on special occasions, it would make his life. I mean, he likes good food and as a family we celebrate special occasions with a special meal, but day to day? He barely notices if he's eaten or not.

                  2. I think some of us have better olfactory and taste sensitivity and so we actually like eating. Mr. Sueatmo like quantity of food and sweet tastes. He admits he doesn't have the sensitive taste that I seem to have. For one thing, he doesn't detect over salting. He does however like to eat.

                    No one in my family or acquaintance "eats to live" only. But I have heard of this from others. Apparently, a person like this doesn't eat, because he/she can't be bothered to cook. When food presents itself, he/she might "tank up" but make no effort to feed him/herself normally. The fact that someone can't be bothered to cook probably means that he or she doesn't feel hunger normally.

                    And of course, we all know of people who don't gain weight no matter what they eat. Would that I fell into this category!

                    There are probably a range of factors that make up an "eat to live" person.

                    1. When I was recovering from surgery, Mr. Pine Time made over-cooked scrambled eggs 3x/day for 2 weeks, and he didn't understand why that wasn't acceptable. Needless to say, I hobbled into the kitchen with a walker and hung onto the countertops to get back to real food.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: pine time

                        LOL Mr. Huntress gave me one takeaway meal a day post knee surgery. He struggled to understand why I was so hungry and upset every night when he came home from work. As soon as I could manage on crutches better I was straight back in the kitchen - now that I'm only on one crutch it's much easier to manage. I never want to eat takeaway ever again.

                        1. re: TheHuntress

                          I used to like scrambled eggs, but it's nearly a year since my knee replacement, and I don't think I've had one since the Mr.'s ill-fated cooking of them!

                            1. re: hill food

                              Thought of this thread yesterday, so I made properly soft-cooked scrambled eggs yesterday for breakfast (even Mr. P.T. thought they were good). Yum.

                      2. No, but I am sure they exist. Talking about food, thinking about food, cooking food, and eating food are so central to my existance (tho not related to my day job) that I would probably repel a person who ate only to live.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: tcamp

                          I don't know even one down here where food and food festivals rule. A great percentage of the population regularly travels to nearby New Orleans and other such places for even more delicious food. A few people I know watch their calories during the week so they can eat what they want on the weekends.

                          1. re: tcamp

                            I've recently discovered a bunch of "closet foodies". One of the guys who works for me would never consider himself a "foodie", but he is always discovering new foods and restaurants. Heck, he now LIVES above a restaurant! The guy I'm dating travels a lot, and his biggest concern is where he's going to eat when he's out of town, and if he'll be "out voted" by his fellow diners for something boring. Earlier tonight he was lamenting the poor choices of either Applebees or Cracker Barrel.

                            I can't stand people who only eat to live. I'm a runner and always think about the "proper fuel" I'm putting into my body to be able to run and race. I like to eat healthy but that can include ice cream and other "indulgences" as long as I keep everything in moderation.

                          2. I have a friend whose whole family is like that, used to visit him once in a while and when it came time when normal people eat he'd say "Well, let's get you fed ..." like I was a horse or something, I don't visit him anymore.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: redfish62

                              ROFLOL!!! Not @ you redfish62 but @ the comment.

                            2. My dear mother is like that. She's just not food oriented. She's never been a big eater and often comments that if she didn't have her family to cook for, she wouldn't bother - she would just make herself a sandwich. "How wonderful", she says, "to just make a sandwich and not have to think about what to cook!"

                              Ironically, she is a great cook - there are heaps of things I can think of in the "nothing can beat my Mum's..." category. She really did make an effort for her family when we were growing up, and did it well.

                              Also, I guess after nearly 80 years of cooking most days, at this stage in her life, she might be a little tired of it. At least now she only has Dad to cook for, and we usually get takeaways now rather than have her cook when we have family gatherings at her place.

                              Not to worry, she has plenty of other things to be passionate about - it's just that food and cooking isn't really one of them.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: ursy_ten

                                Okay -- the mention of her age is the only thing that convinced me that you are, indeed, not a long-lost sibling. My mom exactly -- a good cook when she wants to...but it's just not her thing.

                                She was all too happy to hand me the keys to the kitchen when I wanted to spend all my free time there. My dad's mom (who was a stellar and passionate cook -- not a gourmet, but that level of obsession with good ingredients and making everything taste terrific) taught me to cook, and I haven't put down the knives or wooden spoons since.

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  Fancy! My dad's mother was a stellar and passionate cook too!

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    "all too happy to hand me the keys to the kitchen" but what the hell do you do when they've thrown up their hands but don't hand over the keys? cook surreptitious 2 AM meals or go borderline anorexic? (god I need a job and my own damn kitchen)

                                    1. re: hill food

                                      I have no idea. Never happened.

                                      Can you*offer*to cook?

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        oh I have offered and then I get comments like "I think that's just too much trouble" (nobody's asking you to lift a finger) "is it going to be too spicy? (no but it has flavor and besides it's guacamole I KNOW you've had that before) "I don't know how to use it" (it's a freakin' condiment or a dip!) and on and on.

                                        I just leave them to their bland shoe leather and baked potatoes.

                                      2. re: hill food

                                        Hill food my friend John's mom is that way. John and his dad are solid cooks who love food but she is very territorial about her kitchen. She grew up in an era when cooking was considered women's work and really resents cooking on some level. It shows. The crabcakes she buys frozen and fries up are always icy in the center. John has learned to hide the hard icy heart of the crabcake in his napkin and throw it out but worries when his poor dad just eats that part. No one would dare say anything.
                                        Every once in awhile she goes away for a week or two and the "boys" go on a huge stock up trip right away. John's dad cooks wonderful "dude" food every night. I've had some of his chili and it was fine stuff. They are wondering if she is planning any trips this summer. :)

                                        1. re: givemecarbs

                                          I'm guessing those (the age range/gender role issues) play a lot into the equation - the one corner of the house that she gets to control and call her own. I can't in good will ask her to step aside. and I'm careful to put things back in whatever messed-up order they go and cook things within comfort zone. I AM allowed a free hand on the grill and happy to utilize it. otherwise no joy comes out of there except the treats (awesome baked goods, lackluster food/fuel)

                                  2. I was once a purely functional eater. I ate to make the pain go away, as quickly and efficiently as possible. I was too impatient to sit at a luxury restaurant and wait. I'd much rather just grab something quick and get back to my life. I remember working overtime at the factory and then around midnight eating those sandwhiches out of the vending machine.

                                    What changed for me? My young son came home from school and asked for salad. Health education, huh. He demanded salads and veggies.

                                    1. I, like others have a buddy like this, his repeating line is "I only eat because I guess I'm supposed to make a turd once in a while" I don't even attempt to understand that way of thinking.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                        I almost got into fisticuffs with a self-righteous co-worker of Wife #2 at a veggie restaurant in Nashville. She was so proud of her ability to ignore such trivia as taste or texture, and to think only of the nutrients she was consuming, and could not conceal her contempt for anyone who would actually take (Ugh! Shudder!) physical pleasure in the act of ingesting. She did however have a great bod, which as a married person and a gentleman I refrained from mentioning. In retrospect, I'm sorry I DIDN'T say it; it would've been a good surrogate for the slap I was really wishing on her.

                                        I don't know any of those anymore; if I do meet any I'm polite, and that's it.

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          I had a boyfriend who was like that - everything he ate was based on nutrition and was so contemptuous that I enjoyed food and eating. He used to berate me for not looking like a model and that I needed to lose weight. At the time I weighed 52kg (114lb) and I am nearly 5'10" tall. I realised how mean he was and dumped him.

                                          I had to make a conscious decision as to whether I wanted a really good body or to love food. I chose to love food, hell I was made to be a curvy woman and I hold a deep down (and probably terribly wrong) belief that people who don't enjoy food can't be truly happy. And they probably don't enjoy other sensory pleasures in life.

                                          Am I the only one who feels a bit sad for people who don't enjoy food?

                                          1. re: TheHuntress

                                            Good for you...on all counts.

                                            It took me a long time to realize that at 165cm/5'5" and curvy and someone who likes her pasta and good eats, it didn't matter how long I ran on creaky knees or how many hours of aerobics I took, it wasn't ever going to magically make me 180cm/5'10" and willowy.

                                            and yes, I do wonder how anyone can just process nutrients without enjoying it.

                                            1. re: TheHuntress

                                              dang Huntress - 114# and 5-10? sheesh I'm a 5-9 guy at about 155# and I keep getting told how skinny I am, you were right to shove that jerk to the curb.

                                              1. re: hill food

                                                I believe the words "best thing I ever did" escaped my mouth on a few occasions. I wonder what he would think if he saw me now since I have put on a, ahem, few more pounds, but frankly I couldn't care less. The misery of preventing someone from enjoying good food is just horrible - I have no idea what people get out of criticising anothers eating habits. As much as I'd love to get back down to that size frankly I'd rather eat, drink and be merry. Being thin and miserable is not attractive, being curvy and loving it (hopefully) is.

                                                1. re: TheHuntress

                                                  absolutely. and besides I know plenty of guys that while they like to look at the model type, they don't date them.

                                                  "I have no idea what people get out of criticising anothers eating habits"

                                                  a way of not thinking about their own? my mother (who has a bit of a weight issue, nothing major) likes to offer nutritional advice. I once snapped back "I am NOT going to eat by the clock, I'll eat when I'm hungry, because otherwise that sounds like a good way to get FAT don't you think?"

                                        2. I have two friends like that. They really annoy me. One is a recovering alcoholic who was saving all her calories for booze and still never got into eating the good stuff, the other is a teetotaler with the biggest sweet tooth I've ever seen. She's maybe 5'1" and 90 lbs soaking wet. she recently told me that for dinner her mom would make a box of Kraft mac & cheese- ONE box for the FIVE kids. That was dinner. I made broccoli for us once and she didn't know what to do with it- had never seen it before. Seriously!

                                          1. I know many people like that. My brother once ate rice, olive oil plus frozen vegetable out of the cooking pot for a year. A friend's ex--husband, who had been heavy, refused to let her decorate the kitchen because he saw no need for the that room to be nice. The third, and most saddening to me, was my college roommate--a bad cook--who had traveled the world and said she didn't understand why people were "going on about the food all the time." And she lived in Rome for months!!!!

                                            1. I once watched a relative "prepare dinner" by taking a pack of frozen chicken parts directly out of the freezer, plop the frozen brick of parts into a baking dish, pour an entire bottle of BBQ sauce on top of said brick, and then stick it right into the oven.

                                              I am not kidding.

                                              3 Replies
                                                1. re: Isolda

                                                  I don't remember how long the chicken was in the oven, or at what temperature the oven was set, but when we sat down to eat the chicken was cooked. But it was more steamed than baked and there was no crispy skin (obviously). I'm trying to block it out, but this post brought it all back.

                                                  1. re: Philly Ray

                                                    I've recently heard repeatedly about my friend's girlfriend's obcession for good, healthy, nutritious meals. The last time I visited them dinner was a wonderful chicken that my friend grilled, but the sides his girlfriend made were corn out of a can and rice with no seasonings. No salad, nothing green. The chicken was grilled over hardwood and was excellent, but the rest of the meal was pretty boring.

                                              1. Housemate in grad school made 3 different dinners every week and ate them in rotation.

                                                Meal 1 - cook pasta, open can of tomato sauce and dump on top
                                                Meal 2 - heat up baked beans and serve with toast
                                                Meal 3 - cook pre-chopped cabbage until it's beyond limp and boil some sausages

                                                For the 7th night he would go to the pub and eat a big roast dinner. I think the roast dinners are what kept him from keeling over from malnutrition.

                                                12 Replies
                                                1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                  I read once that 25% of the population cannot taste anything. This would explain a whole lot of things!

                                                  1. re: wekick

                                                    That would explain a ton. Poor people.

                                                    1. re: wekick

                                                      single friend (male) who has eaten (while at home) basically the same food for 25 years....granola and yogurt at breakfast, tahini and tomato sandwich at lunch - along with a banana

                                                      Basmati rice and cheese with veggies for dinner. When invited to my place I have to say Buddy - "bring some wine !!, don't forget" he just isn't interested in food -

                                                      Love him dearly, however, I keep wanting to inquire - (as everyone has a vice/passion ) "What are you some kind of sex freak or something - come on... this is just weird...over-eat, gamble, shop, drink! WTH "-- however, I don't think my hubby would appreciate it..

                                                      1. re: caseygirl

                                                        casey: ha! "don't drink don't smoke what do ya do?" </adam ant/malcolm mcclaren>

                                                      2. re: wekick

                                                        I think the 25% are non-tasters of PTC, a bitter chemical that is used in taste tests. This doesn't mean they can't taste anything, only that they require more of a flavor to actually taste it. Such people are more likely to be obese, because they tend to crave fat, since fat carries the flavor molecules better than some other nutrients do.

                                                        1. re: Isolda

                                                          Fat does not make you fat unless it's mixed with refined carbs.

                                                          1. re: MandalayVA

                                                            And that is exactly why I'm doomed!

                                                            1. re: MandalayVA

                                                              Oh, I know that. I am thin and eat lots of fat. But I've noticed that people who don't taste much tend to be fatter, not thinner, than those of us who have sensitive taste buds and my theory is that they are seeking out anything---carbs, protein, whatever--that contains enough fat to give them the flavor molecules they need to actually taste the stuff they're eating.

                                                              1. re: Isolda

                                                                This hasn't been my observation at all. I suspect that there are so many iterations of different metabolisms and taste sensitivities that you should see all sorts of combinations of characteristics. Mr. Sueatmo pretty much eats to live, but does like sweets, and he is not fat. I on the other hand, a person who has tried to eat healthy for her entire adult life, and who does enjoy good food, struggles with her weight.

                                                                Mr. Sueatmo when young didn't particularly care about the quality of the food, but he love having different choices, and approved of quantity of food. He eats differently now, but always had to be fed on schedule, or otherwise he had physical symptoms. Oldest son likes food, like me, but has to eat frequently and in quantity, like dad.

                                                                Humans are all different, y'know?

                                                                1. re: sueatmo

                                                                  Then you get my husband and I - both like food, same height, same weight, same diet and exercise level, only he eats about 1/3-1/2 as much food as I do at each meal.

                                                                  I can eat vegetarian with no problem, he gets tired and grouchy when he doesn't get enough protein.

                                                        2. re: SeoulQueen

                                                          From the sound of the menu, it sounds like it was done for financial reasons.

                                                        3. Yeah, it's hard to understand a lack of passion for eating food. I eat because I love food but I'm also a diehard fitness gal and many of the people I enjoy recreational sports with have a hard time consuming food passionately. They talk about food ALOT but they can't seem to get in the kitchen or get behind a great farmer's market or plan for more than one meal at a clip. I'm an oddball in their eyes. While I think their passion for fitness should be expanded to eating really well. That's how it goes. If you love to eat well it's really hard to understand people who don't.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. I think this is actually quite common. Food is just not entertaining to some people, and there are some who value other aspects of the eating experience over the food itself. My mother doesn't really enjoy thinking or talking about food. She enjoys a good meal, but having that meal in a serene, attractive environment is much more important to her than how the food actually tastes. I would consider her someone who eats to live.

                                                            My son actually admits to not liking to eat, and it shows. At age 14, he's 5'10" tall and weighs about 100 lbs. He will actually feel nauseous from low blood sugar before realizing he needs to eat something. And although he is being raised in a house with three chowhounds, he has a very limited range of foods he will eat.

                                                            And I have a friend who suffered from anorexia as a teenager, and she says that although she has made a sort of peace with food, she will never have a normal relationship with it. Every calorie she puts in her mouth has to be nutritious in some way. This is not the case for people who really love food.

                                                            Finally, I'm sure I'll get flamed for this, but Ithink people with highly restrictive diets, such as veganism, probably eat to live rather than really enjoying food as a source of pleasure and entertainment. I'm not saying they don't enjoy the food they eat, only that I don't see how you can cut out so many different food groups and still really be into food.

                                                            18 Replies
                                                            1. re: Isolda

                                                              My son is the same way and I find it very frustrating. Extremely picky and he will get on a kick with a certain food and eat it so much he will get sick of it and then not touch it again.

                                                              To make matters worse, he has recently decided to stop eating meat for ethical reasons. I can't even imagine what he will eat since he doesn't like vegetables of any kind and won't touch the foods that are common to vegetarians.

                                                              It would really make me crazy if I let it but he is 23 and doesn't live at home so I try to put it out of mind. I just hate it when he calls and I ask him what he had for dinner and he will tell me he hasn't had anything since his morning muffin. He's 6ft and entirely too skinny but I guess it's out my control at this point. Ugh!

                                                              1. re: Isolda

                                                                I was like that when I was young. i was exposed to a strict teacher in grade school and forced to eat. I didn't like it and stopped enjoying food altogether. In Jr High and High School, I'd forget to eat and my teacher would send me to the nurses office and she'd ask what I ate and I'd say nothing. Drove my family crazy and took quite a few years for me to figure out and then be brave enough to tell my parents as I'd kept what happened in the past hidden. I actually do love food now.

                                                                I won't flame you but I know a ton of vegans and not one of them eats to live. In fact, they are all enthusiastic about food, taste, eating and the pleasure it brings. Just thought I'd share that.

                                                                1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                                                  I think the picky eater who decides to not eat is being passive aggressive in a situation where he or she feels the lack of personal power. This is just my opinion, here. Perhaps this is a great generalization. But that is how I perceive this behavior. The person who simply doesn't think to eat is probably a different case.

                                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                                    Funny, I think it's the people who are insulted, controlling and demanding about feeding others that are the passive agreesive ones. Personal power that I cooked for you, now eat it! So, in this debate there is plenty of room for generalizations but oh how much more pleasant it would be if we learned to focus on our own eating and leave other people to focus on theirs. Sometimes I think we all just create way too much drama over lifes simple pleasures.

                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                      Actually I agree with you. We are only responsible for ourselves. I was posting about passive aggression from my own life experience. I remember clearly realizing passive aggression in myself! It was quite a shock. I was young enough to change. But sometimes I think I recognize it in the actions of others. It is not for me to judge, however.

                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                        I was reading your last two posts on this topic and was thinking how easy it really is to judge others and to do the things we do not think others should do. it is a good observation.

                                                                        Sometimes, I see things like the second post (with the young man who was being picky) as possibly just being difficult or even passive aggressive and sometimes I just see it as possibly coming through unclear because the person posting about someone else is doing just that, posting about someone other than themselves. It is hard to tell a story about someone without it being filtered through our own eyes and then we end up putting out own spin on it. (not judging the person who posted about their son, just using you as an example...sorry!)

                                                                        I also have found myself thinking I've come so far and matured so much that I could never be passive aggressive, aggressive or judge another. HAH, and yet it happens, still. It is not fun to recognize it in ones own self, no, I don't like it either!!

                                                                        I also, having had weird food issues and having a mother who had awful food issues in which her father controlled her and her sibling in order to get the control he so wanted, understand that sometimes the person doing the cooking actually is taking a stab at control. My mother and her brother Never got dessert as kids or young adults, not until they left home These were kids who had straight A's, were at the top of their classes, always went to summer school, never had trouble in school, were accepted into Mensa and still were not allowed to have dessert because they needed to do better. So, I fully understand the two issues here and can see that any of these scenarios, amongst others I could not imagine, are possible.

                                                                        In fact, I had a friend who didn't get to eat what she wanted. She wasn't picky, she was just sick of meat and potatoes and just wanted a salad for once. Her parents were truly controlling and were angry when she asked. They wouldn't even let her prepare her own meals! She had salad when she ate at our house.

                                                                        One other thing that is possible, at least one other thing that I can think of, is that the person doing the cooking is doing what is thought best based on what they know. The result of seeing the person doing the eating as picky is based on what they've heard, such as "if your kid won't eat what you've cooked, they are just picky".

                                                                        I dunno, once again I'm rambling....

                                                                        1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                                                          I've known of kids who controlled their parents by refusing to eat. I've heard of teens who suddenly became vegetarians and are proud that their parents could not dissuade them. Stuff like this makes me think that sometimes eating choices become a way of controlling oneself, or others.

                                                                          I am sure that people who cook for others can show passive aggression as well. You give some interesting, and sad, examples.

                                                                          The OP was wanting to discuss people who really don't enjoy food, or who forget to be hungry. I was initially trying to make a distinction between picky eaters and the former, because it seems to me that someone who doesn't care about food would eat almost anything, and then move on to the next thing in his/her life.

                                                                          I appreciated reading your post.

                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                            I appreciate your post as well as everyone weighing in here.

                                                                      2. re: HillJ

                                                                        You are so right and I wish I could put this philosophy into practice when it comes to my son. But as his mom, I get so worried that he's so thin that I just can't help but insist that he take a couple of trial bites.

                                                                        1. re: Isolda

                                                                          My college age son is also thin, not great about trying foods he's uncertain about (especially when it comes to food preparation) raised in a family of tremendous food lovers. I worried too and then one day my "lightbulb moment" came. Now I compliment his eating habits and I never look back. He's naturally thin, he's got his own journey towards food and I'm never going to waste time insisting he eat a certain way/amount ever again.

                                                                  2. re: Isolda

                                                                    'Finally, I'm sure I'll get flamed for this, but Ithink people with highly restrictive diets, such as veganism, probably eat to live rather than really enjoying food as a source of pleasure and entertainment. I'm not saying they don't enjoy the food they eat, only that I don't see how you can cut out so many different food groups and still really be into food.'

                                                                    I think I live a somewhat veg, even vegan diet, but today I drove all the way from Fort Worth to Dallas to Jimmy's for some homemade Italian sausage, yes pork! I will go for months without any "meat".....I haven't eaten beef in a few years, pork in probably months, chicken in weeks, seafood in the past week. Today was totally vegan.

                                                                    I was planning on the homemade sausage & peppers as my birthday dinner on Monday, but now I'm postponing it until next weekend, Now it looks like I'll have lunch at Lonesome Dove in Ft. Worth, then a massage Monday evening, and then fresh strawberries with fabulous balsalmic and cracked pepper for dessert.

                                                                      1. re: Barbara76137

                                                                        But you're not on a restricted diet at all. You eat what you like. I'm also a semi-vegetarian, btu when I see some meat that looks good, I eat it. There is a huge difference between people like you and those who absolutely, inflexibly avoid entire categories of food on principle. And I am in no way saying they're wrong, just that their principles about certain foods have higher priority to them than their love of food.

                                                                        1. re: Isolda

                                                                          I've been diabetic for many years, no meds, diet controlled.

                                                                          My desire to keep my vision, kidneys and limbs as opposed to my carby diet is a principle that made me learn to love different foods from those I used to favor. I still care a great deal about food quality and love to cook and dine out. My diet is different now, but my love of food isn't. I still eat what I like, but I had to learn to like different stuff, and I love it now.

                                                                      2. re: Isolda

                                                                        When I was a vegan (not so much anymore), I used to actually feel sorry for people who weren't having the intense flavor experiences I was. I believed (and still do) that the best flavors come from plants.

                                                                        1. re: Isolda

                                                                          I agree Isolda. The owner of the raw cafe I've been visiting warns against using food as entertainment and recreation. I am pretty darn sure he is a food as fuel kind of guy. I sometimes think about handing him a copy of the movie Babette's Feast http://www.amazon.com/Babettes-Feast-... and seeing what he thinks of it. Great movie btw.

                                                                          1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                            ehh I wouldn't bother, my guess is the point would be lost.

                                                                        2. My husband is the same way....could care less what or if he eats. Won't eat all day and then come home & eat those horrible orange crackers with the "peanut butter" inside...blech! I've tried to make tasty things for him, but I might as well give up as he just doesn't care. Eats only cuz he has to....

                                                                          1. this reminds me of the fact that my in-laws told me I "eat to live" whereas they "live to eat" because they love fatty, chain foods (no disrespect intended, they would agree with me). I in fact have grown up talking about meals planned days ahead of time, topic of meal conversations are future meals, etc. They usually don't cook.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: fara

                                                                              I remember the days of eating a meal and planning the next two or three meals at that same meal. I miss that!!!!

                                                                                1. re: fara

                                                                                  I live alone and most often dine alone. It is much more fun planning with someone who enjoys eating as much as I do.

                                                                            2. During brief periods when I was suffering from high levels of stress combined with mild depression, I lost interest in food as a pleasurable experience. Nothing tasted good, and I had little interest in eating. I did have those days when I ate something purely for the nutritional value (ie, a couple of spoonfuls of cottage cheese so I'd have a little protein).
                                                                              I wonder if some of those people who profess to have no interest in food also suffer from mild depression.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: BeeZee

                                                                                I'm sure it happens, but it's not across the board, for certain.

                                                                                1. re: BeeZee

                                                                                  when my boyfriend is stressed or nervous, he completely loses interest in food (to the point that he will claim he hates many foods that i KNOW that he typically likes). as soon as he has gotten through the event that is making him nervous he will be back to happy eating again. luckily as he has gotten older, he is much better at keeping his appetite during stressful situations.

                                                                                  1. re: jamieeats

                                                                                    Stress can trigger a person to over eat too. Countless diets discuss stress; the affect on our bodies and triggers. So, I think it really comes down to the individual and how they respond to stress. And, for many people food decisions plays no role in stress levels at all.

                                                                                    Emotional eating or non eating is diff from live to eat, eat to live (imho) tho.

                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                      I'm not overeating but right now I'm under a tremendous amount of stress. I'm trying to redo my eating habits since it seems like my body hangs onto every single calorie I ingest. I'm now doing very small, healthy "bites" throughout the day but I sure wish I could put together a more satisfying complete meal instead.

                                                                                      1. re: Barbara76137

                                                                                        Ugh, I see by your zip code alone that you live in the same "decent food" wasteland that I do. The FW is a really tough place to plan satisfying and delicious meals without making your cholesterol level shoot clean through your roof! I got puffy when I came here, too. My big trick is to stock up on whatever asian ingedients you can find at CM and stir fry like there is no tomorrow!
                                                                                        All I can say is do what is working... and best of luck!
                                                                                        And keep in mind, you (and I) are not doing anything wrong. We just have very little to work with. so go easy on yourself.

                                                                                2. I'm kinda compelled to reply because for my first 17 years I was involved in a sport where tiny little girls did well. I did not starve like some, but I ate only when I needed to. It was a sorry way to live. After myriad minor injuries, and a move away to college, I began to eat. and I loved food!! My stomach didn't growl, my whole demeanor was different. And the weight? I lost a few pounds. How is that for irony?
                                                                                  What I got from that and why it's relevant here, is that food is fuel. But why not enjoy?! I hate to see people depriving themsleves, and yet, people with a health risk need to take care.
                                                                                  How any one person will process food is up to them, but I believe that food is a pleasure and life can be short. So have some of what you want and balance it in a sensible manner.
                                                                                  It's worked beautifully for me, and I'm happy as a clam cooking, dining out, exploring...

                                                                                  I truly believe that being brought up only with processed salty foods, and having a need to refuse them turned me into the food lover I am today. Yum yum:)

                                                                                  1. oh sheesh I'll eat utter crap if I feel like it (White castle anybody? real corndogs?) but what I can't stand is eating by the clock. - yeah ok it's noon, but we just ate a few hours ago, or we had a big lunch and it's only 6...

                                                                                    1. I am 68 and was a big eater all my life, loved going out to eat at the best places. I weighed about 225 and 5-10. My wife had a brain tumor (not cancer, thank God), and was hospitalized for 6 weeks and several operations. We lived in Las Vegas, but the surgery was done in Seattle WA. Spending 6 weeks eating hospital food, I lost my taste and fascination with food. I was eating only to stay nourished. My weight over that year dropped to 155 and has stayed there ever since. Today, I am very healthy, my wife is still recovering but better all the time. I still have very little interest in food. I might eat twice a day. I had cut out all red meat. My doctor told me I was anemic and should eat red meat. I thought I was being super healthy not eating it. So, I ate about a pound of hamburger a day. Did it on the Bar B Q. Not anemic anymore. I can be happy eating Kraft Dinner, or going out to one of the superstar chef places here, when relatives visit. I eat to stay at 155 and can eat whatever I want to. The other day I ate ice cream every meal. Next day I wanted a Big Mac. Day after that, we went out to a great steak place. It makes no difference to me. I think my wife's brain tumor was a wake up call for me. Stay healthy enough to take care of her is my priority, not what I eat.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: vegasmike

                                                                                        well said mike. a good justification (is there a better one?) but I sense you haven't completely gone over to the joyless side.

                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                          I actually have more fun eating now. Living in Vegas, there are so many places to eat. By keeping my weight under control with what I eat, I can splurge when I want to and not worry about it. We went to a buffet for Easter today. I do buffet's maybe 4 times a year, not my favorite, but I wanted some lamb and ham, so where else can you get a combo like that.

                                                                                          1. re: vegasmike

                                                                                            ohh lamb, folks around here raise them but nobody seems to eat them. how frustrating is that?

                                                                                      2. I have a friend who's a pushing-40 bachelor who's lived by himself for some time now. Food seems to be, for him, an annoying distraction that keeps him from other stuff on which he'd prefer to spend his time. He's confessed to me that if he could just buy a 40-pound bag of Human Kibble from Purina, he would. No real interest in taste or texture, and seems to live on beans and rice. He can expound AT LENGTH about his methods of cooking beans and rice, though. I think because he makes so much in his pressure cooker to function as his weekly kibble that it's more like a science project. He also gets the occasional obsession with finding the perfect non-stick pan so he can eat an egg or two a week without significant hassles or cleanup but again....it's more about the tools and their ease of use than it is about the actual food. Fascinating to somebody like me, who pretty much functions like a dog: "That was good. i wonder what I'm going to eat next? is that thing over there on the counter something I could eat? What about that thing out in the yard? What do I smell? Or did imagine I smelled it? Was that brownies that I thought I smelled? maybe I should make some, and eat them. ..."

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: dingey

                                                                                          do you lick up that thing you found on the floor, then spit it out, look at it in disgust before barking at it and walking away?


                                                                                          (that's what my dog does, which never fails to make me laugh)

                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                            sunshine; that only happened one time and the sheriff showed up real quick for once (we have a new one - I just couldn't stop barking)

                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                              HAAAA! Close, Sunshine! I can never get irritated with my own dog when she engages in any food-based misbehavior because I can really empathize. ;)

                                                                                          2. I have a lifelong friend who eats to live. For him, the issue is volume, not anything else; I once saw him systematically toast and eat a pack of 6 bagels in a row, followed by 6 pan-fried sausages with nothing on them. He would routinely order an extra large, 5 meat topping pizza after midnight, eat the whole thing, and go to bed. He doesn't care [or notice] if it's high end or low end, and will pretty much eat anything that's put in front of him, without complaint [and often without looking at it]. I on the other hand am the type of person that will eyeball all the other diners' plates on my way out of the restaurant, even though I am incredibly full. I can't seem to stop looking at/thinking about food, even when i don't want it!

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Smorgasbord

                                                                                              Forget about "eating to live". Your friend's lifestyle sounds incredibly unhealthy.

                                                                                              1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                                Yeah, that sounds mor elike eating to die.

                                                                                            2. I have an eating disorder and yet am obsessed with food, I read these forums,watch foodnetwork, read cookbooks and cook/bake huge fancy meals all the time. Its just when it comes to actually eating that I panic and stop enjoying it. :( I know there are plenty with eating disorders like me who obsess about food, but there are also tons who don't even like to think about food or they go into a spiral of fear.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Thisamericanknife

                                                                                                hey knife: I'm with you on that, I like to think about it, make it, share it, but when it's ready I just lose my appetite. I've learned to specialize in things that are good hot or cold, served in a buffet sorta style and sit back for a while with a highball until I get my interest and appetite back.

                                                                                                1. re: Thisamericanknife

                                                                                                  I really hope that you talk to someone and get help. I conquered an eating disorder as a teenager on my own, but if I could go back I would have gotten help... I wasn't healthy and was robbing myself of years of healthy, normal eating. The thing you need to realize is that you're spending all this time obsessing about food but not enjoying it. I know it's hard to realize but you CAN enjoy the food- you just have to let yourself. I would probably start slow. Try and limit reading cookbooks or these forums/watching cooking shows for a while until you can start enjoying the actual process of eating more than the obsession. Maybe start with one day a week when you let yourself eat what you want (maybe set a limit at a certain amount of calories). When you see that life moves on and everything is ok, then maybe you can make some more changes.

                                                                                                  1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                                    all this does sort of turn into food-porn after a certain point.

                                                                                                2. My husband is a person who eats to live! Sometimes it is hard because he simply doesn't care about spending a lot of time on food! He doesn't understand why I agonize over the buffet menu when I'm throwing a party and why I make such long logistics plans. For me the planning and the pleasure my friends get out of tasty food is the joy.

                                                                                                  The plus side is that he doesn't care if I decide I'm too tired to cook and ask him to make a sandwich for dinner or if I can just make something quick and easy like an omelette.

                                                                                                  1. I know so many people like this - a lot of my colleagues and clients (I work as a personal trainer) have no interest in good food! As RealMenJulienne said, I think a lot of them would just take their food in capsule form to avoid it if they could! A lot of them survive (I say survive, because it sure aint living!) off broccoli, brown rice and chicken, day in, day out... Some of them are scared of food, some diet religiously, and most take some form of weight loss supplements/metabolism boosters. How anyone can live like that is just beyond me... I love my food!!!

                                                                                                    1. The last girlfriend my husband had before he met me! (seriously) They'd go to restaurants and she'd just push food around a plate for an hour and then got to the point where they'd go out and she wouldn't even order...she'd eat a bowl of cereal and be "good" never was interested in trying anything new or different to her.
                                                                                                      I am the exact polar opposite of that person

                                                                                                      1. This topic is all too close to home for me. My wife and her entire family (who are extremely present in our lives) eat to live. They are actually from Italy so one would think that they would truly enjoy food a bit more. Father-in-law, first italian ive ever met that doesnt drink, not even a glass of wine. Only eats meat and potatoes. No veggies. Mother in law actually knows how to cook but wont stray from her repertoire of grilled steak (well done without salt or pepper) grilled chicken, since she knows the family wont eat anything exciting. Sister in law...I can sense there is a bit of food appreciation in her but being that she married a heath nut she puts very low priority on food. Her husband wont eat salad dressing on salad...only eats protein rich foods....wont come over for meal if there isnt protein involved. Its like being with someone that is training for a fitness competition.

                                                                                                        When i cook for the family its always...wow you must have put a lot of time into all of this. you know you really shouldnt spend so much time in the kitchen. Instead of...wow this is delicious.

                                                                                                        Growing up in this household my wife has fear of certain kinds of foods and wont touch them. Let me say first that she loves simple foods which is good and bad. Shes a cheap date but would rather eat chicken fingers, pizza, hamburgers and fries than anything else. She wont eat all fish, meat on the bone (envisions animal carcass when teeth hit the bone), braised/shredded meats (weird texture), and anything slow cooked as it breaks the meat down to a strange consistency for her. I am sure this phobia of these foods stems from sometime during her childhood observing all of her parents particular eating habits but its just frustrating to cook nightly and have to make basically two different dinners most of the nights.

                                                                                                        It is just very frustrating...now..i dont cook anything but grilled steak and hamburgers for this crowd as its all that is appreciated. But at least thats appreciated.