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Cooking for a Picky (Adult) Eater

My husband and I have very different tastes in food. I will try anything, and like most things, while he has a very strict mental list of things he will and will not eat, and he is terrible about trying new things.

Cooking is my biggest passion, so I cook almost every night, and on weekends, we usually have 3 home cooked meals per day. In some ways, I know this has spoiled him a bit, as I can't even get him to learn how to cook a chicken cutlet so he can make a real meal for himself when I'm not home.

The problem is that I get so bored. With just two of us, food waste is already an ongoing battle, so I hesitate to buy things only I like, for fear it'll go bad before I use it up. So I usually stick to things we both like, but that list is short. Meat-wise, he will only eat chicken (boneless, skinless), ground beef, deli meats & bacon. I like all cuts and kinds of meat, and I can't remember the last time I had a pork chop. The only veggies we both like are green beans, broccoli and corn. I also can't remember the last time I had snow peas or squash or sweet potatoes. He also won't eat beans or anything wheat (ie. brown rice, wheat bread, etc). I have made so many different chicken + veggie + rice/pasta meals I can't see straight, and I'm still bored.

More so than the cost and stress of buying two sets of food, on weekdays I don't get home from work until almost 7pm. Essentially I walk in the door, change out of my work clothes and high tail it the kitchen. I need to get something on the table quickly, and making two different dinners is usually not all that appealing.

He's told me that he will start to try things, but I'm nervous that we're going to end up throwing away a lot of (very expensive) food in the meantime. So my issue it two-fold: I want to broaden our culinary horizons, but I'd also like to expand my repertoire of make-ahead and/or quick meals.

What are some "safe" foods I can start to introduce to expand my picky husband's palette?

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    1. I don't cook for a picky adult but my kid won't anything unless he thinks it's on a Chili's menu. The way I've managed to get things past him is by focussing on the "other things." He LOVES bread, who doesn't? Make fresh bread and pair it with something new - I bet you could sneak a pork chop into a pannini... If left overs are a problem, make soups and stews, they keep forever, make your house smell awesome, and some can be really fun to make.

      1. quick check here - brown rice is NOT wheat. do you mean he won't eat grains of any kind? barley? couscous? israeli couscous? corn tortillas (no wheat there)?

        what is his/your stance on flavors? try cooking familiar dishes with slight twists.
        Mexican Strata/lasagna with chicken - layer tortillas, salsa, veggies of choice, cheese, chicken with green chiles, sour cream, etc. and bake
        Burger - but use fish or another meat or veggie... in a lettuce wrap if he won't eat bread

        however you like to make your broccoli or beans, next time add some other veggies that you like, and allow hubby to taste. if he likes the prep of the others, he's more likely to like the new stuff in that prep

        random ideas -
        sloppy joe's - you can include new spicing/ingredients and/or serve over something new
        enchiladas with chicken and corn tortillas
        chicken marbella? marsala? piccata? cacciatore?
        tamales?

        what are some of his favorite meals/flavors?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Emme

          I think maybe she means "anything whole grain" vs. "anything wheat"?

          Can you just say "I'm making X, and if you want something else, make it yourself"?

          1. re: will47

            He may not be eating starches.

            1. re: mcf

              Well, he eats corn, which is not a vegetable, but a starchy grain. It sounds more like it's random prejudice against foods that he wasn't served as a child. (And I would argue that green beans are not vegetables, but a legume.)

              The OP is describing my mother. She is the exact same way and she lives with us.

              I say cook what you cook, make enough for both of you and if he won't eat, he can get his own food. You'll have leftovers to take to work the next day if he doesn't eat.

        2. If you have time to cook over the weekend, why not make some of the dishes you love and roast up an oven full of his chicken breasts. Freeze it all and then every night, have what you want while he gets his chicken and whatever side is the easiest. Might change his mind about being so picky or he might learn how to cook. Just wondering, are these eating habits many decades old or is there still a chance to change them?

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