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Accused of being too interested in food?

Well, I sit writing this with mixed feelings. My DH and I had a small argument last night, and I was accused of thinking/talking too much about food. This started around being asked to bring a veggie tray to the in-laws for Christmas. I aked DH if we could do a nice punched up lettuce salad instead. And then it went downhill. First he was going to call in-laws to conform this was okay, and I said they are both 'veggies,' was it a big deal? If it was, nevermind, let's just do a veggie tray. And after a minute of DH thinking- he admitted he thinks I invest too much time in thinking, planning and daydreaming about food. This makes me sad- if I have to eat anyway, why not eat something yummy? But I suppose it starts to complicate areas where maybe it doesn't need to- like just bringing a veggie tray for example. Or just surrendering control of the food every once in awhile. Anyone else ever been convicted of 'hounding too much? Coping methods? Where do you compromise? :) I feel almost like I've surrendered my title of proud chef to embarrassed addict.

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  1. I've been accused of same and I take it as a compliment. We all have interests, hobbies, causes, etc and most of mine are food related. I garden organically, spend time and money on local products and especially humanely handled meat and poultry, and spend most of my free time collecting and reading recipes and cooking. I can think of a lot worse obsessions!

    1. Well, there are a number of issues at play here. My own friends joke about how much time I spend thinking about food, but they also designate me the menu planner and restaurant picker every chance they get. They view it as a fun quirk of mine.

      But I think some foodies do have a tendency to get a bit control-freaky about food. Sometimes you just have to relax and indulge your passion in your own time. When I go to my auntie's I know I'm not going to be excited about the food - she's an indifferent cook, after all. But I value the experience because I will spend time with my family. And sometimes my friends are going to insist on *gag* Applebee's for dinner - they're my friends, so I'm not going to argue because it's about the time I'm spending with them rather than being a "foodie."

      When a host asks you to bring a specific dish, I think you try to accommodate them. For example, your host was asking you to bring an appetizer, but you turned the tables and countered with a salad, which would in all likelihood be served with the meal. It just kinda messed with the plans. And why did your husband have to be the one to talk to his sister? Why can't you negotiate something with her?

      I think one's love of food becomes an issue when it starts to cause friction in your personal relationships. I'm all for people trying new things, but for family gatherings on holidays, it's best to just go with the majority flow unless there's a specific reason NOT to do so. Save the experimenting and menu fussing for when YOU are hostessing.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Heatherb

        Heatherb,

        You make some good points. It is about spending time with the family, after all. And I know that I CAN get control-freaky about food. I suppose my nonchalance in trading salad for veggie tray is that this is a potluck style event in which this year we were designated to bring an item, at Mother-in-laws, actually. So bets to just follow instructions and avoid stirring the pot. But really- it is about the getting together and not about the food.

        1. re: daniellempls

          hey danielle, i know how boring a veggie tray sounds to make or buy(!). but you could get creative with it and do a combination of cooked/raw veggies, pickles, etc with your own sauces. i'm thinking something like blanched asparagus with aioli or sauteed carrots that have been caramelized in butter and honey

          1. re: daniellempls

            I know how you feel. The SO's friends and family are convinced I will be incapable of making anything but the most simple of dishes. For several years I was asked to bring the lettuce tomato onion platter for the picnic or the fruit or veggie tray. The most I've been gable to levied at holidays is baked beans from a van with syrup Nd brown sugar added ( they dictated the presentation they wanted). Finally one year I apologizes and said due to an engagement they day before I didn't have time for the veggie tray and would they mind if I brought potato salad. They raved about it and kept the leftover for their kids' lunches because they ate so many plates of it. I would bring the darn veggies and suck it up unless you want to get into it again with DH.

        2. It shouldn't be a real issue for your DH. If he loves you, he loves you for who you are -- which includes your likes and dislikes, and your passion for things he may not feel passionate about himself.

          Have you ever accused him of being too interested in football? Same thing, IMO.

          3 Replies
          1. re: linguafood

            I attribute a long and happy marriage on lots of respect and tolerance for the things we can't change about each other

            1. re: scubadoo97

              Yep. Only 10 years down so far, but going strong, and still damn happy -- even though my man isn't nearly as interested in food as I am. So what. I don't care for hockey or football, but I'd never give him shit about it.

            2. re: linguafood

              I agree. I'm accused of being too interested in food. And in football. And hockey. But it wasn't exactly a secret...

              http://burghfeeding.blogspot.com/

            3. The statement that rang true for me was "Or just surrendering control of the food every once in awhile." Those of us who love good food tend to feel we are the ones that "know" and that can be annoying to others. I've helped with meals at my sister's house and have often made complicated multi-course dinners. I remember her husband making some comment about "do we have to have courses this time?" He was not being mean, it was just not the way they usually ate. So when we scoff at people who bring a ham when the perfect menu has already been planned or complain about what other family members serve, it might be worth it for us to take a look at ourselves and see what we do to "get our way" at a group event. We have plenty of time to run things our way so maybe it's time to loosen up and not act like each meal is our last.

              1 Reply
              1. re: escondido123

                "it's time to loosen up and not act like each meal is our last" Yes- it is good to remind myself of this :)

              2. Could it be that you feel slighted... that all you were asked to bring was a simple veggie platter? Cause that would bother me. (The term my mom used last to describe me was "too food-centric")
                If a veggie platter it must be, then you may as well go all out. Make it the most beautiful platter the in laws have ever seen, with a fabulous dip.

                1. I hear ya, although my husband has generally embraced my love of food we have had our moments. I think it's good to maintain other interests.. one reason it can seem like an obsession is that food is such a regular occurence in our day... even fashion addicts only get dressed once a day. The opportunities to exhaust our spouse's interest (or tolerance) are many.
                  When it comes to the in-laws I learned early on to keep my mouth shut about restaurant choices, for example. Your DH is probably just trying to keep the holidays smooth and simple.

                  1. I am more worried when you say your husband thinks you talk too much about food. I hope you are not overbearing when it comes to conversation.

                    I have a friend who is really into this one TV show, and it's amazing how he manages to eventually steer every conversation into that direction. It's maddening.

                    Food is a huge subject and it can enter into every conversation. Not everyone wants to hear about it as much as you or I would like to talk about it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Steve

                      You made an excellent point; interest is one thing but obsession is something else. I have a very close friend who is literally obsessed with politics. I actually am quite politically active myself but I am very much able to have conversations with friends about other topics without always coming back to politics. Or, if we do talk about politics, I don't need to discuss it for hours at length. Whereas my friend, no matter what you may be talking about will manage to steer the conversation back to politics. He's my best friend and yet sometimes talking with him is pure torture:} Obsession about anything is not healthy and it's a huge turn off when socializing with others.

                    2. Just to add: I would be thrilled to bring a veggie tray. I make a mean fried shallot dip (no recipe: just cream cheese,olive oil, s & p, garlic, and as many shallots (fried to a crisp) as I can find in the supermarket.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Steve

                        That dip sounds excellent. Approx how many shallots do you need for an 8 oz brick of cream cheese? And do you cream this by hand, adding just enough oil to make the texture right?

                        1. re: Isolda

                          I do it to all to taste. I find it easiest to start off with a tub of softened cream cheese and use a food processor. I probably use 12 shallots for 16 ounces - the key is to get the shallots and the garlic all very dark and crispy in the olive oil. Yes, sometimes I need to pour in some more olive oil. It's best to start off by frying too many shallots. I always need more than I think. Baby onions will work well too.

                          it needs to be served room temperature for the right texture.

                          1. re: Steve

                            that sounds amazing!!! Responding so I'll keep this in my feed!

                      2. So buy a veg. tray at your local bottom dollar groceria and serve it with pre-made onion dip. Let your "DH" serve it, even.

                        1. Yes. Many times.

                          I care so much about food that when I visit many peoples homes I'm almost always served food with a caveat -- something along the lines of "... this isn't too fancy..." or "... might not be up to your standards..." or I've even had people be afraid to feed me; out of what fear I don't know. I think the issue is partially because I'm blunt and honest, but not rude -- to me this means keeping my mouth shut when I don't like something (unsolicited opinions rarely go over well when negative), but I would never lie to someone and tell them I love their broccoli heads served without salt or pepper, that had been microwaved for 15 minutes on high (which has happened more than once...).

                          I've tried to be apologetic about this, but I'm kinda sick of it... I care a lot about what I put into my mouth and body, especially what it tastes like! I hear and often touted virtue on these boards "don't yuck someone else's yums" -- I actually do occasionally, but generally only when prompted.

                          Back to the OP, this is generally when (in the aforementioned broccoli scenario, lets say) things go wrong. I'm asked what I think of the insipid vegetable specimen and I give my honest opinion. Feelings are hurt, and the accusations start flying! Long story short -- yes, I know exactly how you feel, daniellempls.

                          1. I think you are getting the picture. I don't want to pile on. We all make allowances for our loved ones, and we learn to keep our mouths shut around the in laws. Sometimes we do as we are told, because it is easier than making waves. If you are "thinking" about food and cooking out loud much of the time, it may be that he is tired of hearing you "think." But I imagine there are times you are tired of hearing him say stuff too.

                            During the holidays, we expediences joy and boredom, receive presents and orders, exceed and barely meet expectations, depending on the day and the people surrounding us. Yes, if the hostess asks for a veggie plate, you should do the plate. Because you are a foodie, it should exceed expectations. It should be fabulous.

                            Ask to do something else next year. Make it fabulous.

                            I hope your day at the in-laws went well.

                            1. Personally I like it when someone tells me exactly what to bring. No confussion. Being a foodie I may then turn that request up a notch. Sometimes I expand culinary horizons. I hope my friends and family do the same for me in areas I may not be too adventurous.

                              I know that I am obsessive about food. Thankfully my husband is too. I even call him my enabler. I have friends that are also and we will experiment in the kitchen or spend a day shopping at markets bonding over our hobby. Thankfully I also have Chowhound where I find other like minded souls to indulge my passion. I have never been convicted though I have wondered.

                              1. Perhaps you might DH why he thinks you invest too much time on food? Does he feel deprived of your thoughts re football? Or NASCAR? Or the presidential race?

                                1. Every meal is precious because there's only a limit to how many meals each of us have in a lifetime. Therefore every dish should be well-thought-out and the most important preparation starts in the mind. This isn't being obsessive. It's just a matter of making sure you/others have the best. It's good practice to live your life being and having the best whenever you can. Never compromise because you get something great when you don't compromise (not just in terms of food but in all things).

                                  I tend to spend weeks thinking, reading recipes, and researching the dish/es I intend to prepare. I do this especially for any occasion where others will be eating with me or eating my food. People should be honoured for someone to put so much into a meal just for them and for their pleasure. I know I would be if someone were to do that for me. In fact, I'd be chuffed.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: superbadkitty

                                    Always striving to have the best is frankly exhausting and too rigid a way of life for me. I like good food, but there's a lot of other components to living. I'll swap a really good meal for more time to have with my friends any day of the week. It all depends on where your priorities are.

                                    1. re: Heatherb

                                      Why would you have to swap, though? *blinks*

                                      1. re: superbadkitty

                                        Because I have friends that sometimes want to go to Applebees.

                                    2. re: superbadkitty

                                      There are nights I'd be happy with an omelette or a grilled cheese sandwich (ok, honestly if I was alone it would be Kraft Dinner) but my husband always want to have a two course meal....luckily he cooks and shops most of the time so it's no big deal..but I find it obsessive.

                                      1. re: escondido123

                                        That's the point the OP was making here - whether it's an omelette or a two course meal or a veggie tray, it should be good :)

                                        1. re: superbadkitty

                                          But my point is there are times I don't want to think about dinner ahead of time. I don't want to discuss the options, I just want to, at some point around dinner time, put together something simple, eat it and be done with it. My cooking is always decent, I'd just rather leave it off the list once in awhile and not make it the center of attention.

                                      2. re: superbadkitty

                                        You and I need to get together and do some serious planning and cooking! I feel the same way.

                                      3. I guess it all depends upon your relationship with your in-laws and your husband.

                                        I personally would have brought the veggie tray and the lettuce salad. My wife and I are usually synced up that way - bring them what they want and bring what we want.

                                        In terms of control, I don't think guys get that worked up about control or being controlled. I would view it as a request - a chef/cook making a dish as requested.

                                        Also, I view food and cooking as a collaborative effort. For me the fun is cooking with a group a people working together to get the meal out.

                                        1. Yes! Always. I can sit and discuss topics such as salt, olive oil or good cheese for hours on end. When I get invited over to dinner I am always asked to bring everything or cook there. If I am not cooking or eating I am dreaming about what next to make or at least reading about it. But it is so much deeper than that - whatever I put into my mouth really matters so it had better be foraged/handled humanely. Growing my own vegetables and herbs is important to me, not only from a gardening/growing perspective but also that I know precisely from where they came.

                                          When my husband and I travel, most of our plans are food-centric; for example, truffle hunting, olive picking, pressing grapes, foraging for mushrooms, harvesting lavender. Yes, I am borderline obsessed but learning about food and its cultures are also important to me. Not only that but foods can be experiences as well.

                                          My life is so enriched partly due to food and experiences surrounding it.

                                          1. I've been accused of being obsessed...overly interested...consumed by it (pun intended). But as I do NOT like sports (and I AM straight), read cookbooks like novels, and have a kitchen that could outfit a small restaurant, I suppose it IS my only hobby and passion. To my fellow posters, I'd recommend a humorous movie with Dom DeLuise (RIP)...Fatso. Very funny and insightful. There ARE worse things to be interested in, for sure. So whether it is for the creative outlet that culinary arts offer, or merely a never-satisifed palate, press on! You're in good company.