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Picky Adult

I'm trying to find new recipes that my husband and I will enjoy together. Because he's a picky eater, we are eating the same meals over and over and it's getting rather boring. I'm willing to try anything, he on the other hand is more difficult. He likes almost all kind of meats, which is good and he loves most vegetables. However, he doesn't like many condominent/seasonings, including onions, sour cream, mayo, peppers, etc. This makes our meals very bland and if I want these ingredients, I have to cook my food separately. I'm not the greatest cook in the world, but I've started to take more interest in it since we've recently gotten married. Any suggestions???

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  1. I'll refrain from advice on having him cook...

    Do something like chicken marsala where you cook the chicken first. Take your husband's and put it in the oven after pan frying and let it finish baking in the oven while you finish with yours on the stove. Like this:

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/em...

    You can do chicken piccata the same way or any type of sauce you want.

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gi...

    Do the same w/ pork chops. Something like this:

    http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/20...

    1. I'm a believer in retraining. That may sound a little manipulative, and I'm sure it depends on the person/age/aversions/etc. Worked for us! ;)

      In other words, if someone says "I don't like garlic in my food," but you know that person orders garlicy pasta or stir fry in restaurants (only garlic isn't listed on the menu) - start putting those things in the food slowly. Build up. Now if I don't put those things in the food, my husband says things are bland. A good place to start would be marinated meat. Take what he does like, and then "up" it.

      I do not cook anything separately. I do not expect my husband to eat straight up grilled onions or dip his food in sour cream, though.

      7 Replies
      1. re: sarahintexas

        You absolutely can teach an old dog new tricks. ;-)

        I agree that you can slowly and ever so gently expose him to things that are just outside his food "comfort zone". Maybe if he helps prepare the meals on occasion that would help. So he can see that there is nothing scary in what you are preparing.

        You've given a little by using restraint in preparing your meals and now maybe he can give a little by being a tad more adventurous.

        All that said, stir-fries are a great starting point.

        1. re: lynnlato

          I agree with the whole retraining. My husband was a much pickier eater when we first got together, for example, he ate virtually no vegetables. I soon realised that a lot of the foods he said he didn't like he had either not eaten in at least a decade, was put off by poor preparation in the past or just presumed that he wouldn't like it without ever trying it. So i started sneaking some of these foods into meals, see how he liked it and then I would confess.

          Sometimes you've got to play a little dirty.

        2. re: sarahintexas

          If my partner were to stealth-cook for me in this manner, I would have to wonder about what else he couldn't be trusted.

          Mind you, I'm the one who does the cooking, and it would never occur to me to sneak food onto someone else's plate.

          1. re: Jay F

            I have always felt that way about those "sneaky" cookbooks meant to trick kids into eating their veggies. Never mind the fact the amounts are usually minimum but how is a kid going to feel when the parents say "Gotcha! You DO love spinach, you have been eating it for weeks in your meatloaf"

            Yeah, about the same as I would feel if my husband did the same thing.

            Its one thing to add things to boost the nutrition of different foods but its another to lie about it.

            1. re: foodieX2

              Oh, I wouldn't lie about it, I would just include the "offending" ingredients in a lower profile way. For example, if spouse didn't like onions but I wanted onions in the meatloaf, I would cook the onions down to mush as to "hide" their presence.

              I don't like the sneaky cookboks either.

            2. re: sarahintexas

              Mr. Pine hated all sorts of vegetables when we met. I gradually cooked some in foods he did like, and at first I tricked him by taking out the cooked "hated" items, pureeing them, then adding 'em back, sort of like how you'd get kids to eat cooked carrots. He never noticed. Then I began leaving some chunks of the items intact, then regular pieces. Worked, and 35 years later, his list of hated items is down by at least 3/4. I didn't feel like I was manipulating him, just introducing items in a way he wouldn't have an instant veto over.

            3. I am a reformed super-picky eater. The first steps I took towards getting outside my comfort zone were always at buffets. At a buffet, you can take just a little of something, and if you don't like it, no pressure, no big deal. Since I wouldn't recommend you start a buffet in your home :D I'd start introducing flavors through optional side dishes at meals, something you'd make for yourself anyway and enjoy. He can have a bite-size portion and decide if he wants more and won't walk away from the table unfed or unfulfilled.

              1 Reply
              1. re: antennastoheaven

                Thumbs up to antennastoheaven's approach - no pressure, just put it on the table and don't make a big deal out of it when he does try something. (This, BTW, is a recommended tactic for introducing children to new foods.)

                I would also start "sneaking" in ingredients. Like Westminstress mentioned, I hated onions until I was past 30yo but then I realized that I was eating them well cooked in many dishes. It was the texture of the raw/undercooked onions that I hated, not the taste.

              2. I have a friend who doesn't like cooked onions in recognizable pieces, but she likes the flavor of onions if chopped finely so they melt into the sauce. I'd try that, and do the same with garlic.

                1. Make healthy, interesting meals that include a wide variety of tastes, textures and flavors. Always include at least one tried and true food-in other words don't make a meal of all "new" foods/dishes/flavors so there is at least one food you know he likes. Then he can eat (or not) as he sees fit. If he doesn't care for it or is still hungry he is welcome to grab something from the fridge.

                  While at the table keep the focus away from the food. Don't beg, cajole or try to persuade him to eat.

                  Marriage is about compromise. You shouldn't have to be the only one doing it.