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Foodie dating Picky?


Alchemist
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Can a totalvoir date a picky eater? If one persons perfect meal includes sweet breads, snails, kimchi, porkbelly, and the other is “allergic” to onions, hates butter, and doesn’t want to try new foods, is the relationship doomed? A friend of mine his girl friend and I went to dinner the other night, and it was a train wreck. I have had more fun at root canals. It was like he became the stern dad, and she was the petulant 5 year old faced with a plate of spinach, broccoli, and brussle sprouts.

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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It depends on the relative attitudes, I think. My wife is a somewhat picky eater, whereas I fit more in the "totalvore" category, and I think it is working out OK :smile: . The trick is for me to not constantly try to force new foods upon her, but slowly push the envelope (with her knowledge and permission). This is, of course, a multi-year process, helped out by the fact that both of us love to eat out. This means that I can order crazy foods, and if she is in an adventurous mood that night, maybe have a bite, but still order chicken for dinner :). If the totalvore is a constant pain in the *ss about it, it probably isn't going to work. Of course, if the nothingvore is truly unwilling to ever try anything new, it could spell trouble if the totalvore likes to cook... good luck to your friend...

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Can a totalvoir date a picky eater? If one persons perfect meal includes sweet breads, snails, kimchi, porkbelly, and the other is “allergic” to onions, hates butter, and doesn’t want to try new foods, is the relationship doomed?  A friend of mine his girl friend and I went to dinner the other night, and it was a train wreck.  I have had more fun at root canals.  It was like he became the stern dad, and she was the petulant 5 year old faced with a plate of spinach, broccoli, and brussle sprouts.

heck, it doesn't even have to be a dating scenario. It can just be friends going out. There have been many cases when I have been out with a friend (or a group of friends) and wanted to order something off the menu that would be shared with the table (like maybe a terrine of foie gras), and can't find any takers. Or, half the table ordes the exact same thing. Where is the fun in that? How can I try a bunch of different things if they all do that? :biggrin:

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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Can a totalvoir date a picky eater?

Briefly, yes. Long-term, no. Love is only blind for a certain period of time. Then the fog on your glasses clears up and you realize that you are seated across the table from someone who would actually prefer to be eating at Taco Bell. Sorry, but that's a deal-breaker.

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It was like he became the stern dad, and she was the petulant 5 year old faced with a plate of spinach, broccoli, and brussle sprouts.

This sounds like it is about more... although food is a good barometer. In any romantic relationship there must be some give and take, as well as a willingness to accept the differences between one's partner and oneself.

Insisting that one's dinner partner "try something" sets up quite a different dynamic than offering a sample. Subtle, perhaps, but important.

That said, I dated someone (briefly) who didn't eat broccoli, one of my favorite foods. It lasted about a year. I am now married to someone who likes to cook, eats a variety of foods, but doesn't like some of the things I do. Oh well. We work it out. That's kinda what life is all about. The important part is that he is willing to try new things. As am I.

Karen Dar Woon

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My wife will not eat shellfish, crustaceans, poultry, organ meats, lamb, or goat; she isn't too keen on eggs, beef, or pork; and she is allergic to mushrooms. Although she doesn't consider herself a vegetarian, she could happily live as one so long as she could consume dairy products. I will eat most anything and I very much enjoy virtually everything that falls in the categories listed above. I tend to think our relationship will work out because these things haven't changed much in the 34 years we have been together.

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My wife will not eat shellfish, crustaceans, poultry, organ meats, lamb, or goat; she isn't too keen on eggs, beef, or pork; and she is allergic to mushrooms.  Although she doesn't consider herself a vegetarian, she could happily live as one so long as she could consume dairy products.  I will eat most anything and I very much enjoy virtually everything that falls in the categories listed above.  I tend to think our relationship will work out because these things haven't changed much in the 34 years we have been together.

Just curious, do you end up eating the same dinners when you eat at home or are there modifications for each of you?

And congrats on 34 years of marriage! :smile:

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Speaking from experience here, I too think it will eventually come back to haunt you. I've been dating someone who is not picky about what he eats, but is extremely nit picky about what he perceives to be the quality of the dish. If I make a fine ribeye steak meal, he will examine every square inch of it to find any hint of fat or grissle and announce where it came from (the local grocery store or the great butcher I go to in Wisconsin) When dining out, he will carefully taste each item on his plate and declare which items he deems to be from Sysco and which are not, which is a high quality item and which is bargain, etc. etc. It bothers me more and more all the time primarily because he hasn't ever worked in a restaurant, and almost never cooks anything he has to purchase himself. The sum total of his culinary skills are chili made from ground venison people give him for free or bean soup from a ham bone someone will discard and he'll declare it as his legendary this or that. What I thought was amusing at first is now getting old pretty quick.

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It really depends on the people involved and how important food is to the omnivore. Fortunately for me, my wife is as adventurous an eater as I am though perhaps not quite as passionate about it. I have a willing companion (most of the time) for my indulgences. I don't think I would last in a relationship in which that were not the case.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Speaking from experience here, I too think it will eventually come back to haunt you.  I've been dating someone who is not picky about what he eats, but is extremely nit picky about what he perceives to be the quality of the dish.  If I make a fine ribeye steak meal, he will examine every square inch of it to find any hint of fat or grissle and announce where it came from (the local grocery store or the great butcher I go to in Wisconsin) When dining out, he will carefully taste each item on his plate and declare which items he deems to be from Sysco and which are not, which is a high quality item and which is bargain, etc. etc. It bothers me more and more all the time primarily because he hasn't ever worked in a restaurant, and almost never cooks anything he has to purchase himself.  The sum total of his culinary skills are chili made from ground venison people give him for free or bean soup from a ham bone someone will discard and he'll declare it as his legendary this or that.  What I thought was amusing at first is now getting old pretty quick.

Ah, sounds like a variation on the theme. The personalities involved are just as important as the kind of eaters the individuals are.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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My wife will not eat shellfish, crustaceans, poultry, organ meats, lamb, or goat; she isn't too keen on eggs, beef, or pork; and she is allergic to mushrooms.  Although she doesn't consider herself a vegetarian, she could happily live as one so long as she could consume dairy products.  I will eat most anything and I very much enjoy virtually everything that falls in the categories listed above.  I tend to think our relationship will work out because these things haven't changed much in the 34 years we have been together.

Just curious, do you end up eating the same dinners when you eat at home or are there modifications for each of you?

And congrats on 34 years of marriage! :smile:

Thanks for the congratulations(although the 34 years includes two years of dating).

When we have something at home she doesn't want to eat, we just make certain there are plenty of other things, such as salad, vegetables and starch, to satisfiy he appetite. Many of the sauces for some of the meat dishes we prepare go well on rice or pasta.

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The sum total of his culinary skills are chili made from ground venison people give him for free or bean soup from a ham bone someone will discard and he'll declare it as his legendary this or that.  What I thought was amusing at first is now getting old pretty quick.

I dated that person, too! OMG! Yes, it DID get old. Another very annoying habit he had was to take on the accent of whatever cuisine he was eating at the time, be it Italian, French or whatever. Was not long after that revelation that I finally had to say, "adios" and just walk away. :cool:

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Depends on what you mean by "picky."

Do you mean "picky" as in close-minded and unwilling to try new things, the type who will sit down and say, "Ewww" out loud when presented with something that doesn't conform to his or her limited palate?

Or do you mean "picky" as in not preferring specific foods, but not to the point of obsession and perhaps as a result of either ignorance (lack of exposure to good food) or a certain degree of indifference to food?

If the former, I would vote for "doomed."

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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The sum total of his culinary skills are chili made from ground venison people give him for free or bean soup from a ham bone someone will discard and he'll declare it as his legendary this or that.  What I thought was amusing at first is now getting old pretty quick.

I dated that person, too! OMG! Yes, it DID get old. Another very annoying habit he had was to take on the accent of whatever cuisine he was eating at the time, be it Italian, French or whatever. Was not long after that revelation that I finally had to say, "adios" and just walk away. :cool:

HA HA! I swear it IS the same person. I went to Mexico with him and couldn't wait to get away from him because he kept repeating the same things over and over again with ever increasingly exaggerated accents in the wrong places in the words because he thought he sounded more Mexican. I will no longer invite him over for Mexican food. Now the only ethnic I invite him over for is Thai. I dare him to come up with an accent for that!

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If pickiness comes along with stubbornness, I don't think it can work very well.  If the pickiness is just a result of not having exposure and there is a hint of a willing-to-try-it attitude, I think it can actually work out very well.

I agree. My husband of 18 years was a picky eater when we first met ("I don't like soup," "I don't like green beans," etc.). My attitude was basically, "that's ridiculous, you've just never had it in a version you like" and set myself the challenge of proving to him that he did in fact like soup, green beans, and pretty much everything else.

The thing that made it work was that he realized how important it was to me and it was more important to him to make me happy (by trying new things and trying to like them) than it was to have his own way, and I guess that's the key for both parties in most aspects of marriage. He's still the same person and I suspect his dining habits might be quite a bit different if I were to drop dead, but meanwhile he's a cheerful and enthusiastic companion on all my culinary adventures.

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I think the dude needs to decide what is important to him. If he is going to be looking at things like eating habits in potential mates I wish him luck. I doubt that he will ever find that perfect person.

part of a mutual adult grown up relationship is accepting your partner for the person they are and growing together with them through the years. We all change over time. If I was to be the same person today i was when I was twenty would mean I had not grown. We need to grow together and understand that though we may change, we still care about and want to be together in love and friendship

So go ahead and dump her cause she is not a cool food dudette. I'm sure he can find someone else to find fault with.

Dear Lord, does anyone else find this discussion to be as shallow as I do?

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What I thought was amusing at first is now getting old pretty quick.

It sounds like the issue isn't what he eats, but that he's unkind. Unkindness is amusing for a millisecond and then leaves a really bad taste in your mouth....

_________________________

Elizabeth Cullen Dunn

"Sex is good, but not as good as fresh, sweet corn." ~Garrison Keillor

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What I thought was amusing at first is now getting old pretty quick.

It sounds like the issue isn't what he eats, but that he's unkind. Unkindness is amusing for a millisecond and then leaves a really bad taste in your mouth....

I'm not sure it's unkindness exactly. Anyone who knows him would say he's one of the nicest people in town. His false snobbery is unique to food. I don't have any problem with someone critiquing a meal. That's part of the fun of enjoying food. But perhaps what bothers me here is that he is by his own admission cheap and will seldom buy expensive foods for himself. So when someone makes a great meal and invites him as a guest, I have a hard time with his critical assessment of what by all accounts is a gift. To me it shows a lack of gratitude. It's not even really a matter of him not liking the dish. It's a matter of whether or not it meets his exacting standards. Standards he would never apply to anything he makes. I almost get the impression that he feels superior if he can find a flaw in what has been served to him. And it is very specifically about food and only food. So I guess the reason we've continued to date for a long time is that the rest has outweighed this one thing. But as time goes on I am more and more tempted to tell him to make it himself if he thinks he can do a better job. And I know for a fact I wouldn't be the first of his friends to have that conversation with him.

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Back to the root question of can an omnivore and a picky eater have a happy relationship? In part it is dependant on how important food and eating out are to the omnivore as a vocation/hobby. If you look forward all week to a special meal out, and your dining partner is miserable, how enjoyable can it be for you?

You can certainly eschew certain foods as an individual in a relationship (I hate eggs, the smell makes me retch...so my husband only eats them out when I'm not with him). There have to be some compromises in any good relationship. It's not shallow to question a person's attitude towards eating as a component of the relationship, as it can be indicative of attitudes towards other things and how one person relates to another.

Crux of the issue with the couple in the OP is that one person was trying to enforce his will (his food likes) upon his date. Sounds like control issues in the bigger picture.

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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Dear Lord, does anyone else find this discussion to be as shallow as I do?

No, not at all. If you are a person who loves food it can be very difficult to have a satisfying long-term relationship with someone who eats because they have to, and would just as soon eat a Quarter Pounder as a Filet Mignon (for example). Worse still is someone who criticizes you for wanting to eat different food, or someone who constantly tries to get you to eat things you don't like, on the flip side. There is nothing wrong with seeking someone with the same interests/tastes as you.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I'll add my two cents and say that I can't imagine dating/marrying someone who is completely averse to trying new foods once in a while! The guys I've dated have been both willing to try things that I cook or suggest, and/or have introduced me to foods I haven't tried. Trust me--many of my closest friends are 'vanilla' eaters, some of them with good reason (i.e., spicy or rich foods make them sick every time they have them)--this is why we don't eat out together too often. When the only place they want to go is TGMcFunster's, I'm rolling my eyes, and they know it. Do I still love them? Sure. But I couldn't LIVE with that every day! A few others were just raised in bland households, and will happily taste something new or different, and I give them credit for doing just that. Then there's my friend Chris, who is game to try almost anything, b/c his mom was such a bad cook and he knows his tastebuds are stunted. I'll never forget being in a restaurant with him, looking at menus, and saying that I was probably going to order the pork chops again b/c they had been so good on my last visit. His reaction was great. "Pork chops?!? REALLY? Wow. I never eat pork b/c it's always so dry!" Further discussion revealed that his mom used to serve pork chops and they were always like shoe leather. I ordered them, he ordered something else, and we ended up trading plates halfway through the meal. I love opening eyes that way...!

In the end, though, my food pals are the most fun to go out with! :biggrin:

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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bah, I have this problem with my boyfriend (as a lot of you probably know). We've been together for 3 1/2 years and he's changing very very very slowly. For example he only eats meat and potatos and he eats like a 5 year old. Just the other day I made tater tots and meatball sliders for him ):

However his friend is a renowned chef in Boston who loves to play with offal so once in a while he'll try stuff like grilled beef hearts if his friend prepares them. However if I make liver and onions for dinner, he will throw a fit (like a 5 year old - do I see a theme?)

But the worst thing is he hates korean food, and that is a huge part of me as a person. I just wish he liked kimchi ): sighhhhh not everyone can be perfect

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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