Confessions of a Picky Eater
I’d almost forgotten it was so, when my dad came around the wood pile and told me he was making noodles with cabbage and asked if I wanted him to put aside some plain noodles for me. It was so foreign to me now that it took a moment to register. “No, that’s alright,” I said. “I can eat the noodles with cabbage.” I think he was surprised. I know he was surprised when over breakfast my sister mentioned that the experimental breakfast casserole we were eating would be good with peppers and onions next time and I responded with “That would be good.” My father didn’t hear me at first and said “Some people don’t like peppers and onions.”
“She just said it would be good,” my sister replied.
The look on my dad’s face was priceless as my husband informed him that I eat peppers and onions now, that I even like onions. The idea that I, the picky eater, was eating things that I had never liked before, was mind-blowing. His simple response was “Good job, Logan.”
You see, friends, Logan has succeeded where my parents struggled for years. My husband has managed to get me to try things I always thought I hated and found that they are actually pretty good. He’s made me try new things that I wouldn’t have been brave enough to on my own. He’s opened up a world of taste to me and is very proud of it. I was, and still am to some degree, a picky eater, and this is my story.
Growing up I was obstinate in my eating habits. I liked peanut butter, most things with cheese, potatoes, pasta and corn. I would eat chicken sometimes, but I didn’t like anything spicy. I would eat a cheeseburger if it had nothing on it. I didn’t like pepper, I didn’t really like salt. No onions or peppers or broccoli or cooked carrots, most green things were out. It was a struggle. I don’t know how my parents dealt with me. I remember having to sit at the table until I finished a certain number of broccoli bites and thinking it was the worst ever. To be fair, broccoli is the worst ever, but still, I was an obnoxious child.
They say your tastes buds change ever so-many years. The problem with me growing up was by the time my tastes buds changed I was already convinced that I liked practically nothing and would prefer to live off mac and cheese and peanut butter and potatoes my entire life. By the time I reached my adolescence both my parents were working and sit down dinners were scarce. When you put a teenager convinced she’s a picky eater by nature and will never change in charge of feeding herself, she’s not going to branch out, ever. There was always a safe option in the cafeteria at school and at home I generally tossed a frozen pizza in the microwave or made a chicken patty sandwich for dinner. When we did eat together it was the standards that they knew I would eat, generally speaking. Maybe they had something else thrown in there, but I didn’t have to eat it, and I wouldn’t. I refused green beans and carrots and peas and any other vegetable that might be present and they would shrug and say “that’s just Bekah,” and move on. It wasn’t their fault, mind you. I had trained them to be that way. I was practically an adult and if I didn’t like it by now I wasn’t going to like it ever.
Then I met my husband and everything changed. Not at first, of course. At first he too learned the standard “Purps Foods.” I would order the same thing every time we went out, I had my safety net of grilled cheese at every restaurant, just in case there wasn’t a sufficient cheesy chicken pasta dish available. He too catered to my picky eating habits while we were dating, making me mac and cheese for Valentines day and always letting me pick where we went to eat so I knew I’d like something there. Then we got engaged and I started eating at his family’s house more often and suddenly new things were readily available all the time again. His family wouldn’t judge me if I didn’t eat something on the table. I could politely decline whatever steamed vegetable was offered me and they would politely move on. Logan, on the other hand, would hold out the bowl and give me his sad eyes and say “just a little bit?” and I would look back at him with a pouty face and whine a little and he would respond with “I want you to be around a long time, you need to eat green things. Please, for me?” And I would melt and take a few green beans and carrots and bury them as deep in my potatoes as I possibly could.
Thus I began my journey out of the deep pit of picky eating that I had dug for myself. My sweet husband dangled that sad face that I can’t handle just behind every “healthy” food I didn’t want to eat and I couldn’t say no. Even to broccoli, and I do still hate broccoli. But I’ve found that anything can be not so bad if you cover it in enough cheese and potatoes. So I’ve tried a lot of new things, and I’ve learned that I actually like things that I never thought I would. I don’t mind mushrooms, I actually really love asparagus, and I will eat peppers and even enjoy cooked onions when I encounter them. I still don’t like raw onions, or broccoli, or green beans, but I’ve learned to be a big kid and eat them anyway, especially when my husband asks me to. I expect this trend will continue as we move through the years, and I’ll keep surprising my family with things that I’ll now suddenly eat, that I would never have tried before.