For 37 years now, I have been an extremely picky eater. I can’t help it, it’s just who I am. I won’t eat certain foods for the stupidest reasons. What reasons? You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.
Of course, I’ll try. And maybe some of you out there will learn that you’re not alone.
1. Green Things: Early in life I developed an aversion to all foods green. Doctor Moore, my childhood doctor, used to lecture to me that I was building a body based on the foods I ate. This didn’t help. Who wants a body of spinach and green beans?
2. Pieces: I couldn’t eat anything with pieces. Meaning, small foods inside my food. Example: Banana Pudding. My mom used to have to make me a separate banana pudding without the bananas, i.e. vanilla pudding with vanilla wafers. I liked bananas and I liked pudding; I just couldn’t put them together.
Other examples include cookies with nuts. I could eat cookies with marshmallows and chocolate chips because those melted and became part of the cookie. Nuts didn’t. They clung on and got in the way of the cookie.
Also, mundane foods like salsa. Chunky salsa was the devil’s food. A food made up of nothing but pieces! Puree it and I was fine … except, leave out the green peppers (See #1).
3. Things Mushy: If a food was too mushy, it was out. Mainly this pointed to “mush”rooms. Each time my parents made spaghetti, it took me an extra five minutes to eat it. Those were the five minutes spent picking the mushrooms out of the sauce.
4. Seeds: I have never been able to eat foods with seeds showing. Oranges and apples don’t count, the seeds are big enough to pick out. Watermelon is a fringe food because there are so many seeds. But tomatoes and strawberries? Out of the question. Too many small seeds. These foods also fall under the Pieces section.
5. Tomatoes and Strawberries: And there’s something else about these two foods that you won’t believe; but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. They taste watered down. I was raised on ketchup and candy. Tomatoes taste like watered-down ketchup. Simple, right? Strawberries taste like weak, unsugared strawberry candy. Again, logical when you think about it.
Early on, my mom tried different tricks to get me to eat a variety of food. Ketchup was a dining table mainstay. If I didn’t eat it, she slathered ketchup on it and voila, I ate it. As long as she covered the green foods, I’d even eat them. This is, of course, what later affected my ability to eat tomatoes.
I know what you’re thinking … weirdo. But there are more of us out there than you think. And it wasn’t something I could help. Before I could speak, I would spit green foods out. Peas made great projectiles, so my mom tells me.
Today, I’m a lot better. But a lot of those neuroses still exist.
I eat green things, somewhat. Spinach, broccoli, lettuce, lima beans, green peas … these are all part of my diet now. Of course, the spinach needs be part of a calzone, the broccoli needs to be steamed with butter and cheese or part of a fattening Chinese dish, and the green peas and lima beans need to be part of an amazing stew. It’s just the way it is. I still curse green beans and collard greens, and I always will.
Pieces don’t bother me as much, but the remnants of the aversion do exist. I LOVE banana pudding and eat it the way it’s supposed to be eaten, with the bananas. Salsa doesn’t need to be pureed (but I still don’t care for the green peppers). And cookies can have all kinds of nuts, I even add extra nuts when I bake them.
Mushy things? Ehhhh … we’ll see. I can’t eat mushrooms still, and I will probably always pick them out of my foods. But when making spaghetti, I’ll puree a can and add it. They add loads of flavor but I still can’t get around biting into one. I just shivered writing about it.
And here’s the breakthrough … I love steamed oysters! They are the mushiest food on earth, and I can eat a peck at a time. Of course, I had to be drinking to first try them … but they’re amazing. And I don’t just swallow them, I eat them!
I know, I know … amazing. What can I say?
Tomatoes are now doable, but never alone. On a sandwich or as large chunks in a stew; I will tolerate them. But my dad can eat one like an apple. I will never be able to do that.
And then there’s okra. Whoa. Mushy with seeds and green. Can we break more of my rules? I eat it now, but it has to breaded and fried. If it’s part of a gumbo or stew, no can do.
For those of you out there with picky eating habits, have faith. Your taste buds change, every seven years in fact. Wanna hear weird? I just met somone who can’t eat a Butterfinger … and they couldn’t tell me why!