I was a very picky eater as a child and adolescent, and it continued into young adulthood until I met my husband. Last week, my dad watched as my daughter made loud smacking noises with her hand in her mouth. He joked that he never had to worry about me putting anything into my mouth as a baby or toddler because I was scared it would be food!
My dad raved about how I would eat green peppers like they were apples, and that I loved grapefruit, but meals were a bit of a battle. To this day when I get sick, my comfort food is pablum (infant cereal) and a jar of banana or chicken and rice baby puree. In fact, I distinctly remember taking a flight in kindergarten, and my dad’s camera bag was filled with jars of baby food for me to eat on the plane while he had packed his camera gear in with the luggage.
My husband still calls me a picky eater, despite the fact that I am now at least willing to try everything once. This is something I would have never done before. His sister has coined me a “particular” eater, while others have just chalked it up to the fact that I was a spoiled only child. The following may make you think that my parents indulged me, but perhaps there’s more of a method to my madness than even I ever realized.
My mom says she always made three meals for our family at dinner time. One for herself (rice, meat vegetables), one for my dad (something more North American), and one for me – I remember macaroni with butter and rice and butter being two favorites. Basically something plain. Even when we went to McDonald’s I had a plain hamburger – no ketchup, no mustard, no pickles, no onion slurry. To this day that is still what I order there, because the outer edge of the inside of the bun has this deliciously crispy ring around it that disappears with condiments. I’m not fussy about the food on my plate touching the other food and absorbing their flavors, but would rather enjoy my rice all by itself than smothered in curry. Growing up this would usually generate the response, “It’s all going to the same place anyway.”