My sister and cousin actually helped me come up with this post when we were discussing some of the food I had posted on my Instagram that I did not like. My sister, Shelby, came up with the line “some cooks just can’t be trusted” I took that quote and ran.
I can’t tell you how many times somebody’s told me about their all time favorite recipe that they know I’ll love and can’t wait to make me. They believe that, because it’s food I like, I’m sure to love it. I mean, everyone they make it for really likes it, so why should I be different? Then I get to the table, the meal is set before me, and I immediately regret everything. A number of things could be, in my opinion, “wrong” with the food that others would never thinks is an issue. There could be a crazy spices on there I’ve never tried and am unsure of, the chicken could be in cooked a way I’ve never had before or, even worse, the bone could still be in the chicken. (I do not like bone-in chicken, that’s just a big thing for me. Seeing a bone in my meat then a meeting freaks me out.)
Then there are those people who, just to be honest, don’t know what they are doing in the kitchen. I know I’m not the world’s greatest chef, I’m not even my home’s go-to chef, but I know good food when I see it. There are so many times I sit down to a meal and wonder who else would eat it because they really liked it, rather than just to be polite. But, I eat it anyway. Even if it’s just one little bite and then saying “oh you know I ate such a big lunch I really can’t eat anymore but this is great, can I take some home?” I know that’s not the most honest way to go about it but it’s just being real with you guys. It happens more often than you think.
I often wonder if not-so-great cooks are aware of their their short comings. Then there are times I wonder if they just don’t that much that their food doesn’t taste that great. You know those people, the ones that just want to eat, regardless if the food isn’t the best.
I’m already a nervous wreck when eating with new people, and it’s so much worse if they are the ones cooking. What if I offend them? What if they think my picky eating is selfish or entitled? But when the food is bad it gets so. much. worse. I, 1) Start feeling guilty for not liking the food, and 2) try to avoid eating with them again. It’s sad, but it’s true.
I bet a number of you are reading this and thinking “what’s the big deal? It’s just food, it’s not like you’re dying.” But the thing is fear is one of the driving forces behind ARFID. It honestly can get to the point that it’s inescapable at any meal, especially when I have no idea what’s about to be served to me. My fiancé gives me a hard time for having a general need to know and control (no one’s thrown me a successful surprise party for instance), but it’s tenfold when it comes to my food. I think this need has largely developed because of all the times I try food that someone promised me I’d like, only to find out I hated it. That’s not to say I will write off any food anybody serves me. It’s just that I’ve come to recognize that I need to know what I’m being served and, at points, need to have a say in what’s being cooked. That’s not a comfortable conversation for me to have though, so I need to eat with the cooks I can trust.
The thing is, 9 times out of 10 people are OK with me giving input on the food we’re having for dinner. My brother-in-law Michael made a good point about this a while back. People really do want me to enjoy my meal and don’t want me to suffer through in silence. So it’s better to say what I’ll like and get over my fear of them getting frustrated or disappointed.
So, back to the topic at hand. Some cooks aren’t aware of how bad their recipes are. Or they love to make something a certain way, without thinking others might not like it or if it just isn’t good. These are the cooks I tend to not eat with.
I have to be honest about that chili I tried on slow cooker Thursday. It was bad. Even my sister said it didn’t look good and she loves chili. She won the chili cooking contest with her church last year. She immediately told me ideas of what I could do to make that she’ll be better, or how to make a completely different kind of chilly and thought I would probably have more success with. My cousin, Kylie, also chimed in with the recipe she really likes to make. It’s called jalapeño chili. I’m sorry sis, but I’m not so sure about that one. Maybe in a year or two.
When I try chili again, I will probably go with some of the tips Shelby gave me to make something I’ll like. Like using chicken instead of beef, committing chili blasphemy and not adding beans, etc. But I don’t see that happening for a while because all I can think about is how that chili tasted at work.
What Can You Take Away From This?
If you are the picky eater, then be aware of the cook. What do they usually like to eat? What are they planning on making? If you don’t like it, will they be willing to change the recipe to your liking? If not, the next question I’d ask is…why are you eating with them?
If your child is the picky eater, then be willing to support them by talking to whoever is cooking about your Little’s picky eating. It doesn’t have to be anything major, like telling them to not make the meal they were planning on. But ask that some key ingredients be left out, if possible. Lots of kids don’t like onions (it took me until high school before I even tried onion rings [easiest way to introduce onions to your child]) so if your child doesn’t like them, simply ask that it be removed from some of the dish. Maybe ask what sides will be included (rolls are a very easy side to include) or even ask if you could bring some! Rolls, carrots, and corn have been my jam at family meals for as long as I can remember. They have saved me from extreme hanger and held me over until dessert. Find your kid’s favorite sides and bring them with so they know there will be something they’ll like.