Picky and Particular

I am NOT picky! I am not a PICKY eater. I am a PARTICULAR eater.

While these may seem the same to you, they aren’t. Let me explain. A “picky eater” is someone who hates everything, even when (especially when) they have never tried it. I find that a lot of “picky eaters” are that way because of the way they ate growing up or because of the foods and cooking styles they have, or have not, been exposed to. I’ve met adult men who won’t eat anything green – no salad, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, green apples…. Now that’s picky! Kids who only eat Mac & Cheese, hot dogs and chicken nuggets…Now that’s picky! Picky eaters never learned to ENJOY their food and they complain about food – ALL THE TIME!

A “particular eater” is someone who will try anything, but wants it prepared according to their specifications. Dressing on the side, sauce on the side, vegetables on a separate plate, hold the onions. I seriously will try ALMOST anything. There are a few food things that I just can’t stomach and will not eat: melon (except watermelon), caraway, black licorice and peanuts (except in Thai food). Yes, I eat Steak & Kidney Pie. Yes, I eat Haggis. Yes, I love sweetbreads. I do not however like fish or chicken in red sauce – not sure why – I love chicken; I love fish, but only with no sauce or white sauce…go figure. I love tomato sauce, but not on fish or chicken. Did you see When Harry Met Sally? Let’s just say Sally had nothing on me.

When we go out to eat, and that tends to be often, I will frequently say to the server, “I have questions about the menu.” John invariably chimes in with, “Of course you do.” I just want to make sure what I am ordering is what I think I am getting and I want to make sure I am going to enjoy it! I figure if we are paying for it, I should know what is in it and how it is prepared just to make sure my dining experience is a good one. I consider this being a good consumer, not a picky eater.

Of course there are exceptions. When eating in a Swank Joint, I rarely ask for anything other than the way the Chef prepares it, but I do ask about my food allergy items and the aforementioned “no way” list. If those items are in a dish, I just don’t order it. I TRUST these Chefs to make the food correctly and to make it well. Recently while in a Latin Fusion restaurant, I noticed they had Paella on the menu. I was quite excited! My Paella tastes like chicken and rice – I have never mastered that dish even after living in Spain for more than 3 years, so I enjoy it when out. I asked what fish was in it and I was told CATFISH! Needless to say I was mortified and informed them, “That’s unfortunate because there is no catfish in Spanish cooking – I know, I used to live there.” I chose something else off the menu and was disappointed anyway and probably won’t go back there. Again, this is PARTICULAR, not picky.

I am forever intrigued and surprised by food and my taste-buds. For years I told people I didn’t like lamb and pork. It turns out that I do like it, I thought there was only one was to make it and I didn’t like THAT way. And foods that I really used to like – like peanuts and peanut butter – are now on the “no way” list. Because I am particular and NOT picky, I continuously find that I am enticed and lured by new flavors and flavor combinations and awakened to OLD flavors that are new to me now.

This week’s Food Memories are Buffet Shenanigans with an old friend from High School, really great gazpacho in Flagstaff from locally sourced veggies and BBQ Ribs with my main squeeze for Father’s Day. This week’s pic is from the BBQ. Until next week – go out and make your own Food Memories!