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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:35 pm 
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bringing this thread back as a result of both of them hating the barley casserole from the kind life and my food stress related tears after that.

Tofulish wrote:
My husband has eaten my cooking for 2 days in a row! I've made Indian dishes, just adjusted to take out the spicy heat. I went heavier than normal on the oil, too, just to give him more of a sense of being "full." I used the AFR recipe for Eggplant and Chickpea curry and the Biriyani, and he actually pronounced it "fantastic."


i can't make anything ethnic from the chunk of the world that is india/iraq/afghanistan because he's been deployed to that area of the world 3 times so he's blocking it all out.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:54 pm 
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Oh, I forgot that for about three weeks he ate my cooking! We then went back to a refusing to eat what I cook, which is still ongoing. I make healthy, organic, delicious food for me and Leela and then he opens a can of Campbells Soup with a sleeve of Ritz crackers or stops at BK on the way home. Even if he liked something on one day, he might hate it on another. So I have just given up. He brought me food to taste that he thinks is vegan and delicious and it tasted like salt and yuck, so I just figure we have different palates. Honestly, it has made my life easier that I just make enough for me and L though it is probably not great for our relationship because we don't eat together.

Can you buy prepackaged food and give it to him as an alternative? Or make double batches of stuff he likes and freeze them in single portions?

Also, can you just make a few meals that he likes regularly? Brett really doesn't like variety apparently. That way you could eat together on 3 days and he can fend for himself on 4 days.

Brett won't even eat vegan waffles. He makes them for me and Leela and then makes eggs for himself.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:15 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
I just figure we have different palates.

Yeah, this is most of my problem cooking with most of the other people in my life--that they have what I call meatloaf-and-mashed potato palates. They like things that are safe and familiar and not adventurous. My sister once told me the problem with my cooking (when she doesn't like my stuff, because there is a lot she actually does like) is that I cook with "too much spice" and she doesn't mean too much heat spice, she means too many flavors--more than she's used to. I guess I've been cooking for years and my palate has evolved with it, but I try to keep in mind when serving my loved ones that their palates have not necessarily transformed along with mine.

My sister took one of my burrito dishes home a while back and told me she didn't like it ("too much spice/too flavorful") and I'd served a group of friends a very similar dish and so after my sister tried it, I was self-conscious that my friends had only pretended to like it when they ate it, so I polled my friends recently if they'd liked that particular dish I'd served because my sister said she hadn't like a similar one and they said they genuinely liked it--which is a relief. I don't want people faking they like my stuff, either. When cooking for someone, of course you really want them to like it!

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:30 pm 
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I am lucky, my husband would rather suffer through my meal then prepare another for himself. Someone on here I think suggested it, but we rate all our meals on a 1-10 scale and 6 and above can get made again, although I usually only repeat 8-10s. I always write notes in my cookbooks about my young girls and husbands likes. I have now been going at it long enough to know a few meals that are always a hit. Like tonight, we did No-Queso Quesadillas (from Vegan Table) with refried beans, mashed avocado, and salads. I thought I burned them because it was the first time cooking them I my new cast iron pan, but really they browned up nicely and tasted awesome. My husband even told me he loved them. With my daughters, if they don't gag, I know they don't really dislike it, and I encourage them to eat with all of my being. The story of my life right now is "encouraging" my 2 and 4.5 year old to eat.

Best hits are:
whole wheat noodles with marinara sauce, green beans, garlic bread
peanutty perfection noodles (Chloe's Kitchen)
tofu peanut stir fry, I make it slightly different each time
homemade burgers, oven potatoes
tofu fried rice (if I cut up the veggies super small, they all get eaten)
chili and cornbread
chickpea cutlets
mac and cheese
bean and rice tacos/burritos with the fixings
most all soups with homemade bread
And husbands all-time favorite is MooShu Vegetables with homemade Chinese pancakes

For the record, I can read disappointment on my husband's face, so when he doesn't like a meal, I get really offended. Usually he eats it though and I just make him a yummy smoothie later on to make up for it. Same with my girls. The rule is, if there is nothing known to be yucky in the meal, they have to eat it. If make something like brussel sprouts (which my daughter actually gagged up once) I then make a kid friendly sub for them.

*Just saw you are gluten free, but it seems like all of my cookbooks give notes on how to change the recipe for that*


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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:01 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
Oh, I forgot that for about three weeks he ate my cooking! We then went back to a refusing to eat what I cook, which is still ongoing. I make healthy, organic, delicious food for me and Leela and then he opens a can of Campbells Soup with a sleeve of Ritz crackers or stops at BK on the way home. Even if he liked something on one day, he might hate it on another. So I have just given up. He brought me food to taste that he thinks is vegan and delicious and it tasted like salt and yuck, so I just figure we have different palates. Honestly, it has made my life easier that I just make enough for me and L though it is probably not great for our relationship because we don't eat together.

Can you buy prepackaged food and give it to him as an alternative? Or make double batches of stuff he likes and freeze them in single portions?

Also, can you just make a few meals that he likes regularly? Brett really doesn't like variety apparently. That way you could eat together on 3 days and he can fend for himself on 4 days.

Brett won't even eat vegan waffles. He makes them for me and Leela and then makes eggs for himself.


yeah i think it just depends on the moon phases or whatever! ha. I'm making a schedule again and i'll see how that goes for a week or two.

he won't eat vegan waffles? that's weird. will always eats all waffles or pancakes - he sometimes drowns them in country crock and cool whip, but whatever! :D

seitanic - that's good info about too many spices - i'll keep that in mind!

enmommy wrote:
I am lucky, my husband would rather suffer through my meal then prepare another for himself. Someone on here I think suggested it, but we rate all our meals on a 1-10 scale and 6 and above can get made again, although I usually only repeat 8-10s. I always write notes in my cookbooks about my young girls and husbands likes. I have now been going at it long enough to know a few meals that are always a hit. Like tonight, we did No-Queso Quesadillas (from Vegan Table) with refried beans, mashed avocado, and salads. I thought I burned them because it was the first time cooking them I my new cast iron pan, but really they browned up nicely and tasted awesome. My husband even told me he loved them. With my daughters, if they don't gag, I know they don't really dislike it, and I encourage them to eat with all of my being. The story of my life right now is "encouraging" my 2 and 4.5 year old to eat.

Best hits are:
whole wheat noodles with marinara sauce, green beans, garlic bread
peanutty perfection noodles (Chloe's Kitchen)
tofu peanut stir fry, I make it slightly different each time
homemade burgers, oven potatoes
tofu fried rice (if I cut up the veggies super small, they all get eaten)
chili and cornbread
chickpea cutlets
mac and cheese
bean and rice tacos/burritos with the fixings
most all soups with homemade bread
And husbands all-time favorite is MooShu Vegetables with homemade Chinese pancakes

For the record, I can read disappointment on my husband's face, so when he doesn't like a meal, I get really offended. Usually he eats it though and I just make him a yummy smoothie later on to make up for it. Same with my girls. The rule is, if there is nothing known to be yucky in the meal, they have to eat it. If make something like brussel sprouts (which my daughter actually gagged up once) I then make a kid friendly sub for them.

*Just saw you are gluten free, but it seems like all of my cookbooks give notes on how to change the recipe for that*


that's a good idea about the rating scale! i do sometimes write who likes or doesn't like a recipe but the more info the better! oh and the gagging kid thing drives me nuts! livi will take a bite and make that face and then the gagging face and it just makes me so cranky. my husband wouldn't ever even try a smoothie but the kid likes some.

tonight is pancakes, that's all i know so far.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:48 am 
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Bumping this thread to say that now that J. and I are more or less living together (we have separate places but adjacent to each other), we've basically come to the conclusion that we're best off taking care of ourselves food wise.

We both made a game go of it to start off with. He basically said he would try anything I made for him, and I went out of my way to pick recipes that I thought would be palatable to him and would not affect his Crohn's or his allergies. But despite picking what I would consider safe comfort food type items (shepherd's pie with tvp, veggie noodle soup from Vegan Diner, spaghetti bolognese with soy crumble, and most recently, this chunky carrot soup with homemade seitan sausages) he basically admitted to me today that it's just not working for him. He doesn't like the taste of a lot of the analogues (and I've been avoiding beans - which he can't digest - and the "scarier" vegan stuff like tofu/tempeh) and told me that some of it tasted like soap to him. Whenever he eats something I make, he's worried if it's going to upset his stomach or give him an itchy throat. Basically, over the years he was a bachelor, he figured out the extremely narrow range of food that works for him and wants to stick with that. Fair dues. We're going to eat the one safe meal we've figured out for both of us (fried potatoes, salad, and prepackaged meat for him/store-bought vegan schnitzel for me) once a week, so that we can still enjoy eating together once in a while, and other than that, we'll take care of ourselves.

On the one hand, it's something of a relief. Now I can try a bunch of recipes that I think I'll like and not have to worry if it's too weird or too spicy or too hard to digest for him. I can go back to cooking like I did when I was single. But in a way, it makes me sad. I mean, I think it's a good solution, and I'll probably be able to enjoy cooking more catering only to myself. So I'm not complaining. But it does make me a little wistful when I read about people sharing awesome vegan meals with their partner.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:14 am 
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lepelaar wrote:
and told me that some of it tasted like soap to him.
Do you use cilantro/coriander leaves? Some people taste bitterness or soapiness when they eat it. I think it's genetic.

My ex and I went through a very similar process to you. While there were some veggie things he liked, he was quite unadventurous in terms of food and basically only wanted to eat noodles and rice and chicken and cheese. We just had different palates. We relaxed a lot when we realised he didn't like anything that wasn't boring the same few familiar meals and that cooking separately was okay.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:00 pm 
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Gulliver wrote:
lepelaar wrote:
and told me that some of it tasted like soap to him.
Do you use cilantro/coriander leaves? Some people taste bitterness or soapiness when they eat it. I think it's genetic.



Nope. No cilantro. He mentioned it specifically when I'd made spaghetti bolognese with tvp and sauce from a jar. The tvp was reconstituted with veggie broth, a splash of tamari and a splash of liquid smoke. The jar sauce is the one he uses when he makes his own meat-based bolognese, so it wasn't that that bothered him. He swears it was the tvp that tasted like soap to him.

As I mentioned earlier, I once made the dilly stew from the PPK blog and he thought it tasted like curry, so clearly we're into weird taste territory here.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:51 pm 
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Does sound like he's got some screwy taste buds! That sucks though. Maybe when you make something that should make his stomach flare up you could get him to taste it, without him having to commit to eating a whole meal of it. Maybe you guys will find something else to share over time.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:16 pm 
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That's rough on both of you, lepelaar. From his perspective, it must be uncomfortable never knowing how a new food will affect his digestion. And of course, it sucks trying really hard to make something that fits all the requirements and still have it rejected, however nicely.


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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:51 pm 
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*shouldn't! Otherwise it sounds like I think you want to destroy his guts. Which I don't!

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:35 pm 
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lepelaar wrote:
Bumping this thread to say that now that J. and I are more or less living together (we have separate places but adjacent to each other)

You are Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter! Adjacent living!

Don't be sad about mealtimes though! You live next door, so cook your meal and then chum over with it on a warm plate! I know that's not ideal, but probably it's too late to be changing your beau's mind about things. You can still eat together though :)

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:32 pm 
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Both of my kids are picky and in different ways, which is super fun. My DD does not like flavors to mix. DS is more random in his pickyness. What I do for DD is often take out components of our meal before they get mixed or sauced. So she is having a similar dinner to the rest of us, just sort of deconstructed. My rule for DS is that he has to try a bite, and if he doesn't like it, he can have something else. But that something else is usually boring like toast. I have no problem with him eating a plain bun when the rest of us are having veggie dogs. DD has her veggie dog cut into pieces, and her bun separate too. When I make tofu and avocado sushi, DS has all of the components in bowl form because he is still little and has trouble with sushi rolls. DD has the tofu in one pile, the rice separate, and she would never eat something mushy like an avocado even if her life depended on it. If I am making a pasta sauce they don't like, they get some of their noodles set aside and get marinara sauce on them.

I don't know how possible it is to amend meals like that. It isn't quite like making completely separate meals, and still exposes them to new tastes while also respecting that they are individuals with their own tastes in food.


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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:27 am 
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Moon wrote:
Does sound like he's got some screwy taste buds! That sucks though. Maybe when you make something that should make his stomach flare up you could get him to taste it, without him having to commit to eating a whole meal of it. Maybe you guys will find something else to share over time.


Moon wrote:
*shouldn't! Otherwise it sounds like I think you want to destroy his guts. Which I don't!


Ha! No worries. I figured that was a typo. Anyway, I generally do offer him a bite of what I'm eating in the hopes that he'll give it a try, but he's often way too wary of my "strange" food.

mollyjade wrote:
That's rough on both of you, lepelaar. From his perspective, it must be uncomfortable never knowing how a new food will affect his digestion. And of course, it sucks trying really hard to make something that fits all the requirements and still have it rejected, however nicely.


Thanks, mollyjade. Yeah, food has been one of the biggest tensions in our relationship because we both want to please the other, but we're just at such odds about what to eat. It's actually kind of a relief to just accept it and stop trying.

interrobang?! wrote:
lepelaar wrote:
Bumping this thread to say that now that J. and I are more or less living together (we have separate places but adjacent to each other)

You are Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter! Adjacent living!

Don't be sad about mealtimes though! You live next door, so cook your meal and then chum over with it on a warm plate! I know that's not ideal, but probably it's too late to be changing your beau's mind about things. You can still eat together though :)


I didn't know they lived like that! I always think of it like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

But yeah, that's what I usually do, bring my big bowl over to his place and eat dinner in the living room with him. Although he doesn't usually eat at the same time. We'll basically each get our food whenever we want and bring it back to the living room where we spend most of our hanging out time. So there's still the togetherness. I think the thing that makes me sad (and I need to let go of) is the idea of being excited about food and wanting to share that with him. But as Torque says upthread, it's just food. If this is our biggest stumbling block, I think we're doing ok.

DEG, it sounds like you've got a good solution for your picky eaters, although it does create some extra work for you. I kind of like the idea of the deconstructed food, but I imagine it's a pain always having to take that into consideration.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:55 pm 
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Perhaps you two can just bond over dessert?

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:08 pm 
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My boyfriend will eat most anything I make him, after I threw a huge fit over him refusing to try a lunch I packed him, saying he'd wait until he got home to eat. He likes everything more or less, but often feels it's not enough of a "meal" without meat. . . or. . . here's the kick: "meat-like" products. Boca, Tofurky,etc.: fine. Seitan: fine. Tofu: fine. But if the meal's main protein is beans, it's not enough of a meal. My omniboy is a strange omni. . .

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:27 am 
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Moon wrote:
Perhaps you two can just bond over dessert?


Sadly, we can't even agree on dessert. I've only ever made one dessert that he really enjoyed, the chocolate pudding pie from the PPK blog, and I'll admit that even then, it may have just been that he was in an altered state (he was visiting me in Amsterdam, hint hint) and thought that everything tasted good. Since then I've tried various things out on him: chocolate chip cookies, hot chocolate snickerdoodles (without the cayenne), mocha chip oatmeal cookies, banana marble cake, the best pumpkin muffins. He's always politely eaten one and then said I could eat the rest. Meh, more cookies for me, I guess.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:34 pm 
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Boo! That is hard.

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