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 Post subject: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:02 pm 
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Okay so the kiddo is mostly vegan and the husband is omni but eats whatever I make (usually). Lately neither one will eat what I make, or one of them will eat a little of what I make. I am so super sick of making food that they won't eat. The kiddo would happily eat nothing but pasta, bread, and bagels and the husband makes a box of kraft mac and cheese after dinner. Last night was actually particularly annoying but I'm still too pissed to even talk about it. So of course I have to make food for the kid and if I don't make food for the husband he'd probably be pissed about that, so help! Oh and I'm gluten free so I prefer to make gf meals so I don't have to make 2-3 different dinners a night.

Meals even the pickiest of eater will eat? Share annoying experiences of your own? Whatever.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:16 pm 
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Oh, that sucks appifanie! Did you maybe change your cooking routine or is it just them having a strange fit?

What kind of foods do they turn down? It's kind of difficult to think of things you could cook for them if we don't know what they do/don't like...

Maybe you could ask them what their favourite meals are, or what they would like to eat, and then cook that?

If the kiddo will only eat bread, pasta etc., maybe give him some pureed veggie sauce, soup, dip or spread to go with it?

Best of luck anyway! I hope they grow out of it soon.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:23 pm 
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I don't have any advice about the kid, but my GF is pretty picky. I try to involve my girlfriend in menu planning, and I send her recipes and stuff. She's usually pretty good about it. IMO if he's not willing to help you out then he doesn't have any room to complain.


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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:06 pm 
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thanks guys! last night i made the tamarind quinoa and the masala tofu from AFR - he didn't even try it or acknowledge that i'd made dinner, and she said she loved the tofu but barely ate any and made gagging faces at the quinoa.

i made vwav veggie burgers and some paprika potatoes the other day and they both hated the potatoes and kiddo wanted a plain roll instead and the husband said he loved the burger but later made mac and cheese.

maybe i've entered a cooking skill downfall - i know i was uninspired for awhile so i started trying to make new things and i feel better and i like what i make.

jon that theoretically makes sense but he always says he doesn't care. blargh.

gluten-y waffles for dinner tonight for them, leftovers for me.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:25 pm 
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I feel your pain! My husband will even make delicious things out of Vwav for me if I can't cook, but he won't really even taste them, and then makes himself 2 cans of Campbells Soup for dinner. I guess he and I have really different palates - he brought me vegan side dishes from a buffet that he thought were delicious and I thought they were gag inducing. They were super salty or sweet and made with canned veg that tasted like can and had a pre-digested texture ::gag::

We sometimes make the effort of a make your own taco night - just with beans and rice and tortillas - and then I add hot sauce, vegan cheese, avocado etc and he adds dairy cheese and salt. Sometimes we do a pasta where we make the dish and he takes his portion out before I add hot sauce or nooch . Even so, high praise from him is "this tastes okay." H e'd rather eat Boston Market or Burger King or soup from a can than the food I make. Even if I make cookies, he won't eat them because he'd rather eat a cake from Entemanns.

We tried the recipe thing - we sat down and leafed through recipes, but it was like pulling teeth to have him say he'd like to try something. I'm all like wow doesn't that sound good? And he is all like "I guess, maybe. If there isn't anything better." I don't know, there just didn't seem to be any will to find a dish he'd like.

I hope you find a solution, but I wonder if it can really be that people have different palates and neither is willing to change. And, at least for me, it is really hurtful because food is love in many ways so to cook for your partner and have them refuse to eat it or not acknowledge the effort, feels like a rejection. I loved being part of a meal group last year, because I actually got positive feedback about my cooking.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:41 pm 
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I'd say let the guy do whatever he wants, you have no obligation to try really hard for him when he just doesn't even care enough to show you appreciation for it. That might sound harsh but this makes me really pissed off.

I would focus on the kid! I don't know what she likes, but I've made this easy, mild and very tasty pasta once and it seemed pretty kid friendly: http://saralynnpaige.com/recipes/delici ... in-rotini/

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Last edited by pannkakan on Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:42 pm 
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Never mind this double post.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:25 pm 
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I don't really have any advice. I just wanted to acknowledge how much this must suck. I had my meat & potatoes omni family here for a couple days, and my nephew is the pickiest child I have ever met in my life. He didn't want a peanut butter sandwich because there were oats on the crust and they looked like coconut (his words; they actually just looked like oats), and he didn't want my chocolate chip pancakes because the chocolate chips looked like "burn spots."

I had planned to cook them at least one dinner, but we just ended up eating out every night instead.


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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:00 pm 
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my daughter used to be a great eater, people used to remark about how she ate her veggies, etc etc. At age 12 she eats only white food (we call it the racist diet)- white rice, white bread, mashed potatoes, plain pasta. And cans of corn. I try not to make a big deal about it, because it is only food, and I have learned very few things in my life but one is that getting worked up where kids are involved almost always makes the situation worse. And, when it counts, she can try odd foods and be civil in public, which is what counts for me, so I can't complain.
We have the rule- if you don't like what someone has made, be respectful and make your own. It works for all of us but to be honest my husband is food-blind and would eat the dog food if I let him (and there have been times when I had to stop him- to his credit i do cook the dog food, it's not out of a can).
T'lish, I hear you very much on the importance of food for different people. For me food is a huge part of life. It is intense and all-encompassing, sometimes waaaay more than it should be. But for Mr Torque, it's just not. He likes to eat food, but he doesn't have strong preferences, could eat the same fast food breakfast sandwich every meal for the rest of his natural life and be happy. He is kind and respectful and I can't complain about us all eating, but I know that at some points I have had to make the hard move of biting my tongue and saying "it is only food" instead of getting mad when i have slaved over some food that he used to love, only to find that he no longer likes this food, or even more likely can't remember having ever eaten it and absolutely Not Impressed, and it all goes into the dog bowl while he does the equivalent of heat up cans of soup.
I have struggled with food being 'more than food' for all my life, and this step of having to say out loud and work through the "only food" thing (with rude inlaws, my own even ruder family, with nasty kids, with the occasional cooking failure) means I have to at least *try* to believe it- harder than it looks. I think changing people is pretty much impossible- we can accommodate them more or less depending on how much we love them- so if you have your thoughts on the table, not demanding change or response, but just having said them with a "i love you just the way you are, and i'm not trying to change you, i just want you to know that i enjoy XX and feel upset because, at root, i wish you could share these things with me." or even better, "I only have twenty minutes to cook this !#%()* dinner and can only cook one thing we can both eat. What would you like me to make?" It may not change anything, but then you will know that you've been clear and done what you could.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:29 pm 
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My omni fiancee is picky...but he wont admit it. He will barely eat what i make sometimes.

So now when I make the list (I plan the whole weeks meals and shop on Sunday) I make sure he helps with the meal planning. It has helped a lot. He even gets excited for dinner now sometimes. (("Ooohhh! Taco Night!!"))

Maybe you could sit down with your family and make the meal plan for the week? (or at least a few days at a time?)


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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:26 pm 
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I think "make your own" meals are a good idea. There are a lot of options! Baked potato bar, nachos, burritos, pastas (with a basic sauce, everyone adds veggies, whatevs), taco, pizza, burgers, sandwiches, salads, bowls. Buy a bunch of toppings/condiments everyone will like with heavy input from the picky eaters and everyone can add as much or as little of each thing as they like.

As a fairly picky eater I do not like the unknown, so keeping things on the simple side with foods that don't have a ton of ingredients or spices may help.

Also, sometimes my fiancee and I just can't ever agree on what to eat for dinner and we'll go around in circles forever talking about it. So we have Meal Jar now! We went through all of the cookbooks and wrote down the recipes we could both always agree on. On a night we can't decide what to make we pull out three meals and pick one. It makes things much easier. Maybe you could do this with your family?

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:52 am 
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Nebraskalaska wrote:
Meal Jar

this is awesome! Sprog is starting to express interest in cooking, and I think this could be a great way for her to build a repertoire.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:02 am 
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Ah you guys are making me feel so lucky to have my boyfriend! Neither of us are completely vegan, but I cook almost exclusively vegan, (so that when we go out a splurge isn't so big of a deal) and since he's a personal trainer and is very concerned about nutrition he appreciates that. He oohs and aahs over EVERYTHING i make. I think once or twice since he moved in six months ago i got "ehh it wasn't your best" but since every other thing is "this is my new favorite, make this every night forever" i can appreciate the honest criticism.

soooo yeah. no advice, but you guys make me appreciate my boo.


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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:43 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
I feel your pain! My husband will even make delicious things out of Vwav for me if I can't cook, but he won't really even taste them, and then makes himself 2 cans of Campbells Soup for dinner. I guess he and I have really different palates - he brought me vegan side dishes from a buffet that he thought were delicious and I thought they were gag inducing. They were super salty or sweet and made with canned veg that tasted like can and had a pre-digested texture ::gag::

We sometimes make the effort of a make your own taco night - just with beans and rice and tortillas - and then I add hot sauce, vegan cheese, avocado etc and he adds dairy cheese and salt. Sometimes we do a pasta where we make the dish and he takes his portion out before I add hot sauce or nooch . Even so, high praise from him is "this tastes okay." H e'd rather eat Boston Market or Burger King or soup from a can than the food I make. Even if I make cookies, he won't eat them because he'd rather eat a cake from Entemanns.

We tried the recipe thing - we sat down and leafed through recipes, but it was like pulling teeth to have him say he'd like to try something. I'm all like wow doesn't that sound good? And he is all like "I guess, maybe. If there isn't anything better." I don't know, there just didn't seem to be any will to find a dish he'd like.

I hope you find a solution, but I wonder if it can really be that people have different palates and neither is willing to change. And, at least for me, it is really hurtful because food is love in many ways so to cook for your partner and have them refuse to eat it or not acknowledge the effort, feels like a rejection. I loved being part of a meal group last year, because I actually got positive feedback about my cooking.


I'm right there with you. My partner is not only a picky omni with very traditional Belgian meat and potato tastes, but he's got Crohn's and some undefined food allergies. So when I do make something vegan, he's always suspicious that it'll poison him or make his throat itchy. I know these problems are real, but sometimes wonder if just hearing the word "vegan" makes his throat itch because when I make a meal from scratch for him using ingredients he's never had a problem with before, he almost inevitably complains that he's having a reaction to something.

He's also got a very different sensibility about making food. At home, I'm all about fresh ingredients: fresh broccoli, carrots, onions, tofu, whatever, and I have a pantry full of things like tamari, tahini, various oils and sundry spices, etc. He, on the other hand, lives on frozen stuff: frozen fries, frozen mashed potatoes, frozen burgers, frozen sausages, frozen fish in sauce, all prepared in the microwave, deep fryer, or pan. He very sweetly stocks up on frozen meat analogues (that aren't half bad) for when I'm here, and there are also frozen veggies, but it's so not how I would eat if given a choice. Unfortunately, it's how his kitchen is set up, so when I'm here (it's a long-distance relationship and I'm here for 4-5 days every two weeks), I'll make do, and most days will make us a batch of fries or fried (canned) potato to share, plus a frozen veg dish stewed (with water, olive oil, and sugar) to within an inch of its life in the microwave, which is one of the only way he'll eat veggies. Then I'll heat up some meat for him and a meat analogue for me. On some days we just take care of ourselves, and I'll try to make the best of his frozen bounty (last night was a veggie schnitzel in a pita with mustard, some fresh arugula I splurged on, and a bowl of brussel sprouts cooked in the microwave with shoyu and sesame oil - both bought by me and never used by him). He'll usually just make a sandwich then or some days graze through a variety of less-than-healthy snacks. He did try a bite of my sprouts last night and declared them "not bad", which gives me a glimmer of hope.

When we're at my place (which for logistical reasons happens less often and for shorter periods) he will try stuff I make but it's always a crepes shoot as to whether it'll make him itchy/sick, and I can only think of one item he's ever raved about (Isa's chocolate pudding pie - he didn't even like the hot chocolate snickerdoodle cookies even though I left out the cayenne, which I knew he wouldn't like). When I made the Dilly Stew with Rosemary Dumplings (minus the Crohn-unfriendly beans) for him (which I really thought he'd like - it has very traditional flavors and the veggies he likes cooked until they're soft) he ate half a bowl, left the dumplings (which I then gorged myself on) and proclaimed "well, the curry's nicely flavored". I can't for the life of me figure out which ingredient triggered "curry" on his tongue, and he still teases me about how yummy my "curry" was.

I try not to let it get to me, but since going vegan I've been really excited about cooking for the first time in my life, and it bums me out that I can't share my enthusiasm for it with the person I love. I try to go with the "it's just food" thinking that torque mentions, and just enjoy the days I can cook for myself in my own kitchen in the weeks I'm alone at my place. But sometimes it's hard to not get frustrated. And wonder what it will be like if we ever decide to live together. All this is a very long way of saying that I feel your pain, appifanie, and Tofulish, and all the other folks dealing with picky eaters.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:52 am 
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I agree with Nebraskalaska. Think up a list of meals everyone likes, and try to cook from those meals more often. Our go-to meals are stir fry, lasagna, pasta with tomato sauce, chili, kale and soba, cholent, rice cooker couscous with chickpeas and broccoli, black bean soup, fried rice, nachos, taco salad, veggie burgers, chickpea cutlets, baked potatoes with broccoli and seitan, and tacos. And we have a list of vegetables we both like and can eat to go with all of these.

We eat other things, but these are dishes we can both agree on and whip up without much thought.


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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:22 pm 
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I agree to focus on the kiddo, since your spouse can fend for himself if needed. Also, when I was growing up, if we didn't like what was being served we had a second go-to option which was mostly a PB&J and we always had carrot/celery sticks with dinner so overall, not too bad a meal. I'd say the rule shold be she has to try a bite of what you make (helps if Dad does it too) and then she can have the back up if she wants.

Trader Joe's sells frozen plain pasta and combined with jarred tomato sauce could be another quick backup option. If she likes baked beans, serve that with frozen brown rice and stir a few spoonfuls of canned pumpkin into the beans. Or keep cans of her favourite soup around, or make a bunch of something she likes and freeze the leftovers. Can you tell I like my microwave? Its just easy to nuke something while you are fiddling around on the stove or whatever making your own yummy thing.

Feel your pain! When I eat with my family, we end up doing "make your own" pizzas or tacos ALWAYS and I wish I could branch out to something more exotic but there's too much pickiness.


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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:25 pm 
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To me, it sounds like your husband is just extra hungry. If he eats your food and then feels the need to make a separate meal after, he might not be eating enough to fill him up the first time around. There's nothing you can really do about that besides slapping an extra portion on his plate.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:55 pm 
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My omni husband usually eats the vegan meal I cook for dinner and then will go and make himself hot dogs or macaroni or whatever later in the evening. He doesn't usually eat enough at dinner to keep him full all evening and he gets hungrier later on. It used to bother me (hello...just eat more for dinner!) but I've since gotten used to it. Now the only reason it irritates me is that I wake up to a kitchen with dirty dishes from his night time cooking.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:58 pm 
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I concur with having "make your own" dish nights. It's fun and versatile and everyone has a choice! I was one of those picky eaters when I was a kid and it took becoming a vegan to try new foods. So if your kid doesn't like tamarind or quinoa at her age, I wouldn't be surprised. I guess I'd just try to make more nutritious versions of her favorite dishes and build off that, maybe working in certain items slowly until she likes them. And ditto on not worrying about the husband.

My boyfriend is vegan, so I'm lucky, and he's not a very picky eater. In fact, there's nothing that he really dislikes that I don't dislike as well (e.g. olives). On the other hand, he is very impatient when it comes to menu planning, and although we technically live in separate apartments, we spend a lot of time together and cook many meals together as well. I know he'll usually eat what I make unless it's sweet or too rich, but the problem is that right now he's contributing a lot towards groceries for us! And I can't simply pick up something in the store without me giving him a good reason that I should buy it; I've literally had to beg him to purchase simple groceries before, but then this is a guy who would literally eat "stir fries" for dinner consisting of semi-raw onions and cabbage (Totally not kidding! No rice or anything!), soooo... I don't know how to get through to him. I've sat down with him at the dinner table with cookbooks and highlighted recipes, shown him images of yummy food from cookbooks, and lots of other things. He just finds menu planning so boring and won't pay any attention to me. :/

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:03 am 
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of course tofulish gets it! we'll move near each other and the men can eat crepe and we'll alternate making good meals for us and the kids.

pann, harsh, but i totally feel that way sometimes!

creep - my kiddo won't eat chocolate chip pancakes! i make hers plain and then throw in chips for the husband.

chicki I actually had a meal plan so that every week sundays were tacos and mondays were pancakes and so on, but I fell off of it - I should probably get back on that.

meal jar is good! livi might think it's fun that way.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:08 am 
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lepelaar wrote:
I try not to let it get to me, but since going vegan I've been really excited about cooking for the first time in my life, and it bums me out that I can't share my enthusiasm for it with the person I love. I try to go with the "it's just food" thinking that torque mentions, and just enjoy the days I can cook for myself in my own kitchen in the weeks I'm alone at my place. But sometimes it's hard to not get frustrated. And wonder what it will be like if we ever decide to live together. All this is a very long way of saying that I feel your pain, appifanie, and Tofulish, and all the other folks dealing with picky eaters.


same for me! i never liked to cook until i went vegan and bought vwav and it is frustrating.

livi does know she has to try at least one bite but she'll sometimes say no to a whole dinner. bah. she also doesn't do beans, and she doesn't like most soups.

fee - maybe sometimes - i'll try to keep that in mind.

lobster - right! learn to clean up after oneself.

qop - she does like plain quinoa. with grains she smushes them flat and calls them pie (quinoa pie, rice pie, whatever) and then she'll eat it.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 5:16 am 
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Fee wrote:
To me, it sounds like your husband is just extra hungry. If he eats your food and then feels the need to make a separate meal after, he might not be eating enough to fill him up the first time around. There's nothing you can really do about that besides slapping an extra portion on his plate.

My omni flatmate happily eats anything I cook for dinner, but will always, without fail, have a sandwich/mini meal a couple of hours later. I used to get pissed off about this, thinking "why did you say you liked it if you didn't", till I realised he just needs to eat a lot more than I do.

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:36 pm 
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My husband an I have a rule. Taste it if you dont like it then make something else or starve and I wont make it again. With bot my toddler and my husband i try to pair tried and true things with new things but its not always feasible. Sounds like he usually isn't such a jerk. Which is good.... but if all else fails, I find a swift kick to the junk usuallyy knocks the jerk out of my husband (kidding)

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:39 pm 
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Location: Cliffbar NJ
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 was shocked. Things may well change again, but it was so nice to eat a meal together/

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 Post subject: Re: Cooking for Picky Eaters
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:48 am 
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Heart of Vegan Marshmallow
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Posts: 3086
Location: The Bene
Yay, Tofulish! That's great news. Here's hoping it's a sign of things to come.

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