When Did Anderson Cooper Come Out…

As a fussy eater?

It seems that Anderson also dislikes fruit and vegetables. I am baffled at why he would attempt to eat spinach on the air. That’s not exactly what I would select as the first vegetable to try – and I certainly wouldn’t want to try it in front of millions of people. He might have been better off trying sweet potato fries, or honey glazed roasted carrots. Then again, I don’t know what kinds of food Anderson does like. I tried those because I have a sweet tooth. I don’t know if he does. What I do know is that you are more likely to enjoy something that has the same qualities as something else you like. That’s why sweet vegetables were a little more palatable to me than celeriac which is firmly planted in the dislike category, just slightly above the “Stroganoff Column“. Work with what you like and you are more likely to find new foods you’ll eat.





No Matter How You Slice It

A strange thing happened last night. My wife got home early and did the grocery shopping and prepared a meatloaf for dinner. That’s not the strange part, even though I tend to do most of the shopping since the grocery store is on my way home from work. She picked up Betty Crocker Butter and Herb Potatoes and a bag of frozen green beans to go with it. This is where it gets a little strange.

She picked up whole green beans. Normally when I shop, I get cut green beans. I mentioned to her that I prefer cut green beans and she said she preferred whole green beans. She also likes french cut green beans, which I don’t like. That just seemed to make no sense to me when I thought about it. They are still green beans no matter how you slice them (or don’t). How they are cut shouldn’t affect how they taste.

As best as I can tell, I must associate french cut green beans with some dish I didn’t like as a child, although I don’t recall anything. I suspect that may be true for other foods as well. The fact that I don’t eat apples now may have something to do with not liking applesauce as a child. Are there any foods you don’t like because of a dish you didn’t like as a child?

George Carlin – Fussy Eater

George Carlin did a whole routine about fussy eating. He actually covered a lot of the same reasons I’ve given for not liking something – like the way it looks. He also covers not liking food you haven’t tried.

If you watched it all the way thru, I have a question for you. Have you eaten a box of cookies?

The Bitter End

So far I’ve examined some of the more subjective reasons that some people are fussy eaters. Today, I want to look into one of the more scientific reasons. Some fussy eaters dislike bitter foods. Well, it turns out that may have it’s roots in the early days of hunting and gathering. These days we know what plants are poisonous and avoid them by name or sight. Back then, they had to rely more on taste and, apparently, a lot of poisonous plants have a bitter taste. If you ate them you would get sick and possibly die. Early man often had a dislike of the bitter tastes of these plants. Maybe it was from seeing others eat berries and die. Perhaps they ate them, got sick and lived – only to avoid them in the future. Who knows?

To this day, some people dislike bitter foods. Could that be part of an age-old defense mechanism? Perhaps. Still, why some people choose to eat foods like sour cream or Limburger cheese is beyond me. I suppose it has something to do with people not dying after eating them. Personally, I’m not about to take the chance.

Fear of the Unknown

I’ve discussed some of the reasons I don’t like some foods – like the way it smells, feels, or looks. I started to think about a lot of the foods I don’t like, or rather, say I don’t like – even some of the ones I now eat like tacos. As I thought about it more, I realized that sometimes it’s just a fear of the unknown.

It’s a little hard to admit, but sometimes I won’t try something just because I’m afraid of how it might taste. Even if it doesn’t smell bad or look bad I’m still worried that it will somehow gross me out. Fortunately, this is the one aspect of fussiness that I do have some control over. I have made up my mind that I will at least try something before I say I don’t like it (unless it smells revolting). It’s not going to be easy, but I am going to try to be more open to new foods.

So is there anything that you think I might like? Give me a recipe and I’ll try it and let you know how it turns out.

My Taco Evolution

When I was younger, I didn’t eat tacos at all. My wife and kids all like them so I had to learn to eat them. At first, I would brown up the ground beef and pull out enough to make my tacos. Then I’d add the Old El Paso taco seasoning to the rest of the meat. We tend to use the soft tortilla shells rather than the hard shells. I would just add cheddar cheese to mine and they would add onions, salsa, sour cream, or whatever else they wanted to theirs.

Preparing things separately gets old fast. Especially since I do most of the day to day cooking at out house. I decided that I needed to find a way to eat the same seasoned meat that they all did. At first, I would still keep some ground beef unseasoned, but I would mix it with some of their seasoned beef. That wasn’t bad, so I kept increasing the ratio of seasoned to unseasoned ground beef. Pretty soon I was able to use the taco seasoning on all of it. Better still – I really liked them.

My wife I and both decided we needed to make our tacos a little healthier. One of the kids (who was out of the house by then) suggested that we try ground turkey instead of beef. It’s a much more lean meat and better for you. We were a bit hesitant and first thinking it would radically change the way they tasted. We picked up some Shady Brook 93% lean ground turkey and gave it a try. We were a bit surprised that it does brown up a little more than we thought it would. The plain ground turkey certainly didn’t taste like beef, but we added the seasoning anyway. It wasn’t exactly the same as with the ground beef, but it was really good.

After changing the meat, we figured the seasoning would be the next best thing to improve. We switched from Original to Low Sodium and hardly knew the difference. I once accidentally bought a cheesy taco seasoning by mistake. We didn’t care for that.

Next we decided to change up our cheese. We started making our turkey tacos with low fat cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. They don’t quite melt the same, but they taste pretty close. We tried fat free cheddar but it really wasn’t the same. We decided to stick with the low fat cheese instead.

I noticed that the stores also carry a 97% lean ground turkey so I decided to try that. It doesn’t brown up like the 93% lean stuff does. I still thought it was pretty good, but my wife prefers the 93% lean so we tend to stick with that most of the time. She often kids around that we are Jack Sprat and his wife – “Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean”.

Finally, we had to do something about the tortilla shells. My wife had already switched us all over to wheat bread so it seemed like a reasonable change. We started using whole wheat tortillas instead of the white four ones. They aren’t quite as tasty, but they are still good enough.

Had I tried making the jump right to turkey tacos with low sodium seasoning on a wheat tortilla with low fat cheese, I probably wouldn’t have liked them. By making gradual changes to something I like, I was able to eat something I wouldn’t have thought possible when I was younger.

When trying to broaden the horizons of a fussy eater always try to work with things they do like and make gradual changes. A series of small changes can go a long way. Don’t expect too much of your fussy eaters at one time. Changing their eating habits requires a lot of patience.

A Subtle Difference

There is a subtle, yet huge, difference between the phrases “I don’t like …” and “I don’t think I like …”. More often than not, fussy eaters use the first one when they actually mean the second. Perhaps subtle isn’t the right word to describe the difference. Most non-fussy people know it quite well and usually ask the follow-up question “Have you tried it?”.

You see, fussy people are really more likely to think they don’t like something they haven’t tried yet. I say I don’t like most fruits and vegetables, but in all honesty I’ve tried only a few of each. That’s why I was willing to pick up celeriac at the Farmer’s Market last weekend. I’m planning on making an effort to try more of the things I say I don’t like, but haven’t actually tried.

Are there any fruits or vegetables you think I might like? Keep in mind that I have a major sweet tooth.

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