Being a “Picky” Eater


I’m not sure I’ve made this completely clear, but I’m a vegetarian.  Right now, I won’t get into the reasons why I am a vegetarian, but I point it out because I came across an interesting opinion article in the NY Times today called “Complaint Box: Picky Eaters.”

In essence, the article talks about the million dietary demands (see cartoon above) that people place on themselves and the difficulty in tailoring a dinner party to meet all these needs.  It’s sort of a funny article and relevant to me, especially with Thanksgiving coming up.

I’m going to the lovely fella’s family’s house for Thanksgiving because it’s too expensive to get to California but the Philadelphia area is within driving distance. They are not vegetarians, nor do they plan on being.  That’s fine.  I don’t expect everyone in the world to make the same lifestyle choices I do.

That being said, I have a few concerns:

1. I don’t want to eat Turkey (or really any other meat).  I was never that big a fan of it anyway, but the idea of it right now sort of makes me sad.  I also think it might be rude of me to offer to make something because I would hate to ruin their established traditions (aka what if they have a sweet potato casserole that they LOVE and look forward to each year?)

2.  I don’t want them to feel like they have to prepare a special meal specifically for me.  The author of the article mentions the difficulty in preparing something that everyone can enjoy, but I don’t think that should be her concern.  She ends the article:

I have had enough with people who want to have it their way, and I am done catering to the quirks of food-obsessed numskulls. If you eat in my home, I will grudgingly respect medically diagnosed allergies, since it puts a pall on conversation when a guest goes into anaphylactic shock at the dinner table. But beyond that, I expect you to eat what you can, ignore the rest and not make trouble. On Thursday, 15 people are sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner at my house, and with God as my witness, I promise you this: There will be dark meat.

I can completely appreciate that.  While I don’t consider myself to be a “food-obsessed numskull,” I think everyone is entitle to make choices about what he or she puts in his or her own body.  However, when you are a guest at someone’s house, you shouldn’t inconvenience your host.  I know her language is a bit brash, but I agree you should “eat what you can, ignore the rest and not make trouble.” Do you disagree?

That’s what I’m going to try to do.  Thanksgiving should be about spending time with people you care about (I know this sounds cheesy) not about the food. I’ll try my hardest not to complicate matters and if I have to eat something with meat in it, one day won’t kill me, right?  I can push bits of bacon to the side and deal with chicken broth.

How do you deal with “picky” eaters? What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

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8 thoughts on “Being a “Picky” Eater

  1. Karin says:

    I’m also a vegetarian and hate bothering hosts with my choice to not eat meat. However, I think that eating vegetarian isn’t so difficult at other people’s places. Mostly i just get the veggies and starch and don’t mind that it’s not very well balanced.. After all it’s only one meal, right?
    Thanksgiving is different though and for once I’m a bit glad that we don’t celebrate it over here. Our christmas dinner is also very “alternative” and there are plenty of vegetarian choices because my family knows that I’m a vegetarian but no picky eater.

    Holidays and other family gatherings are one of the reasons why I don’t want to go vegan (right now). I’d hate bothering the hosts with super special wishes like no butter, cream.. whatever. And it also might be offensive, even if you bring your own food (which might seem to someone like you don’t want to eat her/his food..)

    It’s a tricky thing. However, I believe that everyone should have the right to eat what they want and that their decision should be respected.

    • Karla says:

      Thanksgiving is such a strange holiday, I could probably go without. You bring up a good point, one day of unbalances food is not a big deal.

      I’m excited for Christmas, I usually cook at all holiday meals so I can make it to my liking 🙂

      Totally agree with you, people should absolutely have the right to eat what they want and have their decision respected, but to some extent we all have to be good guests 🙂

  2. Suzanne says:

    I don’t like to bother people either, but if they invite me to their home knowing that I am a vegetarian, I would assume that they would also make sure to have something for me to eat. Otherwise, I would hope that the hostess would ask me to bring a vegetarian dish that I could eat. I agree Karin, it is a tricky thing though. Lucky for my husband and I that the rest of his family are vegetarians, too… makes things much easier. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Anna says:

    I bet his family would be happy to have you bring your own dish to share– it would be a nice contribution to the meal! After all, Thanksgiving is about community and sharing. I definitely agree with the whole “eat what you can, ignore the rest, and don’t cause trouble” thing, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with increasing the amount that you can eat by bringing your own dish to contribute to the spread 🙂

  4. Stephanie Andrews says:

    That is exactly what I have lived by for sereval years now. I know I cannot make my whole family vegetarian, so I have to make do. At Thanksgiving I eat what I can and dont eat what I dont like. On top of being a vegertarian I am an extremely picky eater, but I find something I like and I eat it and ignore the rest, and since they are family they love me enough to make sure that I have a few choices as well.

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