Friday, April 4, 2008

The World's Most Difficult Food Couple

If you asked me what my biggest challenge in the kitchen is, I would tell you it would be making meals that Kevin and I would both want to eat.

We make Jack Spratt and his wife look like lightweights.

The problem is not just that we're picky eaters. It's the fact that we're picky about completely different things. What I love is bad for him. What he loves I detest. For anyone who wonders why certain foods never show up in my blog recipes, or why I often make cryptic comments about my husbands, "Delicate Widdle Tum-Tum" here is the full story. I'm not sure if people will find this amusing, sympathy-inducing, or just plain bizarre and ridiculous.

I can recall the first time I ever cooked for Kevin when we were dating. As we were making dinner plans he told me I should know there were certain things he didn't eat. "I don't eat red meat. I don't eat cheese. Also I don't eat fried foods (LIAR! He love fried chicken, french fries, and fried fish sandwiches)." Apparently all of these foods are bad for his digestive system, which does at times seem more delicate than most. My ideas for a nice steak dinner with a brie appetizer went out the window right there. It's never a clear-cut list of things he can or can't (or won't eat). Sometimes I can get creative and hide stuff. Sometimes he'll make exceptions.

Want to know what he won't eat and how I deal? Read on.

Things He Says He Can't Eat

Red Meats: No beef. No lamb. No pork. No veal. (That's okay. I don't eat veal either.) I have to make meat loaf, bolognese sauce, and burgers with turkey or chicken. Recipes that call for bacon or sausage have to have chicken or turkey bacon or sausage.

The funny thing is that if small amounts of pork products make it into his food, he seems just fine. On two separate occasions while having dinner at our favorite restaurant, I saw him eat risotto studded with pancetta and soup with bacon in it. He once ate a thin slice or two of pork that was served to us for dinner while we were on vacation in Ireland. There may have even been some bacon *ahem* accidentally *cough* stuck in some home cooked meals he might have eaten *cough* somewhere. I never saw any ill effects. I swear some of this stuff is in his head.

What's ironic is that pork products are the meats that he seems to accidentally ingest the most and yet he's Jewish. Of course he loves shellfish, so the Jewish thing doesn't count for much.

Dairy: "Lactose intolerant," he declares. He'll turn up his nose at a cheese tray. He'll reject a caprese salad with fresh mozzarella. He won't eat cheesecake. He won't eat creamy dips. You would think he was being poisoned if even offered any. Ice cream, on the other hand. Well, Lactaid takes care of that nicely. He'll do pizza, pudding, cheese grits, string cheese, and lasagna/ravioli - sometimes seemingly without the Lactaid. I've asked him why he'll eat a string cheese or a pizza, but not a slice of mozzarella on a salad. He never has any explanation for this.

Raw Carrots (except for where it's part of something bigger like a salad)
Bell Peppers
Onions (unless you chop them up finely enough so they're not really recognizable as onions)
Apples (pies excepted)

But I'm not going to let myself off the hook. You see, I'm just as bad. The problem is that I dislike different things.

Things I'm Just Too Picky About (and occasionally can't eat)

Cooked carrots: I have been snacking on raw carrots my whole life, but never got into them cooked. I will eat them in certain forms (like in my soup), but I don't like them by themselves. If I eat a raw carrot, Kevin seems to view this as another carrot taken out of the mouth of his horse.

Seafood: I loves me my meat, but I don't eat fish, or shellfish, or mollusks. Didn't I just say he loves shellfish? He loves the shrimp and crabcakes and spaghetti with clam sauce, and halibut and sole and tilapia and red snapper.

Peas: Just the smell makes me gag. I hate them with a loathing that rivals my hatred of Dick Cheney and the Rachael Ray show. They're one of his favorite vegetables.

Walnuts: I love them, but they make my mouth break out. That means I don't make him Kentucky Derby Pies anymore. They were his favorite.

Things We Can Agree to Hate On:

Olives (thank goodness)

Bananas: I actually like these, but for some mysterious reason they give me heartburn so I stopped eating them. I can make a banana dessert now and then, but I can't snack on bananas anymore. He'll eat a banana dessert as long as there are no actual bits of banana in it. (He'll eat banana bread, but not banana cream pie for example.)

Blue Cheese: It's one cheese neither of us will eat. I love cheese most of the time, but if I see a blue vein, I won't go near it.

The upshot is that cooking in our household is a daily challenge. One thing about having a food blog is that it keeps me sane about all of this stuff.


Emiline said...

You two must be starving! What can you both agree to eat?
I can understand some of the things you don't eat...but he is way too picky! You need to start slipping in more meat or cheese into his food. don't like olives? I had to eat them gradually, but now I love olives!

Sue said...

Honestly, I really feel badly for you. I wish you had said what he WILL eat. I think the only things left are pomegranates and chicken. (Not a bad combination.)That is a shame that you don't like seafood, then you'd have an easier time. I like the idea of sneaking whatever you can into as many dishes as you can and then writing about it.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Sue - You mean like writing about making roast chicken wrapped in bacon? ;-)

Em - On a daily basis we do eat a lot of chicken, string beans, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, and pasta. I do sneak some stuff in there. I can hide parmesan pretty nicely in risotto and he loves it when I cook things with cream. I think he knows when I use cream, but he figures he had better not ask.

It's funny about olives though. I am the only picky eater in my family, and my mother's side of the family is olive-obsessed, but my father (who has as much Italian blood as my mother does) doesn't like olives either, so at least one of my weird preferences has a genetic component).

Sue said...

Yes, that was an awesome roast chicken recipe.

One more thing, I used to HATE olives, until we lived in Spain and now I'm a complete convert. The littleish green ones stuffed with anchovies (I know you're gagging now) are beyond good.

Bellini Valli said...

I have friends who come for dinner who are lactose intolerant. All my favourite dishes and huge successes are made with really is a challenge, but I usually come up with something:D