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When Adults Eat Like They Are Seven

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My husband and I have a great mutual friend whose girlfriend is an extraordinarily picky eater. As a collective group we are in our late 30s so the situation is not one of developmental appropriateness ... like say it would be if she were seven and pushing lima beans around on her plate to avoid eating them.

The problem is this ... (and truly it is just my problem), they live close by, and tend to do a lot of “pop-ins”, infallibly close to dinner time.  In addition to the pop-ins, we have “scheduled” things we do together too. So, we share a lot of face time together, and it seems it is always a dinner thing, and it is NEVER at their house, ALWAYS ours. Why?  Suffice to say that the general level of adultness is low for them as a couple, and particularly for her. They don’t cook. Everything is take-out. It is not that they don’t have time to cook; it is not that they don’t have a well equipped kitchen. The reason they don’t cook is because she doesn’t like to, is intimidated by the kitchen, and doesn’t like most foods anyway. She recognizes only the most basic of ingredients, and always asks me where I bought something. When I served a trendy and delicious edamame salad, here were her reasons for not being able to eat it 1) edamame? What is that? I’m not eating something I don’t recognize. 2) Feta? Where do you buy that? I only eat Kraft singles. 3) It is served cold? I hate cold salads. The latter of her excuses was perplexing ... most salads are served cold so I took it to mean that the entire world of salads is off her list of foods considered edible.

This night I served turkey meatballs with whole wheat spaghetti and homemade spaghetti sauce with a beet and red onion salad.  They popped in. My husband and I were both raised to always feed someone if they come to your home, so we dutifully invited them to stay for dinner. They always say yes. Not once have they ever contributed ANYTHING to the meal, not even a bottle of wine. So tonight, she cannot eat the beet and red onion salad because she won’t eat anything with onions, plus, it’s cold, and it’s a salad. The turkey meatballs were rejected because of the word turkey. And she did ask where do you buy turkey?  I clenched my teeth. Whole wheat pasta ended up on her plate in a miniscule amount, and without sauce which of course, had sautéed onions in it as well as mushrooms (apparently on the non-edible list).  After drinking ample amounts of my wine, she asked if I had any alfredo sauce kicking around, and said maybe if she drowned the whole wheat pasta in alfredo sauce she could tolerate it. Of course I declined, at this point risking fractured molars with my death clenched jaw.

The mystery of why they insist on the pop in when ninety-five percent of what we serve doesn’t meet her dietary acceptance. She clearly eats a lot of something, her girth is fed by something, just nothing that I make!


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