If, like me, you happen to be of the culinary sort, chances are you like to share good food with your friends. A dinner party might be nice – some lovingly prepared food, a couple of glasses of wine, and happiness all round. Unless you’ve accidentally invited a fussy eater. All of a sudden, the evening that could’ve gone so well is replaced by “I’m not a big fan of that”-s and “I can make you something else if you like”-s and a stressed host trying to put together something the black sheep would eat out of the kitchen cupboard staples.
Now, I don’t care how or what someone eats as long as it happens in their own home. If they choose to be picky, let them be. But when a person tries to superimpose their absolutely ridiculous eating habits on someone else, I get a bit cranky. The fact that their diet differs from mine isn’t what this is about – I am quite happy catering for people with special diets due to allergies or personal beliefs, and see it as a test to my culinary abilities more than anything else. But I am in no way willing to support someone that thinks being ignorant about food is a good thing. And that’s really what pickiness is all about. I once had a flatmate who liked tomato-based pasta sauce, but had a phobia of ketchup and wouldn’t eat a raw tomato. She also considered it ‘rude’ to season any dish that was to be shared in case another person wouldn’t like it. To this day, I am lost for words.
I fully understand that there are some things that most people just don’t like. I myself wouldn’t go anywhere near black pudding, and I know that a lot of people feel the same way. But picky eaters are very unpredictable, which makes cooking for them a nightmare. Having to compromise taste in order to please the odd one out just plainly goes against everything I believe in. If you don’t like it, don’t eat it. Don’t pick at it with a fork until it’s cold, that’s just plain rude. The worst fear for a host is that people will not like the food, and it doesn’t matter how few or many people that entails, a virtually untouched plate is always a failure. But as if this wasn’t enough, picky eaters are almost always the most stubborn people you will meet. No matter how ridiculous their eating habits are, and no matter how well you know that if they’d just try it, they’d like it – trying to feed something new to a fussy eater is like making people drink poison. What’s the worst that could happen? You’ll actually like it and then you’ll have to start adding spinach to your shopping list of monster munchies and cheese slices? But of course, a fussy eater is more worried about projectile vomiting at the dinner table.