Picky Eaters: Are They A Problem, Or A Blessing?
Growing up, my mother cooked whatever was easiest by the time we were home in the evening. Some nights we would have Hamburger Helper, and other nights we would have homemade fried chicken, mashed potatos, cream gravy, corn, and a dessert for afterwards. I grew up in a house where if you didn't like what was on the table....that's ok, mom will make you something that you do like so that you don't go hungry. The complete opposite of the way a lot of children were raised in my day. Eating fast food was not an option very often, as we lived almost 30 minutes from the closest fast food restaurant, and it wasn't in my parent's budget. Needless to say, I grew up (and still am) as a picky eater. Now that I am older, it's extremely frustrating. I try to branch out and try new foods, and sometimes it's great. Other times, it's not so great. I have a bad gag reflex. So, if I put something in my mouth, and the texture is off or the taste is a bit different from what I am used to, 9 times out of 10, I am going to gag and spit it right back out. I have many friends "make fun" of me because I am a picky eater. "Hey Laura, we are having a crawfish boil this weekend! Why don't you and the family come over!" My response is always "Thank you for the invite! We will definitely come over and hang out, but the only person you need to account for to eat crawfish is Erik (my fiance)." The typical reply "What?! You don't eat crawfish!?!?" My response is "Nope. I don't like the flavor and the spiciness. I don't like seafood at all....except for the Fried Fish from Luby's". Finally I get the often reply of "Oh my gosh! You are such a picky eater!!" Everybody alwasy means it in a playful way, but I get so frustrated with myself for not being able to enjoy different foods!
On a different note, I am a VERY thankful mom of a son who will eat just about anything that doesn't eat him first. He loves broccoli, and his favorite meal is seafood of any kind. I am so blessed by this. I honestly wish I could be more like him.
So, I asked my mother one day, "Was it hard raising a picky eater?" Her reply.... "Absolutely not." She went on to tell me that she knew what foods I did like, that were healthy for me, and she kept them on hand at all times. So, when she did cook a dinner that she knew I wasn't going to eat, she would add in a vegetable that I did like, or a meat on the side for my picky taste buds. Whatever wasn't eaten, she would freeze, and thaw it out next time she needed to accomodate me. The rest of my family would eat anything she cooked. I was the outcast. I didn't realize it then, but it is VERY obvious now, because when we have family dinners, my mother still makes sure there is one or two foods that I will for sure eat. Thankfully, that list has grown over the years and it isn't quite as difficult to deal with.