unhealthiest dinner ever and a treatise on picky eating

several bakery cookies, dipped in chocolate (sorta waxy chocolate, cookies good)
sub-par cannoli (no nuts, not enough tiny chocolate chips, tasteless pastry, ricotta kinda tasteless, good consistency tho)

spinach pie

i love that the only element of this that could even vaguely categorized as near healthy is now an e coli menace.
Although I am a pretty unpicky eater (my favorite childhood foods were squid and tripe), a South European bakery reminds me of why my dad always thought I was super picky. They just muck everything up. Can I just get cookies in chocolate without all the fake weird fruit jelly?

I am pondering picky eating after listening to this today. I am very intolerant of picky eating. I guess I am not intolerant of picky eating that does not affect me, but there is nothing more grating to me than when a person I am eating with can’t find anything on a menu or they have t substitute like 8 things. Or you have to make food less tasty because they are coming to your house for a party, or you have to make a whole separate meal for them. It really irrationally bothers me.

So I got to thinking what I don’t like. I have noticed the older I get, the more stuff I used to hate that I can now stand, or even enjoy. Case in point green peppers. And scrambled eggs. And whipped cream. Used to hate them.

Food that freaks me out:


  • Eggs (excepting hard boiled) in excess of one, cooked. This is touchy. I am okay with a scrambled egg mixed in, but I probably wouldn’t choose to eat it alone. I love hard boiled eggs and egg salad. I can even go with a sunnyside up egg not fully cooked. While most egg hatas seem to hate the yolk, I am creeped out by the rubbery white. Ew. But I used to avoid them at all costs.
  • Celery Even the smell of celery revolts me, but I am getting better. Cooked celery is less offensive than raw. And I can eat soups with celery in it, if I eat around it. And I can accept its presence in a merepoix. I never use it at home because it revolts me so, and I think my sauces/stews/soups are worse off for it, but I can’t get past it. Oddly I am totally okay with celery salt on a hot dog.
  • Pickled things Particularly pickled things made by other cultures. Branston pickle, kim chee, some sauerkraut all revolt me. Actual dill pickles also are creepy, but only when soggy. I like them when crisp. When hot–gross. I always order sandwiches sans-pickle. I do like relish though, and I distinctly remember the first time I had it, since we never had hot dogs really at my house.
  • Bok Choy and assorted greens/cabbages They taste like dirt and are soggy. This is what people ate when they had nothing to eat. Not yet that hungry.


  • Vanilla flavored things I like actual vanilla in things (like cake), but vanilla flavored things are gross. No one hates vanilla, I know, but I can’t stand it. I can usually deal with vanilla ice cream, but even vanilla scented things are gross. This is getting harder because now everything seems to be vanilla flavored. Once, on the principle of not allowing good alcohol to go to waste, I drank a vanilla vodka and coke. so, so, so gross.
  • Lemon sweets I am a lemon addict. I eat lemon pepper straight. But why in bob’s name anyone would make lemon sweet I don’t know. Gross.
  • Orange and banana flavored things, everything pear Actual oranges and bananas are okay. Actual pears–gross.
  • Gelatinous fruity things Ew. Fruit jellies, fruit fillings, wrong. I used to also hate Jell-O for the goofy consistency. Then I was introduced to the Jell-o shot. Yay. I still prefer the harder Jell-O to softer–softer gives me the heebie-jeebies. Let us not speak of the kind with Cool Whip.
  • Sweet breakfast When I am hungry I can only eat savory things. Sweet things are way too cloying and don’t make me feel full. So in the morning, the idea of sweet foods is gross. This, combined with hating eggs, pretty much rules out all breakfast foods.
  • Maple syrup Who thought this would be a good idea? Tree sap? Ew. I am not starving, I don’t need to eat trees yet.
  • Custard Not the ice cream kind, the weird pudding kind. Just tastes vanillay and weird milk consistency.


  • Root beer This is some familial thing. My dad also hates root beer, though he associates it with cinnamon and nutmeg, which he thinks are gross. I love cinnamon but rootbeer tastes like soap to me.
  • Weiss beers They taste like cloves. yuk. Totally related to the root beer thing.
  • Milk I am getting better on this one. If not for my love of meat, I would make a great vegan. I now once in a while get a taste for chocolate milk. I love cream in my coffee/tea. But the consistence of milk itself grosses me out. It’s fat in suspension–a colloid. It’s so gross to think about. So I go with skim if I have to, but I generally use rice milk on my cereal, which of course I never eat in the morning, because it’s sweet, duh.
  • Red Wine I would say this was some repressed Catholic school molestation thing, but I have never liked red wine, even when I drank it in communion. I do like Manischewitz though. Yum.
  • Rum and Molasses Makes sense I hate both of these. I am okay with white rum now, but dark rum is still way gross because it tastes like molasses and vanilla. Sweet sassy molassey that’s bad! If I am drinking a rum and coke, you know I am hammered. Brown sugar though, at least the cheapy kind, is fine. I make a bad pirate.
  • Cream soda Tastes like vanilla. Ew.

Now that you think I am totally a picky eater, I really eat EVERYTHING else. For a year in college I subsisted by eating what people were throwing away (a process at Reed called “scrounging” where people line up by the tray return and pick up plates off of it). Chicken cooked rare? sure. Bear sausage? Yum. Funny organs? I’ll give em a go! Things off the ground at the fair? Sure. Candy I have stolen from children? Good to go.

It strikes me as interesting that so much of my list is sweet things….I really wonder about the evolution of taste….is a lot of this just because I didn’t grow up with it? Clearly my ancestors had no cream soda and maple syrup. They did have a lot of red wine though, so that theory is shot. My mom hates sweet things, so I wonder if there is some taste bud genetics at work. Is that nature or nurture? It’s a mystery. Anyone else really hate some food no one else can understand why?


  1. Miss E says:

    When my friends and I made Thanksgiving dinner last year, this is what we had to deal with:

    Two vegan guests
    One vegetarian guest
    One guest who was allergic to onions
    One guest (me) who doesn’t eat beef (not a big deal for this particular holiday)
    One guest who can’t eat anything with sugar or certain kinds of fat (in the top 5 ingredients in premade food), wheat, potatoes, rice, bananas, and a variety of other sweets and vegetables but can eat all the meat she wants and has to eat a LOT of vegetables and also doesn’t drink
    One guest who is allergic to chicken, red pepper, strawberries, carp, and wheat (and probably other things I can’t remember) and also only likes really syrupy sweet wine

    This year we have one vegetarian. It’ll be a much better and easier dinner.

  2. jennybento says:


    Yeah that’s ridiculous. I mean if someone is cooking for you they get to pick, I pretty much think.

    I don’t have a gall bladder, so I am better off if I don’t eat a lot of fat, but I can find SOMETHING to eat everywhere.

  3. Mark says:

    Weissbier = cloves? What weissbiers are you drinking?

    I’m really trying to think about this and maybe I’m vaguely seeing what you’re saying. But, never, never, have I had a *quality* weissbier that tastes like cloves.

    I’m not a big salt fan, but have you tried celery seed? Not so big on raw celery myself. If I have to eat a “tree” then I want it in a stew at least.

  4. jennybento says:

    um a lot of them:
    “Wheat beer is distinguished by its creamy texture and sweet flavor, which is said to have overtones of banana and clove.
    Contents” from wikipedia.

    Hefeweisens are, when made properly, without the clove phenols. I like hefeweisens and you seem to mainly drink them as well, if I remember correctly. Witbiers or Weissbiers, esp. from Bavaria usually have clove phenols. Oddly, now that I look this up, they also have BANANA phenols, which is sort of funny since I also don’t like banana flavoring. More info than you’d ever want to know here

  5. jennybento says:

    ooh it’s in web format here

  6. amy says:

    Haha, yes that list does make you look picky! I’ll eat almost anything (not wild about organ meats), but I’m really weird about beverages. Beverages generally not consumed by me:

    Coffee – (I like coffee, but react waaaay strongly to caffeine, and I can’t stand decaf)

    Tea – (lately, I can’t take the caffeine in tea, either)

    Any soda – too sweet! Grosses me out.

    Fizzy water – selzer, perrier, san peligrino. It all tastes like salt to me. Yuck!

    Sweetened drinks – KoolAid, Hi-C, fruit punch. All too sweet.

    Any juice other than orange – just don’t like ’em.

    I will drink: water, milk, orange juice, nearly anything alcohol in it, even if it contradicts the above (ie jack and coke).

    In most situations, I can survive pretty well with water or alcohol, but this DOES NOT FLY at my in-laws. They don’t trust people who drink water (???) and they are generally opposed to alcohol. And they simply canNOT understand why I won’t accept one of the bazillion different varieties of soda they keep. They figure it’s some weird East Coast idiocy.

  7. Mark says:

    Um. OK. Yes, I do drink mostly hefeweissens, but I do drink the rest. I guess maybe my clove detectors are weak, but I also don’t buy most of that crap that wine tasters talk about either.

    And bananas…? Possibly. I’ve tasted some sweet weissens, but they haven’t tasted like bananas (to me). Citrusy, yes.

    Maybe I should just be glad that I can’t/don’t taste these things. I’m fairly open to some things being in my beers, but cloves and bananas are not on the list of those that I consciously approve of.

  8. Heidi says:

    I know a few people who don’t like to drink water. That, I could never understand.

  9. jennybento says:

    huh amy that’s so weird that you hate only liquids….how do you feel about sweetness in candy/desserts?

    mark, i haven’t tasted the banana either. i dated someone who thought i was a supertaster because of this weirdness (because i taste things no one else does), but supertasters hate bitter and i looooove bitter, so i tbink no.

  10. Vanessa says:

    No sweet breakfast? Hmmm…I distinctly remember you (and Mary) choosing Monkey Bread over biscuits and sausage gravy when we were at my folks’ house. Pray explain, madam.

  11. jenny says:

    1. i will note that about an hour later i wanted to eat real food.

    2. having eaten monkey bread only once before, i was excited to get it again.

    3. my secret shame–i don’t like gravy. mary actually noticed this a week or so before i left. she was like “why do you always get gravy on the side? healthy all of a sudden?” i also never really liked sausage until a few years ago. i also still hate fennel, which is in most italian sausage, and, as that was the only sausage i was exposed to as a child (other than bratwurst), it wasn’t until about 21 that i realized all sausages don’t taste like fennel.

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