From the Blog

Perhaps I’m A Picky Eater, But I’m Better Than I Used To Be

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Like most kids, there were a lot of things I didn’t like to eat. As a child, I didn’t like eggs, or broccoli, or sour cream, or squash, or lobster, or mushrooms, or asparagus, or cooked carrots, or peppers or onions. I think I didn’t even pronounce them onions, I called them ongions. Sometimes I slip and still call them ongions. Shut up! It’s the same thing! You do it too!

I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch of stuff I didn’t eat. Being a picky eater was just part of being a kid. It was also part of not trusting adults. And for some kids, it’s just the way they are. But for me, I specifically remember the incident where, as an innocent child, I became much more cautious of food, and vastly more suspicious of adults.

I was being babysat by some friends of my parents. I believe this must have happened before my sister was born, so I was 5 or younger. I was at my parents’ friends’ house, and they were serving me dinner. And of course, it wasn’t the same kind of food that my parents made. Especially the little green round things on my plate. I had never seen those before.

I was a kid, so therefore feeble brained, but I knew enough to know those green balls were vegetal. There was no chance those things could be edible. Besides, they smelled like farts. I didn’t know much, but I knew those things were not going in my mouth.

I remember all this. I picked at my food and I watched them eat across the dinner table. I think they asked me to try the green things. And I’m sure I said no. I wasn’t stupid. At a young age, I already knew that vegetables sucked, and I was surely not going to eat new weird food, especially from people other than my parents.

But then they did something horrible. Something evil and terrible.

I think the woman’s name was Nancy. She said “I bet Heather can’t put that Brussels sprout on her fork.”

Reverse psychology. Fuckers.

“I bet Heather can’t put that Brussels sprout on her fork.”

I hesitated. Here’s this lady telling me I can’t do something! Who did she think she was? I remember all of this. I stabbed that farty smelling green thing with my fork.

They seemed shocked! “Oh! She put it on her fork!” Her husband’s name was Tim. “But I bet she won’t eat it. I bet she won’t take a bite. I bet she won’t…”

It was a game! I’ll show them! Don’t tell me I won’t do something! I popped that thing into my little five year old mouth. Slow motion. I remembered their wide eyes, their surprised faces. She had curly permed hair. He had a beard.

I immediately began to cry. Big, hot, wet tears at the dinner table. It was instantaneous, as soon as I bit down. Something was not right in my world.

F U Brussels Sprouts!I think they may have been alarmed, but I don’t exactly recall. I just remember this huge wad of horrible, rotten, green mush in my mouth. And I was so young, but I was guided by decorum and knew that I couldn’t spit it out. I couldn’t spit out my food. This giant, inedible, horrible green thing. In my little baby mouth! I could only sit there and cry, and chew, and cry, and chew. Until it was gone.

TRAUMA, people. I remember all of this. Tim and Nancy. Perhaps I had a vague sense of guilt about my dramatic reaction. If you don’t eat, you’re bad, right? You’re a bad kid if you don’t finish your plate. Even if it’s nasty ass Brussels sprouts.

So to this day, I have trouble with suspicious food. I have no desire to acquire acquired tastes. I don’t understand the point. I joke about having a juvenile palate, but I’m not really kidding. If it doesn’t taste good, I don’t eat it. “You should try it! It’s good! My mom made it!” None of those fly with me.

I have an immensely greater appreciation for food than I used to. I eat a lot more items that I didn’t eat as a kid. But I can tell you fucking Brussels sprouts are not among those things.


  1. I think I’m pretty much the opposite of you, at least culinarily, Heather. Not that I would eat everything as a kid, but even now I try to eat peas at least once a year, and they still taste like puke to me. But at least I know. I like pretty much everything else, and what I don’t like, I can handle. But I <3 <3 <3 fresh brussels sprouts! Yum!!

  2. She still doesn’t like mushrooms. Sauteed mushrooms with garlic, she won’t eat. They’re a fungus she says. But they’re a tasty fungus!

  3. A mushroom almost killed me! I almost died! Granted, I was a baby, and rolling around in a field, and eating anything that fell in my mouth…but it only proves that mushroom are evil! EVIL FUNGUS (my next punk band name, btw.)

  4. As a kid I hated peas. Now as a vegetarian (shut up) since 2004, I luv them. When I was 9yrs I LOVED Lima bean….couldn’t get enough! Now I figured out it was the way they were cooked. In bacon! Now I don’t care for them. So now two words…..Bacon Salt! Makes them beans yummy again!

  5. Natika, I’m eating a lot less meat these days. In part because Dave is a former vegetarian and still doesn’t eat a lot of meat. Our meals are no longer meat-centric. We eat a lot more seafood and we are trying to bulk up meals with more veggies. It makes me feel goddamned virtuous.

    Last night we had risotto with pancetta, apples and squash. It was delish.

  6. mushrooms taste like feet-smell.

  7. Steve, you are my brother.

  8. word

  9. brussel sprouts suck ass. as does cauliflower.

  10. Have you ever tried Belgian endive? You & I have similar tastebuds and I love love love that stuff. But I’m with you on the Brussels sprouts and mushrooms. Bleck!

    Also, IMHO all vegetables taste better when grilled. ;)

  11. Aimee Wynhausen says

    I don’t fuck brussel sprouts either *nods*

  12. I’m the same way with any greens that are not plain old spinach. And grits. I. hate. grits. I haven’t eaten them since I was 6 years old when I couldn’t keep them down long enough to get to the bathroom and my dad had to clean up the mess because my mom was at work. I think if mom had been the one to clean up the mess, I’d have been made to eat them at a later date.

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