Does it take you 15 minutes to tell a waiter how you want your food prepared? You’re probably a picky eater. Writer Stephanie Lucianovic was one. She lived in fear of having dinner at friends’ houses or going to restaurants. Today, she’s a foodie and food writer — and she’ll brave eating most anything.
“Picky eaters don’t choose to be picky, they, boy you would not choose to be a picky eater. It’s not a fun way to live. Picky eaters aren’t doing this to be annoying or high maintenance. And one of our biggest fears for a lot of us is that we are perceived that way, which is why when I went to restaurants I did not do the “When Harry Met Sally” route of ‘have this on the side,’ ‘have this without that.’ I just didn’t order certain things, or maybe avoided eating them on the plate.”
“I talk about chef-meets-picky-eater, picky-eater-meets-chef. And I would say to both sides, I know where you’re both coming from. When a chef presents a dish, he or she is saying ‘I understand every ingredient on that plate in a way that you couldn’t possibly conceive and it is awesome.’ I have no argument with that. They’re right. They do. It’s their job. However, the picky eater is saying “Dude, unless you made that dish in my mouth, you have no idea what that dish is going to taste like to me. Because all I’m going to be able to taste are those little tiny minced onions, whose flavor for me has taken over the entire dish.”
“Some people don’t love food the way others love food, and some people don’t love Miley Cyrus the way others love Miley Cyrus. So it’s a very individualized thing. And we just have to remember we’re all so very different and any attitude of ‘You’re so annoying’ and “Oh my god, I’m going to roll my eyes.’ ‘I hate picky eaters.’ That’s really,really hard on a good segment of the population.”
Stephanie Lucianovic, author of "Suffering Succotash: A Picky Eater's Quest to Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate"
Marcia Pelchat, psychologist at Monell Chemical Senses Center
Nancy Zucker, director of the Duke Center for Eating Disorder