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barbszy 11-17-2003 12:25 PM

What to do when your guests are "picky eaters"
How much menu-adjusting is reasonable when guests are picky eaters?
(No food allergies are involved here. That's another issue entirely and I have absolutely no problem working with THAT. This is just a guest with a very limited selection of foods that he will eat.

caroled2 11-20-2003 07:08 AM

Picky eaters are tough. I don't think you need to go out of your way to accomidate bizzare requests. I think there is a "normal" list of foods that are not like by some they include onions, mushrooms, liver, brussel sprouts etc. If you can avoid those go for it. Other things that can be done are serving gravy and sauces on the side. Maybe not sprinking cheese on top of the whole casserole (for example).
I don't think you have to go out of your way to cater to a very picky eater. Make the menu available in advance, tailor it where you can. Then provide peanut butter and jelly or cold cuts. The person isn't going to die from starvation in one weekend at your house.


jywharff 11-20-2003 08:37 AM

I find it a bit daunting when there is one person who is picky. I have a son in law who is. But, everyone else is not. What's funny....he says he won't eat mushrooms....Hah! He's eaten them in my casserole...and, loved it....hee...hee...I just chopped them up fine. Honestly most people who are picky are a real pain. And, why should you cook around them? Like the posting above me....serve them a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And, the rest of you can enjoy a lovely meal. They can embarrass a spoiled child. You have enough to do with the rest of the meal. ;-)

ladyinmaille 11-20-2003 08:49 AM

My mother in law, who's oldest daughter was one of the most finicky eaters I've ever seen, just left things in big chunks so her daughter could avoid the items she didn't like. What was annoying, however, was that she wouldn't allow those items to go on her plate so we had to wait in line, 8 couples and their children, while she sorted through each dish putting only the items she wanted on her plate. It was always a carry in so there was a variety of dishes to pick from so other than having to wait in line, it wasn't a problem.

barbszy 11-20-2003 08:54 AM

Hmmmm, the person in question here IS a child. And I'm sure there will be a scene when there's probably not one item that this child eats on the table, and the parents try to persuade the child to try some of what IS served...:rolleyes: I guess I should just resign myself to what is inevitable. I have made sure that I am serving an appetizer that he eats.

Probably the best thing I can do is not let it become my problem, and just enjoy the day.

caroled2 11-20-2003 09:23 AM

Hmmmm children are harder. Parents become "miffed" when there is "nothing" for the chid to eat. I have made hot dogs and mac and cheese from my neice and nephew on occation when I know they don't like somthing but then very often others in the party just feel like a hot dog also. Then I feel the party is a waste because everyone is munching on hot dogs instead of the food I have spent hours preparing.
Nothing is more annoying at dinner then the parent/child argument of "please just try one". The fighting and crying that ensues, enought to drive a person to drink.
If everyone knows that that child is a picky eat perhaps you could gently suggest to the parents that they bring somthing that the child will enjoy so everyone can enjoy the meal in peace. The results could be two-fold. You don't have to deal with a family argument and the parents will get tired of lugging around food for picky Junior. Then maybe then can get him to eat a variety of foods.:p

Jeannie 11-20-2003 01:41 PM

I set my menu according to those invited. However, if ONE is that picky, he/she can eat around what they don't like. I'm not adjusting what I had planned. . *chuckle* Remember, you have more than one item for food.

I will say early on in my married life, I did have an in law that was verrrry picky. When she found out what I was serving, ( osso bucco) she said, I don't want that, and I don't want the pasta course either....) keep peace I thought I'd be nice and also make chicken.. ( an added expense and an added menu item ...can't make just for one person.).....The PickyOne ate neither the chicken or the osso bucco. Instead, she picked on the appetizer, double helpings of soup and shrimp,veggies, the salad, and dessert. That was the first and last time I made a separate dish to please someone else. So now the menu is set, eat it or go hungry.. it's their choice...

Fantasyrose 11-24-2003 05:05 AM

What I do is; if you know enough in advance who that person is then you can ask them what they would like. You can also ask the parent of a child that is picky too. Then if they give me a list of ideas I will make 1 of them for them person. It is ok if they eat appetizers for 1 night. I also found that sometimes what they might suggest for a main course is more appealing than what I had planned lol. I hope this helps and good luck.

mulberry204 11-24-2003 05:54 AM

Picky Eaters
I am a picky eater - a vegetarian. I never expect anyone to cook differently for me. I eat whatever I feel comfortable with. When people come to my house, they know they won't be getting meat. I think anyone going to your house should accept whatever is offerred that they like. Don't stress about it. I am always embarrassed when people comment on what's on my plate. I don't like a fuss.

kasparcat 11-24-2003 09:23 AM

I'd like to go at this topic from the other side, the guest. I eat a low-carb diet, I have for 6+ years and everyone who knows me, knows that. When I am going to someone's home for dinner, I call ahead and explain that I don't eat starches (potatoes, pasta, rice, bread, etc.) and ask if that will be a problem with the meal she is planning, and if so, I will bring something I can eat. This, to me, is proper guest etiquette.

Sometimes, we go to my hubby's aunt and uncle's house for Christmas Eve. They are old-world Italian and it's this incredible feast. She knows that I'm going to fill up on the sausage and peppers and pass on the pasta and pastries and bread and 90% of the goodies. I have often brought a sugar-free cheesecake, which is nowhere as yummy as Uncle Danny's italian cheesecake, but I bring it and offer it as my contribution, because *I* want a dessert I can eat, and furthermore Uncle Danny and Aunt Mary are both diabetics and they SHOULD be eating the sugar-free one. I don't press it, but I present it.

If I'm going to family's house, I bring my own whatevers. For Thanksgiving, I bring my own non-bread-stuffing, sugar-free cranberry sauce, and a faux mashed potatoes casserole (it's made from cauliflower). No one complains about it, the hostess is always glad that I brought it, and 9 times out of 10, people try mine and say, heyyy, this is good, and it's DIET food? It's an ice-breaker, really.

If it isn't someone I know, I am much more subtle about it, but I do make my needs known and I always offer to bring something.

IMO, a parent whose child is a fussy eater should be a polite guest and ask you, the hostess, "my child is such a picky eater, might I ask you what's on the menu and if it's something s/he won't eat, may I bring something?" Then it's up to you whether you make something different for the picky eater.


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