Picky eaters

by Rocky Mountain Stepmom

How picky are you about food? (and how about your spouse, and your kids)?

How Much Of A Picky Eater Are You?

I’ll eat everything on the list if I’m hungry enough, but there are certain things I don’t seek out.


168 thoughts on “Picky eaters

  1. Only three: kidneys, liver (unless it’s Foie gras) and liquorice (although I love fennel).

  2. I barely ate any variety at all til I was in college. Then I went through a phase where I tried to be adventurous, and now I’m pretty settled with a wide variety of cuisines and foods. But I’ve never had snails and I’m not ever going to, and you can’t make me.

  3. I chuckled when Denver Dad posted a link to a olive and mushroom salad and was like, “Nope, never gonna’ happen.”

    And off topic, we talked the other day about Milo’s MIL and her anxiety when the DVR get’s to 80%. I was in an all day meeting yesterday and the person who was presenting got an IM in the morning and all day the Skype icon on their tool bar blinked yellow. Answer it! Answer it you f*ck! Shudder! WTF is wrong with people?

  4. I’ll eat pretty much anything. I love spicy food. One thing I’ve never eaten are maraschino cherries. The glowing red color freaked me out as a kid.

    FIL is extremely picky, and the foods he will or won’t eat doesn’t make sense to me. I still have to check with my MIL on meal plans before they come up. He loves chili, but doesn’t like tomatoes, ketchup, onions, or garlic, which is basically everything that is in the chili. I confess to being super annoyed by picky eaters. It’s not kind or logical on my part, but the picky eating drives me up a wall when it really shouldn’t. I’m convinced that picky eaters, like my FIL, are just that way and can’t help it, so I try to not be annoyed by it.

  5. I was in an all day meeting yesterday and the person who was presenting got an IM in the morning and all day the Skype icon on their tool bar blinked yellow. Answer it! Answer it you f*ck! Shudder! WTF is wrong with people?

    This would kill me! I hate the blinking icons. I have turned mine off for email because it is too distracting. I leave my IM notification on though because people usually expect a faster response, but I can’t leave the IM blinking. It would drive me bonkers.

  6. I eat almost all foods that are available in the US. I am a little iffy on some of the crazier things in other countries. Picky eaters kind of annoy me.

  7. Oh and I don’t pork. It’s like eating a dog.

    Do you follow Esther the Wonder Pig on Facebook? I love bacon, but man, that sweet pig could maybe convince me to give it up. Maybe. After jalapeno popper season is over.

  8. We sell whole lambs take them to a butcher to be processed. The butcher always includes the livers, kidneys, hearts and lamb fries. Some of my customers love the kidneys and the livers. Hearts, not so much. And no one ever wants the lamb fries. No one in my family has ever been brave enough to try them, so I just give them to my dog. She loves them!

    “can’t see eating foi gras, knowing how it’s raised, or veal.” I don’t know how to post pictures, but google “calf hutch”. That is the way dairy calves around us are raised; it looks like a large dog house. The calves have room to walk around and a place to get out of bad weather.

  9. Hah — according to the list, I am not much of a picky eater (20 out of 67 — but it seems like cheating to put all seafood together as one single answer). Clearly they have never met me. :-) Although I have gotten much better, through significant effort.

  10. S&M, that list of playful ways to help picky eaters seems exhausting. Probably a good thing I didn’t have kids. I’m sure I’d have my mother’s attitude of “Just eat it already.” With probably equal success. With my stepson I presented healthy meals and figured it was his dad’s responsibility to get him to eat. Obviously I avoided anything I knew he hated.

  11. Only 2 things on that list I truly would not eat, not even to be polite at someone else’s house: kidneys and coconut. Ugh.

    I was the world’s pickiest eater as a kid. Y’all have never in your lives met someone pickier than I was. It was very stressful. And then poof, I outgrew it gradually in my early 20’s and now I eat just about everything.

  12. “And then poof, I outgrew it gradually in my early 20’s”

    DW’s cousin’s new husband didn’t outgrow it. When it comes to food, he’s a total PITA about everything, including making a group change restaurant plans.

  13. “he’s a total PITA about everything, including making a group change restaurant plans.”

    Ugh. What does he not eat? Most restaurants offer variety for almost everyone. Although, what I have found is some people say no to particular ethnic restaurants even though usually they will offer a few “American” dishes. But not always.

  14. I also think there are two types of “pickiness” that tend to get conflated — there’s the specific food aversions, and then there’s also the attitude about trying new/different cuisines, new spices/flavors, etc. E.g., I have very specific food aversions, but I will try new flavor combinations and enjoy a variety of ethnic cuisines — it makes me happy when I find some new delicious combination of flavors that I have never experienced before (I still remember the first time I had Thai food). OTOH, my BIL doesn’t seem to have as many specific aversions, but his idea of a good meal is a steak and potatoes, or a steak and mac and cheese; if he won the lottery he’d probably eat at Ruth Chris’ at least twice a week.

  15. @ Milo, that’s insane. I was so mortified about being a picky eater I developed a lot of tricks for masking it. I never wanted people other than my parents to know.

    To my parents’ credit, especially my mom, they never let it bother them. My mom has zero interest in food and would be perfectly happy to have popcorn and wine, or cheese and crackers, for dinner every night. So she had very very low expectations for what I was supposed to eat.

  16. “Ugh. What does he not eat?”

    Oh, the list is extensive I’m sure. But that wasn’t even the issue. We’d been out on the boat with them all day, and I stayed home with the kids, who were exhausted to eat pizza, but DW and cousin and this guy went out to dinner. DW brought them to a totally foodie place that we like, and there’s absolutely no reason to complain about it or not find something that suits you, except he apparently didn’t like the type of cheese that they put on cheeseburgers, and plain wouldn’t do, ’cause he really wanted a cheeseburger, and so they actually got up and left the table…

    It’s not just food, though, that’s probably the least of their issues. They’re well-suited for each other, because they’re both pretty high maintenance types (or horribly suited, depending on how you look at it). But he’s far worse than she is.

  17. “I was so mortified about being a picky eater I developed a lot of tricks for masking it.”

    I think that’s the key difference. He doesn’t have that at all. Since I always blame the parents, I’ll say that his mom is a total hovering nut job, so we have a 28-year-old grown man who, if he’s out during the day, has to plan out a stop for his “snack” about every two hours.

    It didn’t help his case that when he first tried waterskiing or tubing (can’t remember which), he got a bunch of water up his nose and was all coughing dramatically, and while I’m circling around for his second try, he’s almost in tears in the water and can’t try again, he has to come back on the boat to rest, at which point my then four-year-old pipes up “Well, I’ll go then!”

    He’s just a delicate person.

  18. except he apparently didn’t like the type of cheese that they put on cheeseburgers, and plain wouldn’t do, ’cause he really wanted a cheeseburger, and so they actually got up and left the table…

    Wow, what an ass. I could see if the burgers were stuffed with blue cheese and he hated blue cheese and the only other thing on the menu was durian – ok, fine. But…wow.

  19. “It’s not just food, though, that’s probably the least of their issues. They’re well-suited for each other, because they’re both pretty high maintenance types”

    Reminds me of the girlfriend on maybe season 3 of Grace and Frankie. She is super high maintenance – it’s so hilarious that I’m surprised no one else has created a character like that before. Seems like a comedy goldmine.

  20. She is super high maintenance

    My favorite was when she had a panic attack in the ER because Frankie’s stroke meant she was no longer the center of attention. Bride at every wedding, corpse at every funeral…

  21. Oh, and DW’s cousin generally makes him a dinner separate from hers every night. She’s a vegetarian, he doesn’t like too many vegetarian things, plus God knows whatever other issues he’s got.

    DW told her “Kids are going to be fun for you,” to which she replied “I know, I know. We’re working on it.”

    His mom lives about a half-hour away, though, so she’ll probably come over and make his dinner if it comes to that.

  22. “I eat almost all foods that are available in the US. I am a little iffy on some of the crazier things in other countries. Picky eaters kind of annoy me.”

    Me too.

    I only checked 4 things – kidneys (although I’ve probably had them in some tasting menus), liquorice, fish heads, and one other thing that I don’t remember.

    The only other thing that I find vile and refuse to eat is raspberries.

  23. I was kind of picky as a teenager/college student. Moving around, including internationally, helped me broaden my horizons, as well as just getting older & less squeamish. I also didn’t want to be embarassed at work dinners by refusing to eat things that everyone else liked.

  24. I got zero, but that may be because I took “I’m willing to have a little bit” as meaning I eat it. If it’s “I happily eat this with no qualms” then I should have knocked off liquorice (fine in ouzo form, will only have a nibble to be polite in candy form), raw onions (I’ll pick most of them off a sandwich / burger but don’t mind getting a few), and kidneys (not sure if I’ve eaten them or not so I would try it with some trepidation).

    July, taramosalata is a Greek cod roe spread.

    Now if that list had included natto and balut and thousand year eggs, those would be definite NO THANK YOUs. Also sea cucumber, but that’s mostly because I can’t help thinking of how gross they look alive.

  25. I had to Google Taramasalata. I decided, I could eat that so there is nothing on that list I wouldn’t eat.
    In our house DH is the most picky eater. The kids can be persuaded to try unfamiliar things. They tried chicken livers, a specialty at some restaurants here. The Chinese market has interesting cuts of meats but nothing that nose to tail eating doesn’t cover.

  26. I only excluded licorice and raw onions. I remove raw onions from sandwiches, and I throw away black jelly beans, so it would be intellectually dishonest to not tick those boxes.

    But if I didn’t recognize something, I defaulted to assuming that I would eat it. I don’t know what rhubarb is, but I’ve been seeing rhubarb pie on dessert menus recently, and I’ve never met a pie I didn’t like.

  27. I got a 31, or “super picky.” However, I don’t think anyone in the outside world would notice that I am picky. I can always find something to eat at a restaurant, and I never ask for substitutions. If people invite me over, I always eat what is served without comment or complaint. Around here, most people who entertain serve meals buffet-style or family-style, so you can pick and choose what you put on your plate. I try really hard to NEVER call attention to my food preferences/dislikes.

    My DH, by contrast, will eat absolutely anything. I know he sometimes finds it annoying that I won’t eat certain things. But I find him annoying when he goes on and on about how the raw lettuce he grows in the garden and eats with no dressing tastes so “sweet and fresh,” when I can barely choke the stuff down without gagging even if it’s drenched in dressing. Where he tastes “sweet and fresh,” I taste “bitter and tough.” I honestly think we have biologically different taste buds.

  28. “His mom lives about a half-hour away, though, so she’ll probably come over and make his dinner if it comes to that.”

    Well, that could be a feature or a bug, depending on how you look at it. For me, would fall in the “ok, no skin off my nose” category.

    “I honestly think we have biologically different taste buds.”

    Science says you do.

  29. I question the list. I’m not picky, but there are things I don’t eat, and I got 0 on this test.

    I’m thinking of things I’m confronted with on a regular basis that I decline: various Thai curries that DH orders all the time, peanuts, pine nuts (though I do like pesto).

  30. I Don’t know if others get annoyed internally when their favorite dish doesn’t meet the standard.
    I love Key Lime Pie and I get annoyed if it doesn’t taste good.

  31. Oh, one more anecdote. At Thanksgiving dinner last year, at my brother’s house**, this guy is kind of picking at his food and his wife asks what’s wrong, to which he responds “I just don’t really like any Thanksgiving food. Roasted turkey is always dry, no matter what. The sweet potatoes are too sweet…” and he lists a brief complaint about every item on his plate.

    The truly obnoxious part is that my brother and SIL hosted about 40 people, and about half of them were only there because they’re my in-laws in some form or other, which is a bit weird, and then this guy, and his crabby sister, and his parents have to be included because DW’s aunt didn’t want to have to share her only child on holidays with daughter’s new husband’s family.

    Fortunately, it was only DW and I who heard, so we could just roll our eyes.

    But, outside of food, he’s not a bad person. He’s perfectly nice in other ways. Which is what makes the food thing all the more confounding because I guess he’s grown up in a world where pickiness is an obsession to take pride in.

  32. I had 24 that I wouldn’t eat, because I took it to mean as on their own. For example, there’s no way I’m going to eat a plain celery stick, but chop it up small in some dish and I’ll eat it.

  33. “I Don’t know if others get annoyed intern”ally when their favorite dish doesn’t meet the standard.”

    Absolutely! There are certain things that I don’t like to order in some restaurants because I worry that they won’t meet my standards. Steak is one of those things – I grill a mean steak at home, and I don’t want to pay a restaurant a premium for a mediocre version.

    @DD – I didn’t take it that way because i would never eat a raw onion for a snack, but I like them in certain dishes like salads, sandwiches, etc. And I don’t like mustard on pretzels, but I love mustard on certain sausages, so I wouldn’t check mustard either.

    @Milo – That is so rude. That’s the kind of thing that we’ve been training DS not to say since he was 2.

  34. Milo – is this the same in-law who is spending $$$ on an apartment and can’t afford to save up a down payment, so the parents are going to give them the money because they can’t possibly live in a walk-up in a non-luxury building? If so, it all makes sense!

  35. My dad is the crazy kind of picky, and I am definitely a little irrationally angry about it. There are few restaurants we can go to as a family – certainly nothing “ethnic”. I’m pretty sure I had never been out for Chinese before college. Brief lists of things that make food inedible for him (and then lead to sulky behavior): pepper, garlic, cheese, “spices”, “sauces”, onions.

    Notably, he was the only child of a single mother in the 50s – she catered to his every whim. I believe he took a friend egg sandwich to school every day for elementary school.

  36. yes. but now they’re living in the parents’ old condo for an undisclosed monthly rent (“we’ll just charge them enough to cover the mortgage payment,” but that obviously doesn’t mention how much the parents’ down payment was). Not that I’m opposed to that or think it’s wrong in any way, just “fitting.”

  37. There are things I prefer not to eat but depending on the situation, I will eat. My dad would eat everything except for stewed tomatoes. That generation as a whole seemed less picky – maybe it was growing up during the depression and/or the war years when food you liked wasn’t as plentiful.

    It would be interesting to see how picky the BIL would be if we still had the draft.

  38. My dad did discover (about 10 years ago) that he can tell servers that he is allergic to mayo – and then they don’t bring the mayo on the sandwich. This plagued him for years – “I just want a hamburger, meat and cheese” often came with mayo or special sauce of some kind. I’ve tried explaining to him that you can’t really be allergic to mayo, but whatevs.

  39. Totally nothing wrong with it. But I can see how there is mom who won’t do Thanksgiving without daughter and how daughter ends up with crazy picky food guy. At least it gives you all something to talk about!

  40. Kidneys, licorice, and blue cheese. I eat everything else. (Not plain liver but I love foie gras.)

    Milo, that is crazy. I remember my mom still tells the story of how she was taking my 2 cousins back from the beach at my grandparents’ house when they HAD to stop (keep in mind this is a 5 mile drive) because the kids had “extreme hunger”. This is still a family joke. ;)

  41. “The only other thing that I find vile and refuse to eat is raspberries.”

    Ah, I agree. I can taste even a tiny trace of those nasty hairy things in any berry concoction.

    One picky thing I first heard about here and then learned my D also has was liking guacamole but hating sliced avocado. Apparently it’s a texture thing.

  42. “But I can see how there is mom who won’t do Thanksgiving without daughter…”
    “At least it gives you all something to talk about!”

    I know. And while I’m bad-mouthing them, just yesterday, the mom (DW’s aunt) had arranged to take my three kids from my parents for one day to go out to lunch and to the movies and back home for dinner and a sleepover at their house last night…

  43. In the home country, when inviting people known to be picky, there would be a shrug of the shoulders and the host would say that if they didn’t like the food, they could always eat the plain steamed rice (always on hand).

  44. It sounds like the parents will all be wonderful and overbearing all wrapped in to one once the grandkids come along!

  45. they’d better be. the grandkids are going to be what really brings out the daughter’s crazy.

  46. @HM — That is my mom. Due to upbringing, and being married to my dad, she has probably never been to an Indian restaurant. She’s got a good attitude and will hopefully survive our summer vacation to Japan.

  47. She’s got a good attitude and will hopefully survive our summer vacation to Japan.

    OMG OMG I can’t wait! Even on the plane:

    Pickled octopus!

  48. Only 7 things on the list that I don’t eat, including spinach and raw onions

  49. Rhett, I still remember the lovely bento box I got on the bullet train between Osaka and Tokyo.

  50. Like the Germans will stuff anything into a sausage casing apparently the Japanese will pickle just about anything.

  51. Rhett, I still remember the lovely bento box I got on the bullet train between Osaka and Tokyo.

    We’re taking the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto. Apparently the offer a huge variety of bento boxes:

  52. RMS,

    I wouldn’t’ be surprised to have an e-mail just like that come out during discovery in a Frontier lawsuit.

  53. Oh Rhett, pork is God. Except for lamb which is even higher in food heaven. And fatty please in both cases

  54. Lamb? I have to say I’m not a fan. Too gamy. I’ll eat it if served it, but I’d never order it.

  55. There were only 6 things on the list I wouldn’t eat. But, then there were two I have never had before, but I would at least try them. Everyone else in my house is somewhat pickier.

  56. IMO, just because you don’t eat a bunch of stuff on the list doesn’t necessarily make you a picky eater.

    E.g., if you’re someone who can always find something on the menu, in the buffet, etc., that you’ll eat, then IMO you’re not really picky, even if there are a whole bunch of things you don’t (or more to the point WRT pickiness, won’t) eat.

  57. Lamb chops are usually tasty at good Greek restaurants. Other than that, not my favorite. Same with most of the things on the list. Good if well prepared. Kind of gross if not. But I don’t consider that pickiness. Pickiness is more when you refuse a dish because it has some sautéed onions or celery in it.

  58. Ada, the nice thing is that she can always find something she’ll like at a konbini — and konbini are everywhere. http://jpninfo.com/12152

    Finn, I’m fine with chicken feet. I don’t order them myself because they’re all skin and bones, but I’ve eaten them many times. Balut just seems wrong to me. And it looks so horrifying.

  59. I don’t think I know anyone who refuses to eat ice cream due to pickiness.

    I know someone who won’t eat ice cream with “stuff’ in it. They’ll eat vanilla or coffee or chocolate but no Ben and Jerry’s type with chunks of waffles or raisins or bananas or anything.

  60. My Hungarian (ethnicity, but born in America) grandmother used to prepare pickled pigs’ feet around Christmas time, specifically and only for my mom. As kids, we got a lot of mileage out of how disgusting it seemed.

    The things I remember refusing as a kid were eggplant parmesan, stuffed peppers (maybe you see the Hungarian influence, and I’d eat the filling, just not the slimy green pepper part, although raw bell peppers were always fine) and stuffed cabbage, but that’s because it smelled so bad. I didn’t like tuna salad, but that was only because my mom didn’t know that you’re supposed to add sweet relish and it totally moderates the flavor. Now I eat the stuff like it’s dessert. I still despise egg plant, though.

  61. OMFG, the Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Toffee Crunch that practically has entire intact Heath bars mixed in?? Soo good.

    My local neighborhood Walmart Supercenter was carrying it for a while, but lately I have to go to Giant for it.

  62. . I didn’t like tuna salad, but that was only because my mom didn’t know that you’re supposed to add sweet relish

    What? Gag. The only thing in tuna salad should be Miracle Whip. Never mayo and never ever ever celery.

  63. No Rhett…mayo only and it has to be Hellmann’s (Best Foods west of the Rockies).

  64. I’ve found Kirkland Mayo to be a suitable replacement for Best Foods.

    OTOH, I don’t think I’m very picky.

  65. At the Gilroy Garlic Festival they make garlic ice cream and a lot of people won’t even try it.

  66. I agree that some things have to do with how they are prepared. For example, I like okra in a gumbo or fried, but not sauted or steamed or pickled. As a general rule, I will try anything once. But, once was enough for pickled lamb bone marrow. I no longer eat curries as I feel awful about 3 hours after eating them. I like them and have tried it at different places (restaurants and homemade), but always the same results.

    As a general rule, we tell our kids if you go to someone’s house, you at least try everything they put in front of you. At one time my DD#2 and another girl were good friends (her mom and I are still friends even though the girls have drifted apart) and my DD#2 was eating at their house. The mom served roasted beets (which has never and likely never will be on the menu at our house) and DD#2 at them all. The mom asked if she’d like more. DD#2 declined. The mom asked if she liked them and DD#2 said not very much. The mom was just tickled that a kid would eat them and not just leave them on the plate.

    We have said a few times that DD#2 is alergic to chocolate because she hates it and if we didn’t say she was alergic schools and camps wouldn’t provide an alternative.

  67. “Tuna salad has mayo and celery and red onions and mustard.”

    Gross. My mom put onions in, too, which further killed it for me.

    I’m also sick of curried chicken salads, btw. Give me the regular prepared kind at Giant’s deli, or the Napa Almond one at Panera.

  68. I’m also sick of curried chicken salads, btw.

    With grapes in it? I love those!

  69. Tuna Salad can only be made with Mayo. Miracle Whip is gross.

    Potbelly has a great chicken salad. I get mine with giardiniera peppers. Yum

  70. No mustard in tuna salad – we use green onions in it – I like green olives in my tuna salad. My mom used to make cream cheese and olive sandwiches as an alternative to tuna. Sometimes with green other times with black olives. I can go either way on mayo or miracle whip on tuna. But, my mom made a “salad” – half a canned pear, dollop of miracle whip, topped with shredded cheddar. I am the only one who eats them now. But, it has to be miracle whip because it is saltier and it needs that.

  71. Oh man if you don’t eat lamb you are missing some fine dishes: cumin lamb from Northwest China. lamb vindaloo, the classic French dish of roast lamb, very rare,with flageolet beans.

  72. Garlic is one thing that I don’t really like. I will eat things with garlic, but my preference is to leave the garlic out. Garlic ice cream sounds nasty.

  73. Tuna salad should mainly be bound with good olive oil, with just a tiny bit of mayo. Lots of herbs, and minced carrots and celery for crunch

  74. Miracle Whip is too sweet for me. I had to eat way too much of it as a kid in the South. Everyone used to slather it on bologna sandwiches. Eeuw

  75. Cilantro tastes like soap. I deal with it in the rice from chipotle, but I never add it when a recipe calls for it.

  76. Tuna salad needs to be one of two ways: mayo and relish, per Milo; or mayo and celery and lemon juice and salt and pepper (kalamata olives may be used in this version, if you want to be fancy). You need either the sweet/tangy or the acid/sharpness to cut the fishy. Onions are an abomination – they emphasize the fishy instead of offsetting it.

    Curry does not belong in chicken salad. Ever. But many other varieties are acceptable, because chicken does not taste like fish.

    And lamb is the most delicious of all meats. Especially with tzatziki. Or the cumin lamb MM mentioned.

  77. Is it late enough for me to hijack with a THIS JUST IN / TOTEBAG FAMILY NEWS ALERT? Not sure why I feel I should go Anon for this – I guess b/c it’s about a kid. Won’t be difficult to suss out who I am, I think.

    My son enlisted in the Army yesterday.

    He signed an “18x contract” which is a fast track to try out for special forces/Green Beret. Not a guaranteed position in SF by any means, just a chance to try out for it.

    You can Google 18x and find out plenty. (In fact, you can spend hours doing nothing but reading articles and watching YouTube videos about 18x preparation, selection, etc., and then compile emails with lists of links and send them to your son …)

    He leaves for Basic at the end of September. In the meantime, he’s working and trying to prepare physically for the arduous selection process. The odds for selection are extremely low, and he is at the very young end of the age range (20-30) so the odds may be even lower for him. If he doesn’t make it, he’d likely be assigned to the infantry, specifically 82d Airborne. He is aware of the odds and is happy with the infantry consequence — more than happy, actually.

    He has always wanted to serve. He thought he’d do it as an officer, and was in ROTC. But he hated college–with the sole exception of his ROTC class. (Well, he loved the fraternity, too…). He started thinking in freshman year that he’d be happier quitting school and enlisting, and finally last Feb or so, he realized that was his answer.

    He says he is going back to college when his 5 years are up — maybe to OCS after that and then more service as an officer, maybe to an MBA program and then a job in business. At this point, I could see him following this enlistment + college plan, but I could also see him never going back to college. I guess we’ll have to wait for 2022 to find out.

    I considered not mentioning this, for a number of reasons. But then I thought, how nice would it be for him if a bunch of people from all over the country were thinking about him and sending positive vibes his way? I’m new-agey that way. Thanks in advance for all the virtual fist bumps and pats on the back and support and encouragement I know you’ll give him as he sets off on this path.

  78. One of my fraternity brothers did law school and undergraduate courtesy of USMC. Great man and that plan sure worked for him. Happy to hear others are trying something similar. God speed.

  79. Anon Regular,

    Thanks for sharing! Not sure of your real fake name but do keep us posted! Congrats.

  80. Anon, good for him. College is not for everyone, and that’s perfectly fine. There are so many different paths to success. I believe I remember he had expressed interest in this through the college application process, so definitely not impulsive or on a whim. All the best to him.

  81. Anon, that is great news! The military really is a great place to start for so many young people. Best of luck to him.

  82. Anon – Best of luck to him.
    A friend of mine’s son would have graduated in May, but really didn’t like high school. Early this fall he found a fast track program here in town and completed high school in October and joined the Navy as an Airman Apprentice. He shipped out the end of April. His mom said for years they have known the direct route for college was not his likely path. His family has a history of military service, including his mom.

  83. I am not a fan of curried chicken salad either. TBH, I’m not really a fan of yellow curry in most forms. Love red curry and green thai curry. But yellow curry powder isn’t my favorite flavor.

    Yellow curry items fall under – everyday things I will eat if I am a guest, but never order or choose to cook at home. Also in this category – whitefish, salmon, cilantro (it tastes soapy to me too Lemon – it’s nature not lack of sophistication you know!), fudge/truffles/anything that is really dense chocolate, Italian beef sandwiches, desserts with walnuts or pecans, turkey deli meat (so dry & awful – always), and out-of-season tomatoes (which I pick off sandwiches even when in a work lunch meeting).

    I also think that someone it’s really picky if they can go to most restaurants and order something off the menu without a bunch of substitutions.

  84. Thanks for posting the Onion article on the Indian food restaurant. I shared it with my Dad and stepmom who, to my knowledge, have never had Indian, Thai or any other such food because it’s too spicy. I loved the Bloomington, MN, authenticity about finding something nice to say about the napkins.

  85. Ivy, I agree with you on so many items (nuts ruin a perfectly good brownie), but fudge and truffles? Have you ever been to Mackinac Island? Fresh warm fudge is amazing.

    I have a coworker that I now refuse to go out to eat with. She won’t complain about what restaurant it is. But once there she has to special request everything -remove the mayo, the cheese, the avocado, the sun dried tomato, plain bread instead of ciabatta, etc. And then complains that the turkey sandwich was too dry and boring. More than once I’ve been out with her and she has sent the food back…and she is pretty rude to the waitstaff about it. And then she’ll tell the table that she was a waitress, so she knows that what she is asking is not unusual or difficult. Aghh! Just order soup and shut up.

  86. Congrats, Anon! It sounds like you’ve raised a terrific young man. Best wishes to your son on this big new chapter in his life.

  87. I do not like nuts or anything hard in ice cream. Sweet cold creamy should be just that. I also hate sprinkles messing up my frosting. Nuts are great on their own

  88. “I also think that someone it’s really picky if they can go to most restaurants and order something off the menu without a bunch of substitutions.”

    I don’t know what I thought I was typing here. Obviously, I meant that if someone can go to most restaurants and order something off the menu without a laundry list of substitutions, they are not really picky. Or if they can find something to eat at a family dinner/picnic/BBQ, etc.

    Yeah, I really don’t like fudge. Too dense & rich. I like chocolate, but I really like chocolate mixed with other things. Chocolate bars filled with caramel or toffee are one of my favorites, but those lindt balls (or even fancier dense chocolate)? Nah.

  89. “everyday things I will eat if I am a guest, but never order or choose to cook at home. ”

    Sandwiches are in that category for me. Depending on circumstance, I might eat mayo (yuck) or things that make me itch (cilantro, blue cheese, celery) and maybe even meat or unsustainably caught fish/seafood. But I’d rather not.

  90. Anon – good luck and many blessings as he ventures forth.

    On the food topic – I think the yellow curry chicken salad tastes weird. Curry powder/paste to my mind is meant to be cooked in a liquid. If it is not it tastes raw to me.

  91. I try to look at menus before we go anywhere, so that we can avoid the whole “special for special me” song & dance. If something is not served as we ordered it, I will ask for a redo, with an apology and a smiley thank you when the fresh one arrives. DS used to claim with a big happy face that everything was great, then not eat, say he wasn’t hungry, refuse to eat it the next few days…. I’ve been working with him on how to politely say that he doesn’t care for something. He is generally too concerned about making waves, imo. It’s possible to stand up for yourself without being rude.

  92. ““Anon” – I’m ridiculously proud of him. Good for him.”

    Well, this brought tears to my eyes, and then reading the rest of the responses made me choke up more.

    Thank you, all of you.

  93. I eat everything on the list, although I wouldn’t eat kidneys with enthusiasm.

    When I started dating DH, he and his brother would take me to ethnic restaurants in their community and see how many things I was willing to try – I drew the line at feet (I’ve seen the inside of a henhouse and a pigsty, and there is no way those feet are ever going to be clean enough for me)!

    I’ve had ducks’ tongues, kangaroo, alligator, rattlesnake, curried goat, jellyfish, pig stomachs, sea cucumber, eel, octopus, lots of other sea creatures I couldn’t identify and didn’t want to….

    And tonight DS (age 6) is eating pasta for the first time and I am SO excited! (He has sensory processing issues, and eats only two things on the picky eaters’ list: white bread and cheese.)

  94. Sorry I missed this topic today. I got 24, but don’t consider myself a picky eater. I will find something to eat any where and don’t complain. This past weeken I was visiting my family, who presumably know I’ve hated seafood my entire life, and we had seafood both nights. My ever-thoughtful brother stopped by our favorite teen years fast food Mexican place while we were out running around so I could have something I liked. But I found something to eat each night and never mentioned that even the smell makes me gag.

    My DS is crazy picky, and I do think it’s biological. Part of it, I think, is also psychological. We have drilled so many times that you have to be polite and have to try some of everything you are served that he just wouldn’t eat when he was at friends’ houses. Even at sleepovers, parents would apologize because he hadn’t eaten dinner or breakfast when I came to get him. Even in high school, a Turkish teacher had students to his home and served food. He said he wasn’t hungry and didn’t touch a thing. My SIL told me she was the exact same thing – said good tasted like poison to her. Then in her early 20’s it was like a switch flipped and things started tasting good. He frequently asks to try certain foods or restaurants because he really would like to eat a bigger variety. And – neither he or my SIL will eat ice cream or pie or many types of candy. For people like them, I don’t think it’s a desire to be special or manipulative. Things just taste horrible.

    And anon regular – keep us updated. We’re all cheering for him!!

  95. Rocky, playing with my kid is something I nearly always* want to do. Shouting, being shouted at, handling tears are all much more exhausting to me.

    *He is now reaching an age when I will sometimes tell him to just say what he means and let me get on with my day, but that was a long time coming, and we are still playful.

  96. Becky, my son occaisionally asks to try a wider variety too. I’m happy to oblige, but I don’t push him. Like you said, he really can’t, even though he wants to be more easy going about food.

  97. Sky – I’m smiling at the white bread and cheese. That was a daily lunch for years for my DS. Mine also has sensory processing issues, but it gets better.

  98. I tried cauliflower rice for the first time last night. It was pretty good, prepared with lime and cilantro by my D. She also made meatless (some sort of soy crumbled stuff) tacos. The guacamole and salsa and crema boosted the flavor. Ticks have been on our mind, and we joked about the tick-borne disease that turns you into a vegetarian by making you allergic to meat.

    I’m lucky my kids were never picky eaters. Now as adults one experiments (endlessly!) with vegetarian, vegan, and other cuisine aimed at “healthy and ethical” lifestyle. She also loves Taco Bell and Domino’s. The other kid has always been adventurous, and a few years ago traveled to the World Expo in Milan specifically to try out cuisines from around the world. He had some exotic stuff, but much of it is the type you can sample in NYC since we have such a variety of ethnic groups.

  99. In other news, I’m about to be a huge beneficiary of our NextDoor list! Someone listed a gym-grade recumbent bike for free (to anyone willing to move it out of their second story).

    I was going to ask DH to fetch my under-desk bike from my office for this summer’s hip rehab, but the recumbent bike is soooo much better. It’s like a huge version of my under-desk bike, and so much better because of the programming capability, the better seat, the handles, etc. So, I responded immediately to the offer, and DH and a pal are going this morning to rent a U-Haul and then pick up the bike!

    Evidently, there were quite a few responses to the NextDoor offer. I will offer the recumbent via NextDoor as soon as I’ve graduated to my spinning bike, likely sometime in the fall. Maybe we’ll keep it going around the neighborhood for various people’s surgical recoveries.

    I don’t want DH and his buddy to have to lug it down to the basement if I’m not keeping it, so it’ll be a “lovely” addition to our first-floor family room, which is where I’ll be living for the next several months.

  100. I haven’t been able to post much because last week was filled with half days, tons of errands before camp, and lots of time in the car. We actually had a picky eater melt down moment at lunch on Friday. I couldn’t believe when I saw the title of the post because the picky eater that lives in our home was like a character in a horror movie at Shake Shack. She doesn’t eat hamburgers, but she does eat hot dogs. It took many visits to Shake Shack until she was convinced that a hot dog that is split open and grilled tastes exactly like a hot dog that is not split before it goes not he grill. I don’t know why she was so nasty yesterday, but we were there with one of her friends for lunch on Friday. There was no way that she was going to eat that hot dog. We didn’t force it, and suggested that she just eat fries or the shake. I told her that she has to try to find something to eat and make the best of the situation. It wasn’t happening, and the most frustrating part was that she acted like she was 3 instead of 13. There are times when people ask me, aren’t you really sad when she leaves not he camp bus for 7 weeks? I will be thinking about Shake Shack when I start to feel sad at the camp bus tomorrow because it isn’t fun to live with a picky eater.

    I really hope she tries something new there this summer because it would be so much easier if she would just start to eat a few more things.

  101. It’s been an experience being kid-free this week. While we’ve left them with grandparents before, we’ve always gone away. We’d never once spent a night alone together in this house.

    I go to work in the morning, DW does about three hours of work and is done for the day by about 10, goes to Barre class, comes home and has been painting a piece of furniture in the garage. By the time I get home, she’s dressed up and wearing makeup with her hair wavy and ready to go out for a luxurious, quiet dinner. It’s not a bad life at all.

    And now we’ve got to go to the beach to pick them up. :)

  102. In a nod to the early Roth IRA discussion, I had a talk with DD about investing her future summer job earnings. This conversation was well received while in the car, on errand rounds. I was informed that she has $26 so far (no allowance so that is money gathered by scrounging around).

    When I hit Target this morning I was struck by a wave of nostalgia. I passed by art supplies, cards and gift bags, summer clothes, the lego aisle, outdoor toys and didn’t stop. I did stop at the pool toy aisle but this will probably be the last hurrah for those.

  103. MIlo — being kid-free — IME the big gobs of uninterrupted time are what I have found so precious.

    Louse — I still get a little nostalgic when I pass the aisles of summer toys at the drugstore, remembering that feeling of what should I buy to help my kids entertain themselves. I feel like I should be getting a wiffle ball set or playing cards or something.

  104. Speaking of picky eaters: DH and I are about to take my Granny out for ice cream. For lunch. :-). I love summer.

  105. Argh – DS, not DH. DH is manning the fort at home, doing grocery shopping, making the Kohl’s run, and probably eating real food. 😄😂

  106. Anon – I’m always grateful to those who serve, and as a mother to boys of similar ages, I’m especially thankful to those parents who send their kids off too. What a blessing for him that you are supportive of him finding his own path. Please let us know how this works out for him. He sounds like a brave young man.

  107. So I called T-Mobile and said, “Hi, I’d like the exact service I’m getting now but for less money” and they said “Okay” and knocked $10 off the monthly charge.

    Just the other day I had to call Comcast and yell about why the suddenly jacked up the fees by $60 a month. So they knocked the $60 back off but forced me to get a phone service. So now I have a phone number that I will never use. Whatevs.

  108. RMS – on the internet phone. I once got pushed into that “deal” once it was all done and I got my lower price confirmed I spoke to a supervisor and explained that I did not need the phone, I would not let their tech into the house to install the phone and since all I was asking for was to have LESS STUFF (only internet) for the SAME PRICE as MORE OF THEIR STUFF didn’t it make sense to just leave the setup the way it currently is, equipment, price, everything? Done.

  109. I’ve tried that in the past, Fred. They really won’t let up with the phone. And there’s nothing to install; they just activate the phone jack on the modem. Okay, whatever, if it all goes south I’ll call back and yell some more. But they’re really obsessive about the “triple play” and “quad play” selling, and it’s so bizarre, because they LOWER the price. I’m not sure what the benefit is to the company.

  110. I’m on the computer trying to figure out who might have the “double racing” slip ‘n’ slide in stock because the boys turned up the water pressure too high and blew out the input. The plastic tie bar on the water balloon filler is also irreparably broken. Thanks to Facebook, I learned the ball the boys liked from the school carnival that went flat is from the dollar store, so I can get another of those. It’s nice to know I’ll feel nostalgic for this some day.

  111. WCE – have you seen the water balloon filled that fills up like a zillion balloons ? Seems new this year.
    I think today I got why people like the grandparent gig. You can wander down all the kiddie aisles again.

  112. @ Milo, I hear you. Our kids have always done a 2 week sleep away camp, and every year we’ve stayed home to enjoy being in the house without them. It’s so luxurious. It ends up being only 10 nights, by the time we travel home and travel back to get them, but that’s just the right amount of time.

  113. My phone is due for an upgrade Aug 1. Each time this happens, I call and ask what are my options to get x,y,z at a better rate than I have now, plus I trot out my employer discount and every other organization I can think of that they might discount for. The general theme is we will give you more stuff for the same or slightly less price, but no we can’t give you a lower price for just the same stuff. Then I go into the store and ask the same question. Its been a toss up on which way gets me the better deal, but it if it is from the phone call, the store employee can always seem to match the deal, but not the other way around.

    I think the HOPE is that they will hook you onto some service that you didn’t have before and will then want to upgrade it. In my case, the last time was adding an ipad, with a small amount of data, to the plan. I was thinking of getting an ipad, so I bit. I don’t use it as much as I thought I would on a daily basis, but found that I like it for trips (saves packing books). I also found it is a bit bigger making reading emails or seeing some fb posts easier than on my phone. I am not sure if I am going to ditch the ipad this go around or not.

  114. My phone bill isn’t going down–unless they let me cancel the iPhone 7 DS ordered for himself yesterday, thinking that “no money down” meant we didn’t have to pay for it.

  115. I’m sure you can still cancel if you explain that it was purchased without your knowledge by a kid. If he really wants that phone, it pays to wait until August. The price should drop with back to school sales and the expected release of the 8.

  116. @Louise – those water balloon things are amazing! Our friend bought some from Target or Costco and the kids had a blast. I think they fill like 20 water balloons at a time AND self tie. It made me want to be a kid again. At the same time it was like watching money being lit on fire how quickly they were used.

  117. Lauren, any thought to just letting the picky eater pick what she wants from the menu, and not worry about if she doesn’t eat? I.e., let her deal with the consequences of her own pickiness, one of which could be hunger.

    It is hard to imagine not being happy at Shake Shack. We had a chance to eat at one last week, and it definitely lived up to our expectations.

  118. Lauren, that’s my assumption too. He’s not getting anything for ordering it without asking, no matter how great a deal he thought it was. But it’s kind of funny, if I squint at it just the right way. I agree with Finn re letting kids order and try what they want.

    Louise, I’m right there with you!

  119. I’m trying to sign up for the Sprint free year deal, but I’m having a hard time getting phones that they will accept. I’ve got one so far and have others lined up that should work. The offer ends on the 30th but you can add more lines until the end of July, so I think it will work out.

  120. Virgin mobile has a $1/month for one year deal if you buy an iPhone from them. They use Sprint’s network, so you might compare their deal against Sprint’s.

    If you like the Sprint network and want a family plan, check out Boost.

  121. Summer jobs question – the CIT program at the Y says it is for 14-15 year olds. When do Totebaggers recommend this program be done ? Is it better to do it in the summer before freshman year of high school or sophomore year ? I guess I am thinking of other summer items like drivers ed, required band practice and other things that may come up after freshman year.

  122. Finn, I refuse to use an iphone. And is Boost is offering an family plan for one year free?

  123. I didn’t see any specials at Boost, but if you want a family plan it might be worth checking. $50 for 1st phone, $30 for additional phones, unlimited calls/texts/data.

  124. We do let her order what she wants, but she is picky and has a tough time finding something to eat at certain restaurants. She left for camp today, and she will have to manage to find something to eat at camp.

    BTW, I really like the customer service at Shake Shack. They offered to make the hot dog again for DD, but she refused. The manager refunded my money for the hot dog, AND gave me two coupons for free stuff in the future.

  125. Lauren, perceptive servers do that when they notice my kid stopped eating after 1 or 2 bites, even if he claimed it was “great” with a grin when they checked with us soon after serving.

  126. Saac, I would add “keep a list of everything you read in class and outside of class during high school.” DS1 and 2 applied to colleges that requested such a list, and it was easier for DS2 because we knew to keep a list as he went along instead of having to try to remember what he read during Christmas break three years ago.

  127. HFN, my mouth just dropped open. How precise does such a list need to be? Is it likely that copying over his kindle history would suffice? He really doesn’t read any paper books any more, unless he absolutely must for school. It wouldn’t be terribly hard to save that history at the end of each semester or something

  128. Lauren, I just read your post about Shake Shack. Makes perfect sense that her food “issues” would flare just before camp–she’s excited and nervous. I think I mentioned above that those feelings bring up the “pickiness” in my son. That isn’t just him; it’s lots of people.

    Rocky. if you ever buy/sell things on line, you can use the extra phone. Or for an affair, lol.

    My kid’s too old for the toy aisle too, darn it. Now I have to find a different excuse when I want to play jax.

  129. SM, that’s a pretty good list, but IMO it could be edited based on the particular kid in question, and that kid’s goals.

    Some of the factors that need to be taken into account include what sort of school the kid aspires to, what kind of student, what kind of grades and test scores, etc.

    The list would be quite different for a kid realistically aspiring to very HSS than for a kid who is a middling student who plans to attend the local CC or JC before transferring to nearby directional U.

  130. “•Submit financial aid applications, including new FAFSA after Jan 1. ”

    This needs to be changed to reflect the change to the FAFSA process that allows submission in fall of senior year.

  131. SM, for kids realistically aspiring to HSS, a category into which your kid is likely to fall, much of the list IMO should be pulled up earlier on the timeline.

  132. Thanks Finn.
    I looked at NYU’s requirements over the weekend. It’d be a reach, but I think he could do it. That’s the level I’m going to look to for him.

  133. Oh, and what she your favorite way to look this up? There are quite a few sites that post it. US News has half of it behind a pay wall or requiring subscription.

  134. THats the one I fell into this weekend. The pages for individual schools are good, but I’m still learning that way around their setup–I keep descending at ads for their courses. I know they had a college selector thingy, but I can’t find it again, and I’d like to see lists of schools in each category, but haven’t seen that at all. Right now I’m using it by googling “admissions requirements [uni] prepscholar”. I’m sure there is a more efficient way to do this, but I haven’t found it yet.

  135. Looking at the various sites, I can see why low-income kids who could get into Ivies don’t even bother to apply–it is hard to find out about the schools and admission criteria; sites seem to want students to pick a pricetag first.

  136. Hahah–my uni, which back in the day was an original “public ivy” is now one of the “A+ schools for B students” on US News’ site.

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