8 things you’ll understand if you’re a really fussy eater

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By Luke Rix-Standing, PA

Food is one of those areas where your opinion only matters so much.

If you don’t like horror films, no one can make you watch them, and if you’re not a fan of running – no sweat, don’t run. But food is non-optional since it’s universal, required for life, and experienced thrice daily.

Almost everybody likes some sort of foods but if you are a fussy eater these things are likely to ring true with you…

1. Eating at other people’s houses is stressful

Two roads diverge before you as the plates approach the table. Down one lies spaghetti bolognese, and a delightful evening catch-up over one too many glasses of red. Down the other lies seafood salad, devilled kidneys and other horrors, that leave you chatting through a clenched smile, supressing your gag reflex, and quietly calculating the amount of food you can politely leave on your plate.

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2. Your tastes probably aren’t logical

You didn’t decide what to like and dislike, so it’s hard to know why you’re expected to have a consistent rationale. So what if you hate all seafood but for some reason love Crab Rangoon? You don’t have to justify yourself to anyone.

3. You’re probably not a very good cook

If the oven is the chef’s tapestry and the spatula their paintbrush, you’re very much restricted to the microwave. Complex flavours require lots of different foodstuffs, and the longer the ingredient list the more likely you are to find something you cannot tolerate.

On the plus side, you can grill a mean cheese toastie.

 

4. Texture can be as important as taste

There’s more to food than flavour and we’ll tolerate squash, bubblegum, or ice cream of almost any variety because the texture is non-confrontational. Alternatively, if a food’s taste is acceptable but its feeling on your tongue makes you gag, you don’t want to eat it ever.

5. Set menus are the absolute worst

Restaurants can be tricky at the best of times, and every fussy eater knows the moment of truth that is your first browse of the menu, eyes flicking frantically in search of something familiar.

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A set menu just feels vindictive – like an endurance obstacle course, stretching meanly in front of you. And given the sorts of places that use set menus, you’re probably paying through the nose for the privilege of being tortured.

 

6. You might have really good reasons

OK, so you don’t eat everything – but you could have a medical condition, you could be a vegan or have other ethical concerns, or you could be a little bit phobic.

People are so quick to judge.

7. You are 100% a punchline

Being a fussy eater does not command respect. To many, it conjures images of toddlers tossing food from their high chairs, and once your friends figure out your foibles they’ll be brought up at every lunch date, every dinner party, and probably every trip to McDonald’s.

 

8. You can hide it, but only for so long

Fussy food habits don’t make great first impressions, and from the school cafeteria to ill-advised dinner dates, you may want to keep awkward eating under wraps.

You’ll take small servings, choke down a few undesirables, and feign fullness at opportune moments, but at some stage a no-go food will crop up and break your cover. It doesn’t matter how many mouthfuls you wash down with tap water – eventually, the truth will out.

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