Dinner’s Guide for the Picky Eater

I am an undercover picky eater, so much so that at a recent Friends Day dinner, I refused to eat turkey and other holiday dishes and instead ate only bread and hot sauce. My masters are still talking to me for some reason, but other hell eaters should take care not to follow in my incredibly rude footsteps.

It is perfectly acceptable when attending a dinner party to warn the host of any dietary restrictions you may have so they don’t accidentally kill you or try to feed you to a dead animal you have vowed never to eat. But for picky eaters, the etiquette is a little different: you cannot demand that the owner serve you something green or resembling an egg. Here are some tips for navigating your food with grace.

Eat in advance

The most important thing to know is that telling artists that you hate certain foods is not a good idea. While some dinner party hosts will ask their guests if they have any food preferences, you can’t expect someone to listen as you chat for 10 minutes about raisins being the devil’s food. “If you’re a guest, it’s wrong etiquette to list what you like or don’t like unless the host asks you,” Micah Mayer, founder and director of Manhattan’s Beaumont Etiquette finishing program, tells us. “If you accept an invitation to dinner, you must be prepared to be served something you don’t like.”

One way to fix this problem, assuming your preferences are overwhelming, is to avoid dinner parties at all costs. “If you are too picky about your food and eat little, I probably will not accept an invitation to dinner. It’s also unfair to the owner, says Meyer.

But if you do decide to come, consider having dinner before playing with appetizers. For example: “If you’re going to a friend’s house and they’re cooking Thai food and it’s very spicy, this might be a good time to grab a little snack.” food in advance, ”Kelly Williams Brown, author of The Gracious and Adulting Modern Civilization Guides, said.

You can also bring a snack with you. “Maybe bring a couple of protein bars, so if you really can’t eat more than a couple of things, you can eat one or two of them,” Brown said. Please note that you should not take out your own food and eat it at the table; excuse yourself and eat a protein bar in the bathroom if necessary. And if that’s not enough for you, make sure you have something to eat at home. “There were times when I had something in my car for myself, so if I’m really hungry, I might swallow a few bites in the afternoon,” Brown said.

If you are going to lunch, you can bring your own food so you know for sure that there is something about the food that you will enjoy. Still, it’s not cool to come with your own plate of mac and cheese and nothing else. “Don’t come with your dish and take three quarters,” Brown said. “Make sure there are enough of them so you can get a helping hand and share it.” If you suspect this is the only thing you’ll be eating and it may take seconds or a third, bring a large portion. Or, as Brown points out, you can prepare your own plate in advance at home.

Try almost everything

This principle should serve you well in most areas of your life, but especially at dinner parties. If you end up checking out your picky taste buds and showing up at dinner, you don’t have to eat whatever is served, but you should put in a little effort. “Other people work hard, so at least try other products that are offered to them so as not to offend anyone,” Meyer said.

But while it is important to try as much as possible, you may skip some of the more unpleasant dishes. “Usually, lunch doesn’t consist of just one type of food. If you don’t like noodles, the host won’t just serve the noodles, ”Meyer said. “You can eat whatever is on your plate, but don’t eat the noodles.” If the main course is causing you the most distress, you still need to take a bite. If you’re not allergic to it, it probably won’t kill you, even if your taste buds wriggle.

And if you try something that you know you really can’t stomach, you can sneak out of it. “We’ve all had the experience of putting a piece of food in our mouth and immediately knowing that it should return immediately,” Brown said. “In situations like this, I would point out that the best way to deal with it is to bring the napkin to your mouth, gently spit out the food, and hide the napkin.”

Of course, even if you’ve done your best to disguise your aversion to poultry, someone might notice that you left some food on your plate. In this case…

Be positive, but don’t lie.

Someone once served me a surprise dinner, and although I ate everything on my plate and praised it wildly, it was a little embarrassing when he later heard me rant about asparagus. It turns out that this is not the case. “Lying is bad etiquette,” Mayer said. “If your [host] says, ‘What, you don’t like chicken?’ I would just say, “Everything is great, I really liked the rice and potatoes.”

But the main thing here is positive. If you are not sure what is in front of you, you can ask what you are offered. “It’s absolutely normal etiquette to ask the owner how to eat something and what kind of dish it is,” Mayer said. “If you are not eating the liver, and this is the liver, you definitely need to know this so as not to embarrass yourself or your master.”

But you shouldn’t, say, point at him, grimace and shout: “WHAT IS THIS ?!” “Asking curious, happy questions is always great,” said Brown. And if you are not too happy with the answers you receive, do not fall on someone else’s parade. “Someone may say:“ Yes, this is haggis, this is a sheep’s stomach filled with other rams inside, ”and you say:“ I heard, this is a national dish! “And take a tiny bite,” Brown said.

And even if you hate what you ate, you still need to compliment the chef. “You don’t even have to say you like it or it tastes good,” Brown said. “You could say he’s so bright or so alive.”

Basically, never tell a person who was kind enough to feed you that you hate their food. “After all, when people invite you to their home and cook for you, it’s really a gift they give you,” Brown said. “You have to kind of suck it up.”

Stay away from the salt shaker

Sometimes I force myself to eat something, sprinkling it with spices, but apparently it’s not very pleasant. “Never season food with a chef seated at the table. If they see it, it can be very offensive, ”Meyer said. This is true even if there is salt and pepper on the table. “I would still advise you to be careful, because the chef always notices,” Mayer said.

If you are one of the organizers, suggest several different dishes.

You don’t have to respond to inquiries if you are generous enough to prepare meals for guests, but you must make sure that no one has, say, a nut allergy so that you don’t end up with a trip to the hospital. However, if the group is small enough, you can find out what people like. “I always recommend asking,” Mayer said. “The whole point of a dinner party is for guests to enjoy food and company, and there is nothing more embarrassing than no one eats anything.”

Even if you’re not asking for advice, if you’re making a big meal, it’s a good idea to suggest several options. “I usually try to include one thing,” Meyer said. “I always recommend one vegetable dish, one meat and one fish. Just be careful, everyone will find something for themselves. “

And if you know you have picky eaters, don’t be offended if they don’t clean up their plate. Your friends may be monsters, but they love you enough to show up.

So … isn’t it cool just to eat bread and srichu?

Nope. Never invite me to dinner.


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