30 July 2020

Fussiness

Fussiness? In particular, I am thinking about food. Many people are fussy eaters. Perhaps you are one yourself.

When our children were young, they would often  bring friends home -  and frequently a meal would be served. It never ceased to amaze me how picky some of these children would be. "I don't like potatoes", "I don't like salad", "I don't like water", "I don't like spaghetti bolognese", and so on. Clearly, these children's eating preferences  had been pandered to with parents listening overmuch to small children's declared likes and dislikes. That is what I thought anyway.

Shirley and I were more of the "Shut up and eat what you are given" brigade. Our kids ate the same meals that we ate and the possibility of complaint or rejection was just not on the agenda.

Until he turned to veganism five years ago, our son Ian would eat and enjoy everything. I cannot think of a single food item he would turn his nose up at. On the other hand, our daughter stopped liking mushrooms somewhere along the line. I cannot pinpoint the moment when this dislike for mushrooms began. Perhaps she learnt it at someone else's house when she was little. 

Shirley can be a bit funny about food. For example, on the rare occasions we order Chinese takeaways I know that I cannot order any other meat dishes apart from chicken - so it's always chicken chop suey, chicken chow mein, chicken foo yung, sweet and sour chicken. Pork and beef are definitely off the menu.

Over the years, I notice that I have developed my own kind of fussiness when it comes to food. I will happily eat anything - a complete omnivore but I have an issue with the presentation of food. Quite simply, I like plates of food to look nice.

Even if I am preparing a sandwich or baked beans on toast, I will make it look nice. A full Sunday dinner  means that each item must be arranged carefully with a degree of visual separation. Not for me the sloppy habit of  just chucking everything together in a carefree manner. In my opinion. the experience of pleasurable eating is about all the senses - including sight.

How about you and your family? Are there common food items you just cannot stand? Or are you, like me, fussy about food in other ways?

51 comments:

  1. I'm very fussy about food. I have a hard time with weird textures in my mouth and I don't like bitter flavors. It's genetic because my brother, my dad, my cousin, my nephew and my aunt are all the same. I'm much better now than when I was a child but it caused me no end of embarrassment when I was young. I still get embarrassed sometimes but it's the way I am. I so wish I was one of those people who loved all foods, my mum pretty much loved all foods. I was not catered to as a child, in fact I would often sit for an hour after supper at the table because I wouldn't eat something. Some foods just make me gag, like canned fruit.

    It could be worse I suppose, I could be a cereal killer:)

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    1. "Lie here on my couch...1...2...3...4...5...You are getting sleepy. We are going back in time...back...back. You are turning your nose up at the plate in front of you. No mama! No! Don't like!...Shut up Lily! Silly Lily! Eat it up! Eat it up!" etc..

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  2. My youngest daughter and her husband turned themselves into short order cooks for the children. When they came to live with grandma, they ate the meal. My oldest daughter and her husband introduced their children to fine dining about age two, and those two children are accomplished gourmets and diners. I'll eat what's out there.

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    1. If hungry, I might eat you Joanne! Don't get too close.

      I like the term "short order cooks"!

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  3. I find myself being much fussier about food as I grow older. As kids, we had to eat everything and we did and enjoyed our food.

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    1. Out on the prairie I guess you had little choice.

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  4. My fussiness when it comes to food is all about it being GOOD. Of course that’s pretty subjective.

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    1. Some people seem content to consume rubbish food and it's not all about money - by no means.

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  5. Like Red, I have gotten fussier about food since I've gotten older. When I was a child I ate what I was given, period. Now I am not a big meat eater but I do eat some and like your daughter I do not like mushrooms. I also do not like sushi but both of my grown kids love it. YP, I think that is the fussiest picture I have ever seen of you!

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    1. That was one of my happy days Bonnie.

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  6. My sister and I were encouraged to at least try everything - if we still didn't like it then, so be it; we were never forced to eat something, and the few things my Mum knew we didn't like, she would not cook when we were there. One example of what I do not eat to this day is liver. I hate the smell, but some people love it, and so if my Mum made it for my Dad and herself as a rare treat, we were free to join them, but usually just helped ourselves to the mashed potatoes and other non-liver dishes.
    These days, I am fussy in that I am conscious about where my food comes from. I do not go for cheap meat (and luckily can afford to buy what I like, not having to look at price tags) and almost never eat meat at a canteen or buffet restaurant. I buy organic eggs, fruit, vegetable, meat, dairy products and bread if I can, and rather not buy avocados or tuna for environmental concerns, although I really like both.
    I am not a vegetarian but would be one if I had to provide meat, bacon and sausages etc. myself. I can only eat dead animals because I mentally detach myself from the whole process, which is rather hypocritical of me.
    As a kid, I didn't like aubergines and brussel sprouts, but I never understood the widespread dislike of spinach among children. Or cheese! I could live on cheese, bread and chocolate (and pretty much do during the week).

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    1. I have said it before, I say it again, Meike: It appears we come from the same stock. I so recognize myself in what you say.

      At our table we too had to "try" something, just a bite. If we didn't like it, fine. Emphasis on trying. Only took my sister to take to asparagus - like never.

      Your liver example made me laugh. Desperate times ask for desperate measures. When I was little, say four, my grandmother would make liver (beef - oh my god, it was so tough, yet she was a good cook). So, once a week, this blond locked angel would turn into a deceiver. Like a hamster I'd store the bits in my cheeks, content of which, a short while later, decanted into the loo. Now? Give me lamb's liver and I will swallow.

      As you say, source of food, particularly meat and eggs, is important. I'd rather go without if all that is on offer is that which I'd rather not to think about. Like, how come that supermarkets offer pale chicken parts at ridiculously low prices? As an aside, and apropos of nothing: Wasn't there a time when pork in Germany was a "loss leader"? Not that that necessarily, I don't know, impacted on the pork's provenance.

      So very amusing (see "same stock") that, like you, if I had to hunt down my own meat I'd turn vegetarian without a backward glance. I'd rather eat gravel (like ducks do to keep their stomach clean - gruendeln) if need be. And yes, I too love spinach. One of the first foods (it purees so easily) children are fed. One of my mother's anecdotes that I quickly learned that it made for easy long distance spurting.

      Greetings to Baden-Wuerttemberg; do you occasionally dip down to Bodensee?

      U

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    2. If I might intrude upon this sisterly Germanic discussion... In the past we weren't much aware of where our food came from - in particular meat, eggs or fish. We didn't ask may questions. Nowadays it's good that consumers have shone spotlights upon food producers and their methods. The concept of "ethical farming" is now familiar to us all.

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    3. We do drive past/along it every now and then on our way to, say, Südtirol, Bregenzerwald or elsewhere. I have also spent several very happy holidays with my late husband in the area; small, cheap hotels in Lindau, Radolfzell and Überlingen were all we could afford back then, plus a week ticket for the Weiße Flotte - great bargain, allowing us to criss-cross the lake to our hearts' content, day trips to anywhere along the lake we fancied, in Switzerland, Austria or Germany.
      Maybe one day I'll spend another holiday in the area and not just visit in passing.

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  7. Interestingly I can relate to Meike's situation.

    As a child I ate anything I was given. I was a question of eat it or do without but when there is rationing there is less choice anyway. Fortunately Dad had an allotment so we had fresh stuff that we grew. The only food I grew up totally unable to contemplate was tripe. It never appeared in my parents' house anyway. These days I have very little ability to taste (due to two bouts of flu in 1985 and 2000 when I lost my taste and it only partially returned the second time). That means that texture is very important. I like highly spiced foods too. I don't think I've ever been presented with anything that I couldn't eat (apart from some badly cooked meals and a salad prepared by a friend that had live creepy crawlies in it). I don't like too much food on my plate - it puts me off. Having lived alone for the last 20 years I tend just to eat what I really enjoy.

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    1. You are talking a load of tripe Graham!

      (Only kidding! ...Hee-hee-hee!)

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  8. Important to remember that a child's palate is different to that of an adult, a work in progress so to speak.

    Often people seem to be bothered by texture more than, say, taste. One can't abide mushrooms, another shudders at Okra (Lady's Fingers) - the latter apparently slimy to them. I myself am not a "fussy" eater other than that I love cooking though I don't eat much; I like feeding others. I put my heart into it - which is why I don't cook when annoyed or upset. Whatever is on the menu seems to absorb my ache by osmosis. Luckily this only happens twice in a blue moon.

    As opposed to fussy, I have been put OFF food I previously liked. FOS (father-of-son) managed to spoil mussels for me. I was in my mid twenties. I don't know how he did it but do it he did. To this day, at my fishmongers, I look lovingly at those nets (not least at the memory of all those months with an "r" in them - mussel season) yet have lost all appetite for them. APPETITE! Key.

    Another example, again nothing to do with taste but the visual. I can't abide rabbit. It's the idea of them. And I am not even squeamish. The skinned body of a rabbit reminds me of that of a cat. Once upon a time some kind soul gave me a whole rabbit for the pot (skinned - and gutted I hasten to add). I put it in a white porcelain dish with a lid on. Put the vessel in the fridge. It, and the rabbit, sat there. Day after day after day. The rabbit patiently awaiting its rightful destiny. To be lovingly cooked, appreciated and eaten. I couldn't. The cat image wouldn't leave my mind. Eventually I cracked. I took the lidded dish, nay, make that a coffin, unopened, downstairs and dropped it in the communal bin.

    You want fussy, YP? These days? Throw a dinner party. Ask guests as to their likes/dislikes, allergies and general gut condition. In advance. Oh do I laugh when the replies come in. On one happy occasion the husband of one of guests presented me with a full A4 sheet as to his wife's requirements. I amended my menu and my shopping list accordingly. And ended up cooking four different menus for six people. There is a lesson in there . . . if you can find it.

    And to think that my beloved grandfather as a prisoner of war (Russia - short straw) was happy to find potato peel in the bin. Fussy? My foot.

    Fun subject, YP. Bon appetit,
    U

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  9. You can't beat fish finger sandwiches with piccalilli. Everything else is snail bogeys.

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    1. You sound like a nine year old today Tasker!

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    2. This may come as a sigh of relief for you: "Snail bogeys"? I have gone off you, Tasker. Big time.

      U

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  10. Growing up in a household where money was scarce, I learned to eat what was put in front of me. It was that or nothing. There are things I never could abide, such as baked beans or anything with dried fruit in it, but back then if I left it I just went hungry.
    I don't think I have ever tried snail bogeys though, Tasker.

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    1. My parents both grew up in poor homes - my mother especially so. In their childhoods, fussiness about food would have been both unthinkable and ridiculous.

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  11. What turns children off certain foods though. My eldest grandson hated cheese, was it because we took him to the Cheddar factory in Somerset and he watched the swirling vats. Another grandchild will sit for a couple of hours playing round with her food because she did not like the 10 peas on her plate - her ration of greens.

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    1. The way the human mind works...it's hard to fathom.

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  12. I can't eat fish unless it's in batter. I often comment when we see drive through Mcdonalds full on a Sunday: " The days of the Sunday roast are no more".

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    1. And Mrs Northsider often says, "Bloody hell Dave! You are like an old gramophone record!"

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    2. My observations are like my jokes. She even says the punch lines.🤔

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  13. I eat everything but donuts and scallops

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    1. Eh? I thought that that was all you ate!

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  14. My DH cannot abide seafood--of any type. Not just the taste, but the smell, too. Was okay when I traveled constantly on business as I always ordered salmon or some other seafood for my meals on the road. But being retired (and now with C#vid), it makes it a bit harder for me to get my seafood fix. He doesn't do mushrooms or broccoli, either. I'm not terribly fussy about specific foods, but can't handle things that are too spicy for a variety of reasons--none pleasant.

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    1. Thank you for not elaborating on your "none pleasant" remark Mary.

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  15. I do not eat slimy things like raw oysters or boiled okra. Oherwise, I'm pretty much game for anything.

    My suspicons that the English eat very strangely was originally based on your tendency to mash your peas and potatoes together on the back of your forks, but it has been expanded now to include baked beans on toast, a combination I never heard of before. Do you put whipped cream on liver? Chili on cantaloupe? The possibilities are endless.

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    1. Baked beans on toast is a very common snack or light lunch in Great Britain. Usually, we grate a little Cheddar cheese over it. You should try it young man! Don't knock what you haven't tried.

      P.S. We prefer to put raw eggs and cigarette ash over our rancid pig's liver.

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  16. Fussy eater? Nay lad ye're from Yorkshire. Roast beef dripping on't Sunday night, sitting round fire listening ter Sing Summat Simple on't wireless, get ye fit for Mill Monday morning. When's last time ye had a nice bit o' port crackling, or faggots, ye can't find a lass who can do faggots these days, not to mention bit o' shinbone stewed. I sayed to Wife other night, Mam kept pigs on't allotment, them pigcheeks on nice bit o' white pudding, it were food paradise it were.

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    1. Gi'oer Jock McTavish! "Pig cheeks"? We dunt call them that tha knows! Them's "chap".

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    2. Aye, them's Chaps. Nivir a truer word were spoken. Ever seen way pigs honk wey fright, come Slaughter Monday? It en't a pretty sight, lad. Them's Chaps, all right, they durn't want to die. Shetting themselves at sight o'that butcher's knife. It's no wonder some as turn Wegetarian, I'd go that road mesen, but I'm right partial to pork chitterings. We're a heartless bunch o'boggers in Yorkshire I reckons. Allus thinking of us stomachs or us bladders, beer drinking carnivores the lot o'us.

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  17. P.S. I'm emailing ye Wife's recipe for Toad in Ole, she uses sausages wey bellyfat pork, thy mouth'll be waterin. Time ter stop being a Weekend Yorkshireman lad, there's talk about thee in Potter's Arms. *Nivir tasted bit o'Tripe'n'Onions in his life that bloke!*
    I'm just saying lad.

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    1. Vicious rumour Rob Roy! Me owd mam gev us tripe for us breakfast. Nowt better wi a drop o malt vinegar, salt and pepper and that rubbery honeycoomb texture were reet luvverly. Mmmm! Mmmmemories made o tripe.

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    2. Your Mam's waiting Oop By to feed thee wey Bread o'Heaven lad, tak it from a Primitive Methodist. I made gravy under shellfire; they taught thee about Tobruk at that grammar school, didn't they? I couldn't send those lads to death and glory just wey Bubble'n'Squeak in their bellies, could I? It were bully beef'n'gravy and mash. I'll have thee and thy lot o'bloggers round at Washington Arms in Bradford, Christmas week, there'll be goose in oven. Ursula and John Going Gently will be oop for a quick foxtrot, Gracie Fields on jukebox, See Me Off As You Wave Me Goodbye; Lady Gaga can't do that can sher? Nivir known one o' them confirmed bachelors who can't show a lady how to dance, funny that, in't it?

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    3. John dancin' wi Ursula? Aye n' swine mun fly an all Sir Walter. Daft divvil!

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    4. Wey God and Gracie, all things are possible, lad. I saw Gerry soldiers dancin to Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye, well it were better'n'being captured by the Rooshians, weren't it? Watch our Gracie being interviewed by Mike Parky on YouTube, 1977, you were jigging in't disco in 1977 I shouldn't wonder. Expect ye liked that Lulu, I were more a Cilla Black fan mesen; me Owd Mam cam from Scotland Road like Cilla, met me Da on ferry cross Mersey like. Happen I should do me own blog, I'll put thee in shade any day, squire.

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  18. I probably was rather fussy about food as a child. There are still things I never learned to like, and later on in life allergies were added to complicate things. On the other hand, I do eat (and like) more vegetables now, and I don't necessarily need them separated on the plate (as long as I know what they are!)

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    1. When I was a child I don't recall even one of my peers claiming to have a food allergy. Allergies were very uncommon back then.

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  19. I've never been a picky eater, even as a child. What was there to eat, you ate, or went without. My grandfather had a huge garden and I always loved vegetables, even greens like collards, turnips, and mustard greens. The one meal we ate regularly at my grandparents' house that I never learned to like was fried freshwater fish, like bream. My grandad loved to fish and the rest of my family loved a fish fry. Grandma was indulgent with me in a way she never was with her own children, and on the nights we went over to eat fish she would often find some other leftovers for me to have instead. But if there weren't any, I never complained. As an adult, there are very few foods I don't care for: cottage cheese, Bleu cheese, instant oatmeal, yogurt. And like Meike I try to buy humanely raised meats, organic (or even better, backyard) eggs, organic milk, etc. These foods are more expensive but better for health and the environment. I like most ethnic foods that I've tried and I'm willing to try new things. And homemade as opposed to fast food goes without saying. When you enjoy cooking (and I do) most fast and convenience foods don't taste good anyway!

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    1. When I was a camp counsellor in Ohio, I received a note from a mother saying "Please don't give Billy peanut better and jelly sandwiches for lunch as he is allergic to them." Eh?

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  20. I eat most things and will always try something new once before I make a judgement. I draw the line at snails, octopus, squid and mussels, though I did eat the latter once upon a time.

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    1. I enjoy mussels but like you I wouldn't shed any tears if I never had snails, octopus or squid again.

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  21. I come from a world in which we ate what was provided, said thank you, and complimented the cook. Nobody asked if we liked it.
    I have found some food too confronting to enjoy though. Have you eaten jellyfish in chilli sauce? I do not recommend it and would prefer not to be served it again. And those raw chicken feet in the supermarket might somebody's favourite, but even the thought of cooking something with claws like that is unnerving. I definitely do not have happy thoughts when I find fur in a casserole or stew. I will not swallow fur, even cooked fur.
    My children were never picky eaters although some of their friends tried to pull that stunt a few times. No allergies or food sensitivites allowed more than once.

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    1. Jellyfish in chilli sauce? As a Japanese girl I know says cutely,
      *You ARE the joking !*

      How about that scene in the old Harrison Ford movie, Indiana Jones, where we see the maddies eating the brains of trepanned monkeys? With long spoons like they are tucking into an ice cream sundae !

      More acceptable for pork eaters how about pig's head cooking for hours in a big pot?
      Pig's Head was on the menu of a Nigerian restaurant in Glasgow Cross: I don't know if it's still there, but pig's cheeks or *chaps* as Sir Yorky calls them, are tasty.

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  22. My mom's motto was "Eat or starve." Consequently, I am not a fussy eater. Obviously there are some things I like more than other things, but generally I'll eat whatever I'm given.

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