Sunday, 23 May 2010
I will admit that I am a very picky eater. Having no sense of smell, taste is irrelevant to me, but consistency is of the essence. So when the meals are up to me, I tend to choose from a limited menu of items, mainly ramen, burgers, fries, pizza,and tuna fish. I won’t eat anything creamed, whipped, gravied, or buttered. Actually, as many parents of kids with sensory issues know, “won’t” isn’t exactly the right word there. I can’t eat anything creamed, whipped, gravied, or buttered. The mere sight of lemon meringue pie has me running for cover.(Actually, when it’s served at the dining hall, all of my friends know to put up folders, napkin holders, or some other opaque item to keep it entirely out of my sight). When my thumb runs along the rest of my fingers in three sets in quick succession, it’s a signature move that a consistency is bothering me, and something needs shielding.
But this poses a problem when I’m not at a cafeteria or among close friends, for example when I am invited to stay for dinner at a friend’s house. In many of these cases, the parents serve a food that I will not (cannot) eat, particularly macaroni and cheese or creamed corn. If I ask that it not be put on my plate, this can be (I’ve learned), taken offensively by the hostess who takes it as an insult to their cooking. If I allow it to be put on my plate and don’t touch it, this can be taken offensively, and is a waste of food (unless of course, a tween/teen sibling is present and the controversial food is not a vegetable). Not wanting to offend the host(ess), particularly if it is a first time at the house, I’m usually left in an awkward state.
I know the proper etiquette is to take a few bites of the less than ideal food, say something complimentary about the cooking, and then claim satiation, but with most problem foods, the issue is non-negotiable. Even one bite would be one bite too many.
I’ve tried claiming allergy, but that complicates matters further, because parents tend to remember allergies, so declining Mac n Cheese, for example, will exclude any future chances of an offer of pizza, a coveted dish. Then I have to admit to lying about the allergy, and that is a terrible start to a relationship.
Any suggestions on how to handle this delicate issue without offending a host or lying? It’s an issue I’ve been struggling with for over a decade and still haven’t worked out a useful solution to.