Well the title of this post is totally misleading, because it’s not about how not to be a picky eater, it’s about how to front that you’re not picky.*
It is more of a communications strategy, I guess. To begin,
1. SHUT UP. We’re all adults here. Learn how to agree with your tablemates that XYZ looks good without adding “But I can’t eat that because of ABC.” It has taken me forever to learn this one. Accentuate the positive. Get excited about the Chicken with Slabs of Cheese, smile and nod over the Eggplant 8 Ways. If you decide to get the Captain’s Favorite Squid Medley, don’t announce you’re picking off all the prawn toes. Just demurely scrape them off to the side.
2. Know your staples. Name a cuisine and I can tell you three or four dishes that are “safe” for me to have. I won’t, because of rule 1, probably. Basically I can scan a menu and certain dishes will leap out at me.
3. Eat with People You Want To Impress: One of the best ways for me to expand my culinary repertoire is to eat with someone I don’t want to think of me as picky. Since I’m not 8 anymore and can’t just whine to my mom that I only want PLAIN chicken nuggets, I am occasionally pushed into sampling new things. Because of people I wanted to think I was cool, groovy and awesome, I have tried a pesto avocado cucumber sandwich, banh mi, fresh tomato and basil pizza, diced olives, and pinkberry with fruity pebbles.
4. “Cook for yourself“: I’m including this on behalf of my friend M who pointed out wisely that when you cook on your own, and serve it to other people, they think you’re just innovative for inventing paninis with portobello mushrooms, mozzarella, olive spread, pesto spread and arugula. They don’t know that between the two of you, a dozen other ingredients were considered and rejected for being weird, squishy, too crunchy, too putrid, too One time when I was 5 they made me throw up, or too gooey. I have yet to follow this, but I recognize its wisdom.
Since I’m usually the most neurotic eater at the table, I trust that none of my dear friends, acquaintances and dinner companions will take these instructions personally. They’re really more for FutureMKP, when I get diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease in the next month or so (note: this is not a probability, just a possibility the crazybrain is running with) I can click back to the post and remind myself to shut it.
*Full disclosure, I’m allergic to onions, eggs, lactose and possibly wheat, and I have a squick factor reaction to tomatoes, squash, eggplant and olives. See how annoying that was? I’m annoyed just typing it.