The Life and Times of a Picky Eater

By Jasmine Caputo

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always ordered off the kid’s menu. Even after I exceeded the general age limit of 12 years old (my young appearance helped me push those boundaries for a few extra years), I’ve been drawn to the simplicity of the dishes: three or four ingredients with no hidden agenda. However, I am now 18 years old and still experience a small amount of anxiety when opening an “adult” menu at a restaurant because, to my dismay, I am a picky eater.

I wasn’t always this way; according to my mother, who constantly reminds me of this when we sit down to dinner, I would eat anything as a child: every vegetable or shellfish that I would rarely consider today. However upon reaching elementary school, I adopted the eating habits of my peers who only liked mac and cheese, pizza, and chicken nuggets.

Fast forward to today, my palette has expanded only very minimally. While I have tried to be adventurous with my diet, I feel as though I will never truly be able to order my burger with everything on it or escape the dilemma of what to order at a restaurant, seeing that there is a probability that I only like one or two things on the menu.

Any picky eater knows that there is a constant envy for those who love all foods; we also know that there is a small sense of shame that occurs when we’re at a friends house and are forced to pretend to like the food that their mother made. To my dismay, some people view picky eaters as being so by choice. In a recent debate with a celiac, it was their reasonable belief that picky eaters could eat these foods, but are simply snobs and choose not to. This claim is not the case; the problem is that I love food and see meals as one of the most enjoyable parts of a day. While I could try and scarf down some food that I don’t like, my gag reflexes quickly reject this decision, and I would be giving up one of the most precious joys of everyday life.

So to the people who order everything on their sandwiches: please take pity on us with unfortunate taste buds. As surprised as you may be that we may not like onions or tomatoes, refraining from saying “oh my god, I can’t believe you don’t like that, what’s wrong with you” would make our day. In the end, we’re just trying to order our food minus the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, red peppers and spinach without anyone noticing.