Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bridging the Food Gap

As I mentioned last week, I'm a sucker for advice columns, and Slate's Emily Yoffe, as "Dear Prudence", writes a great one. She also does a weekly v-cast addressing one reader's question. This week, it's on food.

It's the food snob vs. her Philistine boyfriend. She dresses everything in fennel shavings, he prefers mac and cheese (and not the fancy kind, I'm guessing, but the kind that comes in a blue box). What to do?

The short answer that Prudence gives is that they either respect each others' choices and preferences, or they break up.

Fortunately, I don't have this problem, as Cooper will willingly try pretty much whatever I put in front of him, and we both like the fancy and the Kraft. But I have been thinking about something along the same lines.

Of our close friends, the ones I most often cook for, we have a couple of picky eaters. Well, that might not be the right description. They just each have their quirks. No fruit in salads (that's Cooper and my sister, in addition to other friends), no fruit desserts, no onions, nothing that is both white and creamy, no eggs, etc.

These are our good friends and we've eaten with them tons and tons of times, both at our homes and out. It's not like we asked them over once and they listed their meal requirements before accepting the invitation. I know their likes and dislikes because, well, I know them.

But what it does mean is that when I cook them dinner, I do it within a framework that'll make them happy (mostly - I always forget about the "no fruit dessert" thing).

I won't lie: occasionally I wish I could just cook whatever would make me happy and serve that, no matter how fancy or how much fruit I combine with lettuce (I am, btw, a HUGE fan of fruit in salads). But really, I think the constraints force me to work more creatively. What's fun about having no limits at all?

Plus, meals were meant to be shared, not observed.

P.S. As a totally unrelated aside, Cooper and Seth (my sister-in-law's boyfriend) installed our countertops last night. They're granite, almost solid black, with just little flecks of white. Apparently very heavy. And they look amazing.


Erin said...

i like fruit in salads kit. especially the kind with strawberries and walnuts.

Kit Pollard said...

Yeah, but isn't that, like, the only kind of fruit in salad you like? Cooper likes that, too, but studiously avoids blueberries or blackberries or pretty much anything else.

I just want somebody to appreciate my Boston lettuce/chevre/black pepper/watermelon combination.

Cail said...

I don't really like fruit in my dinners in general-- I pretty much believe that oranges belong in juice and peels, and that's it, although I can handle them in some salads. (Just not the mandarin kind of slimy pieces.) Other than that, I'm not picky, really-- no bananas, no peas, no cooked carrots and no innards (although I like sweetbreads).

Cooking for someone else who has a defined epicurean sensibility (or just a lot of dislikes) is difficult. For example, if I had my way, I'd cook something involving risotto or orzo at least once a week, but some people think that those two starches are "side dishes" no matter how much other stuff they have in/on them.

Kit Pollard said...

I take that by "some people" you mean "Tom". Cooper actually feels the same way - only maybe stronger. He doesn't like rice - period.

Neither does my dad, which is probably where Tom gets some of his quirks.

Interestingly, they say girls marry guys like their dad. Apparently I did - a Busch Light-drinking, car-loving who complains about rice.


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