Taste Test (#268)

I am a picky eater. Take onions. I’ve hated onions with a passion since biting into my first McDonald’s burger and recoiling in horror over the raw, diced bites of bitterness wrecking my burger.

Unfortunately, onions are everywhere. No burger, sauce, or burrito is safe.

I’m normally a people-pleaser. Not when it comes to onions. I will quiz the wait staff before ordering a new dish. I will send that dish back if an onion shows up (very nicely and apologetically). And then I am NEVER going back to that restaurant.

My Chinese-American husband can and does eat anything. Animal brains? Check. Animal testicles? Check. Bitter melon? Check. Fish eyeballs, jellyfish, chicken feet? Bring it. The guy could have killed it on Fear Factor.

Because Andy adored me and wanted to keep me happy, he never said a word about my picking eating. He listened to me sympathetically when I ranted about how nasty diced raw onions are and how onions should not be standard on burgers. He kept track of all the restaurants that made it onto my “Banned Due to Onions” list and knew better than to suggest eating in any of them. Since Andy’s the cook, he modified all his recipes to either substitute garlic or puree any onions into oblivion.

Not until I got pregnant did he ever express any irritation if I didn’t eat his food. After he’d spent hours making brie-stuffed steak and I fled the house, gagging, he sulked. Ditto after he smoked pork.

“Dude. I can’t help it,” I insisted. “The smell of any meat makes me puke right now.”

Andy scowled. “It’s that bland white diet you grew up with. Your parents should have given you chicken feet.”

“Yeah. I bet I’d’ve thrown that up, too. It’s no good, honey. You don’t understand that it is literally impossible for some of us to choke down certain foods. Especially right now.”

“I blame your parents. Our child is going to grow up with vegetables. Fish. He’ll learn to eat anything. Even…onions.”

“Good luck with that,” I told him.

Baby D was a good eater from day one. He gained weight steadily. Andy made him pureed sweet potato for his first solid food and Baby D gobbled it down. Same with all early baby food.

Until we tried vegetables. Baby D declined. Sometimes violently. For years, the only vegetable he’d eat would be frozen peas, probably because he was teething.

I shrugged and stocked up on berries and frozen peas. When Andy wanted to insist that Baby D eat vegetables or not eat at all, I overruled him.

“He’s not gonna eat the goddamned kale,” I told Andy. “It’s a pointless battle. He’s got my tastebuds. If you insist he try, he’ll gag, and I have enough of his bodily fluids to clean up, thanks very much. Give him some peas.”

Andy muttered for months about how our child’s “genetically sensitive taste buds” were a crock and it was all parenting.

Until the day Andy returned from a trip to McDonald’s Playland with Baby D, sighing mightily.

“How’d it go?”

“I ordered him a cheeseburger instead of chicken nuggets.”


“He took one bite and spat it out and told me it was icky and peeled back the bun and pointed to the onions on it and told me they were terrible! And he refused to eat another bite!”

“Wow. If only we could have seen that coming.”

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

27 thoughts on “Taste Test (#268)”

  1. My husband is a picky eater. No cabbage, squash, or any of the more interesting veggies. Potatoes, corn and the occasional broccoli (but not too much). The odd thing is that his parents cultivated a vegetable patch with all the veggies. He says his mom was a terrible cook but he still will not eat the veggies. Meat is different. He can eat all of it. Me, on the other hand, not so much. If I wasn’t married to him I’d be a sort of vegetarian (not giving up dairy and eggs for anyone!). I’m curious if Baby D ever did eat chicken feet. (Even writing that makes me gag!)

  2. Wow, this is fascinating. Can children actually genetically inherit likes/dislikes of certain foods? I guess that makes sense but I never thought about it.

    My parents are total opposites — my mom easts everything and my dad is the pickiest eater ever. Thank goodness my sister and I got Mom’s genes.

  3. I suspect that my son inherited his father’s taste buds. He is a bit of a picky eater. My family loves potatoes with just about anything, and some other Russian foods, but only things my monkey loves to eat are corn, fruits and berries, and carbohydrates. He doesn’t like overly sweet candy either…

      1. His father hated sweets. Didn’t like a Korean bakery I liked, but he did like bread type sweets, a bit similar to my monkey. If you were to ask him his favorite things or whatnot, he would say everything, which drove me nuts because it’s impossible to like everything.

        To this day, my son still has not tried carbonated soda or juice or anything with chocolate.

  4. Wait, hating raw onion means being a picky eater? I don’t like raw onion either, haha. But nowadays I just eat it if it’s in something (if it can be easily put apart then I put it apart). Green pepper, on the other hand… I just can’t. It’s disgusting.

    Baby A. is quite annoying with food. I don’t think it’s a problem about taste, but about being completely uninterested in food and unable to sit still for too long. If he is distracted or VERY hungry, we might be able to get something in him. Meanwhile, he still nurses a lot…

  5. My husband, like every good Chinese guy, liked to eat everything. He wasn’t Cantonese, but have you heard the saying about the Cantonese eating everything with four legs except the table and chairs?

    I’m up for eating almost anything, and two of our daughters have always been good eaters. #3 though, was a picky eater and she married a picky eater. My grandson, their son, is the worst of all. He doesn’t even like the smell of a banana. They consulted the doctor, and his opinion was that Peter is a “super taster.” That’s really a thing.

  6. All picky eaters ought to experience the Great Famine in China. Millions of people died of starvation then. Many Chinese people would eat anything because we have 5000 years of history and went through a lot. Enduring extreme hardships is in our genes. All I ever heard from White people aside from complaining is me, myself and I. They hardly do stuffs like if my kid refuse to eat then starve him a meal or two then make the kid donate uneaten food to the homeless. Perhaps that’s the trick to get children to behave themselves.

    The best way to harm an enemy is to give them plenty of food made with refined sugar. It’ll give them bad skin, aged faster, diabetes, obesity and tooth decay. Also, too much sugar will also cause the fetus in pregnant women to grow bigger thus causing birth complications.

  7. Oh wow, you don’t like onions and garlic(?)! I love onions and garlic and really like them in every meal. Quite the opposite of you. I really am up for eating anything however health issues forced me to being a ‘picky’ eater. Can’t have too much chilli or it will upset my stomach. Can’t have coffee or tea or that will leave me ill for days on end. It gets annoying when I have to decline certain foods offered and people automatically assume I am a picky eater like it’s a bad thing.

    Very happy to eat all of the McDonald’s cheeseburgers you pass up 😀

    1. I love garlic–but definitely not onions. Shallots are too close to garlic. Small green onions I can live with.

      Andy will sometimes makes sauces with onions in a cheesecloth bag, in order to get some of the flavor. Then he tosses out them out.

      He’s actually given up eating them, mostly. I think it was because he knew I wouldn’t kiss him. 🙂

  8. Autumn, I am the exact same. I say hell no to onions. They make me gag. My husband also sighs when he sees me disgustingly pick onions out of everything. Besides onions I’ll eat almost anything else, but onions…. never.

    Like mother like son! That story is so cute, haha. Are you also a picky eater with anything else? Or just onions?

    1. Onions are the main thing. Not a huge fan of grand beef, except in some burgers. Don’t really love sausage, either. But my kid LOOOVES ground beef and sausage.

      I feel better about the onions now, because I’ve seen you try practically everything as you travel around the world.

  9. hmm.

    My 3 sisters, of which 2 are married to white guys…they all tried to broaden the palate of their children from early on.

    And veggies, they focused on hard because the evidence of good health shows in us now in our 50’s..and I’m 61 now.

    Keep trying don’t give up. My sister who is a doctor with 2 kids…tells parents try 10 times for a food type in different ways over a long period of time.

    Of course when growing, we were poor, we had to try something. If not, we asked not to throw a tantrum.

    Best wishes.

    1. Veggies are way better than sugar. I had one sister who loved them and one sister who would only eat hot dogs. But both eat all kinds of foods now, so I try and remember that there is hope.

      For everything but onions.

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