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.”