I'm a picky eater.
I feel like there should be a support group for this syndrome.
It's not like picky eaters choose to be picky. In fact, I'm ashamed of it. It's not easy going somewhere when someone has cooked you a meal and picking out the mushrooms you can't stomach or the raw tomatoes that your host took the time to cut up all pretty. It's either pick them out or gag in front of the cook, risking insulting them even further. It's also not easy to go out to dinner and only have one thing on the menu sound remotely appetizing to you. I don't need all that extra hoopla on my food. I don't need a prosciutto reduction or a shaved fennel garnish nestled in a wasabi aioli that touches my already over-seasoned main course. I love the Bay Area and the East Bay has a wonderful selection of delicious restaurants that could give a foodie wet dreams.
But sometimes simple is good. Some of us are comfortable with simple. My Step-Mother is one of THEE very best cooks I know and everything she makes has very basic, whole ingredients. Asparagus soup. Crab salad in endive cups. Parmasean stuffed zucchini. Everything she makes has simple ingredients that I have 1) heard of 2) can pronounce.
Recently I have even been dipping my toes into uncharted food territory, stepping outside my comfort zone to try new things. But what the hell is wrong with good-old-fashioned salt and pepper? The pickiness started when I was a kid. My family is from the Mid-West are a meat and potatoes kinda family. Super simple meals adorn the table every night. Green beans. Mashed potatoes. Pork chops from the grill. Corn. Mac and Cheese. An occasional pizza casserole. But you get the idea.
On top of that simple food background, I had a very scary food allergy experience a few years back. I ate a meal I used to frequently consume (a burrito from my favorite joint) and broke out in very scary NFL-regulation-football-sized hives that covered my body from head to toe. To this day, I still don't know what caused it or what sort of cross-contamination occurred when preparing my super simple burrito that landed me in the emergency room. I am severely allergic to kiwi and borderline allergic to mango and pineapple. If I ask you what is in your salad dressing or marinade, it's not personal. I'm not testing your culinary abilities and I'm sure what you've prepared is amazing. I'm just a paranoid-ass (borderline OCD) girl who had a few bad food experiences and would rather watch her son graduate than die of anaphylaxis. Is that unreasonable? I don't think so. To me, it's realistic.
So between the legit food allergy scares and the uncontrollable gag reflex, I am a self-admitted hot mess when it comes to food options.
Forgive me. I assure you, I have many other fine qualities that will make up for this unfortunate quality of mine.