It’s Time to Stop Being a Picky Eater

Picture this: you and your friend –– let’s call her Joyce –– are on a lunch date at Panera. You order your usual tuna sandwich and mac and cheese. Then, Joyce marches up and orders the cobb salad –– but without the eggs, tomatoes, cheese, cucumber, bacon bits, and dressing. The Panera worker looks at her in awe, astounded at her ability to basically ask for a bowl of lettuce. Embarrassing, right? Don’t worry, no one is going to judge you when you slowly distance yourself from Joyce, for it is humiliating to be a picky eater, but even worse to tell the world that you are a picky eater. So please, save yourself from ridicule and don’t be like Joyce. It’s time to stop being a picky eater. 

When I was little, I used to be excessively picky. I would refuse to eat cooked fruit in baked goods, yogurt, spicy food, avocado, olives, cupcakes, and I wouldn’t even drink any carbonated beverages like soda. Thankfully, my family bullied my taste buds until I, too, evolved into the advanced eater I am today. I am allowed to state that I actively dislike picky eaters, for I was one in the past and I now know the significant advantages of being a well-rounded eater. Let me tell you, an expanded cuisine is far better than the average chicken tenders and buttered noodles you fussy people are used to. 

To begin with, picky eaters often dislike seafood. When I was little, my family would visit numerous seafood restaurants and my parents and two brothers would order food like tilapia, fried fish, haddock, and pollock, which all sounded like bizarre superhero names to me at the time. So I would order whatever overcooked and unflavored pasta they had, having one bite and then realizing my mistake. NEVER EAT ANYTHING BUT SEAFOOD AT SEAFOOD RESTAURANTS. This may seem obvious, but trust me, there are some people out there who just can’t get that through their heads. Once I started to try seafood, I realized it wasn’t half bad, and now, five years later, I am practically a fish connoisseur. There are some important factors to keep in mind, however, as you expand your palate to our fishy friends: 

  1. Always ask for the fish to be cooked. “Seared” does not mean cooked ––                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 it means the fish still has a pulse.
  2. If you feel bad about eating Nemo, remember that it’s already dead and can’t be saved (sorry, Disney fans). You might as well enjoy it. 
  3. Most importantly –– and I really mean this –– never order seafood if you cannot see water near the restaurant. This is one of the easiest mistakes to make, but do you really want to order fish from a landlocked state? Where do they get it from? How does it stay fresh? Instead of having someone struggle to answer those questions, do yourself a favor and leave seafood for coastal states. If you don’t believe me, look up what “Rocky Mountain Oysters” really are. Yuck.

If you follow these simple steps, there really is no reason to avoid seafood, for there are tons of benefits within the so-called “super-food.” Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin B. So stay healthy, grow up, and just eat some fish. 

Picky eaters also tend to avoid spicy food. When I was younger, I despised spicy food, but sadly, it was a big part of my family; my mother is Hispanic, so there was a heavy influence of spice in her cooking. Over the years my family “trained” my taste buds until they slowly tolerated spice. Now, I love spicy food from all different cultures, such as Korean, Latin, Indian, and many more. I go to restaurants now and ask them to make my dish spicier. Who would have thought? Definitely not seven-year-old me, who was chugging low-fat milk to save my mouth from burning after having a single drop of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. Spiciness is such a key part of many cuisines, so by eliminating it from your food zone, you are ignoring countless delicious meals and food. For instance, if you avoid jalapeños, you can’t have enchiladas, tostadas, guacamole, tacos, and so many more. So what if you feel like your tongue is going to crisp up and fall off? That’s the whole point of spicy food.To keep you from severely injuring yourself while eating, make sure to follow these three steps closely:

  1. Always put Aquaphor or lip balm on your lips before eating. It’s going to prevent the spice from attacking your lips. 
  2. Stay away from extra-spicy ramen. No one should ever endure that pain, and I speak from experience.
  3. If you want to subdue the spice in your mouth, eat some bread. DO NOT DRINK WATER. I cannot stress this enough, for water will just worsen the situation. 

Follow these three steps, and you should be able to survive. Spice and seasoning give dishes a taste and bring them to life. So if you think too much cracked pepper is spicy, read this essay and make a change immediately. 

In the world, there are so many different and unique cuisines, and if you are open to trying them, you will create amazing memories that you can treasure for a lifetime. Don’t worry, picky eaters, there is still time for you to change. Look at me: I used to be severely picky, and just this summer I tried Palm Weevil larvae for the first time. Although it did not taste like bacon, unlike what someone had told me, I now have that food memory to cherish for the rest of my life. So do me a favor: don’t be a Joyce. Stop being a picky eater.