I read a post today on Shine from Yahoo that said the American Psychological Association is considering classifying picky eating as an eating disorder. I wanted to print the post, frame it, and hang it in the kitchen for all to see. I am, you see, the quintessential picky eater. Oh how nice it would be to blame it on a disorder! The article went on to say that unlike other eating disorders, picky eating is not life threatening. I had to laugh. The author obviously never considered the danger picky eaters face from parents who want to strangle them at every meal. I know my mother probably needed years of therapy once I was done with her. I was/am so obsessed with my food presentation that I actually developed a set of eating rules that I follow to this day. So now, for those of you who struggle to categorize your picky-ness, I have compiled a helpful list:
Rule #1: Ok, folks, write this down: milk is never drunk! It is not and never will be a beverage. Never, never, never! You may cook with it, bake with it, or add it to your cereal. But when you finish eating the cereal, the extra milk gets dumped. This is very important to remember. This rule may never be broken.
Rule #2: Cheese can only be eaten if it tastes like butter or pizza. When you order a pizza, though, always ask for extra sauce and less cheese so your taste buds don’t get offended by that yucky white stuff. This, of course, limits the types of cheeses you can eat, but who cares? Think about it, cheese is made using the enzymes from a cow’s or goat’s stomach. Eww! And then there’s that whole mold issue…moving on.
Rule #3: Yogurt is avoided at all costs (see note on goat stomachs in Rule #2).
Rule #4: Eggs must be thoroughly cooked, no runny yolks. This rule was instituted after I accidentally collected a chicken’s nest when I was a kid. Mom cracked open an egg over the fry pan, and out popped this mucous-y, stinky embryo. I still get flashbacks when I see an undercooked egg.
Rule #5: Real butter is good. Use lots of it. Eat it plain if the urge strikes you.
Rule #6:Don’t let the elitists sway you- ketchup is good on steak, provided that the steak is not accompanied by any other sauce, which brings me to…
Rule #7: Sauces can’t mix. If you have more than one item with a sauce, they must be served on separate plates. Also, foods with sauces, in general, cannot touch foods without sauces. There are some exceptions, but when in doubt, serve on separate plates. That way, if you aren’t sure, you can dip a little teeny weeny edge of the dry food into the sauce to see if they are compatible.
Rule #8: Wet foods may not touch dry foods or foods cooked in oil. For example boiled cabbage cannot be on the same plate as say fried chicken or sauteed asparagus. The water might run across the plate and touch the chicken and asparagus. Bread should not touch anything that is wet lest it becomes soggy.
Rule #9: It is fine for foods prepared in the same manner to touch. So if you have grilled some summer squash, and it touches grilled chicken, it will be ok.
Rule #10: Barbeque sauce may never touch anything except what it is barbecuing. I don’t want to see barbeque sauce on my corn, my salad, my bread, or anything else it was never intended for.
Rule #11: Cole slaw must always be served separately. It is not allowed to touch anything.
Rule #12:Salads are also always served separately. Plus, except for croutons or bacon bits (but see below for bacon bits rule), salads should only have greens and other salad vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots…and maybe some jicama. Bacon bits must be real bacon and they can only be used with certain salad dressings, like 1000 Island. Also, salad dressings should be used in moderation. Why eat a salad if you’re really only interested in the flavor of the dressing? Just skip the greens and eat the dressing straight if you have to.
Rule #13: Desserts, of course, are always served on a clean, separate plate. Sweet does not get mixed with salty- and don’t throw the bacon and maple syrup argument at me. That’s just gross. What a way to ruin perfectly good bacon!
Well, I think that’s it. This should provide you with all the guidance you need when you are dining. I find that the rules are most easily implemented if you have either really big plates or lots of small ones. I hope this helps. Buen provecho!
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