Tales of a Culinary Outcast…….

Let’s get right to it. I’m a picky eater. My dear wife, Patty, uses a less pejorative phrase; she says I have conventional tastes. In short, I’m your basic meat and potatoes man. It took a few years, but she finally accepted she was living with a handicapped eater. She loves cooking and trying all kinds of foods. She is one of the healthiest eaters I know. To say I have cramped her style is putting it mildly. Fortunately for me, in Virginia, claiming incompatible eating habits is not considered grounds for divorce.

There are so many foods that I either don’t like or won’t even try, it’s far easier to list the ones I’ll eat. But that may not be the worst of it. For example, I love almonds out of the bag. Just don’t dare add almonds to cookies, cakes, pies, etc. In fact, I think putting any kind of nuts or fruits in a dessert is tantamount to sacrilege. They are already perfect. That’s why they’re called desserts! I like tomatoes. I like tomato juice and cream of tomato soup. But I won’t eat anything with cooked tomatoes in it. Spaghetti sauce? Forget it. It has to be without the diced tomatoes. And don’t even get me started on fruit cakes. That is, unless you’re marketing them as door stops.

Also, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one in the entire world who doesn’t like watermelon. Or any kind of melons for that matter. I think they’re the pits. Don’t care for shellfish either. Crab, clams, oysters, scallops. It wouldn’t bother me if they were so shy, they never came out of their shell. I’ve been to a support group for this eating disorder. It didn’t work out. I dropped out after they served chocolate chip cookies during the break once. They had walnuts in them.

Another of my food fetish traits is always ordering the same thing when dining out. If I find a delicious dish that I like at a restaurant you can bet I will order it every time. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law like to meet us for dinner at a local Italian restaurant. The waitress, who is a friend of ours, doesn’t even take my order. She knows it’s going to be the ravioli. I chuckle to myself as I see the look of boredom sweep over everyone’s face.

There is positive thing about all this. Regarding the foods I do like, I would eat the same leftovers ten nights in a row if they lasted that long. Pot roast, chicken, sloppy joe, whatever. Bring ’em on. Every night. I’m a 6’4″ garbage can. And Patty’s delicious egg salad. Wow. Without onions or celery, of course. That would destroy the purity of it. I would eat an egg salad sandwich every day of the year for lunch. Or at least until I started clucking.

So you can imagine my angst after Patty and I were honored to be invited by that same sister-in-law for a “tasting.” Our nephew, her son, is getting married next April. He and his delightful fiancée have picked out the caterer. This top-rated caterer prepares a tasting for the couple and invited family to sample and choose from a sumptuous menu. This is a first-class outfit and I haven’t felt this pampered at some of the more upscale restaurants.

Above, in the tasting room. Extra credit: Can you spot the object that doesn’t belong in the picture?


Above, the Hors D’oeuvres: Out of respect for the betrothed couple, I sampled these. If you’ve been paying attention, you already know I’ll not be partaking of these at the wedding. The rest of the group decided these were delicious. Go figure.


Above, the main courses: I absolutely loved the salad! There was discussion about changing the name from “Harvest Salad” because of the spring wedding. I suggested “Dang Good Salad.” It got zero votes. As for the other entries , they would all be welcome on my leftover shelf any day. That is, with the exception of the crab-cakes. Despite your changing it to a dessert sounding item, it’s still shellfish. Hello!


Above, at last, something in my power zone, dessert. The desserts were all well-received by my taste buds. All except the Pecan Tartlets. You do remember my thing about nuts in desserts, don’t you? Note the bottom of the menu. I love tacos. I think of this as midnight at the oasis.


Above, the desserts. A picture is worth a thousand calories.

In all my years of being a culinary outcast, I never thought I would be present at such an elegant event as this. Notwithstanding my shortcomings in all things cuisine, I was quite impressed with the food items to be included and have a newfound respect for couples preparing for nuptials. There are so many decisions and this is just one. To have been included was special.

Here’s looking at you, Courtney and Brady!


23 thoughts on “Tales of a Culinary Outcast…….

  1. Your post should be required reading for anybody giving advice to a prospective couple planning a wedding.

    To the Bride: Forget whether he gambles or drinks; don’t waste your time wondering if he believes in fidelity. Just ask what he likes to eat and what he would never think of eating. Then decide whether you want to spend the rest of your life arguing about what to prepare for dinner.
    To the Groom: Be sure to find someone as sweet and understanding as Patty to marry! Then thank your lucky stars and enjoy.

  2. Well any blog post on food will get my attention and wow that menu looks scrumptious! I’m pretty flexible with my eating habits but I do tend to order the same thing a lot because why mess with perfection?

    Any way good post . That’s a nice family picture, you all seem very happy. Or maybe it’s the wine. 😉

  3. LOLOL. My husband is also a meat and potato guy and might be pickier on that score than even you! He says that food usually starts out great but someone gets the stupid idea to mix it together and add things like onion, mayo or some such that was never meant to be eaten.
    Have fun at the wedding and I hope they choose food you like!

    • Please tell the hubby I feel his pain. If I could find the person who decided than onion should be added to everything I would make them peel onions forever in a room with no ventilation!

  4. Hello Al. Oh you make me laugh!
    I was brought up on meat and potatoes – now I’m a vegetarian!!
    Your post actually reminds me of my dad. My dad continues to be content in eating the same few meals he always has done, whilst my mum true to sneak new things into his diet, she never succeeds! He has a wonderful allotment where he grows fruit and vegetables. He always has a huge crop of courgettes, and gives these away to friends and neighbors. Although he grows courgettes, he doesn’t actually like them …well, in fact it’s more that he won’t even try them!! Also, my sister told me that she took my parents for a lunch at a cafe when they visited her recently. On my dad’s plate was a gherkin. He pushed it to the side of his plate, and exclaimed in disgust that he had once tried a gherkin and hadn’t liked it- when he was 18!!
    Hope you are well Al, and you enjoy your meat and potatoes later 😉

    • Hi Carly. So glad you enjoyed the blog and could relate to your dad. Tell him I feel his pain about the gherkin. I’m so relieved now that I have come “out of the closet.” He, he.

      Another tidbit. It appears that our granddaughter in college may very well spend her first semester next fall studying in Madrid! Not official yet, but if it comes to pass we will definitely want to come and visit her. Maybe we will get a chance to meet up after all!

      We are fine here and prepping for little goblins to come to our door. Hope you both are well also. Always so good to see a comment from you.

  5. Wow – the menu looks wonderful!
    I’ll eat just about anything, but… when I find something I really like at a restaurant, I will always order that same thing again… and again. And, there is only one kind of ice cream worth the calories – mint chocolate chip!

    • I knew it! I have long suspected, since we agree on so many things, that we were separated at birth. The mint chocolate chip clinched it!!

  6. Oh Al, you made me chuckle! I am with you on the whole seafood thing, anything with eyes, claws or lending itself to be on the side of slimy is not appetizing to me one little bit!

    • Absolutely, Lynn. I do make an exception for lobster providing: 1. I don’t have to watch the poor thing get boiled alive. 2.I don’t have to crack any shells. 3. I don’t have to dig the meat out myself 4. It is served ready to eat with savory butter. Am I spoiled or what?!

  7. Well, I hate to point this out, but . . . you said you loved the salad. You do realize there were – gasp – nuts in the salad right? Explain that huh? What kind of a weirdo are you anyway?

    You sound exactly like my husband. Exactly. Same 10 things he’ll eat every day of the week. Nothing new or fancy for him. Plain. Old. Boring. Sameness. He also will not eat things with nuts in them, although he does like pecan pie. You’re both a couple of weirdos. You have no idea what you’re missing. And he always orders the same things at the same restaurants. Are you sure you weren’t cloned?

    Now, I’d get along famously with your wife. She and I could be foodies for sure. But, that’s a given since she and I share the same name. I’d expect she’d be pretty cool.

    So glad you gave it a go at this cool event. How fun to get to sample all that goodness.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Very observant of you, Patricia. However, they were separate from everything else. I had two choices: eat them, which I did, of ignore them. In either case, they were not a part of some other food item which would have contaminated it. Oh, the humanity!

      As for your hubby, there as some people you like without even knowing them. He is my kind of weirdo. I think he and I should get together and form a club called “Everybody is Nuts But Us.”

      Thanks for commenting and yes, it was good fun.

  8. I am like you Des. I like a traditional meal with a full plate, but I am not as fussy as you. The only thing I hate is curry. Yuck !
    I really do not understand people who pay $1000 for fragments on a plate like in your last photograph. Crazy !
    I have no idea what should not be in the photograph of the table, maybe it is the table as it should be a tray on your lap, full of food on the plate, feet up, watching your favourite programme on the TV 🙂

  9. I am absolutely sure I could be heard laughing out loud at your wit. Needless to say, Patty has my empathy trying to dream up dishes to nurture your well being. Many congratulations to Brad and Courtney for making all these decisions. No wonder eloping is gaining in popularity. I love you, my Bro and thank you for making me laugh. 💕 Hugs for you and Patty. Xxx

    • Thank you, Jane. Glad I could provide some mirth. You certainly deserve it. Knowing Patty as you do, you understand how only someone as sweet as her could tolerate this.

Your turn to write, but please don't be wittier than me. My ego is quite fragile.

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