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!