Picky Eaters Drive Us Nuts!

Alexandra Jacobs writes in today’s NY Time’s style section about how you deal with picky eaters when you’re planning a dinner party.

“There’s something irredeemably rude about phoning in your dietary preferences to a social acquaintance, as if you’re about to embark on a trans-Atlantic flight rather than a convivial evening. ”I cringe when I get that call a day before or several hours before: ‘What are you serving?”’ said the writer Laura Shaine Cunningham, who once received the callow if alliterative dictate, ”Take the mushrooms out of your Marengo for Mark.”

Dear picky eaters: If an ingredient is going to send you to the hospital, well, that’s one thing. If it just makes you a bit queasy, then keep your mouth shut and employ one or more of your lunatic league’s time-honored stratagems. You can quietly fill up beforehand, like the fashion designer who’s allergic to eggs and soy and ”won’t go near anything that has a tomato in it,” so that your stomach doesn’t growl as you’re cutting the quiche into small pieces and pushing it around your plate. You can enlist a dinner companion to help you subtly clean your plate, like the editor who won’t touch dark-meat fowl (”too ‘Eraserhead”’). Or do what Cunningham does with her one culinary bete noire, venison: ”I simply take a small portion and discreetly get rid of it, as I got rid of everything in my childhood,” she said. ”Under the table to a dog, if one is available, or into a napkin in my lap.” (Better hope it’s paper.)”