To be so bloody frustrated with adult fussy eaters?!

(46 Posts)
SmellyMuffin Sun 17-Aug-14 13:44:09

My dad is a very, very fussy eater. His diet is very limited, he will only eat egg and chips, steak and chips, gammon, pie and chips, roast dinners (but only if cooked in a a certain way)traditional stews or a fry up. He won't eat anything "foreign" anything "fancy" spicy or anything in any kind of sauce, rice pasta and any fish other than cod are also off limits.

He's always been this way and I appreciate we will never change him now (early 60's) but I get so incredibly frustrated by the way it impacts on all our lives. When my parents go on holiday they even have to check in advance that there are restaurants selling English food so my dad will eat it.

We frequently go out for Sunday lunch as a family, but we are restricted because dad will only eat in one particular place. It's a two for one pub place, OK, but the food is obviously fast food shoved in a microwave. Dad likes their roast dinners though because they serve them the way he likes them which is with cremated meat, watery packet gravy, frozen Yorkshire pudding and with the veg he likes which are carrots, peas and potatoes. So we always go there, on a few occasions we've managed to get him to go somewhere else he's moaned that he hasn't liked what he's had. He wont even eat a dinner if it's serve with mashed potato (even though he likes roast and boiled, work that one out?) or if the food is "piled up" which is how they serve diners in nicer places.

My brother and his DP have already stooped coming with us because in my bro's words the place is "crap, the food is shit and it's full of screaming kids". It's also only got 4 stars on the hygiene rating which makes me boak every time.

I recently took my mum away for a few days and said she'd never eaten so well. We ate at a Mexican place, a lovely Italian, and an Indian all you can eat buffet. Stuff she'd never be able to do with my dad. It made me sad, going our for a lovely meal at a nice place is one of my favourite things to do. My poor mum hardly germ to do this.

AIBU to think my dad should get over his fussiness? Food is food at the end of the day!

paxtecum Sun 17-Aug-14 13:47:29

It's not his fussiness that is a problem. It is his selfishness.
He's only considering himself.

Roussette Sun 17-Aug-14 13:47:44

No you are not BU. It would drive me ruddy bonkers to have to deal with this. Fussy eaters do my 'ead in! (unless it was intolerances which can't be helped).

Has your Mum tried to introduce other foods? His diet doesn't sound particularly healthy....

Fairylea Sun 17-Aug-14 13:48:26

I think you should just override him and go places you like to eat sometimes. If he moans ignore him. If everyone else wants to try something different then why should he get the last say? Or tell him to stay home.

(But I agree with him re mashed potato- I absolutely can't stand it but I love roast potatoes and chips).

fuckupperymakeruppery Sun 17-Aug-14 13:49:34

i understand your frustration because fil is the same. if he gets cauliflower cheese on his roast he cant eat his dinner and i have to take it away like he is three.

there are only two things i cannot put in my mouth, blue cheese and jellied eels

but he explained it to me.. he said... imagine that everything on your plate is blue cheese or jellied eels...it would make you want to throw up, not enjoy a lovely dinner.

unfortunately dd has inherited this.

so we deal with it in a different way. we make sure that we eat where he wants once a month, then were everyone else wants once a month, and if he doesnt want to eat there, we go and see him after lunch and take him a cake he likes

SmellyMuffin Sun 17-Aug-14 13:51:04

We've tried to introduce other things into his diet, but he just moans he doesn't like them. We even have to take him into consideration when we organise family celebrations, for my 30th we went to a lovely Indian but had to first ensure they did English food to accommodate him.

It drives me,

hamptoncourt Sun 17-Aug-14 13:51:10

YABU because he is an adult and should be able to eat whatever the hell he likes.

You would not be unreasonable though to refuse to go to the "Sunday Lunch place" he likes any more.

Your siblings have voted with their feet. Time for you to do the same I should think.

Roseformeplease Sun 17-Aug-14 13:51:13

Even a curry house will sell him a plate of chips.
Book where you want to go and then tell him to find something he can eat, or he can get chips on the way home.

Fairylea Sun 17-Aug-14 13:53:25

I think ringing before you go anywhere to check they do his kind of food is enabling him a bit. I think you should refuse to ring and he can either go and try and find something to eat or just stay home. He sounds a bit like he's using it as a bit of an excuse to have some control.

We all have things we don't like to eat but most people try to hide it to accommodate others. It's basic courtesy.

WitchWay Sun 17-Aug-14 13:54:28

My FIL has very fixed ideas about what & where he will eat & hates trying anywhere new. Often though if he can be persuaded to try something new he will like it & then become fixated on that instead confused

A while ago we went out for lunch with MIL FIL SIL & SIL's BF. FIL was sulking because he wanted to go to the Chinese as usual * everyone else wanted to try a new tapas & paella place. We hadn't booked so it didn't matter.

He was outvoted & grumpily sat at the table refusing to order anything. The portions were huge & MIL coaxed him to try her paella which he absolutely loved & ate loads of

Since then he has insisted on eating there every time & hasn't been back to the Chinese.
hmm

SmellyMuffin Sun 17-Aug-14 13:54:37

Oh, yes the cauliflower cheese issue! That's probably the main reason he won't eat a roast dinner elsewhere, because they always serve it with cauliflower cheese. Either on the place or in a little dish to help yourself to. But even in the dish it touches the other veg you see....... Ridiculous!

I mean how can you not like cauliflower cheese?! It's lush, I could live on it!

Yanbu, if it's an allergy, ok, or inability to chew, ok.

But not picky just to be picky.

pictish Sun 17-Aug-14 13:56:13

Yanbu. I agree that it is his selfishness that is the problem rather than his pickiness.

Loads of adult fussy eaters will be along soon to defend their foible...but you'll find most of them will happily dine out wherever, while accepting they might not like the food, because it's not all about them.

Your dad is being really self centred making you all go to Wetherspoons or wherever it is he likes, every time.
Agree that it's a shame for your mum.

SmellyMuffin Sun 17-Aug-14 13:57:33

Well you see I think fussy eating in anyone over the age of about 10 kind of pathetic anyway. I wouldn't tolerate it anyone else.

WitchWay Sun 17-Aug-14 13:58:07

Agree he's being selfish - we only managed to persuade FIL to try the tapas bar because we could "gang up" on him - if it'd been just him & MIL he'd've got his own way as usual

hamptoncourt Sun 17-Aug-14 13:59:47

If there was cauliflower cheese anywhere near my dinner I would vomit. Seriously, I wouldn't be able to help myself.

I once had to run off to the toilets and vomit when someone sat next to me with a plate of macaroni cheese.

However, I don't see why you are all pandering to his choices though. Just tell him you are going somewhere else and he can go or not go.

I am not sure why it is such a big deal tbh.

Fairylea Sun 17-Aug-14 14:07:07

Fussy eating does sometimes come from a phobic point of view, usually from being force fed as a child at school or nursery. It can really affect how you view food for the rest of your life. I used to be married to someone who would only eat pizza, waffles, and beans because they were the only foods he wasn't forced to eat as a child. I had a similar experience with mashed potato as a child and I absolutely cannot even look at it now.

So yes, some fussy eating is deep seated and psychological.

But even then most fussy eaters would be embarrassed of their phobias and try to find something to eat from the menu that didn't expose them.

Your dad sounds like the type of fussy eater who is either just set in his ways or using it as a form of control.

hamptoncourt Sun 17-Aug-14 14:13:35

I agree with Fairylea.

When I had my vomiting episode, I was mortified because my friend, who knew but had forgotten about my cheese issues, was really apologetic.

I told her not to be apologetic, why shouldn't she be able to eat what she wanted just because of my problem. If she had remembered and said, Oh Hampton, I really fancy the macaroni cheese, I would have grinned and said, I am off to sit over there mate, you sit with our mutual friends and I will catch up with you afterwards. I would not have expected her to be inconvenienced because of my issue.

OneSkinnyChip Sun 17-Aug-14 14:13:37

I agree he sounds set in his ways but more importantly selfish. It is very frustrating trying to eat out with someone like this. Stop doing the lunch thing and just meet for coffee and pudding or a drink instead. I would not go out to a crap pub for a frozen meal week after week. Life is too short.

LadyLuck10 Sun 17-Aug-14 14:16:44

Yanbu, there is always something a fussy water can find on a menu. I would not pander to this, book a place that has a varied menu and go. He can starve himself and sit with a face on all he likes or he can get over himself and find something to eat. Fussy children become very fussy adults, bloody irritating and selfish for everyone else.

Ilovenewts Sun 17-Aug-14 14:23:36

It's selfish. Nothing wrong with being fussy - people can't help it. They can however shut up and lump it for other people once in a while.

pictish Sun 17-Aug-14 14:27:51

Or they can say "I'll sit this one out...but YOU go and enjoy your lunch" with good grace...if they really can't bear to be around whatever hated foodstuff it is.

I don't agree with trying to convince anyone to eat anything they don't like, but I do think that the person who has the aversion has to suck it up and either make do or opt out, rather than expecting to dictate every time.

DogCalledRudis Sun 17-Aug-14 14:28:03

One lesson i learned on a visit to Sweden -- just dish out the ingredients on the table and let the guests make their own sandwiches/burgers/kebabs, etc.

PenisesAreNotPink Sun 17-Aug-14 14:34:44

It comes down to his selfishness. Why should he get to have a 'good' meal every time he goes out when everyone else gets a 'shit' one - it should be taken in turns.

For every 'shit' (to him) meal he gets he should get the occasional 'good' ( to him) preference.

I can't believe people suck up this behaviour. My mil is gluten intolerant and we occasionally go to a place that's her preference but most of the time she goes to places that are imperfect and she picks the plainest fish etc

kiritekanawa Sun 17-Aug-14 15:09:32

It sounds really, really annoying.

Has anyone actually asked your father why he's behaving like this?

My father is like this, though not quite as extreme re: food (he used to be). He does have a lot of ASD traits though (I am diagnosed with ASD, I am not just chucking the term around as an excuse), which may some explain rigid adherence to extremely fussy eating. I know the level of gagging fear induced by some foods, though I am also pretty strict with myself about shutting up and getting on with things unless there's good evidence i am actually allergice to something.

However, mild ASD in someone clearly extremely high-functioning really isn't an excuse for selfishness. Men of that generation are frequently unlikely to accept psycho-babble type explanations of their behaviour - better to just continue aggressively, intransigently, pigheadedly, rather than appear weak or soft by trying to work out what's really going on here. My father is a lovely man in many ways, but is capable of being controlling, babyish, aggressive, dismissive and generally rude and intransigent. He also gets stressed a lot by sensory input generally, so these behaviours tend to appear in public.

What is hopeful is that with some genuine will, people can change. My father has got a lot more adventurous with food, and since retirement and with frequent put-downs for being grumpy from his beloved granddaughter, has actually learnt some manners. It can happen, even late in life smile

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 17-Aug-14 15:28:15

If there was cauliflower cheese anywhere near my dinner I would vomit. Seriously, I wouldn't be able to help myself.

hmm

I hate fish, the smell, the thought, the sheer vile yukkiness and yet I have sat next to people eating it and managed to not throw up over them. Same with lamb [buerk]. because I am an adult

hamptoncourt Sun 17-Aug-14 15:34:25

Good for you funky. I can assure you I would not vomit willingly. In fact I absolutely hate being sick. And where did I say I threw up "all over" someone?

I didn't realise being an adult meant you could stop yourself from vomiting at will. Better go and tell my aunt who is suffering with chemotherapy induced nausea, and my niece who is suffering from morning sickness to stop being so fucking childish eh?

FraidyCat Sun 17-Aug-14 15:40:43

For every 'shit' (to him) meal he gets he should get the occasional 'good' ( to him) preference.

I don't think you get it. My father was like OP's. He wouldn't eat the "shit" meal. He would sit there looking grumpily at all the selfish people who had taken him to a place where there was nothing he could eat.

Imagine someone served you a large steaming human turd on a plate. Would you eat it because it wasn't your turn to choose the food?

FraidyCat Sun 17-Aug-14 15:43:57

You might think there's difference between a turd and food generally fit for human consumption, but I think for some people, using some primal part of the brain, there isn't.

pictish Sun 17-Aug-14 15:46:45

Then those people are very silly. confused

Honestly, he is an adult, he isn't going to starve for not eating a meal at the same time as everyone else.

Have you actually said to him how unappealing you find the food he likes? I have a family friend like this, and she honestly believes 'everyone' likes 'ordinary food' (similar to what your dad will eat) and that' the basic place to start from. Her DD eventually had to explain to her that some people find the food she likes just as revolting as she finds pizza etc. So sometimes she will come and just have drinks having eaten first. It helps that she likes to eat at around 6 and so there's still time for her to come and socialize at 7.30 or 8.

Could you try that?

FraidyCat Sun 17-Aug-14 15:49:09

OK with hindsight I think my metaphor went a little to far. My father would eat rice if in a social situation where he couldn't get out of it. So it wasn't completely impossible. (Though he wasn't totally averse to rice in the first place, he just thought it was only acceptable as a pudding.)

Tikimon Sun 17-Aug-14 15:52:00

Stop catering to it then. He's an adult. It takes 40 days to die of starvation, longer if the person is over weight. If he doesn't eat at a restaurant he can make his own food at home.

I have been to restaurants where there's nothing on the menu I want to eat, I work around it and order something that I can nibble on to be polite (and that DH will eat when we get home).

DogCalledRudis Sun 17-Aug-14 15:58:18

I really don't understand the problem. People are allergic/vegetarian/vegan/religious/just don't like it... If you want to make food, make it something easy.

Jux Sun 17-Aug-14 15:59:14

OK, so he's an adult and should get to choose the food he wants. So every other time, so should your mum. You obviously vote with your feet and go where you want, inviting your mum to go with you.

Toddlers, apparently, need new food to be offered up to 20 times before they see it as normal. Maybe you could try that with your dad? I know dd used to refuse liver, but it didn't take her 'having' to eat it more than 5 times before she started enjoying it, and then she was quickly into "ooh, yummy, liver! My fabourite!". Same with lots of other things.

DogCalledRudis Sun 17-Aug-14 16:04:23

I'll also say my opinion as a 'forriner' -- english people are very conservative about their food...

Saltire Sun 17-Aug-14 16:04:46

MY friends son is 18 and is incredibly fussy. he only eats battered fish (not fish cooked an other way, or in breadcrumbs), chips, bacon, those breaded chicken things that birds eye make, potato waffles (but not potato in any other form), spaghetti Bolognese as long as it is just mince and tomato puree, no other ingredients. and the pasta and sauce have to be served in different dishes. and if there is so much as a drop of say gravy, or peas on the plate, he bins it. He ahs been like this since weaning. He has seen specilists and all sorts.

Witchway said about their FIL and being fixated on places to eat. My FIL si the same. For example he will only eat fish and chips out of Harry Ramsdens. In his opinion there are no fish and chips to match. Even on a trip to Whitby, or Blackpool if there is no Harry Ramsdens he won't eat the fish and chips.

NoNoDontEatThatBloodyHellFFS Sun 17-Aug-14 16:06:20

Having food issues that make you 'fussy' (usually phobia or sensory issues) do not make you silly or pathetic, any more than food issues resulting in anorexia or obesity make you silly and pathetic.

The problem is that he expects everyone else to work around his issues. It's selfish, and easily solved by refusing to pander to him 100% of the time.

Aeroflotgirl Sun 17-Aug-14 16:09:14

I would go out with mum without him, he sounds like a nightmare! Or just ignore his moaning and go where you want to go! It's unfair that he has to impose his places onto you, why should you all suffer.

My dad is the same, no Chinese, Indian, pasta, rice or sauces.

He even calls baked potato and sweetcorn 'foreign' foods!

We went on a cruise, it was painful to watch him and my mum scanning the menus for plain food. They usually ordered off menu.

They wouldn't even try anything, even knowing they could get something else if they didn't like it.

At my wedding my mum said I had to have a menu my dad liked! She pulled a face when I had a BBQ in the evening. My wedding so I had what I wanted.

PuppyMonkey Sun 17-Aug-14 16:14:29

I don't understand how he is able to dictate what the rest of you do and where you eat. Can't you just tell him you're having a change this week and if he doesn't like it, he can stay at hone. He will sulk but is that any worse than you lot all moaning about the crap good in his favourite place ?

I think you're being too indulgent of him and I say that as someone who's a very fussy eater.

PrimalLass Sun 17-Aug-14 16:15:47

If there was cauliflower cheese anywhere near my dinner I would vomit. Seriously, I wouldn't be able to help myself.

Me too.

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 17-Aug-14 16:15:49

You might think there's difference between a turd and food generally fit for human consumption, but I think for some people, using some primal part of the brain, there isn't.

Disgust is a learned response; we aren't born with it. We just react to what we learn are good and bad things. Which is why some kids will happily eat a turd.

hampton court - there is a huge difference between chemo inducted nausea and sitting on a table with some macaroni cheese. Why do you feel it necessary to play the cancer card?

pictish Sun 17-Aug-14 16:20:01

I thought the same Ribena.
Don't think the two are comparable somehow.

BarbaraPalmer Sun 17-Aug-14 16:23:00

MIL's mother will only eat salmon or chicken. This only started when her husband died, before that she'd eat a normal diet.

It's tedious, but it's her choice. I do cater for it, in as much as I sling a chicken breast or a salmon steak in the oven for her at the same time as I cook whatever the rest of us are having.

However if we're going out, I don't plan the restaurant around her extreme fussiness. She can come or not as she chooses.

hamptoncourt Sun 17-Aug-14 16:48:18

Yes primal apparently some people have some kind of super power that enables them to stop nausea. I wish I had it. I have a friend who is sick every time she smells TCP. I love the smell but it doesn't stop me feeling very sorry for her.

Vomit is vomit Funky. The cause of nausea is totally irrelevant. "Play the cancer card." You sound so lovely.

Thanks to the posters who have PM's me to warn me that a poster has form for being goady and nasty.

I shall disengage and hide the thread rather than feed their need.

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