I used to be known as a picky eater. I was very much a meat and potatoes type of guy! And of course pizza, tacos, and spaghetti. And hamburgers and bacon! I ate most all the things that went in a salad, but I wouldn’t eat salads. I ate all the things that made up a sandwich, but I didn’t eat sandwiches. And I didn’t eat casseroles or pies.
Even then however I did eat a decent number of veggies. I ate broccoli, green beans, black-eyed peas, corn, carrots, and more. But I would not eat eggplant, zucchini, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and others. On the other hand, I would eat my mashed potatoes and carrots together. And I ate fried chicken livers. I loved all types of seafood that I had tried. But I wouldn’t eat Chinese or sushi.
So in one sense I was never as picky as many I’ve known over the years. In retrospect there are a few foods and textures that are problems. But otherwise I just really hadn’t tried much variety to know better. And gradually as I got out into the world away from home, I encountered and tried more foods. I learned to eat Chinese in college, as well as salads and sandwiches.
At some point I wanted to try nicer restaurants and fancier foods. I ordered something called beef carpaccio that I really ended up liking, and when I looked it up later I discovered it was raw meat! That led me to try sashimi and better sushi than I had tried before. And even beef tartare! And I ordered baba ganoush, and enjoyed it, before finding out it was eggplant.
I also set a New Year’s resolution to eat something different for my main meal every day! I was also eating healthier then to lose weight. I knew I wouldn’t go a whole year, but I made it 3 months, and even most of 6 months. And that literally changed at least some of my tastes! I no longer wanted or craved the more common fattier meat and cheese and carb based foods.
I tried sweet potatoes in the non-casserole form and liked them, although the southern style casserole is still a no. I can do a bit of zucchini and things like it now, but still have limits – and the southern fried version is still a no. Mushrooms are also still mostly a no. So I definitely still have some limits, but my wife is probably the only one I know that eats more things than me!
And now when we go to some of the top restaurants in the world, its always the vegetable dishes that are the best. They are simply more unique with many more flavors. There is only so many ways to cook beef or even seafood. But when the veggies are the main thing, instead just a quick side like they were when I grew up, they are the stars of the meals. Even though the occasional steak is good too.
The last 2 years we have gone the entire month of January, and most of February, entirely as vegetarians. And even a lot of our other meals are the rest of the year. And most of the meat we eat is seafood and smaller portions. Its just harder to be a vegetarian full-time in our American culture where meat is so cheap and good vegetables are harder to come by, but its getting easier!