II just moved in with my boyfriend of a year. We’re pretty happy but I am increasingly bothered by our eating ‘mismatch’, which is starting to become more apparent now that we’re eating a lot more meals together. Mainly, I adore food, cooking and eating out and I’ve always thought he was less interested in food than I was, but I’m starting to think he has zero interest. Honestly, it’s strange. He refuses to try new foods and basically seems to survive on a very narrow diet of white bread, KFC, steak and chips or junk food. It might sound trivial, but food is a big part of my life I’d love to share with him. Is there any way to get him on board? Anon
Dietary mismatches are more common than you think, and it looks like you’re dating an adult ‘fussy eater’. Condolences my friend. This is a hard path, especially because you love food, glorious food. His bland palate might be a result of his childhood (do his parents eat KFC? Boil their veggies beyond recognition?) or he may even be a ‘super-taster’ – people who taste certain flavours more acutely. Studies that have been conducted on adult fussy eaters indicate that they aren’t eating chips with a side order of bread basket to be difficult. Researchers at Duke University call it ‘selective eating disorder’. People suffering from it eat bland foods, with an emphasis on the processed and salty. They usually avoid fruits and vegetables and have a limited palate for meat (bacon being an exception). Sound familiar? It’s not unheard of for people to radically change their eating habits in adulthood, but be aware that for selective eaters, progress can be slow. Be patient and supportive and know that your boyfriend isn’t choosing to eat the way he does to be bratty or wilful. If he does try something new, don’t be too disappointed if he doesn’t like it. Not everyone has the same love for flavour as you do. Just encourage him, and perhaps grab that DVD series of Freaky Eaters to watch one night at home. It’s a show that’ll hopefully give your adult fussy eater food for thought – and with any luck, inspire him to examine his own limited diet.
Love, reality chick