Picky (Adult) Eaters Challenge

What do you cook for the following when chicken/turkey and pizza gets boring:
One won't eat beans of any kind or potatoes (except fries); one won't eat pork; one won't eat seafood/fish, mushrooms, olives and not big on pasta; one is allergic to Cranberries, Whitefish, Beer (Hops and Brewer's Yeast), Lamb and won't eat stinky fish (Anchovies, Sardines, etc.), or any form of red meat; and one can't eat wheat, trying to avoid gluten, dairy, won't eat green peppers and has hard time with spicy.



sexyLAMBCHOPx October 11, 2012
A pot luck from each person would work considering the amount of food restrictions. It's not fair for the host, IMO, to cook for the group - its too insane!
alienor October 11, 2012
only in america do we have this problem. do you think a get together in e.g.mali, sudan, kenya, would cause such a dilemma. we have so much to eat and have evolved so many allergies. come on folks, eat, enjoy and stop fussing over the itty bitty things. food is to satisfy hunger and we all don't really know hunger.................do we????
QueenSashy October 10, 2012
Why don't you make two dishes, one satisfying the first set of constraints, and the other satisfying the second half of the constraints. In that way you will have more degrees of freedom. So each guest will have at least one dish they will be preprared to eat. Assuming it is really a group of people we are talking about....
JustSomeCook October 5, 2012
Roasted Squab or Cornish Hen, loose polenta, sauerkraut or kimche, flageolet beans cooked with garic and bay.
mensaque October 4, 2012
You must love "one" very,very very much!I would give "one" a glass of water and show one the door!!! Times like these,I pray for patience...cause if I were to pray for strengh I would end up in jail.
MTMitchell October 4, 2012
Yeah, what drbabs said, and I also like the risotto idea. A nice, big old pot of soup (minestrone-like without beans? mild mulligatawny with coconut milk instead of cream -- wait, do lentils count as beans...? Maybe you could do mulligatawny-like and add chicken?) with a green salad and a couple of loaves of bread (one gluten-free one not? Rolls?) might fit the bill. Maybe you could do a big pot of soup and then have some "add ins" people could use to customize their bowl -- depending on the kind of soup or stew, you could do rice noodles, other veggies, shredded chicken, hot sauce, herbs, etc. You could do the same thing with risotto-- make a pretty basic risotto and give people stuff that they can "stir in" (which I know won't yield a real, traditional risotto, but you're dealing with a complex group!). You could put out an antipasto platter (a little something for everyone -- including crudites or pickled veggies), and maybe do a gluten-free fruit tart or something for dessert?

I love the chicken gumbo idea. Or a chicken tagine You could serve it with different accompanyments so there's something for everyone, and not make it too spicy.

Or a roast chicken and roasted veggies? As drbabs said, people can avoid the veggies that they don't like. Might be too boring.

And I hear you -- there is something really satisfying about feeding a group of people -- especially people you are about -- a meal that they really like and enjoy.
louisez October 4, 2012
risotto or farro risotto with veggies (as long as they're not peppers or mushrooms) and maybe chicken?
drbabs October 4, 2012

Chicken gumbo? You can make it mild, you can leave out the peppers and serve hot sauce on the side. Here's a recipe that can be adapted: http://food52.com/recipes/3528_shrimp_gumbo

Also, I went to a friend's house for dinner last night and she made a chicken stew with boneless breasts, onions, carrots, celery (I don't like cooked celery so I just avoided it), potatoes (Your potato-avoiding friend could do the same), in a nice wine and chicken stock based broth with steamed green beans and good bread (you could find/make a gluten-free bread.) on the side. It was really wonderful and satisfying in a homey comfort food way.
Pimms1967 October 4, 2012
I love all of your comments, I'm getting a good laugh, thank you!

Pierino - I hear what you're saying on the gluten thing and there probably is some overkill with the ones who are just trying it as a lifestyle change, but I (the poster) am actually the gluten issue and it sucks. I'm not celiac, but I do have sensitivities that are not in my head. Wheat is really not my friend and I have to avoid since so much nowadays is so over-processed, you don't get the original good wheat, which I could probably tolerate. When I eat gluten, it later feels like I have arthritis all over, my joints get stiff and achy, I'm more fatigued and just overall feel like crap. I LOVE pasta, could eat it every day, I'm trying to find good tasting gluten-free ones, but so far the real deal is what I crave. My doctor wants me to avoid dairy because it's not good for those (like me) with sinus issues and she thinks may be causing my migraines. I already gave up cows milk 6 years ago, total bummer, I was a milkaholic, now I just drink almond milk in cereal, don't like soy.

As for the other comments, hmm, maybe I should have done this in a PowerPoint presentation layout with flow charts :-) I think there's a small percentage of the population that will eat just about anything and are adventurous. In this day and age with all the processed and junk foods people are raised on, it's no wonder they don't have varied palates. I'm sure you all know someone who will not eat vegetables at all, or fruit, I know several. Then there's the memory factor, the one where as a kid your Mom or Dad wouldn't let you leave the table unless you ate all of something on your plate, thus leaving a negative impression of that food, mine is lima beans and green beans, they're slimy and I can't handle taste or texture. I think we all have some level of that. On the flip side, during my travels over the years I've eaten such things as reindeer, whale, kangaroo, the most gawd-awful fruit and even licked the butt of a green ant (it was an Aboriginal thing in Australia). There will be lots of people when I tell them I've eaten that stuff, will think I'm a freak, so what, I like to experiment.

I realize you can't please everyone, but it's part of the process and feelings of success when you can please a whole crowd. Like someone else said, this is a challenge as a cook when you have these issues. How many parents out there have every pot and pan out at dinner time making something for each person because all can't agree on one, or someone refuses to eat something. We didn't do this as I was growing up, Mom made one meal and that was it, but it happens.

We have our standby things we make that all eat, but it gets boring. The repeats are pizza, my Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches, pizza, taco bar, pizza, and that's about it so far. I'm going to be remodeling my kitchen with an awesome new Viking stove, I'm stoked to really start cooking and baking when it's all done.

OK, enough of my droning on about that. Maybe Thursdays should be Cooking Therapy day, you're all already being great therapists for me! :-)

To recap in different format:
- One won't eat beans of any kind or potatoes (except fries);
- One won't eat pork;
- One won't eat seafood or fish, mushrooms, olives and not big on pasta, doesn't like fatty meats, will surgically dissect any fat or gristle off (I finally spell checked gristle)
- One is allergic to Cranberries, Whitefish, Beer (Hops and Brewer's Yeast), Lamb and won't eat stinky fish (Anchovies, Sardines, etc.), or any form of red meat (domestic, wild or game);
- One can't eat wheat, trying to avoid gluten, dairy, won't eat green peppers and has hard time with spicy.
- NO tofu, wild or game meats (which kind of covers the one who won't eat red meat), organ meats, tongue, feet, tail, eyeballs, etc, etc...
pierino October 4, 2012
TravelAddict, I feel your pain. Right now I'm doing some mercenary cooking work in a swank B&B. One of the guests who is a very early riser like me, and also a really nice kid, told me a similar story on pasta and gluten. It makes him sick. Being celiac is a real thing. It's the people who say stuff like "I've just gone gluten free...because I read this stupid book, "Wheat Belly". So, no dis directed toward people like yourself for whom it truly is a problem.

With regard to anchovies the people who won't eat them have never tasted good ones. It's the crappy "pizza anchovies" from Morocco that ruin it. Now boquerones, the white anchovies in vinegar from Spain will convert any anchovy hater. I mix them up with big fat green olives and marcona almonds and they vanish in seconds.
Sadassa_Ulna October 4, 2012
Or a Venn diagram! Maybe there's a way to make two entrees so at least one would satisfy people's requirements. One could be seafood and the other lasagna. The "bar" idea like make-your-own taco or other also sounds good.
SKK October 4, 2012
Yes - a Venn diagram is the answer!
Maedl October 4, 2012
I think I'd make reservations!
SKK October 3, 2012
Greenstuff sees we need a spreadsheet - I am beginning to wonder if we are on some virtual reality food show.

Pimms1967 October 3, 2012
I've eaten frogs' legs, but yes, those would be out. One of the people is very wiggy about fat on foods, if she eats meat/pork/poultry, she will surgically remove any traces of fat or grissle (grizzle?) and has to be well done/cooked through, no pink, so duck would probably be out too, although she does eat bacon once in a blue moon, but complains about the fat. So no pork knuckles, beef tongue, liver, chicken feet, etc, etc, has to be somewhat "mainstream".

And here I thought trying to eat out with my vegan friend was difficult!!
ChefJune October 4, 2012
no fat on frogs' legs. and no GRISTLE either, but there is sinew. ;)
Reiney October 3, 2012
So...you're saying frogs' legs are out too then?

What about duck?
pierino October 4, 2012
I love frogs legs too. But then I'm your basic omnivore.
Pimms1967 October 3, 2012
Rats...maybe I could pass that off as stuffed cornish hens, darn it! :-) I'll check out the cod recipe for me, but not this group, have one that doesn't eat seafood / fish, actually I don't think another eats seafood either. I love seafood, one of my faves.

I'll see recipes pop up on this site and usually have to save just for me, there tends to be something in it that one won't eat, which is a bummer because it looks so good! Someone suggested meatloaf, sure, but when I threw that idea around once, I got some grimaces. [insert bang head against wall]

I will add, no tofu.

It's so nice that you're all being very supportive and offering ideas, I do appreciate it!
aargersi October 3, 2012
Rats. I mean as in, darn it, not as a menu suggestion :-) Oh and I just re-read the restrictions - you could do un-stinky fish like cod - there are quite a few great looking cod recipes here on Food52:


This is actually good, having to think outside a whole bunch of boxes at once!
Greenstuff October 3, 2012
You didn't notice "one won't eat seafood/fish." Clearly, we need a spreadsheet!
Pimms1967 October 3, 2012
I think I would go by the way of Bambi's mother if I attempted to serve them rabbit, that's too out there for these palettes. I don't think I could bring myself to eat it either, I once had "Hassenpfeffer(? - rabbit) pate", didn't like it and I've eaten a lot of weird stuff over the years.
aargersi October 3, 2012
Oh! Rabbit! I love rabbit! I made this recently with chick pea flour rather than wheat flour and it came out very good:

Reiney October 3, 2012
Eesh that list of exclusions makes my head hurt :)

If you can find one in your area, and want to go a bit unusual, I say you do a rabbit stew! It's not chicken/turkey (or lamb, or fish, or red meat, or pork). You could do a mustard/chicken stock base for the braise and then for those that are eating dairy, finish the sauce off with a liaison of egg yolk & cream. Serve with a side of roast veggies. 1 rabbit serves 3-4 people.
pierino October 4, 2012
I am so damn sick of these restrictive diets that are stupid an narcissistic. Surely there's a chucklehead who won't eat rabbit because they can't eat game. I love rabbit myself. I volunteer to eat the rabbit kidneys.

But the gluten free thing (apart from genuine celiacs) is getting to be too much...
drbabs October 3, 2012
It's good you all like each other! You have some great suggestions here (I am having the quinoa/kale quiche for lunch as we speak--however, it does have a bit of cheese in it.); what about mujaddara? http://food52.com/recipes/8565_mujaddara_with_spiced_yogurt You can serve the yogurt on the side. My husband doesn't like yogurt (I feel your pain), so I've made this and just tossed the mint and spices in with the lentils right before serving.

I imagine you could leave the cheese out of this tart and use a gluten-free mix for the crust:

Turkey meatloaf? http://food52.com/recipes/3575_spicy_turkey_meatloaf With aargersi's homemade tater tots (for the french fry lover)? http://food52.com/recipe/tater

Voted the Best Reply!

SKK October 3, 2012
I am in a group that has gotten together every Thursday night for 15 years for dinner. When we are all in town we number 14. Over the years we have had the same kind of food issues come up. Our solution has been rotate the cooking and have everyone actually collect recipes that work for everyone. The other thing we do is have 'food bars'. For example, we will have tapas, or Mexican, or salad bars or ...
anything that lets people pick and choose what works for them.

If nothing, we have learned a lot. And the point is the conversation the dinner allows for.

Good luck!
Pimms1967 October 3, 2012
Good grief is right?! It's usually a group of about 6-7 adult friends (2 are married to each other with baby on way, otherwise all singles in their 40s, 2 males, 4-5 females). It's the main entree that tends to be the issue, salads, snacks and desserts are easy, and I'm sure there's foods left out that won't be eaten. I thought I would throw this out there and see what comes back for ideas.

I have SO many recipes I would love to try, but many have something in it somone won't eat, and eliminating not always possible. Myself and another in group are the ones who like to cook the most, she's the one with the allergies, but we were commiserating about how challenging it is to cook for this group. I'm the challenge with no wheat, gluten, dairy (and I love cheese, so sad) or green peppers (nasty buggers, gives me stomach aches).
MTMitchell October 3, 2012
So I'm not offering this as an answer per se but...when we were kids my mom had this rule -- we were "allowed" not to like something but only after trying two (reasonable) bites and if we decided then we still didn't like what she was serving for dinner we could go get a yogurt or make ourselves a cheese sandwich. Having said that, you can't really do that with adults! What about a polenta and veggies dish? Like a mushroom ragout or roasted veggies? Or the polenta and eggplant Genius recipe? I'm pretty ignorant about gluten free so polenta might not work. I do love that you have a group of friends that cares enough about each other to want to accommodate everybody's dietary restrictions / preferences and also still share a lovely meal.
SKK October 3, 2012
I have the same question as aargersi, how many people are we talking about? Where do you fit in the picture - Mom, friend, chef? My first thought is to have each eater come up with the recipes they will eat and you teach them how to cook it. Seems this is not your problem only, the people who have put these restrictions on themselves need to be responsible.

That being said here is a great recipe http://food52.com/recipes/14244_quinoa_and_kale_crustless_quiche
HalfPint October 3, 2012
Spaghetti squash with turkey meatball tomato sauce. Salad with apples & walnuts, dressed with simple vinaigrette (chevre on the side for those who want it). Dessert: Pavlova with lemon curd and raspberries.

BBQ Chicken. Grilled polenta squares topped with roasted veggies. Dessert: chocolate-marshmallow banana boats (let me know if you want the recipe).

Turkey piccata. Sauteed kale(or spinach) & garlic. Dessert: fresh cut pineapple sprinkled with cinnamon.

Dirty rice with turkey sausage, http://www.food.com/recipe/dirty-rice-with-turkey-sausage-345425, use red bell peppers instead of green, leave out the cayenne. Roast corn. Dessert: Thai rice pudding, http://thaifood.about.com/od/thaidesserts/r/ricepudding.htm

aargersi October 3, 2012
Good Grief! How many total? Can you make a dish with lentils and sweet Italian turkey sausage? I don't think those are on the NO list.

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