In my twenty-something years as a picky eater, I’ve experienced everything from satisfaction to starvation at dinner parties. I’ve attended dinner parties with hosts who should consider starting a catering company because the food was that good. I’ve also been to dinner parties that would not pass Health Code Inspections let alone please the taste buds of a picky eater (but seriously, how do you mess up spaghetti?)
Dinner parties are tough. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all about getting together with friends and luckily most of them adjust the menu with my eating habits in mind. The dinner parties I’m talking about are the unexpected ones. The events thrown by my boyfriend’s dad’s high school friend who invited us to dinner when we moved to Las Vegas. He was as unfamiliar with my eating habits as I was with his kitchen. It was uncomfortable, stressful and something I tried to get out of (too bad Mitch can pick out a fake cough from a real one…)
When it comes down to it, picky eaters don’t always have a choice. So, what are we to do? Here’s a quick survival guide to help you prepare for dinner parties:
1. Eat beforehand. There’s nothing worse than pretending you aren’t hungry when you’re actually starving – and grumpy – and have to watch everyone eat while you are “enjoying” your food. Do yourself a favor; have a snack before you go to any dinner party just in case you can’t find much that your taste buds approve. I’ll admit, I’ve been known to stop at the local hotdog joint before going to dinner.
2. Bring something. Oh shoot, this isn’t a pot luck is it? Even if the host does not want you to bring anything, bring something anyways. It’s calming to know you have something to eat if all else fails.
3. Start small. Not sure if you will like gourmet baked macaroni and cheese? Put half a spoonful on your plate anyways; you can always smoosh it around so it looks like you ate it. Trust me; a small spoonful can turn into what seems like the remainder of lots of spoonfuls!
4. Position yourself wisely. Whether it’s your boyfriend or your best friend, make sure to sit next to the person you came with. They know your eating habits best and are more than willing to be a team player. I’ve mastered the craft of scraping my cole slaw onto Mitch’s plate just as he has perfected switching plates so no one notices.
Pickin’ Your Brain:
- What strategies do you use when you attend dinner parties?