Traveling as a Recovering Picky Eater
Let's get one thing out of the way right up front: picky eaters do not want to be picky.
It's embarrassing. It leads us to hurt other people's feelings. Nobody wants to be the one every meal needs to be planned around.
Picky eaters would, if we had a choice about the matter, love everything we try--or at least tolerate it.
But that's not the case. Often we have very strong responses to tastes or textures that we don't like, up to and including vomiting--and you can trust us to know when we're likely to have that sort of response.
But food is one of life's great pleasures!
People tend to travel for a few reasons: to see beautiful places, meet new people, and try new foods.
We don't want to miss out on new amazing dishes.
Further, depending on where we travel, or how we travel, there may not be options that a picky eater can rely upon on the road.
So what's a picky eater to do?
For me, there were a few keys: first, the slight mindset shift of considering myself a 'recovering picky eater' rather than a 'picky eater.' This sounds silly, I realize, but helped keep me focused on fixing it.
Next was the realization that if I traveled and didn't taste new foods, I'd starve.
I needed to get a bit more brave about new flavors and textures than I was at home ASAP. Fortunately, my first long trip abroad was to Turkey, which has amazing food.
I made a hard and fast rule that I had to taste everything offered and eat as much of it as I could. I may be a picky eater, but I'm a Southern girl and was raised with manners.
I did quickly amend that rule to give me an out if I began to actually gag--throwing up certainly wouldn't have been polite.
Did I love everything I tried? Nope--I don't think I'll ever love mint in savory dishes, for example.
But I tried so many new things that I found several new favorites.
Even better, I lost a lot of my fear of trying new things.
Now, even when I'm not traveling, I'll almost always taste a new dish if there's an opportunity.
In fact, there's a glorious tapas restaurant I love in Philly (it's Amada, in case you're visiting soon), and my favorite thing to do is order the tasting menu and let the chef decide what to bring me.
Those who knew me way back when will know how much progress that is for me--and I owe it all to traveling.
Are you a picky eater? How do you deal when you're away from home? What's the rudest comment someone's ever made about your pickiness?