Picky eat­ing cre­ates em­bar­rass­ment

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - Amy Dick­in­son You can con­tact Amy Dick­in­son via email: [email protected]­dick­in­son.com and fol­low her on Twit­ter @ask­ingamy.

DEAR AMY » I mar­ried into a Korean fam­ily. (I’m not Korean.)

My mother lives nearby. She is very closed­minded about food. She won’t try new things, and rarely goes to res­tau­rants, be­cause she tends to nit­pick every part of the meal, or say that some in­gre­di­ent “dis­agrees” with her.

Re­cently, my in-laws threw a big party at their house, to cel­e­brate my moth­erin-law’s 70th birth­day.

The party was catered, fea­tur­ing mostly Korean food.

They in­vited my mother to the party. Know­ing that she was likely go­ing to have is­sues with the food, I gave her a heads-up so she could plan ac­cord­ingly. She said, “Don’t worry about me,” and so I didn’t.

At the party, she im­me­di­ately stated that she “couldn’t eat a thing.”

My very sweet fa­therin-law paid spe­cial at­ten­tion to her, to en­cour­age her to try some­thing.

A few min­utes later, I looked out and saw my mother-in-law fir­ing up the grill in or­der to cook a sin­gle ham­burger for my mom, while ev­ery­one else sat down at the ta­ble and en­joyed the catered food.

While ev­ery­one was po­lite, I was in­cred­i­bly em­bar­rassed at my mother’s closed-mind­ed­ness and stub­born be­hav­ior.

I want her to try new things, and to get out of her com­fort zone. I also don’t want to ex­clude her, just on the ba­sis of her picky eat­ing habits. What would you rec­om­mend? — Per­turbed by


DEAR PER­TURBED » Your de­sire for your mother to leave her com­fort zone is nat­u­ral and un­der­stand­able, but her ex­tremely picky eat­ing does not ex­cuse her rude­ness.

Your mother might have ARFID (Avoidant/ Re­stric­tive Food In­take Dis­or­der), an eat­ing dis­or­der char­ac­ter­ized by an ex­treme aver­sion to lots of dif­fer­ent foods. You could sug­gest that she re­search this pos­si­bil­ity.

How­ever, hav­ing di­etary lim­i­ta­tions, re­stric­tions, pho­bias or pref­er­ences does not give a per­son li­cense to an­nounce it at a party.

Fur­ther­more, the idea that your mother let your mother-in-law cook a spe­cial dish for her — at your MIL’s own land­mark birth­day party — is quite be­yond the plate.

The way you present this, your mother be­haved in a way that was both rude and en­ti­tled.

Whether her dis­or­dered eat­ing is caused by health prob­lems or spe­cific food-based fears, is some­thing that she should sort out. If she wants to ex­pand her cui­sine, and be less lim­ited and fear­ful, she should seek med­i­cal and/or ther­a­peu­tic help.

In the fu­ture, you should en­cour­age her to bring her own food in a con­tainer. She could very eas­ily say, “I have a very lim­ited diet, so I need to bring my own food when­ever I eat away from home.” She should not make any pointed, crit­i­cal or spe­cific re­marks about the food of­fered.

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