Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pot Roast for the Picky Man!

It’s true.

I live with a Picky Man. And he will probably shoot me for this post, but I just have to let this out. It is NOT always easy to want to cook when the things you WANT to cook are the things that no one else but you yourself will eat.

There. I said it.

Meat is no problem.

Spices are.

Potatoes, carrots, green beans from a can, corn on the cob, or sometimes from a can and baked beans are okay in the “veggie” department, even if baked beans ARE a legume, not technically a vegetable.

NO ONIONS. No green, red, yellow peppers of any kind, pickled or otherwise. No olives.

White rice is only okay if it has butter and sugar on it. Or put in rice pudding. Sometimes it can be fried at the Japanese steak house but it can not be the Chinese style fried rice from the Chinese restaurants, that is too different. No Mexican fried rice either, but the refried beans are okay.

((Brown rice is not accepted!))

Salads must only have lettuce, carrots, ranch dressing and croutons. Oh, and you can add grated cheddar cheese and diced egg too –but must not include tomatoes, onion, celery or cucumbers. Bacon? Yes…bacon can go on a salad, and also on the baked potato, which can only accompany butter and cheese as a topping as sour cream is not allowed.

No cream cheese either.

No broccoli, Brussels sprouts, pickles, slaw, kraut, squash, radishes, cauliflower, or any other “fill in the blank” veggie not listed in the approved vegetable list above.

Most fruits are out too.

I’m sure I’m not the only wife who has found this frustrating. It was easier when the boys were here because THREE of us would eat most things, but now there are only two of us at home. And my cooking has been down to NIL.

Sometimes it’s easier and cheaper to go OUT to eat, because if I buy what I want for salads or veggies they have a tendency to go bad before I can eat it all. Remember, I’m only home half the time, and if I don’t eat it while I’m home, it will go bad before I get back.

If we eat out, we both get to choose what we want and I can have veggies and spicy food to my heart’s content.

I understand his argument. Something that does not taste good to him, or have the right texture is never going to taste good to him even if he forces himself to do it. Try to imagine that something tastes like dirt….and no matter how many people are saying EAT IT, IT’S GOOD --- it still tastes like dirt. Or worse to him.

I know I can’t change his taste buds. And sometimes I am envious of other couples who love to cook and share and explore all kinds of new recipes and tastes together.

He tells me to look at it this way…..it’s less work for ME since he doesn’t want “fancy food”. And I nod and smile and say, “Yes, you could be right…” And back I go to serving meat and potatoes.

But let’s face it. Food is one of our most enjoyable necessities as human beings. We have to eat to survive. Why shouldn’t it be a pleasure for all the senses as well?

Today we reached a compromise day of sorts. He said he was hankering for my pot roast, and with autumn on the breeze, I thought that sounded good too!

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I sprinkled a 3 lb pot roast liberally with season salt and pepper and put it to brown in a skillet. While that was browning, I got out my crockpot and added some “legal” veggies…sneaking in a bit of “Illegal” onion, just for the flavoring it would give. I can easily pull it out after it cooks and save it for ME…

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In the pot are 6 small red-skinned potatoes quartered, what was left of a bag of small peeled carrots that looked like they needed to be used in something fast or get tossed… and 1/2 onion, cut into quarters.

He BETTER not comment on how I didn’t peel the potatoes first! :c/

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In a measuring cup I mixed the ingredients that will be the sauce/gravy:

1 can cream of mushroom soup ((Please don’t tell him there are mushrooms in it!))

1/2 can water

1 Tbl dried onion flakes ((Don’t tell him I put THOSE in either!))

2 beef bouillon cubes

1 Tbl Worcestershire sauce ((I love how spell check can fix my typo on that word..LOL!))

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I placed the browned roast on top of the veggies –Oh, it was already smelling good by this time!

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Spread the gravy/sauce on top of the roast and put the lid on to cook. It should be ready by dinner time tonight!

I make salads restaurant style, in individual bowls-- so he can have what little he wants on his, and I can add what I want to mine. I'll also add steamed broccoli to my plate.

Sometimes, there is just a way to make it all work out so we are both happy with it.

And the best part will be the left overs for the next couple of days…..


  1. Wow, I think he is harder than my kids were. DH will eat most anything!

  2. I live with 4 picky men. For DH: no squash including pumpkin, only iceberg lettuce, no whole wheat bread, no brown rice, no peppers of any kind, nothing too spicey, only diet pepsi (not coke), no chili,no quiche, nothing too rich (rich = anything with a sauce). For DS1: no tomatoes in any form including pizza, spaghetti and lasagna. Nothing with melted cheese. No vegetables except raw carrots. No potatoes except French fries, no sauces. No eggs. No Chinese, Mexican or Italian food. No mustard, ketchup or relish. Only white bread, no mac and cheese, no casseroles. DS2 (to be fair, he's the best eater) No peanutbutter, no orange juice, no squash, no spinach, no hotdogs, no macaroni and cheese DS3: no peanutbutter, no Mexican, no Italian, no wheat bread, nothing green but lettuce, no lunchmeat of any kind except for pepperoni, no veg but raw carrots, no fish unless it is fried.

    Those are the highlights. It is maddening to try to please them all, so I cook what I like and let them eat cereal or go hungry. My oldest son never ate a hamburger until he was 18, and now he eats them in the school cafeteria, so there is a little hope.

  3. I had picky boys in my house, The DH will eat just about anything I cook. He would love it if I did it more often. He didn't love Onions or peppers or mexican food but he will eat them after 35 years. I'm a lucky woman... He would love you pot roast. I would have used Cream of Chicken, I'm the picky one, no mushrooms or fish for me.

  4. Bonnie - I'm soooo glad you posted about this!! I've complained about my picky husband for years. I've even stopped cooking for him early in our marriage because I was so frustrated with his pickyness (I have since started up again, though). It's so nice to hear there is someone out there pickier than mine! LOL Although, I'm sorry for you...

  5. Thank you for sharing about your picky hubby. I call mine Mr. Picky because more often than not, he'll take a LOOK at what I've cooked and turn his nose up. I'd like to blame his mom for not introducing him to a variety of foods, but maybe his taste buds are wacky... Thanks for the perspective! (And thanks for all the quilty inspiration!)

  6. Hmm pot roast sounds perfect. I think I will get one started for tomorrow.

  7. Glad I am not the only one!

  8. I have a similar problem now that DH and I are without kids at home. Our biggest problem, however, is the constant leftovers. Neither one of us is fond of leftovers the 3rd night.

  9. I can so relate to this post. My husband is a very plain eater...the simplier it is, the better he likes it. My son is also picky eater. They could both eat the same thing over and over..not adventurous at all...I feel your pain.

  10. My husband used to be pickier but about 20 years ago we discovered he had food allergies. No sugar (all forms), wheat (all forms), corn (all forms), yeast and many other things and at the same time my mother (who ate many meals with us) also had allergy issues and couldn't eat potatoes, wheat, yeast, corn, walnuts, tomatoes, peppers and many other things. So we learned to cook differently using a variety of grains, meats, vegetables, etc. that most people had never even heard of. Luckily, his allergies are mostly behind him except for cane sugar (but corn syrup is okay but now isn't in most things because it is 'bad' for you) and a few other things. But because of his allergies he learned to try and like new things.

  11. Anonymous3:33 PM EDT

    At first I thought you were describing my DH, but mine is pickier than yours. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one out here with a picky eater. But since it's only been the two of us for the past 25 years I've learned to eat beef and ham pizza and then when I can't stand it any more order my supreme pizza. He may get a peanut butter sandwich for dinner tonight because I still have a crock pot full of taco soup from lunch.

  12. Mmmmm, sounds good! I'm the picky eater at my house but not as picky as your hubby. I try new things but you are right, if it doesn't taste good to me, it will never taste good. And texture is a big thing, too. Fortunately, we do what you do. Cook what I like at home and go out for the things my husband likes. Or I cook what he likes, I just take some out of the pot before adding the spices he likes. It works for us. Enjoy that pot roast!

  13. Anonymous3:40 PM EDT

    So glad to know I'm not alone. (first time reader here, great blog).

    What I get upset about is when I know there is a food he has not tried and he says he doesn't like it! And sometimes it's similar to food I KNOW he likes. Uuuggg.

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  15. Yes sounds similar to my hubby! The annoying thing is if we go out to some ones home he eats their food without complaining and enjoys it! He has also started bringing home recipes from a co-worker and was put out when I said what is the point, if I cooked that you wouldn't eat it, as it has this & this & this in it. He said well the picture looked nice! Can't win so you give up.

  16. The man's lucky you haven't smothered him (with onions, of course) in his sleep!!! But I'm with ya. Among the "list" at my house is french cut green beans. That's right,folks, the man will eat "properly cut" green beans but not french cut. Also doesn't like red potatoes (the "right" kind are fine, of course). I've thought of making two versions of different side dishes (since we both will eat most main dishes) and freezing them in individual portions but I've never gone to the trouble.

    Lori in VA

  17. I'm with you. NO SWEET POTATOES at any time. No rice, no beans, except green beans. He is more adventurous with salads. And nothing too soft...except that his fave food is mash potatoes and there's nothing softer than that, so who can figure. We've struck a bargain where once in a while, I cook something I like, just because I like it. And, once in a while I cook him something he likes, even though I don't. Most of the time, we're on the approved foods list, tho. Take care. That roast looks fantastic! Lane

  18. My DH's taste buds would suit you to a "T"!
    I am the picky eater.
    I want just the plain food...no spices...no onions...no Tumeric
    But I do love all veggies. He will only eat three kinds.
    It is so hard to cook for him. I do make two of some things. A version for me and his version that is so spiced up, who knows what it REALLY tastes like. HA!

  19. Too funny! I guess I am lucky and mine will eat most of what I cook.
    Veggies on salads - I'm with you - one of everything on there but DH is lettuce, croutons and ranch dressing. Try the salad bar at the supermarket for your 'fixings'. Might be cheaper and won't spoil on you.

  20. Anonymous4:07 PM EDT

    No wonder you enjoy the meals prepared for you by quilters so much!

  21. Anonymous4:09 PM EDT

    We quilter people share so much. So nice to know I am not alone. DH likes: meat, potatoes, corn, green beans. Period! Oh so hard to cook for someone with so little imagination!
    Faye Bushey, Maine

  22. Anonymous4:39 PM EDT

    Have you ever tried grating some onion into the pot roast or whatever ? Sneaks it past them so you get the flavour but no 'skinny' bits !

  23. I thought for a minute there that we were married to the same man. LOL But, glad to know that others live with a pickier eater than I do.


    IF it is a kid... I will send you my 3 year old grandson and you will know what a picky eater is really like.

    If it is hubby age kid... then tell him what I told mine... If you do not eat what I cook... I NEVER HAVE TO COOK AGAIN UNLESS I WANT TO... He learned to eat what I served as he hates cooking... sometimes he will say he does not like something very much but he will eat it and I just find a different recipe to try instead. Of course I started him down this road when we first got married. I do not know if it would work on someone you have been married to for a long time.


  25. If it's any consolation, I'm married to his "brother."

  26. Wow...picky DH's are everywhere. Mine is really not too bad at all really but he is a "meat and potatoes" type of guy. His thing is he like noodles "a lot" and I'm not a noodle person. I love brocoli and he would prefer to never see it. (If I fix it he'll eat a little bit though! Just like I'll eat a few noodles!) Must be a universal complaint.

  27. Oh another trick when he wont eat what I cook... is dump everything in the garbage... make everyone go out to dinner and stick him with the bill... Had to do that one once or twice before he learned to eat what I cooked... ( I am a good cook BTW and I would not make someone eat something if they are allergic to it.)

    I work 40 - 60 hours at a challenging job and have not time for nonsence. I figure if he does not eat what I cook ... he can cook for himself.




  28. Hmm, your DH sounds even pickier than mine. Mine actually misses the onion now if I forget to put it in something....his bro positively won't eat anything if he thinks there might be onion in it. I blame their mother. All she ever seasoned food with was a tiny bit of salt. Cinnamon for apple pie or rice pudding. Some cloves & ginger too in pumpkin pie. That was it. I about gagged the first and only time I ate her goulash. My DH will eat broccoli and after about 30 years I got him trained to eat pizza as long as there aren't any peppers or olives on it...beef, five meat and canadian bacon are OK, supreme definitely isn't. LOL Mostly I try out salad recipes and things like that when I'm going to be eating with a group of friends or when there's a big family get together so at least a few other people might help me eat it. A lot of time I'll also cook two completely different meals for us because I really don't like catfish, crappie or bluegill that have been frozen and I try to keep carbs and fats to a minimum while he needs as many as he can get and he's still too skinny. SO NOT FAIR!! He'd really like a lot more sweets but he will just have to deal with not getting as many as he wants.

  29. Gosh Bonnie,

    My husband is as picky as yours. He won't even eat the carrots. We eat out a lot and he says the same thing, that it's just easier, and probably cheaper too. The pot roast dinner looks yummy!

  30. I had a houseful of picky eaters, and like one of the posters above, alot of it turned out to be related to food sensitivities and texture aversions. My solution was similar to the meal you are cooking tonight - some "plain" meat and potato/rice meals, supplemented with extra veggie or salad dishes for those of us who like variety, and a flavoured sauce/gravy for the meat for those who like spice/flavour. Kind of nice now that the kids have moved out and I'm on my own - I can cook what I want, when I want and how I want it!

  31. My D-ex-H thought onions, tomatoes, and lettuce were the limits of veggies when we got married. (They were the toppers on his burgers.) He ate lots of veggies in the 18 years we were together.

    I am not sure what the veggie thing is, maybe the way their mothers cooked them? You CAN cook a green bean until no one will eat it!

    Spices and seasoning go a long way towards making foods palatable.

  32. We eat out once a day EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK.

    We're both very happy with this arrangement.


  33. Anonymous7:14 PM EDT

    Holy Smokes!! ahhh....now i know how you get so much quilting done. If I had to follow all those rules in the kitchen I would run screaming to hide in my sewing room too. :-)

    I was the picky plain eater but i vowed to try new foods and now DH and I love cooking. We can easily drop $100 on spices at Pensey's and forget the farmers market.

    This year dh bought eggplant plants for the garden by mistake. He went from some one that wouldn't try it for 30 years to loving it. I tried parm..he tried it ok but don't make it again...next time :-) I tried kicking it up with chipolte and smoked paprika in the panko crumbs, hot sauce in the egg wash...he loved it...He now likes eggplant so much that I came home on Sat to find he tried brushing some with bbq sauce and smoked some in the smoker...YUMMY!

    There's hope....but I would go by the plaque in my sister's kitchen "First to complain is the next one to cook!"

  34. Ha! I'm the picky eater in our house; DH is the cook. We have a rule - one of us cooks, the other cleans up. (He cooks a lot.) My mom always told us we had two choices - take it or leave it. Smart woman with five kids in the house!

  35. Oh dear -- No sympathy for you - at least YOU get to go out and TRAVEL to places where interesting food is served. I'm in the same boat as you but my DH is mostly not even interested in eating. And to top it off, there are not many interesting restaurants where I live. Sighhhh - now I appreciate when I used to live where there were many good, and ethnic restaurants were located.

    Hang in there - cooking for 2 is not much fun, but maybe you'll scope out all these specialy foods in the freeer dept. at your supermarket!

    Pot roast DID sound pretty good.

  36. The menu at our house is always Take it or Leave it. My mother-in-law even bought me oven mitts with that saying on them. My view is that if they don't like what I make, then they are free to take over the cooking or make themselves dinner. :) Your husband is very, very lucky that you are so patient and accommodating.

  37. I can relate. He'd be happy with Hamburger Helper every night, but I force him to eat healthy food sometimes!

  38. Bonnie, I feel for you...especially since I love to cook. I'm grateful to have no picky eaters in my family. I had no idea how blessed I was after reading yours and everyone else's posts.

    Your pot roast looks amazing. I can almost smell it all the way up in Canada!

    and where do you get those amazing photos & clippart for your posts? LOL

  39. Are you sure he isn't Mark's twin brother separated at birth?!!!!

  40. LOL....
    You made a jummy meal! wish I could there and join your dinner.

  41. We have the opposite problem in our house... I'm the adventurous eater and my wife is BORING! Just Monday we were away from home and needed to go out to eat, we only had 1 hour to eat.

    We drove for 23 minutes looking for an "approved" restaurant, passing dozens of local "mom and pop" restaurants along the way, ANY one of which I would have LOVED to stop at just to try something different... but no, we ate Long John Silvers.

    I love traveling if for no other reason than I get to eat at different restaurants. When we go to restaurants, about 80% of the time, I don't even open the menu. I tell the waiter how much I am willing to spend and tell him or her to surprise me.

    I have had some very interesting meals over the years, but two weeks ago I had the most interesting. I was in a small Mexican restaurant in Atlanta, and the meal that was brought to me was a concoction of Beef and shrimp that was decidedly Mexican, but did not look like it at all. I asked what it was because it was delicious!

    "Just Sumting my Wife cook up jus for you". Turns out my waiter was the owner of the place, and his wife was one of the cooks. She came out and we talked about the dish. Me in my broken Spanish, and she in her broken English, and he translating when necessary.

    The meal she prepared for me was a meal they were thinking about adding to the menu, and I was their guinea pig. They thanked me for my feedback, and "comped" my meal. Sometimes it's good to be a guinea pig!!

  42. Hope you got a picture of the finished meal, sounds good. I have a wife - sort of like your hubby. She sure has changed her eating habits since the kids are grown up. (We always/or still blame it on her 'Walker' stomach.) But I will say my taste buds have changed also. As a child, I hated ginger but mother always kept a little box of candied ginger in her 'sweets draw' in the refridgerator and it was off limits to us kids. This weekend I made Pear and Ginger jam and I can't keep out of if - it's good. Another veggie is brussel sprouts - hated them as a child, but have a craving for them now. So there might be hope for your hubby, sometime he might just try someones (not yours) and realize they aren't that bad. Robert, in northern Iowa.

  43. My husband ate like a 4 year old wants to eat when we married. 20 years later he eats most things...although mushrooms, brussel sprouts and a few other things are out. I always had the rule for my son, you eat what I cook until you start cooking dinner. When I married dh I told him the rules were the same. One broccoli tree and a PILE of potatoes was ok, but he couldn't set a bad example for my son! I think he finally got tired of being called a food wimp by the 8 year old, lol. Also he had to eat like a grown up when he would travel with business associates, or look bad. When he would tell me what he at at a restaraunt I'd comment that it is nice he eats like a grownup in public without a problem. Then I felt free to cook that particular food. If he ate it for them he could learn to eat it at home or go hungry.
    On the other hand I've never had trouble getting my son to eat anything. He did set a very good example for my husband, lol.

  44. Anonymous10:52 AM EDT

    I feel your pain. My DH won't even eat salads. If it is green it doesn't enter his body unless maybe, of course, it's a green M&M. After 22 years, I've given up. We go out most nights. The whole 'it's easier for you' bit is a crock. They just aren't even kind of willing to change. It's just their justification for staying exactly the way they want to stay. But, alas, we still love them. If mine grins and shows me his dimples, that's all it takes to melt my heart! :)

    Sherri in Phoenix

  45. I´m so glad to read that there are more men (and women) out there who are as picky as my hubby.
    Sometimes I worry if he gets enough vitamines because a lot of fruit and veggies are a "no go", and salad is absolutely evil. :-)
    I love tomatoes and zucchini, but both is not allowed. He only eats carrots and boring broccoli. So I cook my veggies in an extra pan now and try to stop worrying about it.
    When I cook something dubious, he rather eats a bowl of cereals...

  46. I hear you ....... too bad we don't live closer then we could cook for each other. My darling hubby of 38 yrs only eats meat potatoes hot dogs chips and eggs and bacon that's it. I NOW cook for myself which is hard for one person and he NOW cooks for himself. I gave up !!!!! Hang in there we are an empty nester as well. Oh he wants to eat dinner at 10 pm !!!!!

  47. Oh Bonnie, I have been lurking for some time. I enjoy your blog very much and have gotten loads of idea's.

    However today after reading your blog I laughed out loud. I thought I was the only one who had a husband who was a picky eater.
    Join the club Bonnie.

  48. I'm VERY picky. Always have been. I raised 3 boys, and we're very meat/potatoes kind of family. But, i'm still the picky one. Too many things really upset my stomach.

  49. Actually that sounds very much like cooking for my children! My ex ate anything I put in front of him and I'm glad to say The Tramp is the same (except for peas and spinach!). Now I'm having a yen for pot roast! :-)

  50. Anonymous12:47 AM EDT

    I can't believe it has taken me so long to find your recipes section, and then I laughed out loud. Poor DH asked what was so funny, and I had to tell him, Bonnie Hunter is married to your twin! And you and I make pot roast almost the same way, too.
    DH will tell you that he eats vegetables - but only "Mexican vegetables" - this means onions, peppers - both chili and bell, corn on the cob, and potatoes. He also eats raw carrots (never cooked.) He is pathologically offended by tomatoes.
    His salads are IDENTICAL to the ones you have to make. I smuggled 1/8 of a tiny diced fresh green bean in his salad once - ONCE - and he asked me if I was trying to poison him!
    He is getting better, and I have to give him credit for being willing to "taste" most things. He learned the first time I made spaghetti sauce from scratch that I do NOT cook like his mom or his grandmother. Even with all the "weird stuff" I put in it (like mushrooms, lol!) he asks for my spaghetti sauce.
    His mom almost fell out of her chair when I told her that not only did he try asparagus, he stole some of my plate then went back for seconds! (Roasted in the oven til just tender, drizzled with teriyaki sauce, olive oil & worchestershire, sprinkled with a little fresh minced garlic & green onions.) But he wouldn't go near the same recipe the second time!
    I made "calabacitas" and he HAD to try it because that is a Mexican dish! It is Mexican grey squash or zucchini, yellow squash, onion, leave out the tomato, chili peppers, done sort of like a stir-fry. Some places serve it in a spicy creamy sauce.
    I just don't get it. I make veggies for two anyway, he will always, although reluctantly, "taste" - and then and whatever is left over I have for lunch the next day.
    Good luck! and Thank you Bonnie and everyone! for the commiseration!
    Maria in Tucson

  51. I just found your recipes! Love them. This pot roast sounds yummy. I am lucky my DH loves to eat whatever I cook. Sometimes he asks what it is and I tell him "Experiment." Okay, he says. But I did grow up with an extremely picky brother. I learned how to grate onions on the cheese grater so he didn't see them! Fond memories. He isn't quite as picky now, eating with work buddies did that.
    Thanks for the fun.

  52. I will be trying this....never tried it with cream of mushroom soup but I bet it makes a wonderful gravy! I will had some lipton onion soup mix to it also =) Thanks Aunt Bonnie

  53. I decided to see what you had under the "Recipes" tab and just read this post. I think your husband and my husband must be related somewhere way back in their family trees! For my DH it's meat and potatoes, no fancy veggies (i.e broccoli, cauliflower, etc), no ethnic foods, don't mention rice, and "mushroom" and "pizza" are dirty words. On the flip side, I'm not a big fan of most veggies, but I love ethnic foods, pizza, Chinese fried rice, etc.

  54. Bonnie from Ohio/Cal7:29 PM EST

    My older son (40's) lives with me and is very picky also. Very similar likes and dislikes as you originally posted. Makes it difficult to cook even if it is only a few nights a week that I do it.
    Bonnie in Calif

  55. I haven't looked at your recipe page and just did - my oh my - your husband is as bad of an eater as mine- they must be related! LOL it is hard to cook when you want a lot of good stuff and he doesn't


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