Ever wanted your Significant Other to try a food so badly you were willing to trick them into eating it? I did that once, and one time only, to Mr. E several years ago. In exchange, it’s the story that comes up every time we meet someone new. Once it comes out that I’m a Registered Dietitian, they immediately ask my husband if he has to eat healthy all the time. And he launches into the story of The Cauliflower Incident.
My husband loves mashed potatoes, but they’re just too time consuming and sometimes make too much of a mess for a weeknight meal. Typically we have a whole grain such a quinoa, farro, or sometimes brown rice as a side dish with most meals. They’re quick, easy, and only involve one pot.
A few years ago, I had been wanting to try mashed cauliflower. So one day I got home from school early enough that I could prep and try out a recipe. And once they were mashed up they looked just like mashed potatoes.
I truly had intended to tell Mr. E it was cauliflower. But once he got home and saw what I had made, he thought they were mashed potatoes, so I decided to let him roll with that. I figured I’d see if he could tell it was cauliflower and not potato. And when we sat down to eat and he took his first bite of “mashed potatoes”, my husband knew immediately something was off. And he wasn’t just disappointed that there were no mashed potatoes on his plate. He was furious with me for letting him believe he was having mashed potatoes. So much so he refused to take another bite, and refused to have any as leftovers.
My learning coming out of that experience is that my husband does not deserve to be treated like a child. Like on Christmas Eve when we tell the kids in my family the fried shrimp or calamari is “chicken” so they’ll try it. He’s a grown man and deserves more honesty with his food.
I still try new foods in our house. But since that day I’m more upfront about it. If I replace an ingredient or serve a foreign veggie at dinner, I always tell my husband what it is ahead of time to set his expectations. Some have been a pleasant surprise (such as the Meatless Meatballs), while others were a one-time experimentation (“It’s not you, it’s me, Vegan Eggplant Parm”). But I’ve never used anymore tricks or deceit when it comes to food.
So if you’re looking to expand your palate and try some new foods in your house, here’s how you can go about doing so without tricking each other:
- Be honest about what the food is!
- If it’s a food you’ve had before but not your significant other, tell them why you like and what they might like about it.
- If neither of you have tried the food before, be brave and try it together, then compare notes. Decide if it’s worth having again or trying as a different recipe.
- Prepare it in a way that you know the other person will like.
The great thing about trying new fruits and veggies is that they are relatively low commitment foods and inexpensive if you only buy what you need. They won’t sit around your house forever if you decide you don’t like one.
Although mashed cauliflower STILL hasn’t returned to my house, not all cauliflower has been banned. I tried the whole roasted cauliflower recipe (outside= spicy, inside=dry). I even made a cauliflower pizza crust a few weeks ago (it got an “OK” from the Mr). So far I’ve had the greatest success with this Parmesan-Roasted Cauliflower recipe– it’s the version of cauliflower that is most invited back to our house since The Incident.
Did you ever try a new food that backfired? Share your story in the Comments below!
Images courtesy of Stuart Miles, SOMMAI, and Suat Eman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net