General Etiquette > Family and Children

Traveling with picky eaters

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NyaChan:
At some point, I would have just said, "I am eating at X.  Anyone who wants to join me is welcome."  and then walked away.  I have actually had to do that before when people could not decide as a group where they wanted to eat.  This situation you described would have driven me crazy and I would have put my foot down - a huge huge part of traveling is getting to try local fare!

sweetonsno:
I think it depends a bit on what you meant by "split up." I can understand why someone might not want to eat all alone, especially in an unfamiliar environment. We're social animals.

Okay: "Well, George and John aren't too interested in eating fried grasshoppers either. How about you all go eat at that place across the way and we meet after?" If the suggestion of splitting up was framed that way, then whoever was refusing was being unreasonable.

Not so much: "We all want to go to and eat bosintang. You can go eat at MacDonald's by yourself." This comes across a bit more like an ousting, and I can see why it wouldn't go over too well.

Bottom line on traveling with people who have dietary restrictions: It's definitely snowflakey to insist that everybody eats your way, but it's unkind and inconsiderate to completely and totally disregard somebody's dietary restriction. I'm thinking about spicy food as an example. I love it, but I know others who hate it. (Some actually get blisters around their mouth if they eat it.) It would not be okay for a spice hater to insist that we go to only bland restaurants, or that nobody orders anything above one star. I also don't think it would be okay for everyone else to say, "If you want to go out with us, you have to go to Chez Incendiary" knowing that they'd only be able to eat the garnishes.

Allyson:

--- Quote from: sweetonsno on April 03, 2013, 02:13:19 AM ---
Not so much: "We all want to go to and eat bosintang. You can go eat at MacDonald's by yourself." This comes across a bit more like an ousting, and I can see why it wouldn't go over too well.


--- End quote ---

What would you suggest in this situation, where everyone but 1 person wants to try something new and local/spicy/meaty and a lone person doesn't? I think saying those people shouldn't go eat that special thing they want isn't fair either. I would be incredibly frustrated by this situation. Sometimes I feel like it ends up always ending up with the least adventurous eater getting their way. And while I wouldn't be nasty about it, nor would I be OK with going to McDonald's to keep someone company rather than eating X thing I liked.

I'd be fine with something like, they come along to the restaurant but don't eat anything, but instead eat before or after, if that works at all. Not sure if it would in all cases, though.

blarg314:

--- Quote from: sweetonsno on April 03, 2013, 02:13:19 AM ---I'm thinking about spicy food as an example. I love it, but I know others who hate it. (Some actually get blisters around their mouth if they eat it.) It would not be okay for a spice hater to insist that we go to only bland restaurants, or that nobody orders anything above one star. I also don't think it would be okay for everyone else to say, "If you want to go out with us, you have to go to Chez Incendiary" knowing that they'd only be able to eat the garnishes.

--- End quote ---

I think stuff like this depends on where you are travelling, too, and how much of an imposition your dietary restrictions put on your travel companions. If your restrictions rule out a small fraction of restaurants, then it's reasonable to expect that most of the group choices will be okay for you, and you may be on your own for a meal or two. If your restrictions rule out most of the restaurants, you shouldn't expect the others to accommodate you most of the time.

If you're travelling in Italy and you hate spicy food, you can work around it pretty easily. If you're travelling with a group in Thailand,  though, you're going to have a very hard time - a lot of the food is quite spicy, in unexpected places, like cold salads, and there's a strong language barrier (asking for a non spicy version can be really hard). If someone gets blisters eating spicy food, they're going to have difficulty eating the local food at all, unless they go to the blandest of tourist traps.


kherbert05:
Picky eater needs to stop whining and go find something they can eat. I've been in a group that all wanted to go to a certain chicken place. I will NOT eat there because the owners are horrible bigots and the food will kill me. I simply said, Sorry can't eat there I'm going to try X I'll meet you at y at time. A couple of time people joined me - other times they didn't. My issue so I just read a book.

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