Saturday, January 4, 2014

Eating Out for Picky Eaters

American Girl's guide to good manners has a section on restaurants. When they talk about ordering, they say that if you can't find anything you like on the menu, look again, see if you can find something plain. Then they say that restaurants serve only what's on the menu and a wise girl is flexible. When I read this when I was younger, my first thought was, "What if you're just not flexible?" I am a very picky eater and was even pickier when I was younger. I could have very easily end up at a restaurant where I didn't like anything on the menu, and I was not about to eat something I didn't like in order to be polite.

My mom always gave me good advice for how to order at a restaurant when you don't like anything on the menu at first glance. I'd like to share that advice with all the other picky eaters out there, so you'll know what to do when the situation arises:

1. Order whatever you like on the menu. If nothing in the entree section appeals to you, see if there's an appetizer that you like and can order as your meal. Some restaurants have a list of side orders that you can get with a meal, such as a baked potato or rice. You can always just order a side dish. The only limitation is that if someone else is treating you, like if your friend's parents are taking you out, you want to order something within the same price range or lower than everyone else. Normally an appetizer or a side dish would cost less than an entree.

2. Customize your order. If you don't like something in the meal, ask for the meal without it. If every burger on the menu is loaded with stuff you don't want, you can still order a plain burger. I rarely find anything that I will eat exactly as it is on the menu. 

3. It is not true that restaurants serve only what's on the menu. They serve only what they have. My mom always told me that I could get a grilled cheese sandwich at any restaurant that serves sandwiches, even if it's not listed on the menu. They have bread, they have cheese, and it's very simple to make. If you're at a fancy Italian restaurant where all the pasta dishes are full of things you don't want, you can always order plain spaghetti, even if it's not listed. Simpler foods cost less, so you will be well below the price range if someone else is treating.

4. If you're with a friend's family, avoid ordering things that you know you're picky about. If the soup has to be hot enough or you won't eat it, it's safer to order something else.  I only get soup at Panera, where they have a microwave I can use.

There is nothing wrong with being picky, and there are plenty of ways to handle the situation that don't involve telling someone to be flexible when they're not. 

No comments:

Post a Comment