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Home » Culture and Criticism

Suffering Succotash: Live Chat

Submitted by on July 26, 2012 – 12:01 PM15 Comments

Quiz Suffering Succotash author Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic about raisins, tomatoes, and pudding skin TONIGHT! Live chat 8:30 PM ET, Thursday July 26!

The chat window should appear below; it will update to "live" at 8:30 PM ET on Thursday. You should be able to participate and/or watch without having to create an account, but CoverItLive has changed their set-up somewhat since the last time we had a live chat. The functionality is usually self-explanatory.

If it's not, or you're having issues, you can email me at bunting at tomatonation dot com. (You can also send questions if you can't attend or might miss the beginning.)

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  • adam807 says:

    Thanks, guys, that was fascinating and fun! Hope I didn't talk too much. The book has really made me think lots of thoughts about food and my relationship to it. It was nice to be able to share!

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @adam did a better job keeping us on topic than I did, but I hope everyone enjoyed it regardless. If you missed the chat, you can "watch" it back right here. Also, Keckler should be around/nearby answering questions, so feel free to discuss or continue a thought in this thread.

    Thanks everyone for a fun convo! Not least my co-snacketeer, of whom I'm veddy proud.

  • Keckler says:

    @adam: I loved everything you asked and I love that the book made you think! That's an awesome review, right there!

  • Keckler says:

    Aw, thanks Bunting. That's some ego gold, right there.

  • Mike says:

    I missed the chat, but haven't read the book yet so I couldn't offer much, but I see you talking about SPD in the replay. My daughter was diagnosed with that a few years ago and it did explain a lot of her weirdness, and plain pain-in-the-ass-ness, with clothes and getting her ready for school. If SPD is in the book it makes it even more interesting to me. Certain textures drive me crazy in foods. That's why I can't eat oatmeal. (I have some weirdness too, obviously.)

    So, now I really have to read the book!

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    I missed the chat since I had to be at work taking pizza order for those exact hours (ARrrggh! Picky Pizza People! I don't care if you don't like mushrooms, you don't have to tell me why! I don't care! I quit listening five minutes ago! JUST SAY NO MUSHROOMS!)

    Anyway, Keckler, I really enjoyed the book, having had quite the rep as a picky eater, both as a child and now (ironically, I love succotash! My husband's with the snausages? Yummmmmm.)

    My biggest hates:

    SEAFOOD. All seafood. It is vile and repugnant, and God clearly filled the oceans with it to mock us. The smell, the taste, just no.

    And lobster especially, because it is a giant, underwater BUG. If that thing lived on land and I caught it, killed it, boiled it, put it on a plate in front of you and said "pay me fifty dollars to eat this" you would punch me in the face.

    RAW TOMATOES. I love tomato sauces, but raw tomato was ruined for me when I was around four, when I ran into my dad in the kitchen eating a raw tomato. He offered me a slice and I happily took it.
    Keep in mind, I had had pizza, spaghetti, etc. many times and loved them so I was expecting something spicy, like a sauce. Wrong. I have never again run across something so startlingly the polar opposite of how I expected it to taste. Ruined forever.

    This may be a texture issue: Keckler, have you run into it? FOODS COLD THAT SHOULD BE HOT.

    If something is "supposed" to be hot: soups, pasta, etc. I cannot eat it cold. It is just wrong. Borscht, pasta salad, etc. They are what are served in Bizzaro World on Opposite Day.

  • Jaybird says:

    Jen, I have the opposite problem w/hot vs. cold: My mom loves to serve things like potato salad, pasta salad, egg salad (sensing a trend here) warm. Freshly-made, mind you, not stomach-pump dangerous, but GAAHHH. Cold. It should be COLD, all of it. I don't want it if it somehow feels…I don't know, newborn or something. Feh.

    And figs. Figs are wrong. They may be somehow classical or romantic or Grecian or whatnot, but I suspect it's mostly whatnot, because I cannot look at a fig without thinking, "Oh, look. An ittybitty uterus." Fleh.

    Okra is the veggie the devil made. It is hairy and slimy and prickly; it's like fellating a hedgehog*. No thank you.

    *No, I do NOT know what that's like, but I strongly suspect it's a lot like eating okra.

  • Keckler says:

    Okay, I have NEVER thought of figs that way (I will NOW!), however, I just can't stand them for their thick skin and interior that would inspire Georgia O'Keefe to paint…something.

    Okra: Jaybird, if I made it for you, sliced and sauteed with salt, I think I could change your mind. Seriously. The slime goes away as does the hairy/prickly exterior.

    Jen: I'm glad you enjoyed the book! I have definitely encountered people with temperature issues, but it's more that they prefer their food to be tepid rather than too cold or too hot for them. In addition to a recovering picky eater/current food lover I profiled in the book, I think Anderson Cooper is someone who doesn't like hot beverages. I think what you're saying makes sense, though, too. Just as some people can't get their heads around sweet things paired with savory meats (someone in the chat brought that up and my friend Jen has the same issue) because it just seems wrong to them, so too, I get your "cold foods that should be hot" aversion.

    Finally, your lobsters=bugs issue is the exact reason my little sister avoids all crustaceans.

    Mike: I hope what I talk about in the "Are You a Hypomomdriac" chapter helps you deal with the frustrations of SPD. I know it's not something that is fully understood yet and that makes it hell on parents.

    Also: I hate the texture of oatmeal, cream of wheat, Malt-o-Meal, etc.

  • Jane says:

    Dang it, I missed the chat and I bought the damn book just so I could participate, but anyway. I wanted to talk more about the psychological aspects of picky eating, e.g. I actually had trouble getting into the book because, and don't take this the wrong way, Keckler (why are we calling you Keckler? I'm clearly out of the loop) I was too busy being mad at you and wanting to put you in time out. This is purely the fault of my son who wouldn't eat ANYTHING for years and vexed me something awful. It still makes me see red when he PEELS THE BREADING OFF CHICKEN TENDERS WHY DID YOU ORDER THEM IF YOU DON'T LIKE BREADING? So there was some transference going on. You seem like a really nice person, Keckler. Sorry I put you in time out.

    My husband feels the same way about me and cilantro because I insist it ruins the whole dish (which it does)(no, it DOES) and he doesn't get it because he thinks it tastes citrus-y and delicious and if I'd just try it, blah blah blah. I can also pick out artificial sweetener in any food and will refuse to eat/drink it and he thinks I'm just being annoying and conspiracy-theorist-y. I'm not. Artificial sweetener tastes like death.

    And finally, I would totally have guessed the biggest picky item would be tomatoes. Everyone hates them and I do not understand why. They are nature's most perfect food.

  • Keckler says:

    @Jane: no worries. I have a feeling a lot of parents will want to put me in a time-out when the best advice I can give is: RELAX THEY WILL BE FINE! I'd want to put myself in a time out for that one had I not seen what actually forced chilling out did for my son. (Seriously, though: I barely ate any vegetables, no grains, and no fish until I was 27 and I don't have rickets or anything!)

    Kids are frustrating. They love something one day, hate it the next. It's pretty hard not to be exhausted by that. Then, throw cats into the mix (YOU TOLD ME YOU LIKED THE TUNA FLAVORED WET FOOD YESTERDAY WHY IS IT UNEATEN AND CRUSTY IN YOUR BOWL NOW?) and you have my life. Age 3-6: kids gonna be picky. If it lasts after 6, that's still pretty normal. They do find their way. Until then: multivitamins and a recording of your pediatrician telling you that your kid's growth and development is fine.

    Cilantro: tell your husband that he's right and so are you. I feel that way about cilantro, peppers, and lemongrass. I'm not sure if you were able to finally get into the book (no judgment here!), but I do talk about how one flavor takes over an entire dish when I introduce chefs to picky eaters in The Picky Eater Eats Out chapter.

  • adam807 says:

    See, as strong as my own dislikes are, I don't understand blanket statements like "I hate all seafood." There are so many tastes, smells and textures within that. Shrimp and salmon are as different (to me anyway) as beef and chicken. See also "I hate all vegetables" (which baffles me even more than seafood, since so many vegetables are SO different from each other) or dismissing the food of an entire country when eating out.

    I suppose it's a good illustration of how many of our food dislikes (or what we find comforting) is psychological and illogical.

  • Jaybird says:

    I will choose to believe in your okra-charming abilities, Keckler, as I believe in ghosts: It might seem impossible, but that doesn't mean it is. Heh.

  • Keckler says:

    @Jaybird: standing offer to convert you to the okra side.

    @Adam: I think that the blanket dislike is just easier than trying to pick your way among the things you already know you dislike. Sort of, why bother?

    I get the seafood thing more than others, because of the general fish stench. Maybe any given fish doesn't have the stench, but the association of all things of the sea lying dead and smelling up a beach on a hot day is a powerful one and easy to associate with all seafood.

    Same goes for dismissing an entire country of food. If you think all Indian food tastes of curry and you don't like curry, you won't chance it.

  • Sandman says:

    Haven't had a chance to read the book yet, but I want to now, more than ever. The chat looked really fun.

    Thinking back, I had a lot of strong dislikes as a kid, and a lot of them were connected to textures. I've changed my mind on a lot, but still don't really see the point of mushrooms (at least the white, pasty kind, anyway) or Brussels sprouts. Or fried eggs. (Yikes.) And, I'm sorry, okra is the work of the Devil – rubber zombie fingers stuffed with boogers!

    Funny – I used to like figs. Thanks, Jaybird ol' pal.

    And Keckler, if I haven't mentioned it since the brocktail cacket last (hic) year, I agree that Pimm's has a flavour reminiscent of curry – quite seriously, I think fenugreek seed (and possibly coriander seed?) must be one of the botanicals in Pimm's. I really liked your recipe for Pimm's Cup when I tried it late last summer (toldja I would).

  • Kristin says:

    Late to the party; sorry I missed the chat, but I LOVED the book and have already passed on to my picky eater sister to digest (sorry, I couldn't help that). As a non-picky eater I found the whole concept completely fascinating, and it was a total plus that I got some really good laughs as well. Thanks!

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