The term *Picky Eater* gets tossed around a bit. I hear it frequently–often directed at me, typically for being critical of a dish or establishment. Let’s do a little refresher-course:
A person who doesn’t like stupid waiters, bad wine-lists, crying babies, TV’s everywhere, tourist food, wet tables, uninspired presentations, confused service, freezing dining rooms and blistering patios, dogs, dirty restrooms, poorly-dressed hosts, missing or inaccurate menus and just general sloppiness is NOT a “picky eater”. It is simply a person with dining standards. Higher than yours.
A person who doesn’t like Waldorf Salad or Tuna Casserole or burritos or fruitcake or Reuben sandwiches or tapenade or maple syrup or cheeseburgers or pineapple pizza or Eggs Benedict or Heavenly Rice or steak au poivre or Reese’s Pieces is NOT a “picky eater”. It is a person who simply doesn’t like certain combinations. Or bullshit dishes.
A person who calls out over-dressed salads, un-ripe, over-ripe, stale or wilted produce, cheap cuts of meat, bad seasoning, over- or under-cooking, deconstruction, questionable combinations, over-pricing, runny sauces, odd consistencies, weird preparations, overt salt, un-gauged prep, squeeze-bottle addiction or flavorless food is NOT a “picky eater”. This is also not “just another angry Yelper”. This is simply a person who knows how stuff is supposed to look and taste. And probably how to cook. Not just make stuff–actually COOK.
A “picky eater” is someone who does not like or can not handle single, base, inidvidual ingredients, or requires special care and consideration with preparations. Doesn’t like tomatoes, onions, peaches, fish, broccoli. In other words: your 8-year-old. Can’t have cheese or salt or garlic or cilantro or legumes. Is vegan, GF, LI, has IBS or allergies. In other words: your 38-year-old. THIS is a *picky eater*. Throw in a service dog, insatiable ice-water thirst and a 10% tip and you also have the world’s most perfect Yelper.
A restaurant critic is not a picky eater.
It’s very simple.
Try to keep it straight.