She's 'selective' with food; he's careless with comment

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Husband-and-wife journalists Bob Miller and Callie Clark Miller use this space to offer their views on everyday issues. This column first appeared Aug. 28, 2005, in the Southeast Missourian.


I once dropped a small piece of grilled steak on the ground outside. I picked it up and ate it. But only after wiping off the grass.

I'll drink soda that's been flat for a week. Expiration dates? How silly are those?

You can put anything in front of me, and I'll eat it. I may not like it, but you'll rarely hear a complaint out of me. If I'm eating, I'm happy, which is a big reason why I'm in the market for a treadmill.

Callie is not that way. For a cute and talented woman of her small size, she can put the food away. But only specific foods. Her burgers must have two slices of cheese, not one. They must come with absolutely no condiments. Callie likes only one condiment: ranch dressing.

She likes Sprite, but only certain Sprite. Apparently not all fountain Sprite is the same. So she usually orders water. But no lemon.

She was on a club sandwich kick for a while. Two slices of cheese. Turkey and bacon only. No lettuce. No mayo. No pickle.

When she orders a plate dinner, she's all about side-order segregation. Heaven forbid her roast beef touches her mashed potatoes.

When she orders ice cream, no whipped cream, no cherry.

Her chicken noodle soup must be cooked on the stove, not in the microwave. When she uses tap water to take medicine, she wants water from the bathroom sink instead of the kitchen sink.

Barbecue? Doesn't like it. Chinese food? Hates it.

Her pickiness doesn't bother me like it used to. Our time together is limited these days by our work schedules. Our meal time is used to catch up (insert condiment joke here).

I've either become immune to the odd requests or I just enjoy the time that we're together.

Besides, if she doesn't like the food that's put in front of her, it's not so bad. It just means I get to eat more.


To the person who first discovered the joy of serving sour cream on a bed of shredded lettuce: I hate you.

Most people who have dined out with me will conclude after a single meal that I am a picky eater. I prefer the term "highly selective."

All my life I've heard, "It all goes to the same place anyway."

And all my life, I've replied, "Yes, but it doesn't all taste the same going down."

Who really enjoys having their fried apples, chicken dumplings and macaroni and cheese all run together on one plate?

Yet if I don't remember to specifically ask for each in separate bowls, I end up with a healthy helping of app-chick-mac-cheese goulash.

My husband once made the mistake of telling a waiter "It's OK. She's picky" after I questioned the strange peachy color of the Alfredo sauce I'd just been served.

To Bob's credit, he recognized fairly quickly that he'd made a grave error, and it hasn't happened since. And I've been more careful about where I order fettuccine Alfredo from as well.

I'll admit I go through a pretty extensive list when I order. You never know what restaurants will try to slip in or on your food, so it's not enough to say exactly what I want. I also have to list what I do not want.

Trust me, I've ended up with shredded lettuce in my sour cream enough to know it's the safest way to order.

Meanwhile, Bob is shrinking down on the other side of the booth behind his menu, clearly embarrassed. Either that or he's rolling his eyes.

I tell him, "You should be flattered to have such a highly selective wife. After all, I chose you."

Callie Clark Miller is now the special publications managing editor for the Southeast Missourian. Bob Miller is Southeast Missourian managing editor and out of commission this week due to a kidney stone. Reach them at and

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