Let me try to explain. I have certain food items that I really dislike. I am not allergic to them, but their taste I just can not bear at all. They include some foods that people tend to have in too many meals, and the best example is onions (in any way, green onions, leek, cooked onions, etc.). Overall I am not a very picky eater, but even a tiny bit of onion will spoil any dish for me. I know I am not alone in this, I have several friends also totally disliking onions, but in general people like them, obviously.

So whenever I am at a restaurant and I have to mention food should be cooked without onions, they sometimes forget it, then I remind them I asked, and the waiter either says something like: "But it compliments the dish!" or "But there's not much of it!", or they pick the most obvious pieces out, but it remains there.

Whenever I am with friends or I meet new people in a friendly gathering and someone cooks for everyone, every time I am being mocked - in a friendly way, but - about it. I have, unfortunately, zero sense of humor, even though I try to cultivate it and am a good-natured person, so I can never think of a witty or a proper answer.

Whenever I am visiting my granny, she loves to cook for me (as grannies are) and at every single meal there will be a talk how I should try onions and how food is not eatable without them and so on and so forth.

I know this is my own problem, but I get really frustrated from all these comments and situations. I know I can not change everyone around me. I can definitely not change granny or any new people I meet, and I can not force my friends not to joke about it since it's their way of expressing friendliness towards me, light jokes. But it seriously angers me and makes me feel like an idiot. I can not control my food dislike, that's a given.

Any advice of how I can behave in such situations? Maybe how to answer properly to stop the conversations at the very start, not being too rude, but effective? I hope I have made it clear enough.

  • 1
    I agree with @AnneDaunted. An Interpersonal Skills question on this topic might look more like "How do I present my likes and dislikes in a way that don't bother people" or "how do I discourage my granny from commenting on my food dislikes" or something. Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 18:26
  • Other alternative: "How can I respond to people who hassle me for my food preferences?" But please pick what best represents what you're looking for.
    – Jess K.
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 21:57
  • Thank you. I am new to this site, and do apologize if my post looks like an off-topic. I did not find a better part of StackExchange to post this to, and I was trying to formulate my problem in the best way. I have edited the last paragraph of my post, does it fit now? Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 10:39
  • A statement for people who say "oh, you just haven't tried the right recipe/variety/etc." is "I've been to an excellent/expensive restaurant and they prepared this wonderful dish that everyone else raved about. I tried it and I still couldn't stand (ingredient). I use this for avocados. Blergh.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 19:15
  • @mkennedy Oh, that definitely doesn't work, unfortunately=) People are never satisfied with any other dish, they want me to try this particular one=) Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 22:28

2 Answers 2


When it comes to strangers, or servers at restaurants (people you are never going to meet again), I would stick to telling them it's an allergy (or better, express that you'll have a 'bad reaction' to consuming them) if they ask. There's no reason for them to care whether it's a preference or an allergy, they should take your food preparation request seriously regardless. This way when the food preparation does go amiss (onions in your food), you can tell them that you can't eat it (which is true, because for you the dish tastes awful and is ruined), without being grilled for your preferences.

Example encounter:

You order your food with no onion

You receive your food WITH onion

You: "Excuse me, I can't eat this, could I please get a new dish without onion?"

Waiter: "Why not? There's not that many, you can pick them out."

At this point, the waiter is putting you on the spot and being argumentative of your own personal preferences.

You: "I'm unable to digest onion/I have an allergic reaction to eating onion/I'm intolerant to onion."

If the waiter presses any further, tell them it's not their business (this is a polite thing to do at this point, honestly)

The above is something a friend of mine with gastroparesis (which eliminates a wide variety of foods from a diet) frequently did at restaurants. She found that it ended up being more tiresome to explain why she was making a request to someone than to just tell them she was allergic. Your experience at a venue is your business alone, and telling a white lie to ensure you continue to enjoy your experience without arguing with a server is acceptable.

However, the people in your life who know that you simply don't like onions are a harder subject to address. It might be best to find a short sentence you can respond with whenever it comes up. I was giving my friend who dislikes eggs a hard time once, to which he replied:

Never going to eat them - they taste like feet.

I certainly don't agree that eggs taste like feet, but I could agree that if something reminded me of feet while I was eating it, I'd stop eating it too!

Just find a short, somewhat comical (tastes like feet/butts/etc.), statement that you can say quickly and passively to move the conversation along. I'd aim for something universally unappetizing, so that the interest to continue talking about food is lessened.

This also has the effect to make people think "WOW, I am not going to bring up onions around Alice anymore because every time I do, she talks about feet!"

  • 7
    never lie about an allergy. people use that far too often and it cheapens the concept for those with REAL allergies. if you tell your Dr. that you have a latex allergy they need to do a HUGE procedure to ensure you aren't exposed to a potentially fatal situation. with food "allergies", you are pegged as a liar if you say you're allergic and then wind up eating what you're "allergic" to. if your food has onions, be firm, send it back, and involve the manager if the response isn't serious. Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 17:36
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    @baldPrussian I would obviously never lie to a doctor, but why would it matter to a waiter apart from making his life a bit harder that he needs to cook a clean dish for me? I am at a restaurant and I want that clean dish, and why would it matter what the reasons are. Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 17:38
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    @Arandomlady I'm inclined to agree with baldPrussian. Just be honest. I have celiac and because gluten-free is a fad diet now, it dilutes the seriousness of the issue. I get questioned "is that just a preference?" which is annoying because now I have to justify and explain yet again, but worst is when they think it's fine to just pick out the croutons from the salad / prep my food on the same surface as bread / etc because all their other "gluten free" customers didn't complain about it.
    – Em C
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 18:00
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    Instead of "allergy" you might try "I am very sensitive to them and have a very bad reaction to them. I just cannot eat them." That is not technically a lie, the bad reaction is "disgust" and perhaps "nausea" and "I hate them". True, your server may think you are talking about some physical reaction (like a rash or seizure) instead of an emotional reaction, but let your server interpret it as they will, you didn't lie.
    – Amadeus
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 18:49
  • 2
    @baldPrussian Gluten allergies are a tricky subset of this; because along with a legitimate allergy, it also became a fad diet. I don't see the real harm in telling a restaurant you are allergic to onions when you aren't; because either way, OP wants to be treated as if they are. As far as the restaurant is concerned, it shouldn't change anything.
    – JMac
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 19:56

I have certain food items that I really dislike.

Same for me when it comes to carrots or mint-flavoured chocolates.

Tasted them once, and threw up.


When people ask me (or mock me), I simply state it:

Tasted them once, and threw up. Aaaaaaand I'm not enthusiast about throwing up here in front of you. I suppose you too are not enthusiast about that, are you? [smile, maybe wink also]

It literally grosses them away, and makes them change subject on the spot.

What I told you so far applies to friends or anyway close people.

When it comes to service people (e.g. waiters), you can put it in a "less gross" way:

I have stomach disturbs with [food you hate], so please please please, really make sure no trace of it is in the dish. Thank you [smile]

If they want you to come back eating at them... all the more reason to comply with you.

  • Thank you! That is really not my style of communication and not really true, but I will think about how I can alter this suggestion to fit me. Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 17:39

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