Bud and Pepper sharing a pan of grain

Apparently as a boy, my husband had certain food he didn’t like to eat. He would hide it under the skin of his baked potato, rather than try to choke it down. Fatty meat and gristle were two of the big offenders. (Seriously who would want to eat them?)

He also was suspicious of any food that came covered in sauce. Still worried about finding something “icky” I think.

Before I go any further, I have to say that his mother is a great cook.

I don’t think she ever set out to deliberately serve fat or gristle or any other icky food to her family.

What I suspect happened is that one time he bit into something he didn’t like, and from that time forward was on high alert.

To this day he is, shall we say, a cautious eater.

Miss Pepper is also cautious.

She is ever on the alert about what we feed her.

She has no baked potato skin, so her trick is something I call “fake eating.” She can put her nose into a pan of grain and by all accounts, she is eating.

But not really.

At least not taking in any decent amount of food.

Oh, her lips move as if she’s taking bites of grain, and I can see her chewing.

But the pile of grain in her pan seems to remain constant.

I don’t know how she does it, other than taking miniscule bites – only one or two grains at a time.

Eventually she will get through some portion of her grain, though lately never all of it.

She has also taken to thinking that Bud must have the tastier feed.

She will do her fake eating thing for a few minutes, and then when I’m not looking, she’ll slide her nose into his feed pan. To his great credit, Bud just scoots over. He wouldn’t do this with any other horse, but he allows Pepper to share his food.

I have to step between them and send her back to her own pan of grain. “Oh all right,” she seems to say with a liberal dose of mare attitude.

Lately we’ve played this little game several times during a feeding.

Honestly, Pepper gets a little sparkle in her eye that I like seeing.

I’ve always enjoyed her sense of humor.

And if I weren’t so concerned about her keeping weight on, I’d find her food games more fun than anything else.


But I’ve been thinking about this:

As a cook do you take it personally when/if the people (or animals) you’re serving don’t like what you’ve put before them? Does it get tied to your self-esteem? I ask because sometimes for me there are times when I think it sneaks up on me. It has to do with nurturing and rejection. It’s complicated stuff that I’m still sorting out.

What about you?