Have you ever wanted to smack a reporter upside the head? Some people feel that way when said reporter asks "gotcha" questions of their favorite presidential candidate. But for me it's Anderson Cooper and his freakish fussy food ways.
On his new show Anderson he has staged an intervention on himself, the ultimate picky eater. How picky? He eats the same exact lunch every single day. He won't eat vegetables. He picks the green things out of his food. He thinks drizzling honey over peanut butter is "weird." He "doesn't get the point" of couscous when there's already rice. Texture scares him.
And when he goes out noshing with pal Jerry Seinfeld, he confesses something truly shocking: He has never even eaten a waffle.
When Jerry takes Anderson out to a Belgian waffle cart, Anderson can't understand the point when there are already pancakes.
"Why aren't pancakes enough?" he wonders.
"Because waffles are CRISPY!" Jerry responds, exasperated.
"Why do you need crispy?" Anderson asks.
Oh good Lord, someone please explain to me how this man ever became a journalist? Aren't they supposed to be curious about everything? What could be more important to human life than food? And yet Anderson is astoundingly incurious about food.
Why do we need couscous when we have rice, he wonders. How about the fact that they come from different plants, for starters! And that rice is central to Asian culture while couscous is a staple of North African cuisine. So maybe there's a whole history and culture behind these two grainy side dishes you're pushing around with your fork, Anderson. Did you ever consider that, world-traveled correspondent?
"I like plain things. I don't like a bunch of fancy mix-ins and stuff," he says. Sure, a lot of people prefer simple food, but Anderson takes the concept to a whole new level. He eats the same exact turkey, corn, and cornbread lunch from Boston Market every single day. He will not try the pot pie. He will not venture to the mashed potatoes. He will not try green eggs and ham. He will not try them, Sam-I-Am.
"I am like a 7-year-old when it comes to eating," Cooper admits. Well, Anderson, I live with a 7-year-old, and you are beyond that kind of picky, though you and my son do both make the same faces and gagging noises when you eat cooked spinach.
When a nutritional therapist tells Anderson he is a "selected disordered eater," it reminds me of a pale, skinny young man I once knew. When we had him over for dinner he requested a serving of pasta without sauce because, as he put it, "I don't like ... flavors." Is there any hope for these people?
I certainly hope so. Anderson staged his food intervention in the same episode where he launched his 5-Day Family Dinner Challenge, in which he sat down with a family for dinner for five days in a row. I don't know who his family will be in this case -- maybe his television crew? Maybe audience members' families? I can tell you one thing, though, Mr. Cooper. If you have dinner at our house we have a rule: Everyone has to at least try everything. Tonight, we're having couscous with spinach and lots of little green things mixed into each dish. For dessert, there will be waffles drizzled with peanut butter and honey. Bring your appetite!
Do picky eaters annoy you, or are you one of them?
Image via AndersonCooper.com