I don't know if that drastic measure to immediately expand my sister's palate actually solved the problem ... but I can certainly understand why I launch various things through our kitchen window on a daily basis. I can also understand why whenever I see a box of Hostess cupcakes, I shudder.
Growing up in our house, you could always tell when mom was serving up something particularly
Up until I had children of my own, I never really thought about bribing kids to eat. I never thought it would be a bad thing to let them eat whatever it was they wanted. I also never thought about how to get various foods in to their diet. But now that I have kids, I feel somewhat responsible for insuring that they have well rounded meals throughout the day.
I have read Deceptively Delicious and have become a master at whipping up spinach smoothies. But, to date, our children's culinary repertoire does not knowingly encompass dishes that include more than one ingredient ... or involve the color red, orange, yellow or green. This tends to be frustrating when we are planning meals because we only like to prepare one thing - that everyone will eat.
Sure, they love ice cream and O'Henry bars. But they would rather eat weeds and dirt from our yard, than eat salad. Or barbecued chicken.
Between the three of them, they can put away a single 27-ounce tub of yogurt in one sitting. If they are hungry enough, they can put away two. They will eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese, and cereal. They will eat a large variety of fresh fruits - but two of the trio won't touch any vegetables ... minus home made fries ... with a 12-inch chopstick. It's interesting to me because although she won't eat much, Elizabeth will at least try a bite of everything on her plate.
Meanwhile, the other two will back away as if the food we have served them is spitting hydrofluoric acid and their bones are at risk of dissolution.
So, today we went for a hike.
Once we decided what we wanted to do, and we got the children dressed appropriately and everything packed in to the car, we realized that an hour and a half had lapsed and lunch time was less than two hours away. Because we were anxious to leave - and we hadn't packed a picnic lunch - we decided that we would swing by a sub shop and pick up a large sandwich to share.
On the way out, Charlie and I had a discussion regarding what kind of sandwich the children would most likely eat. Sure, they'd eat peanut butter and jelly. But, what kind of children are we raising here? It certainly seems that we are catering to what they will eat and in doing so, are raising children that are extremely picky.
During the course of our discussion, we concluded that if a child is an overly finicky eater, it is the fault of the parents. If a parent only gives their child what they know they will eat, then the child will never be pushed to expand their tastes. And if there is one thing that we definitely don't want ... it's a finicky eater.
Finicky eaters drive me nuts.
People that will declare "Oh, I don't eat that." Or kids that sneer at food before exclaiming "YUCK!" Personally, I think it's rude and a poor reflection on the parent's ability to expand their child's tastes - or teach them to at least try different things.
Today, we were steadfast that we were going to nip this finickiness in the bud. We would not have picky eaters, so we bought a grilled chicken sub to share. Charlie had them put everything on it including pepperocinis, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce. It was delicious and we were adamant that the kids would EAT it and they would ENJOY it and that would be THAT. We even bought a small bag of potato chips to
Instead, the kids went on a food strike and for the next three hours, they didn't eat anything.
Not even a single potato chip.
But because I feel guilty about starving our children in the name of variety, when we arrived home, they ate yogurt, apples and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
And now, I'm ready to throw myself out the kitchen window.