Friday, January 31, 2014


I've seen this post all over my Facebook this morning.  I reckon she envisions herself as some kind of revolutionary but 99% of the parents I know espouse this philosophy.  It's just part of the universally accepted rule book for how to raise a child.  I do it, you do it, your parents did it, their parents did it, ad nauseam, time immemorial.  I hate to wreck this selective memory echo chamber, but I call bull.

My parents certainly espoused this philosophy.  They were in no way going to cater to my individual meal demands.  I sure did go some nights without eating supper.  I have lived in France, New Orleans, and Los Angeles and traveled to Las Vegas and New York City and have been exposed to and tried many, many different cuisines.  I have been adventurous in my cooking since reaching adulthood and am very open-minded about the things I will try.  Key word:  TRY.

Y'all, I am a super picky eater and I assure you, I will slap damn be a brat about not eating the foods I don't like.  The food I find most offensive in the world is cooked cauliflower.  I don't know what hellish otherworldly realm cauliflower goes through during the cooking process that turns it from a perfectly palatable vehicle for hummus into... whatever it becomes, but I refuse to eat it once it's cooked.  I'm not throwing it in the face of the person who cooked it, but I will not put it in my mouth - I don't care if Justin Timberlake cooked it for me.  And no, I won't like your cooked cauliflower, no matter how proud you are of it.  You can put a bunch of parmesan and garlic in a goat's ass and deep fry it and it still tastes like a goat's ass.  I also refuse to eat anything that has the texture of a tongue (ugh, sushi), I think cooked cabbage smells like farts and tastes worse, the only spicy food I will eat is crawfish, and I think you might as well put a teeny mound of hot rotting garbage on a filet mignon if you're going to put bleu cheese on it.  Disgusting.

You know whose parents did not espouse this philosophy?  Drew's.  I know this because his mother llloooovvvees to recount literally every single meal he ever turned down and what she would serve his spoiled self instead.  She cannot tell me enough about the times she'd make "spaghetti with meatballs and red sauce from scratch and muffalettas and gumbo and fried catfish but noooo, he wouldn't even try it.  He ate Chef Boyardee instead.  Oh, he LIVED on Chef Boyardee, boy boy.  I thought he'd turn into a can, Stacey!  Thought he'd turn into a CAN."  And I assure you, Drew's mother is an incredible Cajun cook.  But she spoiled him to pieces.  You know who's the least picky eater I know now?  Drew.  Once he started cooking his own food, he became a lot more adventurous and now he'll eat anything, especially his mother's food.  The only food he doesn't like is raw celery.  He even eats MY cooking, so pray for him.

There's a whole massive middle ground between "mmmyyyy children eat a new cuisine from a different country every night or they starve" and "I thought he'd turn into a CAN."  It's okay if you are on one side or the other, and it's okay if you fall in the middle.  It's where my parents fell, and I guarantee it's where most parents fall.  No, my parents didn't serve me a bowl of Cookie Crisp on a silver platter if I didn't eat what they served me, but they also weren't serving star fruit and quinoa at every other meal.  My dad was (is) a very meat-and-potatoes and restaurants kind of guy and my mom and stepdad had 4 kids to feed and were doing their best to please a crowd 6 nights a week.

I make Ace take a few bites of new things, several times, but once it's established that he absolutely hates it, I'm not going to make him eat it.  Blueberries, for example.  What food is more inoffensive than blueberries?  Why would ANYBODY not like blueberries?  Ace just doesn't.  I've given him blueberries in every presentable fashion and he simply hates them.  Am I gonna give him blueberry pancakes if that's what Drew and I want for supper?  Of course not.  He gets a grilled cheese sandwich and some baby carrots.  Now, if I'm cooking something I know he likes and he wants something else, or if I cook something new that's relatively inoffensive and he refuses it, sorry, champ, see you for breakfast.  But 99% of the time, Drew and I make stuff that the whole family likes.  Ace gets a healthy diet and doesn't fight much with most meats and fruits and veggies, so I'm not gonna fight with him over food if I don't have to.

I'm pretty sure the writer of the article is the same way, and I'm pretty sure all of you reposting that article are, too.  There's so much to fight with your kids over, why fight over food every night, or hell, even every week?  She probably just wanted to brag that her kids like goat cheese.  The children of France who ate Neufchatel for lunch laugh wholeheartedly.


mistic_mommy said...

With my oldest 2 they ate what we cooked. We cooked things they like. now they are older and if they don't want what is cooked they can make themselves something.

Now the little one (5yrs old) is another story. He is OCD and autistic. If i gave him the option of eating what I cook or not eating he would gladly not eat until he starved. If I make him try more than one bite of something he swallows without chewing and makes himself sick. Thankfully we have finally found something that isn't a hot dog that he will eat, but he still only recognizes a handful of things as food. I try to keep things on hand that I know he will eat and have things that can be thrown in the microwave. the up side to this is he has NEVER put anything in his mouth that isn't food! One of the small adjustments that has had to happen in our lives...

Stacey said...

mistic_mommy - kids with OCD or any other behavioral disorder are a whole other story. There's a whole host of sensory issues that are just not worth fighting over. I completely understand where you're coming from - I've seen it a lot!