feed the tree

now that i’ve firmly entrenched myself as a mean and instransigent mom, i may as well go all the way with it. in short: what the hell is up with picky eaters? specifically: whatever happened to people being guests and not giving a giant list of what they eat versus what they don’t eat?

let me backtrack here for a sec. BC can be miss picky-picky when it comes to food. in short, the list of foods she likes is a lot shorter than the list of food that she does like. she can be a royal pain the patoot come dinnertime when she refuses what’s on her plate. and there was a time when i lived out my dream as a short-order cook, making one meal for us and another for our lady of macaroni and cheese. but once child #2 came along, all bets were off. i had no time, no inclination, and no interest in making a third meal (considering the baby needed his own substances, something which i obviously couldn’t begrudge him, considering he was a baby and all.)

so the new rule went into effect. i try to make at least one part of the meal that i know missus will eat. the rest, though, might be something she likes, and then again, it might be something she loathes. if she doesn’t like it, well, to borrow from john belushi — she goes hungry. tuesday night is kid night, aka chicken nugget and macaroni and cheese night. but otherwise, it’s chef’s choice. and, 6 out of 7 nights (at least) je suis le chef.

ego crustulum , proinde ego sum. (i cook, therefore i am.)

(have i mentioned before that i’m a terrible cook?)

well, i get an A for effort in terms of trying to introduce my kids to different foods, foods that usually involve veggies, chicken or vegetarian protein sources, and fruit. and G-d bless jools — when BC isn’t around, he usually is quite complimentary… like last night, when i cooked a mild tandoori chicken. M I L D. like i actually sought out the recipe based on reviews that said things like lacks spice and real tandoori fans should look elsewhere. jools and BS liked it. and i made jasmine rice and peas to go with it, knowing BC would at least eat those things.

and she hated the chicken.

BUT, i digress. per usual.

i am trying desperately to train her so that when she is a guest at other people’s homes, she tries her best. she doesn’t get rude. she’ll note that she can’t eat pork or meat with cheese, but beyond that, she gives it a try. if she doesn’t like the food, she should just leave it and deal with the consequences of being hungry until she comes home and can fix herself a peanut butter sandwich or eat a cheesestick. (and hey, if she’s a guest at anyone’s house and she is a PITA about the food, i want to know about it so that madame and i can have a friendly little chat about being a guest.)

so i continuously get amazed when young playdates visit and tell me what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in my pantry. i always ask about food allergies, of course, as i don’t want anyone getting sick. i am willing to give whatever i have. but i have what i have. i still remember when i was a teen and a friend of mine from out of town stayed over my house. (a BOY. not my BOYfriend. actually, i think he was my aforementioned friend wah’s boyfriend at the time. but i digress. again.) i still remember him walking up to my mom and asking her whether she had a certain brand of frozen pizza. the look of shock burnt onto my mom’s face was priceless.

i think we were so shocked simply because everyone else who visited was so polite about food. as i was, of course. i knew that if my mom heard that i was being rude to my host, we, too, would have a friendly chat. so it’s a shock to me when people of a certain age tell me that my food is unacceptable. like i can do anything about it at that time? one word, one word i share with a sympathetic smile.

sorry.

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6 Responses to “feed the tree”

  1. oh my. we have yet to experience that as the UN is too young to have playdates that extend to dinnertime, but i’m sure he’ll embarrass me at least once. what to do, though? we’re all ingrained with the dread fear of “failure to thrive” so even if a kid is picky it’s hard to let them go hungry. but i guess once they get older, they’ll live if they miss one meal.

  2. You come to my house — or you live in my house — you eat what I cook or you go hungry. I happen to be a damn good cook, and most of what I make is really cook. Sometimes new recipes just bomb, and I’ll admit it, but everyone has to be gracious and eat some of it. That’s a lesson they learned from DH. My kids can be picky from time to time. Every dinner I cook has a protein, a starch and vegetables. Eat them or starve.

  3. Oh, and another thing, when a child walks into my house and criticizes what I’m serving or turns his nose up, I let him have it: “Does your mother cook from scratch 1-2 meals every day? No? Well, I do and my food is good. We don’t eat pre-packaged food in this house. This is what I’m serving, and unless you’re allergic to it, sit down and eat.” My personal pet peeve in this same thread is people who don’t sit down to eat, and/or who display disgusting manners. Yuck.

  4. damn, girl. i’m coming to your house next time we’re in FL. (which will be probably later this year, though i’m not sure we’ll be in your neck of the woods 😦

  5. Oh, I hear you. Your resolve in only having one night of kid food is inspiring. We haven’t quite gone to the “goes hungry” yet, although it’s been threatened. Pretty much every night over here, there is an adult meal and a kid meal, unfortunately. They do eat pretty easy stuff to fix though: tonight was plain noodles (fortified whole wheat), almonds, canteloupe and grapes.

    Kelly’s mentioned many a time that it’s just cruel fate that the kids don’t appreciate AJS’s cooking.

  6. We try so hard to do the eat what we make or go hungry, but it is so hard to deal with at times. My middle child eats almost nothing, so when we make a meat meal, he almost always eats chicken nuggets and when dairy, some sore of home made pizza (bagel or french bread). Luckily, my eldest has begun to actually EAT food! He recently started eating fish on fish nights and most anything else. It seems the one night they all eat what I make (and I am the chef in the house) is when my wife is at a dinner meeting and I make stake (she does not like red meat). All my kids eat steak (and this major carnivore thanks God for that).

    But on your topic here, we have been lucky in that none of our kids playdates have ever had any problem with our food choices. But perhaps that is because they are most usually children of our friends and we know them all very well.

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