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January 19, 2011



Good for you. I just tend to relent whenever there are tears. Not a very good parenting strategy, I know...


Great post! Glad to have discovered your blog. I love Pinta's comment that she knows she'll like it eventually. Learning to like new foods is a process - for some the process is longer than others. Just by exposing your kids to new things without pressuring them to eat them is moving the process along. There are many steps to exposure before a child will actually put something in his or her mouth, swallow it, and like it. Watching others eat it, smelling it, moving it around on her plate - those all count as exposure too! Good luck!


I can very much relate to this. It's great your daughter has the insight to realize that she'll like it someday. That's what I always try to say when my kids don't like what I serve: "Well, maybe next time."

Plain rice and lentils are indeed not very good, but if you've made an Indian variety and cooked them to the point of being mushy, it doesn't take much to make them tasty. Mix rice and lentils with salt and ghee. Lots of ghee. Delicious!

Alex at a moderate life

Oh yes, the bane of the foodie parent is the "reject" from the audience! I feel your pain! I have a teen who is a foodie and a younger teen who due to health issues as a young child, skipped the "getting used to fruits and vegetables" phase and is notorious for rejecting my offerings! I do my best to contain my hurt and she knows from years of discussion that she will have to try at least one bite before moving on to the fridge to fix herself something else. See, my kids are older and they know the deal. If they don't want what has been cooked, they have to make their own dinner. Looking forward to reading more of you. I am now following your tweets. I see you like Mark Bittman, who is my hero. Please stop by A Moderate Life and say hi! All the best. Alex


Very funny article. I was wondering where you got the wild boar from -- D'Artagnan of course! Actually, my kids have managed to get the wild boar down...when they were in Italy and it was "hidden" in a ragu. We kept telling them it was "meat sauce."


I think if you apply the same "it takes a few tries" theory we often use with vegetables to all meals, then it buffers the disappointment of kids not liking something new out of the gate. Pinta, is absolutely right in saying she just needs to get used to it. New flavors, new seasonings...so many people grow into their palate, and are not born with it.

Thanks for sharing with us.


Oh, we've had a rough week here. I've made butter chicken from scratch & lasagna with butternut squash sauce instead of tomato. TEARS. I play the good cop in our family except for at the table, where I go beyond bad cop and turn into a dictator. But trying new things usually works better when my son has had some say in what else goes into the meal. That was my real mistake.

Ketchup on eggs? Ew. Sriracha.

Bettina at The Lunch Tray

Hi there!

I just discovered your site yesterday via Food News Journal. What a lovely blog and very much up my alley. I'll be back often. BTW, this post on today's Lunch Tray relates to what your're trying to accomplish with your own kids: http://bit.ly/fYKnuX


john donohue


Thanks for the tip about rice and lentils and ghee. Ive been meaning to make ghee, but havent gotten around to it.


john donohue


Thanks for the note. Im very interested in what its like to cook for teens. Thats a few years off for me, so I have plenty (ha) of time to get ready.

Will be sure to check out your site.




I struggle with the fact that I'm a food blogger and a pretty damned good cook--and yet I consistently fail to sell my 3yo on dishes that I've made. I have to remind myself that I was the world's pickiest eater until about high school. Now I tend to eat things that would make Andrew Zimmern blush. It's a process.

I think the advice from the video is sound. Kids aren't going to starve themselves. They'll eat more when they're hungry, and the variety of foods does balance out over time. Now, if I could only convince her to eat more than 1 or 2 kinds of vegetables...

Terry Foecke

I hope you'll be able to find your way and help your kids become flexible eaters. A few comments from my experience:
1) every child is different, and children change a lot over time
2) setting a tone and baseline ("you have to try it") makes a big difference
3) there will be tears, but the dinner table should not be a battleground
4) it can take 10-15 exposures to a new smell or flavor, even for adults, to become accustomed
5) sometimes physical differences (like enhanced bitter receptors on the tongue) make some foods very very difficult to like
6) find a theme, something aspirational. Ours was "How will you ever be able to travel the world if you can't eat new things?"
7) lunches are a key area for intervention, but having "weird" lunch can, at times, be a peer pressure target. And at times a point of pride.

We have a foodie daughter, 17, who reads "The Flavor Bible" and craves what she calls "real" food: minimal processing, authentic flavors, and reasonable cost. We have a "food is fuel" daughter, 21, who cares about fitness and mental acuity and understands how food and nutrition fit into that...but still can slam pizza and Pop Tarts for a week...and then snap back.

It's a long road, but we were very matter-of-fact about our food choices and kept evolving. And it worked. They are flexible, inquisitive eaters who abhor being "precious" about food and its preparation. And both have traveled to and worked in settings where food, any food, was a gift.

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