Am I the only parent that has a difficult time getting their kids to try different foods? Perhaps, I am to blame for this phenomenon. When I was a kid, my Dad made me sit at the table for hours (literally hours) until I ate (or hid) the peas I didn’t like. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining and I had a great childhood. I think (?) I turned out….well, sort of okay.
Some of the things I didn’t like “way back then” are not so bad today. I still don’t care for peas, meatloaf or vegetable soup, but asparagus and broccoli are not so bad anymore. You might say that my palate has expanded. Anyway, I think my childhood eating experiences motivated me to take a different approach with my kids. I encourage them to try new foods, but I don’t make them sit there for hours and eat things they don’t like. When they try a new food the bite they take is so small I can’t see it. Is that because they are not giving the taste a fair try or because I need reading glasses?
We are having dinner the other night and I put some Sourwood Honey on my roll. My Son has always said he doesn’t like honey, but for some reason when I asked him to take one of those invisible bites he agreed. He did his whole taste thing and said, “Dad, this is pretty good”. I seized this opportunity and quickly grabbed jars of Gallberry, Tupelo, Wildflower and Orange Blossom Honeys. I explained that each honey has a distinct color and flavor. He tried the Gallberry and this clearly was not his favorite. I quickly grabbed the Tupleo in an effort to block his defenses for not trying any of the other honeys. I mean everyone enjoys Tupleo, right? He liked the Tupelo about the same as the Sourwood.
He did not like the darker Wildflower honey, which left just the Orange Blossom to try. He tried the Orange Blossom Honey and declared it the winner. He went on to eat a little more Orange Blossom honey and I felt somewhat victorious in that my Son had tried some honey and liked it even though he had previously declared otherwise. You might ask, “What is the secret to expanding my child’s palate”? Well, you have to read a little further……
A couple of days went by and I was describing the honey tasting and Orange Blossom story to Ms. Betty out at The Honey Company. She immediately sent my Son his very own Orange Blossom Honey in one of those squeeze Bear dispensers. He arrived home from school that day and I gave him his Orange Blossom Honey Bear from Ms. Betty. A great big smile popped-up on his face. He grabbed the bread, made some toast and proceeded to eat his new Orange Blossom honey. He has enjoyed his personal Orange Blossom honey bear every day after school since Ms. Betty gave it to him. In less than one week about a third of that bear squeeze bottle has vanished.
What is the secret that encourages our children to try new foods? I am not exactly sure, but it might have something to do with a squeeze bear. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. I still can’t get them to try Hot Pepper Sauce.
Now, if I could just figure out how to squeeze peas though that bear…….