Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Picky Eaters

I'll admit it: I was a picky eater as a kid.  So when Steve and I got married, I loved being in charge of the meal planning—finally, there was something I liked for dinner every single night!  During those first few years of marriage, I collected a lot of new recipes and soon my wooden recipe box was filled with dishes my husband and I both loved.  Then we had kids.  Even though it’s never been proven (as far as I know), I suspect there’s a picky-eating gene, and I passed it along to all three of my kids.  The tricky thing was, they were each picky in their own way.  So this made meal-planning challenging over the years.  Now some of you non-picky eaters are probably thinking if I’d just been firmer with my kids, they wouldn’t have been so picky.  Well, I am here to tell you I tried EVERYTHING over the years.  The one thing I refused to do, however, was to make mealtime a battleground.  Having a pleasant dinner together was more important to me than winning the war over food.  So maybe you’re right, perhaps I was too accommodating, and I suppose I was also more than a little bit sympathetic.  I knew how miserable meals could be when you didn’t like meatloaf or country pie or liver and onions or all the other foods I pushed around on my plate over the years.  So when our kids were growing up, we settled into a pretty predictable pattern of meals.  It wasn’t that we never had meals one or more of the kids didn’t like, but recipes everyone liked ended up in the rotation a lot more often than dishes that only two people liked.  So for a lot of years, I rarely pulled the recipes for some of those early favorites out of the recipe box.  In fact, I forgot about a lot of them.  But then it happened—one by one, bit by bit, my kids’ palates started to grow up.  And suddenly, cooking became a lot more fun again.  This summer in addition to experimenting with new recipes, I've been cooking up some of the old ones.  This week, I’m two for two.  On Father’s Day, I made Lammel Supreme, a chicken dish that dates back to our college days. And last night we had Garden-Style Pizza (zucchini, carrots, and mushrooms on an oatmeal crust), a recipe I copied down from a magazine during the first days of married life.  Both were hits with the kids who were home for dinner, and both brought back fond food memories for my husband and me. Although the kids still have their favorite (and least favorite) meals, they are willing to try just about anything now, something I never would have imagined ten years ago! (Let me know if you want a recipe . . . )

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